ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Mary Steenburgen

Rock the TonysMarySteenburgenDec09MARY STEENBURGEN

Little Rock connection: Grew up in Central Arkansas, maintains a residence in Little Rock and is a co-owner of South on Main restaurant.

Tony Awards connection: Starred on Broadway in the Tony nominated revival of Candida.  She is affiliated with the Atlantic Theatre Company which has presented and produced the Tony winning The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Jay Johnson: The Two and Only, Spring Awakening and the Tony-nominated The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Talk Radio and A Behanding in Spokane.

ROCKing the TONYS – Duncan Sheik

Rock the Tonys

Photo by Jason Szenes European Pressphoto Agency.

Photo by Jason Szenes European Pressphoto Agency.

Duncan Sheik

Little Rock connection – Composer of musical Because of Winn Dixie which world premiered at the Arkansas Rep in December 2013

Tony Awards connection – Tony winner for Musical Score as well as Tony winner for Orchestrations for the musical Spring Awakening.

In addition to Because of Winn Dixie, premiered musical version of American Psycho in London in December 2013.

 

WINN DIXIE extended at Ark Rep through January 5 — Good seats still available

Due to overwhelming demand for tickets, the Arkansas Rep has extended Because of Winn Dixie another week.  This last week has good seats available, so don’t delay.  From the lyricist of Legally Blonde and the composer of Spring Awakening comes a new musical based on the award-winning novel by Kate DiCamillo.

A World Premiere musical brings a Tony Award-winning creative team to Little Rock this holiday season. Because of Winn Dixie is a new musical based on the heartwarming and award-winning novel by Kate DiCamillo about a young girl and a dog she finds at a Winn Dixie supermarket.

This unique production will include music by Duncan Sheik (Tony and Grammy Award Winner for Spring Awakening), lyrics and book by Nell Benjamin (Tony Nominee for Legally Blonde), direction by John Tartaglia (Tony nominee for Avenue Q) and animal direction by Bill Berloni (a 2011 Tony Honor recipient).

This original production will also be the first pre-Broadway musical starring a live dog in a leading role. Taran (and understudy Cally), both Irish Wolfhounds, have been cast in the title role of “Winn-Dixie,” trained by Broadway’s foremost animal trainer, Bill Berloni.

“It has always amazed me the reaction animals have on an audience,” says Berloni, “When a dog or cat comes onstage, our collective reality is ‘Wait a minute, you can’t get an animal to act, what is it going to do?’ And it brings the audience closer into the piece.”

“This story will melt your heart,” says Bob Hupp. “We are honored that the creative team of Winn Dixie approached us for this world premiere, and I think this project has tremendous potential to introduce a significant new work into the American musical theatre canon, and it all begins right here on our stage, for Arkansas audiences.”

The cast is led by Jonathan Rayson, Julia Nightingale Landfair, Gabe Bowling, Riley Costello, Aisha de Haas, Imari Hardon, Crystal Kellogg, Tari Kelly, Shannon Lamb, Nic Rowe, Douglas Storm and Sydni Whitfield.  Others in the cast include Danny Phillips, Cayla Christina Christian, Reagan Hodson, Dalton Johnson, Molly Russ, and Sam Shaughnessy.

The music director is Jason Hart. Duncan Sheik is the orchestrator and vocal arranger.  The creative team included Mike Nichols (scenery), Marianne Custer (costumes), Michael J. Eddy (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), and Lynda J. Kwallek (props).

Ark Rep presents World Premiere of BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE

From the lyricist of Legally Blonde and the composer of Spring Awakening comes a new musical based on the award-winning novel by Kate DiCamillo.

A World Premiere musical brings a Tony Award-winning creative team to Little Rock this holiday season. Because of Winn Dixie is a new musical based on the heartwarming and award-winning novel by Kate DiCamillo about a young girl and a dog she finds at a Winn Dixie supermarket.

Berloni and Tartaglia with two of the dogs

This unique production will include music by Duncan Sheik (Tony and Grammy Award Winner for Spring Awakening), lyrics and book by Nell Benjamin (Tony Nominee for Legally Blonde), direction by John Tartaglia (Tony nominee for Avenue Q) and animal direction by Bill Berloni (a 2011 Tony Honor recipient).

This original production will also be the first pre-Broadway musical starring a live dog in a leading role. Taran (and understudy Cally), both Irish Wolfhounds, have been cast in the title role of “Winn-Dixie,” trained by Broadway’s foremost animal trainer, Bill Berloni.

“It has always amazed me the reaction animals have on an audience,” says Berloni, “When a dog or cat comes onstage, our collective reality is ‘Wait a minute, you can’t get an animal to act, what is it going to do?’ And it brings the audience closer into the piece.”

“This story will melt your heart,” says Bob Hupp. “We are honored that the creative team of Winn Dixie approached us for this world premiere, and I think this project has tremendous potential to introduce a significant new work into the American musical theatre canon, and it all begins right here on our stage, for Arkansas audiences.”

The cast is led by Jonathan Rayson, Julia Nightingale Landfair, Gabe Bowling, Riley Costello, Aisha de Haas, Imari Hardon, Crystal Kellogg, Tari Kelly, Shannon Lamb, Nic Rowe, Douglas Storm and Sydni Whitfield.  Others in the cast include Danny Phillips, Cayla Christina Christian, Reagan Hodson, Dalton Johnson, Molly Russ, and Sam Shaughessy.

The music director is Jason Hart. Duncan Sheik is the orchestrator and vocal arranger.  The creative team included Mike Nichols (scenery), Marianne Custer (costumes), Michael J. Eddy (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), and Lynda J. Kwallek (props).

SPRING AWAKENING at Weekend Theater

Spring Awakening, which won 8 Tony Awards on Broadway, is the next production of the Weekend Theater.  It opens this weekend and runs through July 1.  Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik adapted Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play about the trials, tears, and exhilaration of the teen years. The three central teens are Wendla, the naïve, newly pubescent one, who is struggling with feelings that are foreign to her; Melchior, the intellectual, knows exactly what his feelings are, but is struggling with the unfair amount of power adults possess; and Moritz, the disempowered, is basically struggling with everything and doesn’t know how to relieve the pressure surrounding him.

The cast features Jessica Smith, Garrett Houston, Will Nicholson, Hannah Blackburn-Parish, Justin Holzknecht, Garrett Whitehead, Jhonika Wright, Sarah Richardson, Noah Whitney, Nick Abel, Emily McDow, Lana Hallmark and Tony Spicer.  The production is directed by Ralph Hyman with music direction by Lori Isner.

The performances are at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and at 2:30 on Sunday afternoons.