Puttin’ On the Ritz with HADESTOWN’s Star André De Shields

André De Shields on his way to high tea at The Ritz London. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields in London. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields in London. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is currently appearing as Hermes in The Royal National Theatre’s production of Hadestown in the Olivier Theatre through January 26.

The two-time Tony nominee and Emmy winner is delighted to be back in London having last enjoyed a successful run  in The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2002. The Full Monty won the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical.

Celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin have transformed Hadestown, Mitchell’s acclaimed concept album into a genre-defying new musical that mixes modern American folk music with vintage New Orleans jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

I spent the week with André from previews to opening night and a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Check out our chat below. 

André De Shields as Hermes and the company in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks
André De Shields as Hermes and the company in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Lia: What does it feel like to be back in London with Hadestown? 
André: Hadestown is my fourth engagement as a performing artist in the UK. First was Ain’t Misbehavin’ in 1979 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Second was William Bolcom’s musical illumination of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, in which I sang the role of The Rock Singer with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall in 1996. Third was The Full Monty at The Prince of Wales Theatre in 2002. And now Hadestown at The Royal National Theatre. Each of the experiences inspired admiration and support among my American colleagues. However, when I shared the news that I would be off to The National Theatre as Hermes, Messenger of the Gods, in Hadestown, the admiration and support evolved into awe and vicarious thrills. That is the power of the reputation of The National Theatre. Hadestown at The National is more than employment and other than a gig; this engagement is cultural ambassadorship.

Hadestown Opening night curtain. Photo by Lia Chang
Hadestown Opening night curtain. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How has London changed?
André: I find London a very different city in two major aspects: the one is how it has eclipsed New York in terms of cosmopolitanism, and the other has to do with architecture. During my previous three journeys, I was able to interact at eye level with London’s Old World splendor. Today, it takes a stretch of the neck to appreciate the many glass and steel–dare I say it?–skyscrapers that populate the London skyline.

Hadestown Opening night curtain call in the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
Hadestown Opening night curtain call in the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What has your experience been working at the National Theatre?
André: Working at London’s National Theatre is an explicit education in why America has yet to embrace a national theatre. Regardless of the global concern about Brexit, the uniquely British idea of commonwealth permeates the very environment and work ethic at The National. Perhaps the institution has not always operated in this fashion, but my experience is one of inherent diversity, equity and inclusion. Of course, there is division of labor, but I am hard pressed to recognize any remnant of hierarchy or residue of a pecking order. Now, before I am accused of having succumbed to an infection of blind optimism, I promise that I left my rose-colored glasses at home in New York. I am no Pollyanna; rotating repertory–the foundation of work at The National–is not possible if one’s dedication is to self-aggrandizement. Moreover, there are paid mandatory hiatuses. Why? Because rest and renewal are necessary to sustained excellence in the creative process that commences with conception and concludes with execution. Unheard of in American theatre When Hadestown is on hiatus, The Olivier Theatre’s stage is further hallowed by Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Such cross pollination makes for a beautiful and bountiful harvest.

André De Shields as Hermes in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks
André De Shields as Hermes in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Lia: What about the character of Hermes speaks to you most?
André: Okay, how much time do you have? I will relegate my response to the five most idiosyncratic agencies possessed by Hermes that attract me to him, and that specifically relate to Hadestown: (1) Hermes is, indeed, the messenger of the gods; however, he also is a divine trickster, which is why–I believe–Hades, God of the Underworld, chooses Hermes to explain to Orpheus and Eurydice the conditions of their release from land of shades. The offending codicil is that Orpheus must walk in front of Eurydice, and resist turning around to make sure that she is following him; for if he does turn, then Eurydice goes back to the underworld. (2) Hermes is the inventor of the lyre, which is the instrument that Orpheus has mastered to magical efficacy, so much so that his playing of a melody convinces Hades to allow him and Eurydice to attempt to escape. (3) Hermes also is the god of roads, read journeys. And it is the journey of Orpheus to the underground and back that is the conceit of Hadestown. (4) Hermes is the only god who can breach the veil that separates the living from the dead, absolutely pertinent to the schism between the world above ground and the one below. (5) Hermes is the inventor of speech. Who better to be the storyteller
of Hadestown?

Lia: What is your favorite part of the show?
André: No spoilers, please.

Lia: How have you spent your free time?
André: Cooking for the many loved ones who have taken this National Theatre opportunity to refresh their friendship with me.

Lia: Why do you think the show has been resonating with audiences?
André: Hadestown treats three major themes–trust, truth and trauma. Who doesn’t need a lesson in those three common denominators of humankind?

André De Shields and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How long have you been part of Hadestown?
André: Intermittently, since the 2012 workshop at the Doris Duke studios.

André De Shields as Hermes and Patrick Page as Hades in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks
André De Shields as Hermes and Patrick Page as Hades in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Hadestown stars Reeve Carney (Orpheus), André De Shields (Hermes), Amber Gray (Persephone), Eva Noblezada (Eurydice) and Patrick Page (Hades). The cast also features Sharif Afifi (Worker), Rosie Fletcher (Lachesis), Beth Hinton-Lever (Worker), Carly Mercedes Dyer (Atropos), Seyi Omooba (Worker), Gloria Onitiri (Clotho), Aiesha Pease (Worker), Joseph Prouse (Worker), Jordan Shaw (Worker) and Shaq Taylor (Worker).

