Tag Archives: Maine Theatre

“Kinky Boots” Opens At The Ogunquit Playhouse September 18

Hilarious and Heartwarming, Kinky Boots to Open at Ogunquit Playhouse

The winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Kinky Boots hits the Ogunquit Playhouse stage September 18 through October 27. Featuring a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner, Harvey Fierstein and a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, the Ogunquit Playhouse production is staged by Nathan Peck, and stars Graham Scott Fleming as Charlie Price, and Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola, with Tony-nominated Scenic Design by David Rockwell and Tony-nominated Costume Design is by Gregg Barnes.

The hit musical is based on the 2005 Miramax film written by Geoff Dean and Tim Firth, and tells the heartwarming story of Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola. As it turns out, Lola is the one person who can help Charlie become the man that he is meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discover that, when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. This joyous show is sure to have audiences dancing in the aisle and discovering, sometimes, the best way to fit in… is to stand out! 

Graham Fleming

Leading the cast as Charlie Price is Graham Scott Fleming. He portrayed Charlie at the Muny in St. Louis earlier this year, and was nominated for a Dora Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Charlie Price in the Canadian production of Kinky Boots. On Broadway he performed in Miss Saigon, and at Papermill Playhouse in My Very Own British Invasion. In addition to Kinky Boots, Mr. Fleming starred in the Canadian premieres of Ghost and Jukebox Hero. 

Kyle Taylor Parker returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as the fabulous diva, Lola. Last season he performed in the Ogunquit production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe that transferred to New York City, and he continued to perform in the production through its Off-Broadway run. Mr. Parker was in the original Broadway cast, as well as the National Tour of Kinky Boots for which he won an IRNE Award for Best Visiting Actor for his performance. In addition, he performed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway and the National Tour of In the Heights. He was recently featured in NBC’s smash hit Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. At regional theatres he has performed in Dreamgirls, Hair, and the world premiere of My Very Own British Invasion. 

Kyle Taylor Parker

The Ogunquit Playhouse production of Kinky Boots features Joe Coots as Don, Maggie McDowell as Lauren, Ashley North as Nicola, and John Scherer as George. Joe Coots performed in the Ogunquit Playhouse productions of The Full Monty, Crazy for You, and South Pacific. His most recent theater credits include the world premiere of Human Error and the First National Tour of Kinky Boots. Maggie McDowell returns to Ogunquit Playhouse after performing as Marty in 2014’s Grease. She has performed in Kinky Boots on Broadway, in the First National Tour, and at The Muny earlier this year. On Broadway she performed in Disaster!, and Off Broadway in The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Pinklacious. Ashley North joins the cast after recently performing in the National Tour of Kinky Boots. Her many regional theatre credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hair, and Les Miserables. John Scherer returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse stage where he last appeared in 2001’s 42nd Street as Billy Lawlor. On Broadway he has performed in Lovemusik, By Jeeves, and Sunset Boulevard. His Off-Broadway shows include Olympus On My Mind, Dames At Sea, and Preppies.

Tickets are on sale now. Preview performances start at $36 and economy seats start at $51 each. To learn more about becoming a Playhouse member, or to purchase tickets and gift cards, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511

Review: 42nd Street At The Ogunquit Playhouse

A Broadway Lullaby That

Will Keep You Awake 

In Ogunquit

42nd Street

Through July 13

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit, Maine

Directed and Choreographed by Randy Skinner

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Photo Credit: Gary Ng

At the height of the Great Depression Hollywood produced many feel good musicals that were a source of escape for people struggling through very difficult times. One of the most popular of these was the Busby Berkeley film 42nd Street that starred Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, with music by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. In 1980 Gower Champion and David Merrick brought a stage version of it to Broadway. The play was a huge hit and has been revived repeatedly since then, most recently in London’s West End where it was directed by Mark Bramble with choreography by Randy Skinner.  

The latest revival has just opened at the Ogunquit Playhouse with original sets from the London production. Randy Skinner is directing and choreographing this production. Unfortunately, Mark Bramble passed away earlier this year. 

The backstage musical about aspiring hoofer Peggy Sawyer having to step in when leading lady Dorothy Brock breaks her ankle during rehearsals for the play Pretty Lady is the standard “the show must go on” theme that was popular in the 1930s. What is so special about this piece is it has many great, if corny, lines, some of the greatest songs ever written for a musical, and stunning dance numbers. 

This is one of the largest casts ever assembled on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage, and the sound of all those tapping feet is intoxicating.

It really is all about the dance, and who better to make that happen than Randy Skinner who worked on the original Broadway production in 1980. The dance numbers here are simply exquisite. This is one of the largest casts ever assembled on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage, and the sound of all those tapping feet is intoxicating. 

