Rock The Tonys: Tony Award winners at The Rep

Will Trice at the 2014 Tony Awards

The 72nd Tony Awards take place on Sunday, June 10 at Radio City Music Hall (broadcast on CBS).

Over the years, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has had several Tony winner work on stage and backstage.

Among these are:

Jason Alexander – In 1989, he won the Tony Award for Actor in a Musical for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. The play Windfall, which closed the Rep’s 2015-2016 season, was directed by Alexander.

Bill Berloni – One of the 2011 Tony Honors went to Berloni, who has made a career out of training animals for the stage. It started with the original 1977 Tony winning Annie. He put his skills to work at the Arkansas Rep in 2013 for the musical Because of Winn Dixie.

Cleavant Derricks – The 1982 Tony ceremony recognized Derricks with the Featured Actor in a Musical award for his role as James “Thunder” Earley in the original production of Dreamgirls. 31 years later he appeared in the Arkansas Rep production of Treasure Island.

Remmel Dickinson – As a producer, Dickinson has won Tony Awards in 2009 for The Norman Conquests (Revival of a Play), Memphis (Musical) and War Horse (Play). In 2014, he produced Memphis at the Rep.

Ann Duquesnay – At the 50th Tony Awards in 1996, Ms Duquesnay won the Featured Actress in a Musical for Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk. (She was also nominated for contributing to the show’s score.). In 1999, she starred at the Rep in Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music and Times of Alberta Hunter.

Peter Schneider – The 1998 Tony for Best Musical went to The Lion King. Peter Schneider was the Disney executive who led the effort to produce it. In 2013, he directed Pal Joey at the Arkansas Rep.

Will Trice – In 1994, Trice appeared on the Rep stage as a young actor in the production of Lost in Yonkers. As an adult, he has received Tony Awards as a Broadway producer, including: Porgy and Bess (2012 Revival of a Musical), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2013 Play Revival) and All the Way (2014 Play). He has received five additional producing nominations.

In addition, both Tony winning actress Jane Alexander and Tony winning producer Rocco Landesman each appeared on the Arkansas Rep stage as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with appearances in Little Rock.

The fact that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has been able to work with theatre artists of this calibre is a testament to the quality of work it has produced.  Giving the opportunity for Arkansas audiences to have this interaction without leaving the state is one of the values of the Rep.

Repertorium Praeter Theatrum

ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Peter Schneider

Rock the TonysSchneider_webPETER SCHNEIDER

Little Rock connection: Directed and conceived the Arkansas Repertory Theatre revival of Pal Joey which opened the 2013-2014 season.

Tony Awards connection: Won a Tony Award for producing The Lion King on Broadway.

Arkansas Rep’s premiere of revival of PAL JOEY closes today

PalJoeyToday is the last chance to catch the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s world premiere revival of Pal Joey.

Kicking off the 2013-2014 season, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Pal Joey has been reimagined by Tony winner Peter Schneider.  He and Rep Producing Artistic Director Bob Hupp have assembled a stellar cast and creative team to bring this classic tale to a new life.  The Rodgers and Hart songs are woven into a new book by Patrick Pacheco based on the stories of John O’Hara.

Peter Schneider is the Tony Award-winning producer of the internationally acclaimed Broadway musical The Lion King. He produced the award-winning documentary, “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” about Disney animation from 1984-1994, a decade within his 17-year tenure at the company where he served as President of the animation department and, later, as Chairman of the studio.

A new score has been enhanced with other memorable songs from the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart catalog, such as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Sing for Your Supper,” intermingled with gems from the original 1940 show like “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “I Could Write a Book.” This Pal Joey explodes on stage with timeless jazz favorites, stunning tap dance numbers and plenty of sparkle while exploring morality, race, class and the timeless relationship between power and sex.

The cast is led by Clifton Oliver in the title role.  Playing the women vying for his attention are Erica Hanrahan-Ball and Theatre World Award winner Stephanie Umoh.  Jonas Cohen plays an added complication to the mix.  Others in the cast are Danielle Erin Rhodes, Jeffrey Johnson II, Elise Kinnon, Jordy Lievers, Joel Pellini, Ian Jordan Subsara and Matthew K. Tatus.  Michael Reno serves as the Musical Director and leads the band accompanying Joey.