Musical Director and Vocal Arranger Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney. Photo by Lia Chang
Musical Director and Vocal Arranger Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney. Photo by Lia Chang

Check out what the critics had to say:

“Hermes the messenger god, played sublimely by Andre De Shields, the very epitome of cool…He’s completely spellbinding, with hints of mischief and mystery. There’s so much style in everything he does.” – Tim Bano, The Stage

“André De Shields, the original Broadway Wiz in ‘The Wiz’, is scene-stealingly brilliant as a suavely shamanic Hermes.” – Andrezej Lukowski, Time Out London

“Our core performers…De Shields…expertly conceived performances that blend the power of musical storytelling with sensitively characterised portrayals. Their performances are shaded with the confidence and poise, and they become robust emotional canvasses whom we can trust with sharing Mitchell’s story with us.” -Adam Bruce, UK Review

“…the wonderful, charismatic André De Shields as Hermes channels Smokey Robinson in a shiny suit and introduces the action and its meaning.” – Sarah Crompton, What’s On Stage

André De Shields, Liza Melamed and Ken Melamed at High Tea at The Ritz Carlton London.
André De Shields, Liza Melamed and Ken Melamed at High Tea at The Ritz Carlton London.

In a career spanning forty-eight years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens’ 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013). In fact Mr. De Shields’ professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, now the Bank of America Theatre, in the 1969 production of Hair. From there he moved on to The Me Nobody Knows at the Civic Opera House, and ultimately became a member of The Organic Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in the cult sensation Warp. A multiple Tony Award nominee, he is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’Play On! and The Full Monty. He recently appeared in Papermill Playhouse’s production of Half Time, Off-Broadway in Classic Stage Company’s As You Like It and Playwrights Horizon’s Mankind by Robert O’Hara.

Co-Producer Mara Isaacs, Director Rachel Chavkin, André De Shields, Anais Mitchell and Co-Producer Dale Franzen. Photo by Lia Chang
Co-Producer Mara Isaacs, Director Rachel Chavkin, André De Shields, Anais Mitchell and Co-Producer Dale Franzen at the opening night party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

His numerous accolades include an Emmy Award for the NBC Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’, the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, a 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the Theatre School at DePaul University 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Riant Theatre’s 2016 Pioneer of the Arts Award, the Black Theatre Network’s 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award, a 2016 Beinecke Fellowship at Yale School of Drama, a 2018 Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award and nine AUDELCO Awards. and two Doctor of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa one each from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo.

Click here for tickets to Hadestown.

December 12 @ 7:30pm
December 13 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
December 14 @ 7:30pm
December 15 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
December 21 @ 7:30 pm
December 22 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
December 26 @ 7:30pm
December 27 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
January 4 @ 7:30pm
January 5 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
Audio Described
Touch Tour
January 7 @7:30pm
Audio Described
January 8 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
January 22 @ 7:30pm
January 23 @ 7:30pm
January 24 @ 2 pm & 7:30pm
January 25 @ 7:30pm
January 26 @ 2pm & 7:30pm

Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, Patrick Page and more Open in HADESTOWN at National Theatre on November 13 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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Mia Katigbak to Receive Actors’ Equity Foundation’s St. Clair Bayfield Award

NAATCO Associate Producer Peter Kim and Artistic Director Mia Katigbak. Photo by Lia Chang
NAATCO Associate Producer Peter Kim and Artistic Director Mia Katigbak. Photo by Lia Chang
NAATCO Associate Producer Peter Kim and Artistic Director Mia Katigbak. Photo by Lia Chang

Mia Katigbak has received the annual St. Clair Bayfield Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation for her performance as The Duke of Gloucester in NAATCO’s production of Henry VI. The announcement was made by Judy Rice, President of the Foundation, and Joan Glazer, Managing Director.

Paul Juhn, David Huynh, Anna Ishida, Mia Katigbak, Michelangelo Hyeon, Vanessa Kai and John Haggerty. Photo by William P. Steele
Paul Juhn, David Huynh, Anna Ishida, Mia Katigbak, Michelangelo Hyeon, Vanessa Kai and John Haggerty. Photo by William P. Steele

The award will be presented at Actors’ Equity Association’s Eastern Regional Membership Meeting at 2 pm on Monday January 28, 2019 at the Equity offices, 165 West 46th Street, New York City.

The cast includes David Shih, Mahira Kakkar, Ron Domingo, Kim Wong, Wai Ching Ho, Sophia Skiles, James Seol, Rajesh Bose, Mia Katigbak, Jon Norman Schneider, Associate Producer Peter Kim, Vanessa Kai, David Huynh, Paul Junh, John D. Haggerty, Anna Ishida, Michelangelo Hyeon. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast includes David Shih, Mahira Kakkar, Ron Domingo, Kim Wong, Wai Ching Ho, Sophia Skiles, James Seol, Rajesh Bose, Mia Katigbak, Jon Norman Schneider, Associate Producer Peter Kim, Vanessa Kai, David Huynh, Paul Junh, John D. Haggerty, Anna Ishida, Michelangelo Hyeon. Photo by Lia Chang

Katigbak is co-founder and artistic producing director of the National Asian American Theater Company (NAATCO) where she has made it her mission to send Asian-American actors wherever the theatrical canon may lead, from “Our Town” to “Othello” to “Antigone.”

David Shih, Sophia Skiles, Vanessa Kai, Mia Katigbak, Mahira Kakkar, Wai Ching Ho, Ron Domingo and Michelangelo Hyeon. Photo by Lia Chang
David Shih, Sophia Skiles, Vanessa Kai, Mia Katigbak, Mahira Kakkar, Wai Ching Ho, Ron Domingo and Michelangelo Hyeon. Photo by Lia Chang

She is the recipient of an Obie Award for performance (2014), the 2012-13 Lucille Lortel and the 2008 Lee Reynolds Awards (League of Professional Theatre Women); the Actors Equity’s Rosetta LeNoire Award, in recognition of her “artistic contribution to the universality of the human experience in the American theater”; New Dramatists’ Charles Bowden Actor Award; Distinguished Award for Artistic Excellence from Ma-Yi Theater.