Jessica Wockenfuss as Peggy Sawyer, the starry eyed kid from Allentown, PA who’s golly gee demeanor belies her drive to make it in the city that never sleeps is outstanding. She puts it all together with her lovely singing voice, delivery, and amazing dancing feet. She is a Peggy Sawyer to remember. 

Steve Blanchard is Julian Marsh, the hard driving director who gives more pep talks than the manager of a baseball team playing in the World Series. He delivers his lines in rapid fire without missing a beat; “You’re going out there a youngster, but coming back a star”. His performance  of  Lullaby of Broadway is marvelous. You can just taste the theatre district of old New York as you listen to him sing the lyrics.

In Shadow Dance, Rachel York as the snooty and aging star Dorothy Brock, dances in front of a large curtain on which her shadow is double cast. Ms York and Ms Wockenfuss perform a lovely duet on the classic About a Quarter To Nine. It is one of those great Broadway tunes and gets a bit of a modern arrangement here. 

Tenor Billy Lawlor is played by Con O’Shea-Creal. He and Ms York perform another favorite in You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me. Mr. Con-Creal gives a convincing  happy-go-lucky Lawlor filled with enthusiasm.

Sally Struthers is Maggie Jones and, as always, brings her wonderful comedic timing to the Playhouse stage. Along with Cliff Bemis as Abner Dillon, Dorthy Brock’s sugar daddy, and Ryan K. Bailer as her not so secret paramour, there is a stage full of talent performing here.

While the story is fun and fast moving, if predictable, 42nd Street is all about the singing and dancing. The numbers are spectacular. We’re In The Money is performed with giant dimes being rolled on stage (They are Mercury heads in keeping with the time frame). Shuffle Off To Buffalo with Kilty Reidy as Bert and Megan McLaughlin as Lorraine, a couple heading off on their honeymoon, is sweet and fun. 

Photo Credit: Gary Ng

The best is saved for last when the stage is filled with dancers on rows of lit stairs tapping away to the title song. Signs with the names of theaters, shows, and performers hang above them while they sing and dance. It is an outstanding number that brought the audience to their feet. It has been said there is a broken heart for every light on Broadway, but these lights bring happiness. 

Last month I got to experience the new lighting that was installed at the Playhouse when I saw Jersey Boys. It is an investment that is paying great dividends. Of course, it takes more than lighting to make for great theatre, and those ingredients are in abundance at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Artistic Director Brad Kenney proves over and over again he knows how to choose great plays, find the best talent, and bring in the finest creative teams available. It is all on display in 42nd Street. 

If you love a fast paced, toe tapping, Broadway musical filled with some of the best songs ever written, you will find it playing now in Ogunquit, Maine. I loved it and can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t.

For information:

ogunquitplayhouse.org 

207.646.5511

Review: “Jersey Boys” Ogunquit Playhouse

Jersey Boys

Stays Just A Little Bit Longer

At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Even Better The Second Time Around

Jersey Boys

Though June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit, Maine

207.646.5511

ogunquitplayhouse.org

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Photo Credit: Paul Charest

The Ogunquit Playhouse closed out their 2018 season with the hit jukebox musical Jersey Boys, which played to sold out audiences for eight weeks. Building off of that success, OPH Artistic Director Brad Kenney chose to hang on to what they got and begin the 87th season where they left off.

I very much enjoyed  Jersey Boys last August and gave it high praise. Settling in for this year’s return engagement, I planned on reliving that experience and looked forward to another great evening with the music and story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Well, it turns out I was in  for a surprise. The great production I saw last year has been ramped up and matured. A new lighting system, some tweaking of the script, and the actors reprising their roles with more depth has taken the 2019 version of Jersey Boys to another level. 

Photo Credit:Morgan Gavaletz LaMontagne

Matthew Amira, Andy Christopher, Matt Magnusson, and Jonathan Mousset playing Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Frankie Valli respectively dig down deeper into their characters. The story of the four boys from New Jersey who went on to record mega hits amid much drama in their relationship served as a solid narrative to support the great musical score. That narrative has now become a more integral part of the production as the personal aspects of their lives are brought out more powerfully. The result is a Jersey Boys that is nothing short of spectacular.

This enhancement of the story does not take away from the power of the musical numbers; in fact, it adds to them by stirring the emotions while leading into each song. Mr. Mousset’s amazing take on My Eyes Adored You coming off the scene where we see Frankie Valli’s marriage breaking up really tugs at the heart. 

Photo Credit: Morgan Gavaletz LaMontagne

While standing ovations are not unusual, especially at the Ogunquit Playhouse, it is rare to see audiences jump to their feet during a performance. Both Sherry and Walk Like A Man had the crowd out of their seats cheering the performers on. I could see just how much this touched the members of the cast. One of the wonderful things about attending live theatre is getting to experience that symbiotic energy occurs  between actors and the audience. In this case it was electrifying for both.

