Tuesday, August 16, 2016

MUSICAL NEWS for Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Pasadena Playhouse has announced the cast for its upcoming production of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’s The Fantasticks, directed by Seema Sueko. Show runs Sept 6 – Oct 2, with opening night on Sept 11. Starring as El Gallo is Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, with Conor Guzmán and Ashley Park as young lovers Matt and Luisa, Regi Davis and Gedde Watanabe as their fathers Bellomy and Hucklebee, Alyse Rockett as The Mute, Amir Talai as Mortimer, and Hal Linden as Henry. Musical direction is by David O and choreography is by Kitty McNamee. Perhaps most exciting is that Sueko has a new vision for the show, one she has worked with lyricist & bookwriter Tom Jones to create. Their discussions even prompted Jones to rewrite several sections of the musical some sixty years later.

Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse says, “Seema and her creative team have brought together a wonderfully diverse, talented, charming, and persuasive cast for our production of this much loved musical. I have no doubt that the entire company will bring both freshness and immediacy to this great classic that will have audiences not just rediscovering the show, but in fact seeing it as if for the first time. I very much look forward to their contributions to this true gem of a musical.” www.pasadenaplayhouse.org


Triage Productions and Standing Room Only Productions are getting ready to open Next To Normal at Pico Playhouse this weekend. The production will feature a live five-piece band conducted by music director Taylor Stephenson and stars Isa Briones (Natalie), Michelle Lane (Diana), Harrison Meloeny (Gabe), Randal Miles (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine), Blaine Miller (Henry), and Nick Sarando (Dan) directed by Thomas James O’Leary. Next to Normal runs Aug 18 – Sept 25 (opening night Friday, August 19 at 8pm). There will be a Q&A Talk-back after the Sunday matinees on 8/21, 9/4 & 9/18. Ticket Link

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment begin their 2016-2017 season with the LA Premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Glenn Casale directs, musical direction is by Dennis Castellano, and choreography is by Dana Solimando. Show runs Sept 16 – Oct 9 (opening night Saturday, Sept 17). Bookwriter Peter Parnell has adapted the story from the Victor Hugo novel and I love the gorgeous score by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. For the first time, Quasimodo -- who is deaf in the original novel -- will be played by a deaf actor, John McGinty. Joining him are Dino Nicandros as the singing voice of Quasimodo, Cassie Simone as Esmeralda, Mark Jacoby as Frollo, Keith A. Bearden as Clopin, Eric Kunze as Phoebus, and an ensemble of fourteen. With Stephen Gifford designing the set and Jared Sayeg providing the lighting, this is sure to be a winner. www.lamiradatheatre.com

Teen musical Generation Me (music by Will Finan, lyrics by Julie Soto) was an unexpected hit when it played the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2014 and a production I’ll never forget. Now it’s back, with a new cast and updated material, opening at the Hudson Theater Sept 16. The show follows 15-year-old Milo Reynolds who had it all: a seat at the popular table, the perfect girlfriend, the “coolest” parents, and friends who worshiped him. But when Milo kills himself on Monday morning, his friends and family are left questioning everything they thought they knew about him. Told in flashbacks that reveal Milo’s story like a mystery, Generation Me identifies a generation more privileged, self-interested, oblivious, and lonelier than ever. Recommended for ages 13 and older. Please note there is no late seating for this production. Sept 16 – Oct 9. Ticket Link

And in Ventura, Rubicon Theatre celebrates folk-rock trailblazers Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro in Back to the Garden, part of its Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Broadway Musical Concert Series. Headlining the show are Melissa Hammans, Shaleah Adkisson, Maddy Wyatt, and Sue Terwilliger on guitar, directed by Amy Jones with musical direction by Debra Barsha. The ladies have played to sold-out theatres across the country and will appear at the Rubicon for 3 performances on Saturday, August 20 (2pm & 8pm) and Sunday, August 21 (2 pm). Tickets are $69.50 for the general public, with a $5 discount using Code REP. (805) 667-2900, or www.rubicontheatre.org.

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