Katigbak will appear next in THE TRIAL OF THE CATONSVILLE NINE.

Mia Katigbak, Eunice Wong and David Huynh Set for THE TRIAL OF THE CATONSVILLE NINE, January 16- February 23

Established in 1973 in memory of Equity member St. Clair Bayfield, the award honors the best performance in a supporting role by an Actor in a Shakespearean play in the New York City metropolitan area. The recipient receives a $1,000 check and an engraved crystal plaque.

The Judges for the Bayfield Award are: Joe Dziemianowicz, Adam Feldman, Time Out New York; Susan Haskins, Theater Talk; Harry Haun, The Observer, and David Rosenberg, Hearst Media.

Previous recipients of the St. Clair Bayfield Award include: Carmen DeLavalade, Dana Ivey, Charles Kimbrough, Nathan Lane, Brian Murray, Bradley Whitford, and, in 2017, Peter Friedman.

The Actors Equity Foundation is a philanthropic and humanitarian nonprofit organization created in 1962 to aid and assist members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from Actors Equity Association and is funded by estate bequests and individual donations.

Partying with the cast of NAATCO’s HENRY VI; Performances through September 8

First Look: NAATCO’s HENRY VI 

Mia Katigbak, Eunice Wong and David Huynh Set for THE TRIAL OF THE CATONSVILLE NINE, January 16- February 23

Transport Group and the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO)  are co-presenting The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, written by Daniel Berrigan and directed by artistic director Jack Cummings III, includes Mia Katigbak (Awake and Sing!, I Remember Mama), Eunice Wong (Mourning Becomes Electra, Smart People) and David Huynh (Henry VI, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). The Trial of the Catonsville Nine runs Wednesday, January 16 through Sunday, February 23, 2019 at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street. The opening night is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6 at 7:30pm.

Based on the court transcripts of the trial of Vietnam War peace activists, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine tells the story of the nine people who broke into a Maryland draft office on May 17, 1968, and burned 378 draft cards with homemade napalm. Brothers Philip Berrigan and Daniel Berrigan-both Catholic priests-led the movement and are joined by seven church parishioners in their protest for peace. In sharp contrast to the wave of young, liberal extremists at the forefront of the resistance headlines, The Nine give a new face to activism and inspire hundreds of anti-war demonstrations that follow.

The Trial of the Catonsville Nine was produced on Broadway in 1971. The Transport Group revival is its first New York production in over 30 years and is produced by special arrangement with The Daniel Berrigan Literary Trust, Catalyst Literary Management, and Phil Sandhaus.

Daniel Berrigan (1921-2016) was one of the most influential peacemakers of the twentieth century. A Jesuit priest, award-winning poet, playwright, peace activist, convicted felon, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he inspired millions to pursue a vision of nonviolence. An award-winning writer, he published numerous poems, scripture studies, journals, essays, and books. He was arrested over two hundred times in nonviolent acts of protest against war, injustice and nuclear weapons. Berrigan’s lifelong example of nonviolent resistance to war continues to inspire people to carry on the hope that one day we will abolish war, learn to resolve our conflicts nonviolently, and live in peace.

The set and costume design for The Trial of the Catonsville Nine is by Peiyi Wong; lighting design is by R. Lee Kennedy; sound design is by Fan Zhang.

The National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) asserts the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture. NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theatre artists to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and intercultural dynamics of our society. We demonstrate a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole.

Transport Group is the recipient of a special Drama Desk Award recognizing its “breadth of vision and presentation of challenging productions,” a Special Citation from the prestigious New York Critics’ Circle, and a Special Citation from the Obie Awards as well as numerous other awards and award nominations from the Outer Critics’ Circle, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Off-Broadway Alliance, Drama League, and others. Founded in 2001, Transport Group stages new works and re-imagined revivals-both plays and musicals-that explore the challenges of relationship and identity in modern America. Currently headed by founder Jack Cummings III (Artistic Director) and Lori Fineman (Executive Director), Transport Group most recently produced the world premiere musical, Renascence, by Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture), music by Carmel Dean (Musical Director, If/Then, American Idiot) and lyrics from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Transport Group also recently produced a critically acclaimed revival of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke with Classic Stage Company starring Marin Ireland and Nathan Darrow, Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude starring David Greenspan (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance as well as an Obie Award for Greenspan, Cummings and Transport Group), and Picnic & Come Back, Little Sheba: William Inge in Rep, which received two Drama Desk nominations and three Obie Awards (Jack Cummings III for direction, HEATHER MAC RAE for performance, Dane Laffrey for scenic design). Additional recent productions include the first off-Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress, starring Jackie Hoffman and John “Lypsinka” Epperson; Three Days To See, a world premiere theatrical exploration of Helen Keller through her own writings; the critically acclaimed revival of John Cariani’s modern classic Almost, Maine; and a re-imagined revival of the John Van Druten classic I Remember Mama which was included in the New York Times’ Top Ten productions of 2014 and The New Yorker’s top cultural moments of 2014. In addition to mainstage productions, Transport Group also produces one-night-only, star-studded concert events, often featuring the productions’ original orchestrations performed by as many as 60 actors and musicians. Concert titles have included Baby (2012), Once Upon a Mattress (2013), The Music Man (2014), Peter Pan (2016), A Man of No Importance (2016), Man of La Mancha (2017) and Promises, Promises (2018).

The Trial of the Catonsville Nine runs Wednesday, January 16 through Sunday, February 23, 2019 at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street (F to Delancey Street; J or M to Essex Street; D or B to Grand Street). The playing schedule is Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets, which are $59-$79, and more information are available by visiting transportgroup.org or by phoning 866-811-4111.