The boys went through a number of names for the group before settling on The Four Seasons and later, after a couple of them left, it became known as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. In Jersey Boys, each of the  four originals is given the recognition they deserve. 

Matt Magnusson plays Tommy DeVito, the bad boy who got the group going. A part time crook who had done time, he had that combination of daring and recklessness that it often takes to succeed in such a tough business. Mr. Magnusson captures his character with a Jersey accent and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. DeVito can drive you crazy but you can’t help but like him. He also serves as narrator for the first part of the play. 

Photo Credit: Paul Charest

In contrast to DeVito is Bob Gaudio who was introduced to the group by Joe Pesci (Tommy Martinez), yes, that Joe Pesci. Andy Christopher takes on the role of the man who not only wrote the songs that put the group on the map, but also was able to use his keen head for business and making deals to get them heard. Mr. Christopher plays the part of Gaudio with the perfect balance of calmness and drive that helped make the group so well known. 

Bass player Nick Massi describes himself as the Ringo of the quartet. Played by Matthew Amira, Massi is not left out. Mr. Amira gives a strong performance that is filled with humor and frustration. His description of rooming with Tommy DeVito is a riot. 

And that brings us to Jonathan Mousset who is reprising the role of Frankie Valli from last year. As I said earlier, there is a deeper layer of emotion in the 2019 Jersey Boys, and Mr. Mousset really plumbs the part and gives us a Valli torn between driving for success and living up to his “Old School Values”. Along with his amazing falsetto voice, he shows fine acting chops and brought more than a few tears to the eyes of those in the audience on the evening I attended. 

The entire cast is great, including Doug Storm who plays a number of roles including lyricist Bob Crewe. Storm comes close to stealing a few of the scenes with some well timed glances and asides. You might want to consult him about your horoscope. While Neal Benari as the gangster Gyp DeCarlo is the local Godfather type who helps the boys out of a few jams. The scene where he is brought to tears when he hears Frankie sing My Mother’s Eyes, is one of those touching comedic moments.

The new lighting system that has been installed at the playhouse is incredible. In the hands of lighting designer Richard Latta the effects are amazing. The use of spotlights and shadows is breathtaking. The scene recreating the evening the boys debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show is striking. Add in Choreography by Gerry McIntyre, Scenic Design by Adam Koch, and the work of Costume Designer Tristan Raines and this rivals anything you will see on Broadway. I also want to note that Ogunquit Playhouse productions are not touring companies, but are built from the ground up. 

Director Holly-Anne Palmer has been with Jersey Boys from its inception and she clearly has lost none of her enthusiasm for it. She has upped her game with this run. 

The music is still front and center with all of the hits plus more being performed powerfully, and the unique sound of the Four Seasons is captured perfectly. Dawn, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Let’s Hang On, Stay, December ’63, along with some  early 60s standards such as Short Shorts and Earth Angel. Caroline Iliff led Hillary Porter and Bailey Purvis in a smashing rendition of  My Boyfriend’s Back complete with big hair and bobby sox. Music to feed the nostalgic soul.

Jonathan Mousset’s rendition of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You is a classic show stopper. Seeing it performed after hearing the story of how it almost never got released is amazing. Hey, the entire show is amazing.

The 2019 Season at the Ogunquit Playhouse is off to a tremendous start. Tickets for last year’s performances of Jersey Boys sold fast. I would recommend you book your seats soon so you don’t miss out this year. If you’ve never seen Jersey Boys, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. If you have seen it, come back and be as surprised as I was at how a very good play can get even better . Oh! What a night it is!

Jersey Boys Kicks Off Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 Season

Ogunquit Playhouse Season Opens with the Multi-Tony Award-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys”

Runs From May 15 Through June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 season kicks off with Jersey Boys! The multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run in 2018, is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. The cast that BroadwayWorld exclaimed to be “the closest you’ll ever get to having seen Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” also returns to the Ogunquit stage – Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi).

Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. If you missed it last year, don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!”

Starring as Frankie Valli, lead vocalist of The Four Seasons is Jonathan Mousset. His phenomenal performance, falsetto, and range was described as astounding by the Portland Press Herald last season. Mr. Mousset has performed in many regional theatres across the U.S. in such shows as Newsies, In the Heights, and Godspell. He has also performed in concerts at New York City venues including 54 Below, the Times Center, and the Town Hall. Matt Magnusson returns to play charming bad-boy Tommy DeVito, the lead guitar player of The Four Seasons, who serves as the show’s primary narrator and founding member of the band. Mr. Magnusson has numerous regional theatre credits including Grease, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Ring of Fire. 