Joining Schneider, Pacheco and Reno in the creative team are choreographer Dan Knechtges, scenic designer David Potts, costume designer Rafael Colon Castanera, props designer Lynda J. Kwallek, lighting designer Michael J. Eddy and sound designer Allan Branson.

Performances today are at 2pm and 7pm.

Become “Bewitched” as PAL JOEY opens at Ark Rep tonight

PalJoeyThe Arkansas Repertory Theatre kicks off its 2013-2014 season tonight with a musical that is already generating national buzz.
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Pal Joey has been reimagined by Tony winner Peter Schneider.  He and Rep Producing Artistic Director Bob Hupp have assembled a stellar cast and creative team to bring this classic tale to a new life.  The Rodgers and Hart songs are woven into a new book by Patrick Pacheco based on the stories of John O’Hara.
After previews earlier this week, the production opens officially tonight and runs through September 29.

Edgy for its time, Pal Joey is perhaps best known for the 1957 film version starring Frank Sinatra. Director Peter Schneider’s production breathes new life into this classic tale and brings a modern day relevance to the story that unfolds amidst this richly romantic score.“Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the perfect environment for the artistic collaborative process required to reinvent a musical,” says Schneider. “I am thrilled to partner with Arkansas Rep and Bob to present the world premiere of this exciting new version of Pal Joey.”

Peter Schneider is the Tony Award-winning producer of the internationally acclaimed Broadway musical The Lion King. He produced the award-winning documentary, “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” about Disney animation from 1984-1994, a decade within his 17-year tenure at the company where he served as President of the animation department and, later, as Chairman of the studio.

A new score has been enhanced with other memorable songs from the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart catalog, such as “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Sing for Your Supper,” and “Glad To Be Unhappy” intermingled with gems from the original 1940 show like “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “I Could Write a Book.” Also included from the original 1940 score is the song “What is a Man?” This Pal Joey answers that question in the most provocative and unexpected ways, exploding on stage with timeless jazz favorites, stunning tap dance numbers and plenty of sparkle while exploring morality, race, class and the timeless relationship between power and sex.

The cast is led by Clifton Oliver in the title role.  Playing the women vying for his attention are Erica Hanrahan-Ball and Theatre World Award winner Stephanie Umoh.  Jonas Cohen plays an added complication to the mix.  Others in the cast are Danielle Erin Rhodes, Jeffrey Johnson II, Elise Kinnon, Jordy Lievers, Joel Pellini, Ian Jordan Subsara and Matthew K. Tatus.  Michael Reno serves as the Musical Director and leads the band accompanying Joey.

Joining Schneider, Pacheco and Reno in the creative team are Tony nominated choreographer Dan Knechtges, scenic designer David Potts, costume designer Rafael Colon Castanera, props designer Lynda J. Kwallek, lighting designer Michael J. Eddy and sound designer Allan Branson.

Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evening performances are at 7 p.m., Friday, Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday Matinees performances are at 2 p.m.

Ark Rep’s PAL JOEY at Clinton School today

PalJoeyThe Arkansas Repertory Theatre works in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service to participate in the UACS’s Distinguished Speaker Series, hosting educational panel discussions on various Rep productions. The latest in these takes place today, Thursday, September 5 at 12 noon at Sturgis Hall in Clinton Presidential Park.

The panel will feature the cast of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of Pal Joey.  This reimagined production of the Rodgers and Hart classic musical was conceived and directed by Tony Award winner Peter Schneider.  It features a new book by Patrick Pacheco, based on the original “Pal Joey” stories by John O’Hara.  Tony nominee Dan Knechtges is the choreographer.

Pal Joey opens tomorrow night (with previews last night and tonight). It runs through Sunday, September 29. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evening performances are at 7 p.m., Friday, Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday Matinees performances are at 2 p.m.

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