Steven Fisher’s New Holiday Musical THE LITTLE DANCER at Theatre 71 through December 31

Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang

The Little Dancer, a new holiday family musical written by Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY)’s Founder and Artistic Director Steven Fisher, had its world premiere on December 1st at Theatre 71, off Broadway. Helmed by Richard Vida,The Little Dancer tells the heart-warming story of how fourteen-year-old Marie Van Goethem, the model for Edgar Degas’ one and only sculpture, became the most famous ballerina in the world.

Jesse Dalton, Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman, Lisa Graye and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Jesse Dalton, Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman, Lisa Graye and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of The Little Dancer features Laura Sky Herman (Marie), Jesse Dalton (Ed/Degas), Heather Cadarette (Mama/Mistress de la Ballet), Lisa Graye (Charlotte), Cat Grey (Louise), Georgia Monroe, Raquel Kahn and Ben Schrager, as well as 32 talented children from Philadelphia who comprise the show’s “Musical Theatre Geek Chorus.”

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to Vida and Fisher, the creative team includes Lainie Sakakura (choreographer), W. Brent Sawyer (Music Director/Arrangements), Zach Hyams (Production Stage Manager), Jeremy Bailey-Smith (Sets, Costumes) and Taylor Frith-Brown (Lighting Designer).

Richard Vida (Director), W. Brent Sawyer (Musical Director), Steven Fisher (Writer and Musical Supervisor and Lainie Sakakura Choreographer. Photo by Lia Chang
Richard Vida (Director), W. Brent Sawyer (Musical Director), Steven Fisher (Writer and Musical Supervisor and Lainie Sakakura Choreographer. Photo by Lia Chang

The Musical Theatre Geek Chorus (MTGC) is made up of 32 theatrically talented singers selected by audition from the ranks of the Garden State Girlchoir, the Keystone State Boychoir, the New Jersey Boychoir, and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. These young musical theatre thespians have been participating in a weekly workshop with Broadway veterans Richard Vida and Lainie Sakakura in Philadelphia. They are beyond thrilled to be making their professional NYC debut.

The Company of THE LITTLE DANCER. Photo by Lia Chang
The Company of THE LITTLE DANCER. Photo by Lia Chang

Fifteen performers from the ensemble appear in every performance. The members of MTGC are Charlotte Bazzle, Phoebe Bellagamba, Audim Brokenbough, Elizabeth Clancy, Chloe Clark, Carlie Cocco, Victoria Rose Conroy, Dominic Corcoran, Isaac Darga, Taylor Delli Carpini, Koby Fallon, Logan Ford, Jeremy Peyton Jones, Graham Kohn, Chloe Lee, Carly Levy, Grace Mazzola, Elizabeth Mun, Sade Mutua, Sydney Parson, Ani Peterson, Diya Ramesh, Max Ringold, Stefan Rogowski, Emma Shay, Christopher Simcox, Layla Singleton, Giuliana Stout, Sage Torrisi, and Sarah Wusinich.

The kids are all members of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), an organization that serves over 700 young people in the Philadelphia area through the power of singing in a choir. CY’s founder and Artistic Director, Steve Fisher, wrote the musical. Half of the 700 children Fisher serves are underserved. Not only does The Little Dancer feature children, but it will benefit children as well. Every ticket sold will benefit CY’s program Find Your Instrument!, which partners with under-resourced schools that have no music in them. In Philadelphia, similar to many cities, the poverty rate for children stands at 37%, and 2 out of 3 attend elementary schools have no choral program.

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

“I can’t believe I get to be on a NYC stage!” says Isaac Darga, a 10-year old MTGC member. “Music is such an important part of my life, it makes me happy to know that my performance will benefit other kids who don’t have music in their lives.”

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

This one hour show has a delightful story, toe tapping songs and an uplifting holiday ending.

Heather Cadarette as Mama and Laura Sky Herman as Marie. Photo by Lia Chang
Heather Cadarette as Mama and Laura Sky Herman as Marie. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances every Saturday and Sunday in December at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman and Heather Cadarette. Photo by Lia Chang
Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman and Heather Cadarette. Photo by Lia Chang

Starting December 26th to December 31st, performances every day at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang

For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.thelittledancermusical.org. Tickets can also be purchased 30 minutes before curtain at the venue. Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament, 152 W. 71st Street, New York, NY 10023, right off Broadway).

Jesse Dalton and Laura Sky Herman. Photo by Lia Chang
Jesse Dalton and Laura Sky Herman. Photo by Lia Chang

BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans on Broadway and the 60th Anniversary of FLOWER DRUM SONG

The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Six weeks of fundraising culminates in an extravaganza of Broadway stars, extraordinary ensembles and one-of-a-kind performances at Red Bucket Follies at 4:30 pm on Monday, December 3, and at 2 pm on Tuesday, December 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. The show is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The opening number of BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Flower Drum Song and will honor the legacy of Asian-Americans on Broadway.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Paying tribute to the trailblazing productions of Flower Drum Song, the number will feature members of the original 1958 cast as well as Asians currently on Broadway. The piece will celebrate Broadway’s diversity and the diversity within the Asian-American experience. The number was conceived by Lainie Sakakura and Telly Leung, and written by Lainie Sakakura, cast members from the 2002 David Henry Hwang revisal of Flower Drum Song. Alex Sanchez will direct and choreograph.