Reprising his role from last season as Bob Gaudio, the sensible and poised songwriter behind The Four Seasons is Andy Christopher. He has performed as Buddy Holly in the National Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and in many regional theatres across the U.S. including Bucks County Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre, The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Great Lakes CFA, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Casa Mañana, and the Ogunquit Playhouse where he got his start in 2012. Matthew Amira also returns to the Playhouse after his highly regarded portrayal of The Four Seasons bassist Nick Massi. Mr. Amira also performed at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the 2016 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His many regional theatre credits include Madame Defarge, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, and South Pacific among others.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production will once again be helmed by Award-winning director, writer and producer Holly-Anne Palmer. Ms. Palmer is the lead Producer and Creative Director of theglobal hits Wine Lovers the Musical, PROHIBITION, and Holiday Happy Hour. She has numerous Broadway credits including Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Bring It On: The Musical, Dracula, Walking With Dinosaurs, and Cover Girls. Her many Off-Broadway and regional credits include the 25th Anniversary Production of Steel Magnolias at Le Petit Theatre, Gentleman’s Wish and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? at Barrow Group, Platforms at TASC, Autophobia at Ars Nova, Inventing Avi Aviv at Abingdon Theatre, Oklahoma! for the Reagle Players, and for the Ogunquit Playhouse 2009 production of All Shook Up starring Sally Struthers.

www.ogunquitplayhouse.org

Box Office 207.646.2402 

Video From Last Year’s Outstanding Run. This year Jersey Boys plays from May 15 through June 15:

There’s Good Rockin’ In Ogunquit!

Heartbreak Hotel
Ogunquit Playhouse
Through September 30th

reviewed by Bobby Franklin

The early years of Elvis Presley are too often overlooked. Most Presley impersonators portray the Elvis of the Vegas stage years wearing capes and sequined jump suits. At this later point in his life the drug use was really beginning to show, and the rock icon was becoming a tragic figure. The hard living would result in his untimely death at the age of 42. It is unfortunate it is this Elvis who is most often portrayed

Photo Credit: Gary Ng

While the Las Vegas Elvis fits into the much too often tragedy of a great talent taken down by his own success, the more interesting story lies in his early years. This is where Floyd Mutrux, the creator of the Tony Award winning Million Dollar Quartet, which played to sold out crowds at the Ogunquit Playhouse the past two seasons, has stepped in to tell the truly fascinating story of Presley’s early life.

Heartbreak Hotel is a prequel to Million Dollar Quartet and focuses on the Sun Records years of the young truck driver who would skyrocket to fame overnight.

The world premiere of Heartbreak Hotel is now playing at the Ogunquit Playhouse. It is an interesting production to watch as it is still a work in progress. The music is positively outstanding with all of the actors playing their own instruments.

Clendening captures the persona of the young Elvis.

Eddie Clendening who originated the role of Presley in the Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet is not an Elvis impersonator. He brings much more to the stage than just imitating the rock icon. Clendening captures the persona of the young Elvis. Most impressively, he is able to rock out with the raw energy of Presley while always retaining that shyness that made him so charming. While ripping out on songs such as Good Rockin’ Tonight with hips swiveling and lip twitching we see that young boy who still seems just a bit uncomfortable in the spotlight even while he is thriving on it. Clendening really pulls this off and it is no easy task to do so. This is as close as you will come to experiencing the young Elvis, a paradoxical figure who was shy and yet craved attention.

Photo Credit: Gary Ng

The story is not just about Elvis but also about the era. It was an amazing and transformational time in music and there are cameos from many of the other great performers of the time. These include Wanda Jackson (Brenna Bloom) and Sister Rosetta Tharpe played by Terita Redd who deserves an Amen! for her amazing rock/gospel singing.

Geno Henderson nearly steals the show playing numerous greats including Chuck Berry and Nat King Cole. Mr. Henderson moves seamlessly through his parts.

The interplay between Colonel Tom Parker (Jerry Kernion) and Sam Phillips (Matt McKenzie) creates a tension with Parker seeing Presley as a product and Phillips recognizing him as a great artist. It leaves us wondering just what would have happened if Presley had decided to remain with Phillips.

Yes, this play is a work in progress with the musical numbers, the sets, the lighting, all outstanding. I don’t think this time of Elvis Presley’s life has ever been captured so well. Where the production is weak is in the book. The early life of this seemingly simple southern boy is a very complex story. It is a huge challenge to try to capture even a very condensed version of all that went on in those early years while still focusing on the music. What I saw on the stage in Ogunquit is a great start to what can be a wonderful and important story. It will be interesting to see how it all develops.

There are more than a couple of reasons to see Heartbreak Hotel. First, watching Eddie Clendening as the young Elvis is a truly great experience. He really gets it. Second, while this is a work that is still being developed it is fascinating to be a part of the process as I am sure the writer and director are taking the pulse of the audiences. It might not be a bad idea for them to have suggestion boxes placed at the exits. I know I would have contributed a few.

