Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang

Laura Bell Bundy, Jon Jon Briones, Barrett Foa Lead SWEET CHARITY at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse, June 20 – July 1

Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang

Jon Jon Briones (Miss Saigon West End and Broadway; “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) will play Herman,  the manager of the Fandango Ballroom, in the inaugural REPRISE 2.0 production of Sweet Charity, opposite Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde – Tony Award Nomination, Hairspray, Anger Management) who stars as Charity, with Barrett Foa (Eric Beale on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), who plays Oscar.

Jon Jon Briones Talks about “American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace,” MISS SAIGON and Receiving the 2018 East West Players Visionary Award 

Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, the classic Broadway hit plays from June 20 to July 1 at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse. REPRISE 2.0 is led by producing artistic director Marcia Seligson.

Single tickets for Sweet Charity are now on sale at Reprise2.org or by phone at 800-982-2787. Subscription packages are still available at Reprise2.org or by phone at 1-866-811-4111.

Sweet Charity will be conducted by REPRISE 2.0 Musical Director Gerald Sternbach. Joining the REPRISE 2.0 team with Seligson are Co-Artistic Directors Glenn Casale and Michael Donovan; Executive Producers Kevin Bailey and Arthur Allan Seidelman; and General Manager Matthew Herrmann.

Sweet Charity is a collaboration between some of Broadway’s most spectacular talents. The hilarious, razor-sharp dialogue is by Neil Simon (Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple); the pop-influenced, jazzy music by Cy Coleman (Barnum and City of Angels) and lyrics by the legendary Dorothy Fields (“On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “I Can’t Give you Anything But Love”).

Based on Federico Fellini’s The Nights of Cabiria, Sweet Charity was director Bob Fosse’s riotously colorful valentine to his then-wife, Broadway dancing phenomenon Gwen Verdon. Premiering in 1966, it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran for 608 performances. John McClain said in the Journal-American, “The word was all around that Sweet Charity was a hit and after catching it I can only add that it is a big fat one … there was that wonderful electricity which crackles through an audience at a successful premiere. Sweet Charity is simply an atomic smash.”

Charity was played in Las Vegas and London by Juliet Prowse and by numerous stars in subsequent New York revivals, including Debbie Allen and later Ann Reinking (1986), Christina Applegate (2005) and Sutton Foster (2016). The film version (1969) stars Shirley MacLaine and was directed and choreographed by Fosse.

The story centers on Charity’s life as a dance hall hostess “with a heart of gold”, determined to break out of the Fan-Dango Ballroom. She accidentally finds herself in the bedroom of an Italian film star as she starts dating the neurotic and shy Oscar. When Oscar proposes, he insists he doesn’t care about Charity’s profession. But in the end, he does care very much and Charity is soon back to having her toes and heart stepped on in the ballroom. But not before singing and dancing to such rousing Broadway classics as “Big Spender,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “Where Am I Going,” and “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.”

Jon Jon Briones (Herman) was born and raised in the Philippines. In 1989 he joined the original London cast of Miss Saigon and later in 2014 starred as the Engineer in the London West End revival, which transferred to Broadway in 2017 (Olivier and a Drama Desk Award nominee; winner What’s On Stage, Broadway World, and Theater World Awards). He also appeared in tours of Miss Saigon in Germany, Asia, North America (twice), and returned to the original UK production for its final year. In Los Angeles, he played Georges in La Cage Aux Folles at East West Players (Ovation nomination); He was also nominated for an Ovation and an LA Weekly Award for playing the title character in The Romance of Magno Rubio at [Inside] the Ford and in a new work, Sweet Karma, as the lead character, Vichear Lam. He was involved in the pre-Broadway development of the musical, Allegiance with Lea Salonga and George Takei both in New York workshops and at The Old Globe in San Diego. Other roles in Los Angeles, New York and around the globe include: Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, Enjolras in Les Miserables, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Tateh in Ragtime, Lion in the The Wiz, Laertes in Hamlet, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods, Slovitch in Fools, Man 1 in Closer Than Ever, and Lukas in Peregrinasyon with Ma-Yi Theater Company. Television guest star appearances include “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Las Vegas,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” “Designated Survivor,” “Bones,” “The Mentalist,” “Monk,” “Southland,” “Miami Medical,” “General Hospital,” “Law & Order LA” and “Moonlight.” Film credits include: Model Home, Blood Ransom, The Fifth Voyage of Sinbad, Breathe, Brown Soup Thing, An Immigrant Girl’s Journey, Proud American, Finding Foosball, Potluck, Feast and Yokai. He now resides in Los Angeles with his wife and 2 children.

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