The Elders - Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang
The Elders – Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Flower Drum Song features Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Original Broadway Revival Choreography by Robert Longbottom , Music Direction by Ted Arthur, Additional Lyrics by Vanessa Brown, Lainie Sakakura, Orchestrations by Adam Kaufman and Costume Design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Performers: Aaron J. Albano, Sandra Allen, Susan Ancheta, Alan Ariano, Paula Chin, Marcus Choi, Adrianne Chu, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Ali Ewoldt, Takayo Fischer, Lydia Gaston, Sally Hong, Joomin Hwang, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Sabrina Imamura, Miho Imoto, Alvin Ing, Nina Zoie Lam, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Baayork Lee, Jodi Long, J. Elaine Marcos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Carol Gordon Morra, Kumiko Nakagawa, Ashley Park, Vicki Racimo, Catherine Ricafort, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Herman Sebek, Shawnee Smith, Riza Takahashi, Yuka Takara, Robert Tatad, Virginia Wing, Mae Wong, Ericka Yang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Lisa Yuen and Minami Yusui.

Downstage right and clockwise) - Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Ignacio Garcia, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center - Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang
Downstage right and clockwise – Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center – Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang

Red Bucket Follies (#redbucketfollies) will feature guest appearances by Mike Birbiglia (Mike Birbiglia’s The New One); Norbert Leo Butz and Harry Hadden-Paton (My Fair Lady); Kevin Chamberlin (Wicked); Noma Dumezweni, Poppy Miller and Paul Thornley (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child); Erika Henningsen, Ashley Park, Kate Rockwell, Kyle Selig and Jennifer Simard (Mean Girls); Cherry Jones (The Lifespan of a Fact); and Michael Urie (Torch Song).

Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee) Rommy Sandhu. Photo by Lia Chang
Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee). Photo by Lia Chang

This year’s songs, skits and dances will feature more than 150 singers and dancers. Broadway shows scheduled to perform include Chicago, Frozen, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, and Wicked, as well as Off-Broadway’s Avenue Q, Fiddler on the Roof – in Yiddish and NEWSical The Musical. Representing Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, choreographer Billy Griffin will share an original piece created for this year’s Hudson Valley Dance Festival.

Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

A panel of distinguished judges will award best presentation honors at Tuesday’s performance. This year’s judges are music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Mean Girls, The Prom); Ali Ewoldt and Jay Armstrong Johnson (The Phantom of the Opera); the legendary Rosemary Harris (My Fair Lady); Andy Karl and Orfeh (Pretty Woman); Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla (The Prom); Peppermint (Head Over Heels) and Nicolette Robinson(Waitress). Also joining the panel are Nathan Noh and Peg Wendlandt, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.

Ultimate Broadway buff Seth Rudetsky, host of SiriusXM’s “On Broadway” channel, returns to lead the festivities for the 11th year. The show also will include a number, directed and choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia, honoring the national touring shows that participated in the fall fundraising, and a tribute to Broadway Cares’ iconic red buckets, directed and choreographed by Chaz Wolcott.

Red Bucket Follies builds on the 29-year legacy of the Gypsy of the Year Competition. The show will continue to showcase ensemble members and special guests sharing original performances, with awards given to the best presentation and for the top fundraising Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows for the six weeks’ efforts.

A limited number of tickets, starting at $30, are available. They can be purchased at broadwaycares.org.

Red Bucket Follies will be directed by Jason Trubitt with Matthew Kurtis Lutz serving as production stage manager and Ted Arthur as music director.

Since 1989, the 29 editions of Gypsy of the Year raised $76 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Red Bucket Follies will build on that tradition.

Photo Flash: BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans On Broadway And The 60th Anniversary Of FLOWER DRUM SONG

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

André De Shields Nominated for 3 2018 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Awards including Best Actor (HALF TIME) and Best Director and Choreographer for NJPAC and Crossroads Theatre Company’s Co-production of AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Johmaalya Adelekan, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, who is currently featured as Hermes in the National Theatre’s production of Hadestown in London, has been nominated for three 2018 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Awards including Best Actor (Half Time) for his role as Ron, and Best Director and Choreographer for NJPAC and Crossroads Theatre Company’s Co-production of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

André De Shields (Ron) in HALF TIME.  Photo by Jerry Dalia
André De Shields (Ron) in HALF TIME.  Photo by Jerry Dalia

Ain’t Misbehavin’  racked up 10 2018 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Award nominations including Best Musical and Best Ensemble (Musical).

Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Zurin Villanueva, Borris York and Johmaalya Adelekan. Photo by Lia Chang
Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Zurin Villanueva, Borris York and Johmaalya Adelekan. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast starred Johmaalya Adelekan as Armelia (Ragtime), Zurin Villanueva as Charlaine (Mean Girls and Shuffle Along), Rheaume Crenshaw as Nell (Groundhog Day), David Samuel as Ken (Ruined, Arena Stage), Borris York as Andre (Holiday Inn; Love Never Dies, U.S. tour), with musical direction from David Alan Bunn, in NJPAC’s Victoria Theatre.

Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Johmaalya Adelekan, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Johmaalya Adelekan, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Two-time Tony Award nominee and Emmy-winning actor André De Shields was an original cast member of Ain’t Misbehavin‘ when it opened on Broadway in 1978 and swept up a few Tonys, including best musical. De Shields returned to direct and choreograph this acclaimed production of the Fats Waller award-winning musical, which premiered during Crossroads Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 season. The show was conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz.

Murray Horwitz and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Murray Horwitz and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team includes costume design by Deborah Caney, sound design by Joshua D. Reid, scenic and lighting design by Burke Wilmore, assistant choreographer Camille Moten and Production Stage Manager Brian Westmoreland.

Crossroads Board President Anthony P. Carter, Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones, III, Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Johmaalya Adelekan, Director/Choreographer André De Shields, Co-creator Murray Horwitz and Musical Director David Alan Bunn. Photo by Lia Chang
Crossroads Board President Anthony P. Carter, Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones, III, Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Rheaume Crenshaw, David Samuel, Johmaalya Adelekan, Director/Choreographer André De Shields, Co-creator Murray Horwitz and Musical Director David Alan Bunn. Photo by Lia Chang

The band includes Kenneth Crutchfield (drums), George Grier (bass), Irwin Hall (clarinet/tenor sax), Robert Stringer (trombone) and Donald Malloy (trumpet).

Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Johmaalya Adelekan, Rheaume Crenshaw. Photo by Lia Chang
Borris York, Zurin Villanueva, Johmaalya Adelekan, Rheaume Crenshaw. Photo by Lia Chang

The production has also been nominated in the categories Best Actress (Musical) for Johmaalya Adelekan, Rheaume Crenshaw and Zurin Villanueva; Best Costume Design for Deborah Caney; and Best Lighting Design and Set Design for Burke Wilmore.

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Crossroads Theatre Company continues to lead the nation with its commitment to literary works that examine the African American experience so that it may be understood and appreciated by all people. When co-founders Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson envisioned a space where, as actors, the two young men could work on substantive, non-stereotypical roles, little did they realize that their vision would grow into the major institution that it is today. Crossroads has filled an otherwise empty space on the cultural canvas of the country and the world, with a collective body of work that remains unparalleled by any other of culturally-specific theater in the nation by presenting over 50 world premieres. Crossroads forged its vision into reality through the development, production and touring of new works from throughout the African Diaspora where positive images of African American life, history and culture is celebrated. These honest theatrical portrayals helped move the consciousness of the nation forward. Crossroads continues to lead twenty-first century story-telling by building bridges of understanding and veracity between people of all backgrounds in this society and the world. Find out more at CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Anaïs Mitchell’s HADESTOWN Set for Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre This Spring

André De Shields as Hermes and the company in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks
Co-Producer Mara Isaacs, Director Rachel Chavkin, André De Shields, Anais Mitchell and Co-Producer Dale Franzen at the opening party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
Co-Producer Mara Isaacs, Director Rachel Chavkin, André De Shields, Anais Mitchell and Co-Producer Dale Franzen at the opening party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Producers Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold, and Tom Kirdahy announced today that Hadestown, the new musical by celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, developed with visionary director and Tony Award® nominee Rachel Chavkin, will transfer this spring to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street).

André De Shields as Hermes and the company in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks
André De Shields as Hermes and the company in HADESTOWN. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Preview performances for Hadestown will begin Friday, March 22 ahead of a Wednesday, April 17 official opening night. Casting and ticketing information for the Broadway production will be announced shortly.

“The genius of Anaïs Mitchell’s work in Hadestown is that she takes a myth as old as time and gives it a new life so vibrant and relevant that audiences hold their breath, waiting to see how this timeless tale will unfold,” producer Mara Isaacs said. “Rachel Chavkin and the entire creative team have created a pulse-racing world for Anaïs’ joyous and haunting score to live. As we prepare for Broadway, I’m thrilled for New York audiences to see this entirely new production, a raucous and electrifying celebration that is truly a show for our times.”

Hadestown originated in 2006 as Mitchell’s community theater project that traveled Vermont before gaining a cult following when she turned the songs into an acclaimed album which was called “far and away one of the best records of 2010” (Sunday Times of London). In 2013, Mitchell saw Chavkin’s celebrated Off-Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812, and knew she had found her artistic partner. Together, the two women have transformed Hadestown into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

Hadestown electrified audiences with its 2016 world premiere at New York Theatre Workshop before receiving its Canadian premiere at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in 2017. The National Theatre provided further development to Hadestown in London and the show is currently playing at the National’s Olivier Theatre through Saturday, January 26, 2019, before it’s eagerly anticipated Broadway debut.

Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang
Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada at the opening party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

The London cast stars Reeve Carney (Orpheus), André De Shields (Hermes), Amber Gray (Persephone), Eva Noblezada (Eurydice) and Patrick Page (Hades). The cast also features Sharif Afifi (Worker), Rosie Fletcher (Lachesis), Beth Hinton-Lever (Worker), Carly Mercedes Dyer (Atropos), Seyi Omooba (Worker), Gloria Onitiri (Clotho), Aiesha Pease (Worker), Joseph Prouse (Worker), Jordan Shaw (Worker) and Shaq Taylor (Worker).

Musical Director and Vocal Arranger Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney. Photo by Lia Chang
Musical Director and Vocal Arranger Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney at the opening party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Hadestown follows two intertwining love stories – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone – as it invites audiences on an epic journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit nature against industry, faith against doubt, and love against fear. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.

Patrick Page, Rachel Chavkin and Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang
Patrick Page, Rachel Chavkin and Amber Gray at the opening party of HADESTOWN at the National Theatre in London on November 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Welcome to the intriguing and beautiful world of “your next musical theater obsession” (Vogue).

The creative team for Broadway will feature Drama Desk Award nominee Rachel Hauck (set design), three-time Tony Award nominee Michael Krass (costume design), Tony Award winner Bradley King (lighting design), Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz (sound design), Bessie Award® winner David Neumann (choreography), Liam Robinson (music direction and vocal arrangements), Michael Chorney, Todd Sickafoose (arrangements and orchestrations), Ken Cerniglia (dramaturgy), and Stewart/Whitley (casting).

Hadestown was developed with funding from the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and was further developed by The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Hadestown was co-conceived by Ben t. Matchstick.

Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, Patrick Page and More Celebrate HADESTOWN Opening Night at National Theatre 

Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Michelle Krusiec, Jaygee Macapugay, Joél Pérez, Kendyl Ito, Lulu Fall and More in WILD GOOSE DREAMS at The Public through December 16

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The New York premiere of Wild Goose Dreams, written by Hansol Jung and directed by Leigh Silverman has an extended run through Sunday, December 16 at The Public. Click here for tickets.

Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The complete cast of Wild Goose Dreams features Dan Domingues (Chorus), Lulu Fall (Woman/Chorus), Kendyl Ito (Heejin/Chorus),Francis Jue (Father), Peter Kim (Guk Minsung), Michelle Krusiec (Yoo Nanhee), Jaygee Macapugay(Wife/Chorus), Joél Pérez (Man/Chorus), Jamar Williams (Chorus), and Katrina Yaukey (Chorus).

Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Wild Goose Dreams returns to The Public after its initial run in Public Studio in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically-acclaimed run last season. Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible?

Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Wild Goose Dreams features scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Keith Parham, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, composition by Paul Castles, Korean music composition by Jongbin Jung, movement direction by Yasmine Lee, and music supervision by Charity Wicks.

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, and Francis Jue.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, and Francis Jue.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Joel Perez, with Kendyl Ito.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Joel Perez, with Kendyl Ito.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Becky Gulsvig, Christine Toy Johnson, Andrew Samonsky, Megan McGinnis, Kevin Carolan and More in COME FROM AWAY Tour at Ahmanson Theatre, November 28-January 6  

The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The touring production of Come From Away will play the Ahmanson Theatre from November 28 – January 6, 2019. Come From Away stars Kevin Carolan (Disney’s Newsies), Harter Clingman (Peter and The Starcatcher), Nick Duckart (In the Heights), Chamblee Ferguson, Becky Gulsvig (School of Rock the Musical), Julie Johnson (Memphis), Christine Toy Johnson (The Music Man), James Earl Jones II (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), Megan McGinnis (Les Misérables), Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific), Danielle K. Thomas (Avenue Q), Emily Walton (August Osage County), Marika Aubrey, Jane Bunting, Michael Brian Dunn, Julie Garnyé, Adam Halpin, Aaron Michael Ray.

Megan McGinnis, Emily Walton, Becky Gulsvig, Christine Toy Johnson, Julie Johnson and Danielle K. Thomas in The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Megan McGinnis, Emily Walton, Becky Gulsvig, Christine Toy Johnson, Julie Johnson and Danielle K. Thomas in The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy

For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 972-4400. Media Contact: CTGMedia@CTGLA.org / (213) 972-7376.

With a book, music and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award nominees Irene Sankoff & David Hein, Come From Away is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), musical staging by two-time Tony nominee Kelly Devine (Come From Away, Rocky), with music supervision by Grammy nominee Ian Eisendrath (Come From Away), scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One), costume design by Tony Award nominee Toni-Leslie James (Jelly’s Last Jam), lighting design by two-time Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Hamilton), sound design by Tony Award nominee Gareth Owen (End of the Rainbow), orchestrations by Tony nominee August Eriksmoen (Bright Star), music arrangements by Grammy nominee Ian Eisendrath and casting by Telsey + Company.

The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Come From Away tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

Nick Duckart, Kevin Carolan, Andrew Samonsky and Company in the First North American Tour of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Nick Duckart, Kevin Carolan, Andrew Samonsky and Company in the First North American Tour of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy

On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, their stories moved us all.

The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Following sold-out, record-breaking, critically acclaimed world premiere engagements at La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, Come From Away landed on the “Best Theater of 2015” lists in the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, San Diego Union Tribune, and Times of San Diego. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times called the show “An affecting, stirring and unpretentious new musical. Christopher Ashley’s production lets the simple goodness of ordinary people outshine sensational evil,” and Bob Verini of Variety raved, “Superb! Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein have forged a moving, thoroughly entertaining tribute to international amity and the indomitable human spirit.”

The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
The First North American Tour Company of COME FROM AWAY. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Los Angeles, CA USA
Nov 28 – Jan 6, 2019
Ahmanson Theatre
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San Francisco, CA USA
Jan 8, 2019 – Feb 3, 2019
Golden Gate Theatre
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Costa Mesa, CA USA
Feb 5, 2019 – Feb 17, 2019
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
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Las Vegas, NV USA
Feb 19, 2019 – Feb 24, 2019
The Smith Center
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Portland, OR USA
Feb 26, 2019 – Mar 3, 2019
Keller Auditorium
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Vancouver, BC Canada
Mar 5, 2019 – Mar 10, 2019
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
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Edmonton, AB Canada
Mar 12, 2019 – Mar 17, 2019
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
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Calgary, AB Canada
Mar 19, 2019 – Mar 24, 2019
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
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Omaha, NE USA
Mar 27, 2019 – Mar 31, 2019
Orpheum Theater – Omaha
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Appleton, WI USA
Apr 2, 2019 – Apr 7, 2019
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
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Pittsburgh, PA USA
Apr 9, 2019 – Apr 14, 2019
Benedum Center
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Greenville, SC USA
Apr 16, 2019 – Apr 21, 2019
Peace Center For The Performing Arts
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Baltimore, MD USA
Apr 23, 2019 – Apr 28, 2019
Hippodrome Theatre
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Hartford, CT USA
Apr 30, 2019 – May 5, 2019
Bushnell
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Milwaukee, WI USA
May 7, 2019 – May 12, 2019
Uihlein Hall At Marcus Center
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St. Louis, MO USA
May 14, 2019 – May 26, 2019
Fox Theatre – St. Louis
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New Orleans, LA USA
May 28, 2019 – Jun 2, 2019
Saenger Theatre (LA)
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Tampa, FL USA
Jun 4, 2019 – Jun 9, 2019
David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
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Orlando, FL USA
Jun 11, 2019 – Jun 16, 2019
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
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Atlanta, GA USA
Jun 25, 2019 – Jun 30, 2019
Fox Theatre
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Cleveland, OH USA
Jul 9, 2019 – Jul 28, 2019
Connor Palace
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Ottawa, ON Canada
Aug 20, 2019 – Sep 1, 2019
National Arts Centre: Opera Stage
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Come From Away began performances on Broadway on February 18, 2017 and officially opened to critical acclaim on March 12, 2017 at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street), and continues to play to standing-room- only audiences.