Heartbreak Hotel takes us back to one of the most incredible eras in the history of American music. It is just amazing when you realize how fast things changed. It was an exciting time that lives on in music through this day. It’s rather ironic that Colonel Parker chose to take Elvis to Hollywood and Vegas as he didn’t believe Rock N Roll was going to last. Sam Phillips knew better.

ogunquitplayhouse.org  207.646.5511

 

Ogunquit Playhouse Set to Stage the World Premiere of Heartbreak Hotel

The Story Of Elvis Presley’s Early Years To Run August 30 though September 20

From the creator of Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, the Ogunquit Playhouse is proud to produce the World Premiere of Heartbreak Hotel, as part of its 85th anniversary season, on stage August 30 to September 30. This brand new musical tells the story of Elvis Presley’s journey from an unknown musician to the cusp of his super-stardom. This new musical features hit songs from the King himself, as well as the legends who influenced his iconic music, with chart-toppers including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Tutti Frutti,” “That’s All Right,” “Shake Rattle and Roll,” and, of course, “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Executive Artistic Director Bradford T. Kenney stated, “Throughout this year I have had the privilege of working very closely with Floyd Mutrux, the creator of the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet on its prequel, Heartbreak Hotel, now making its premiere on our stage. It has been an incredible journey working hand in hand with Floyd, the commercial partners, and Authentic Brands Group/Elvis Presley Enterprises, to bring the rich story and music of Elvis to life. Elvis became one of the great icons of our popular culture. He made a lasting imprint on our society, and his career changed the course of popular music, not only in our country, but around the world – all during a time of great change in America. I am thrilled that Ogunquit audiences will be the first to see this exciting new show.”

Eddie Clendening

This brand new tribute to the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” features actors who also play all their own instruments. It stars Eddie Clendening in the role of Elvis Presley, as well as Co-Musical Director. Mr. Clendening originated the role of Elvis in the Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet, which he played for 1500 performances, and later Off-Broadway for 523 performances. He will recreate the role for this tender story that follows Elvis Presley in the early years of his bourgeoning career as he and Sam Phillips create the music that will forever change their lives. As Elvis’ career skyrockets, both lifting and shattering the lives of those he loves, a secret love story is revealed, a betrayal is discovered, and “Colonel” Tom Parker changes the course of history. When describing the show, Writer/Director Floyd Mutrux explained, “This is the story of 18 months of the life of a truck driver, and how he and his music impacted the world around him.”

Jerry Kernion makes his debut at the Ogunquit Playhouse as Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s long-time manager. Mr. Kernion has performed around the world with The Reduced Shakespeare Company for the last 15 years; many regional and international productions including Cirque du Soliels’ The Beatles, LOVE, Cirque du Soliels’ Banana Shpeel; and various shows at regional theatres including Laguna Playhouse, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and many more.

Joining the cast as Sam Phillips, the record producer who founded Sun Records and is credited with discovering Elvis Presley, is Matt McKenzie. He recently debuted on Broadway in Monday After the Miracle with Jane Alexander, directed by Arthur Penn. He’s played leading roles at many regional theatres across the country. In the Academy Award-winning film Gods and Monsters, he played Colin Clive opposite Sir Ian McKellan.

Also returning to the Ogunquit Playhouse is Christopher Sutton who will portray Dewey Phillips, one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s early disc jockeys. He was last seen on the Ogunquit stage as Prince Herbert in Spamalot.

Los Angeles music scene veteran Geno Henderson serves as Co-Music Director and also appears as B.B. King, Ike Turner and Chuck Berry in this production. Mr. Henderson is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, who has toured, recorded and/or made television with: The Gap Band (featuring Charlie Wilson), The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, Roberta Flack, James Ingram and Patti Austin (at Carnagie Hall), Smokey Robinson, Sly Stone, and many others. In 2011, he made his Broadway debut originating the role of Jocko Henderson in the musical Baby It’s You.

Bassist Nathan Yates Douglass returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as Bill Black, one of the pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll music and bassist in Elvis Presley’s trio in the early days of his career. He was last seen on the Ogunquit stage in the 2016 production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Million Dollar Quartet. His National Tour credits include The Buddy Holly Story and The Tammy Wynette Story, and Off-Broadway On the Bum.

Drummer Jamie Pittle will perform as DJ Fontana, a drummer for the Louisiana Hayride radio broadcasts and Elvis Presley’s drummer for fifteen years. Mr. Pittle appeared Off-Broadway in the US Premiere of Missed Connections and Requiem for a Lost Girl. In regional theatres he has appeared in Million Dollar Quartet as Fluke, and The Buddy Holly Story as Jerry Allison. Guitarist Matt Codina will make his acting debut in Heartbreak Hotel as Scotty Moore, the guitarist and recording engineer who was known for backing Elvis Presley in the first part of his career, up to the beginning of Elvis’s Hollywood years.

Brenna Bloom portrays Marion and the queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. She has performed Off-Broadway in One Day and in regional theatres in such productions as Spring Awakening, Chicago, Grease and A Chorus Line. Erin Burniston plays Elvis’ girlfriend Dixie Lock. She recently performed in the National Tour of Spring Awakening and in regional theatre productions of Gypsy, La Cage Aux Folles, Hello, Dolly!, George M!, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and many more.

Director and writer for Heartbreak Hotel is Floyd Mutrux, who is the co-author of the Tony award-winning Million Dollar Quartet and the co-author/director of the Tony nominated Broadway production of Baby It’s You!

Individual tickets are on sale and prices start at $52 each.  www.ogunquitplayhouse.org  Box Office: 207-646-5511.

Vincent Pastore and Sally Struthers to star in Bullets Over Broadway at the Ogunquit Playhouse

Open July 5th And Runs Through July 29th

Vincent Pastore (Nick Valente) and Reed Campbell (Cheech) With Ensemble

The Ogunquit Playhouse takes audience on a hilarious trip back to the Roaring Twenties with their production of the musical adaptation of Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath’s madcap film, Bullets Over Broadway on stage from July 5 – July 29. Hailed by Time Magazine as “Musical Theatre Gold!,” Bullets Over Broadway is the side-splitting musical comedy about the making of a Broadway show, filled with tap dancing gangsters, saucy showgirls, big laughs and colorful characters. A young playwright who is in desperate need of financial backing for his next show accepts an offer he can’t refuse from a gangster looking to please his ditzy, talentless girlfriend. Stage and screen star Vincent Pastore is cast as the mobster Nick Valenti, joined by Emmy-winner Sally Struthers who returns to the Playhouse as the dog-toting Eden Brent. Loaded with songs that made the ’20s roar, this six-time Tony-nominated musical features hits from the decedent decade, including “Let’s Misbehave,” “‘Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do” and “There’s a New Day Comin’!”
Vincent Pastore makes his debut at the Ogunquit Playhouse reprising the role of Nick Valenti, which he originated in the Broadway production of Bullets Over Broadway. He is best known for his long running performance on HBO’s The Sopranos, as well as his work on HBO’s 1996 television movie, Gotti and ABC’s The Practice. His numerous film roles include Goodfellas, Revolver, Made, and The Hurricane. On stage, he has played the role of Amos Hart in Chicago. His Off-Broadway roles include Queen for the Day and Lampost Reunion.

Two-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Sally Struthers joins the cast as the dog-toting Eden Brent. She is probably best known for her role as Gloria in the groundbreaking TV series All in the Family. She has also starred in the Fox television series 9 to 5 and her own CBS series Gloria, as well as recurring roles on the CBS comedy Still Standing and the CW network’s highly acclaimed Gilmore Girls. Ms. Struthers joined the Gilmore cast for Netflix’s new four movie limited revival, which premiered in the fall of 2016, and recently guest starred in the acclaimed IFC comedy series Maron. Sally Struthers has performed many roles at Ogunquit Playhouse including last season’s Anything Goes as the socialite Evangeline Harcourt, as the Duchess Estonia Dulworth in Nice Work If You Can Get It, as Louise Seger in Always, Patsy Cline, Mama Morton in Chicago, Paulette the hairdresser in Legally Blonde and as Felicia Gabriel in The Witches of Eastwick.

John Rochette is making his debut at the Ogunquit Playhouse as young playwright, David Shayne. On Broadway, he starred as Norm Waxman in Jersey Boys. Off-Broadway, he’s performed with Blue Man Group at Center Blue Man and some of his many regional credits include Elvis in Million Dollar Quartet, as well as Sir Lancelot in Spamalot and Frank N Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show. He has performed on television on NBC’s Guiding Light, and on ABC’s One Life to Live and All My Children.

Joining the cast is Reed Campbell, in his Ogunquit Playhouse debut as Cheech. He was Cookie McGee in the National Tour of Nice Work If You Can Get It, and performed off-Broadway in Important Hats Of The Twentieth Century at the Manhattan Theatre Club, in The Comedy Of Errors at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, and regionally as Judas Iscariot in Stage 773’s The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot. On television, he’s starred as C.O. Will Frank in Netflix’s hit series Orange Is The New Black and on NBC’s The Blacklist: Redemption. He is the co-creator of BROdway and Broadway Late Night on The Broadway Channel.

Reprising her role from the First National Tour of Bullets Over Broadway as Olive Neal is Jemma Jane. Her overseas credits include Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Texas in Cabaret, and as the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Kenny Morris is making his Ogunquit debut as Julian Marx, the producer that enlists the help of a wealthy gangster to help pay for David Shayne’s play. On Broadway, he’s starred in Hairspray, Les Miserables, and the 20th Anniversary of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. He was a member of the National companies of Kinky Boots, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Best Supporting Actor for his regional performance in Funnyman at Arden Theatre. He can be seen on film in Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick, and on television on ABC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent and NBC’s Third Watch.
John Paul Almon joins the cast as Warner Purcell. His Broadway and National credits include, Karpathy in the Kennedy Center’s My Fair Lady, Tussaud in The Scarlet Pimpernel, and as a performer in the past twelve seasons of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Regionally he was in the World Premiere of The Bridges of Madison County at Williamstown, and in the Carbonnell Award-winning, Romeo and Bernadette at Paper Mill Playhouse.

Joining the cast as Helen Sinclair in her Playhouse debut is Michele Ragusa. On Broadway, she’s starred as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime, and as Pennywise in Urinetown, among others. Regionally she’s performed in Mame, Hello Dolly, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Into the Woods, Marry Poppins, and Boeing, Boeing, as well as headlining with numerous symphonies across the country.
Bridget Elise Yingling returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as Ellen, after last being seen on the Playhouse stage in 2015’s Sister Act. She is a recent graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and has starred as Little Red in Into the Woods, and Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The ensemble members includes Blaire Baker, Jake Corcoran, Elizabeth Dugas, Carissa Fiorillo, Dan Higgins, Justin Jutras, Patrick Lavallee, Will Mann, Brian Martin, Vanessa Mitchell, Corinne Munsch, Kaylee Olson, Joey Ortolani, Kelly Peterson, Lexie Plath, and Ian Saunders.

Helming Bullets Over Broadway for the Ogunquit Playhouse is Jeff Whiting, who is recreating the original direction and Tony nominated choreography of five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. He was associate director and choreographer on the Broadway production of Bullets Over Broadway alongside Stroman, and was director on the National Tour. Other Broadway credits include twelve-time Tony nominated The Scottsboro Boys, Big Fish, and Young Frankenstein as well as the National Tours of Hairspray and The Producers. A member of Disney’s Creative Team, he’s provided television direction for Disney’s Magical Moments Parade, as well as numerous shows and events such as Disney’s Very Merry Christmas, Disney’s 100 Years of Magic, and Disney’s Magic Mirror.
www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.  207.646.5511

 

 

The Venerable Ogunquit Playhouse Celebrates its 85th Anniversary Season with a North American Premiere, a World Premiere, a Global Sensation and Broadway Hit Shows!

Ogunquit Playhouse

The Ogunquit Playhouse, one of the Northeast’s cultural jewels and a cornerstone of America’s theatrical heritage, is celebrating its 85th Anniversary Season, and, true to its legacy, the 2017 season will be filled with the newest and brightest musicals, world and national premieres and a timeless classic, all complete with top-notch professional casts and creative teams direct from Broadway, Los Angeles, and London. The milestone season runs from May 17 to October 29 and will feature the American and the world premieres of two brand-new musicals, From Here to Eternity and Heartbreak Hotel. It also includes one of the biggest international hit sensations of all time, Mamma Mia!, which will run for an unprecedented seven weeks. Rounding out the 2017 season are Bullets Over Broadway, the delightful and hilarious musical based on the acclaimed Woody Allen film, and Ragtime, one of the most powerful musicals ever adapted for the stage. The season will stretch to the holidays once again with the return of the hit show White Christmas in collaboration with The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“As we enter our 85th Anniversary Season, we are very focused on the legacy we are proud to preserve and its future so that it endures for generations to come. We are thrilled to bring a mix of pure entertainment along with some of the most compelling stories ever created for the stage, including two exciting new shows to American audiences,” said Ogunquit

Playhouse Executive Artistic Director Bradford Kenney. “This year seems to be the perfect time to share one of the greatest stories ever adapted for the stage, Ragtime. With its beautiful score, it tells the emotional story of three families set against the turmoil and swiftly changing culture of early twentieth century America, when immigrant families were striving to find their place in a new world. Heartbreak Hotel tells the story of a young Elvis Presley and the groundbreaking music he brought to the popular culture during the height of the civil rights movement. It is a true rags to riches tale set within a time period when America was once again challenged with changing times. And, we are so very honored to be working with the great Tim Rice on the development of his musical adaptation of one of the most influential World War II stories, From Here to Eternity.”

10 Main Street (Rte 1)Ogunquit, ME 03907 207.646.5511
ogunquitplayhouse.org

Million Dollar Quartet Returns To Ogunquit Playhouse

Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Back by Popular Demand 
in the High-Voltage Rock ‘n’ Roll Musical Million Dollar Quartet 
at the Ogunquit Playhouse through November 6th!

2015_MDQ_Robert-Britton-Lyons-Carl-Perkins-Sam-Weber-bass-David-Sonneborn-drums-Nat-Zegree-Jerry-Lee-Lewis-Jacob-Rowley-Elvis-Presley-Scott-Moreau-Johnny-Cash_photo-by-Jay-Goldsmith_pressThe Ogunquit Playhouse is bringing back the most popular show in its history, the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, on stage October 5 through November 6. This high voltage rock ‘n roll show, with book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, is inspired by the electrifying true story of the famed recording session that brought together music icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. Featuring timeless hits such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Fever,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more, this thrilling musical brings audiences inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ‘n’ roll band for one unforgettable night.
This exciting show features an incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits, performed live onstage by world-class actors who play their own instruments, as well as sing and perform. Returning as the energetic Jerry Lee Lewis is Nat Zegree, who had audiences jumping to their feet with excitement in the 2015 production. Over the last year he has performed at Arena Stage Company in the brand new Pasek and Paul musical Dear Evan Hansen and recently performed multiple sold out concerts at 54 Below, The Laurie Beechman, and Don’t Tell Mama’s in New York City. Scott Moreau is also returning to the Ogunquit stage to once again play Johnny Cash. He recently performed the role in Million Dollar Quartet at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas and in the first National Tour. Mr. Moreau has also performed in National Tour of A Christmas Carol as well as many regional theatres throughout the U.S. in such shows as Ring Of Fire, Johnny Guitar, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Ragtime. He has also appeared as Young Jim Neary in the series finale of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Making his debut at the Ogunquit Playhouse as Carl Perkins is James Barry. Mr. Barry has performed on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson as well as the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet. His many New York and regional theatre credits include Pump Boys & Dinettes, These Paper Bullets and The Buddy Holly Story. Joining the cast as Elvis Presley is Beau Cassidy who is also making his Ogunquit Playhouse debut. He is the third member of his family to perform at the historic theatre; his uncle Shaun Cassidy appeared on stage in 1982 and his grandfather Jack Cassidy in 1973. His regional theatre credits include A Hatful of Rain, Proof and The Wedding Singer, and he has appeared on television’s The Voice. He was most recently seen as Mickey Johnston at Feinstein’s/54 Below’s concert of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Mr. Cassidy is also an accomplished songwriter, penning multiple charted pop songs.

The role of Sam Phillips is played by Jason Loughlin who is also returning after playing the role in the 2015 production at Ogunquit Playhouse. Mr. Loughlin was most recently in The Audience with Helen Mirren on Broadway. His other recent credits include the Broadway production of Machinal directed by Lyndsey Turner and the National Tour of War Horse as Major Nichols. Bligh Voth also returns from the 2015 production to play Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne in the production after spending last year playing Dyanne regionally and internationally. She has performed in regional theatres throughout the U. S., including Signature Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Lyric Theatre and Boston Conservatory.

www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511.

A Dancing Feast At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

Through October 1st

reviewed by Bobby Franklin

I have to say I was not particularly excited by the thought of seeing Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. It has never been high on my list of movie musicals, though when it was released in 1954 it was a hit and earned an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical and a nomination for Best Picture. In 1982 it was staged on Broadway but did not last long. It has been revived a number of times over the years with changes being made as it went along.

Frank (Jeff Smith) Challenge Dance Photo: Jay Goldsmith
Frank (Jeff Smith) Challenge Dance
Photo: Jay Goldsmith

The production now playing through October 1st at the Ogunquit Playhouse has original choreography by Parker Esse, a man with no shortage of talent. And it is the dancing that makes this an enjoyable evening of theatre. Oh, the scenery, as usual at the Playhouse, is lovely, and the cast is strong, especially Analisa Leaming as Millie playing opposite Nathaniel Hackman as Adam.Ms Leaming is tall and beautiful with a lovely voice

Ms Leaming is tall and beautiful with a lovely voice

and she knows how to command the stage. Mr. Hackman fits the part of the strong and stubborn mountain man in search of a wife with his deep and full voice. But it is ultimately the dancing that makes this worth seeing.

A nice touch is having members of the orchestra come out onto the stage in costume for a number of the songs. The very lively Challenge Dance number is outstanding with amazing physicality. It is really something to see the potential brides being tossed over the heads of their suitors. The dancers were in perfect sync.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw, but I should never underestimate what the team at the Playhouse can accomplish with  Artistic Director Brad Kenney in charge. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a terrific old fashioned musical that makes for a fun time at the theater. This is one for the entire family to enjoy. It will make you feel like dancing down the aisle on the way out of the theater.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at the Ogunquit Playhouse
Directed by BT McNicholl
Through October 1st.
Box Office: 207.646.5511
OgunquitPlayhouse.org