The Tony Award-winning musical launched a Second Company in Canada with a sold out four-week engagement in Winnipeg and is currently playing to standing-room-only audiences in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The Mark Gordon Company will produce and finance a feature film adaptation of Come From Away. Two-time Tony Award nominees, Grammy nominees and Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award winners Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, will adapt the feature screenplay for the project and Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley will direct. MGC’s Mark Gordon will produce.

A “Best Musical” winner all across North America, the smash hit musical has won the Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Musical” (Christopher Ashley), 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding New Broadway Musical,” 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding Musical,” 4 Helen Hayes Awards (D.C.) including “Outstanding Production of a Musical,” 4 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including “Excellence in Production of a Musical,” 6 San Diego Critics Circle Awards including “Outstanding New Musical,” 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards including “Best New Musical,” 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including “Outstanding New Musical/Opera” and “Outstanding Production,” and the 2017 Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Toronto).

Come From Away is produced by Junkyard Dog Productions (Randy Adams, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff and Sue Frost), Jerry Frankel, Latitude Link, Smith & Brant Theatricals, Steve & Paula Reynolds, David Mirvish, Michael Rubinoff, Alhadeff Productions, Michael Alden & Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Sam Levy, Rodney Rigby, Spencer Ross, Richard Winkler, Yonge Street Theatricals, Sheridan College, Michael & Ellise Coit, Ronald Frankel, Sheri & Les Biller, Richard Belkin, Gary &Marlene Cohen, Allan Detsky & Rena Mendelson, Lauren Doll, Barbara H. Freitag, Wendy Gillespie, Laura Little Theatricals, Carl & Jennifer Pasbjerg, Radio Mouse Entertainment, The Shubert Organization, Cynthia Stroum, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Gwen Arment/Molly Morris& Terry McNicholas, Maureen & Joel Benoliel/Marjorie & Ron Danz, Pamela Cooper/Corey Brunish, Demos Bizar/Square 1 Theatrics, Joshua Goodman/Lauren Stevens, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams Productions, Bill & Linda Potter/Rosemary & Kenneth Willman, and La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Come From Away was originally co-produced in 2015 by La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theater. Come From Away (NAMT Festival 2013) was originally developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project, Michael Rubinoff Producer, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and was further developed at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, in East Haddam, CT. The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, Steve and Paula Reynolds and The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle WA also provided development support.

 

 

Production Photos: Paige Faure, Jordon Gelber, Ann Harada, Jeff Kready, Hayley Podschun, Nicholas Rodriguez and More in HOLIDAY INN At Paper Mill Playhouse through December 30

Ann Harada and Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

Paper Mill Playhouse is presenting Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, based on the film from Universal Pictures, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge. Performances began on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, and will continue through Sunday, December 30, 2018, at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ).

Jeff Kready and Paige Faure. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Jeff Kready and Paige Faure. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

Directed by Mr. Greenberg (The Baker’s Wife, 1776 – Paper Mill), and with choreography by Denis Jones (Mary Poppins – Paper Mill, Holiday Inn – Broadway, Tony nomination), music direction by Shawn Gough (Annie, Paper Mill), the principal cast features Paige Faure (Honeymoon in Vegas – Paper Mill) as Lila Dixon, Jordon Gelber (Avenue Q) as Danny, Ann Harada (Avenue Q) as Louise, Jeff Kready (Thoroughly Modern Millie – Paper Mill) as Ted Hanover, Hayley Podschun (Peter Pan – Paper Mill) as Linda Mason, Nicholas Rodriguez (Tarzan) as Jim Hardy with Jian Harrell and Aidan Alberto alternating in the role of Charlie Winslow.

Jeff Kready, Hayley Podschun, Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Jeff Kready, Hayley Podschun, Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

The cast also features Jordon Beall, Gene Biscontini, Colin Bradbury, Tricia Desario, Taylor Fields, Kelly Gleason, Juliane Godfrey, Berklea Going,Joshua Israel, Julie Kavanagh, Mallory Nolting, Clifton Samuels, JT Teeling, Karl Skylar Urban, Amy Van Norstrand, Scarlett Walker, Travis Ward-Osborne, and John T. Wolfe.

Ann Harada and Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Ann Harada and Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

In this musical based on the beloved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film, Jim Hardy leaves behind the hustle and bustle of showbiz for a quiet life on a Connecticut farm. Jim’s agrarian efforts are a flop, but things start looking up when he falls for a talented schoolteacher, and together they infuse their sleepy rural setting with some Broadway razzle-dazzle. Fresh from a Broadway run, this heartwarming, toe-tapping production features more than 20 classic songs from the Berlin catalog, including “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” and “White Christmas.”

Hayley Podschun, Karl Skyler Urban, Jordan Beall, and Julie Kavanagh. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Hayley Podschun, Karl Skyler Urban, Jordan Beall, and Julie Kavanagh. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

The production team includes set design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Matt Kraus, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe. The production stage manager is Victoria Navarro. Casting is by Telsey + Company, Laura Wade, CSA.

Hayley Podschun and Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Hayley Podschun and Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:00pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Please note: There are no performances on December 24 (Christmas Eve) and December 25 (Christmas Day). Tickets are on sale now starting at $34. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.PaperMill.org.

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn at Paper Mill Playhouse. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia 
Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn at Paper Mill Playhouse. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Jeff Kready, Hayley Podschun, Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Jeff Kready, Hayley Podschun, Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez, Ann Harada, and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez, Ann Harada, and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia
Nicholas Rodriguez and company. Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia