Les Miserables Continues at Ark Rep

replesmizTwenty-seven years ago today, on March 12, 1987, Les Miserables opened on Broadway.  The production won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. It eventually ran for 6,680 performances.  After being revived on Broadway in 2006 and spawning an Oscar winning movie in 2012, another Broadway revival is currently in New York.

Arkansas residents do not have to travel to New York (or Netflix) to see Les Miserables.  The Arkansas Repertory Theatre has brought the production back to life on its Little Rock stage.  Following an acclaimed 2008 production, Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp has again directed the show for Arkansas audiences.  It opened last Friday night and runs through April 6.

Douglas Webster and Christopher Carl return to their roles of protagonist and antagonist as Jean Valjean and Javert, respectively.  Joining them are Christopher Behmke as the romantic revolutionary Marius, Matthew Hugg as pint-sized revolutionary Gavroche, Karenssa LeGear as Valjean’s adoptive daughter Cosette, Mary Little as the waif Eponine, Caleb Reese as revolutionary leader Enjolras, Danielle Erin Rhodes as the doomed Fantine, Sydni Whitfield as Young Cosette, and Michael Sample & Terey Summers and the scheming Thenardiers. Others in the cast are Kelsie Adkisson, Alex Bush, Price Clark, Monica Clark-Robinson, Darren Drone, Hannah Eakin, Marisa Kirby, Bailey Lamb, Greg Robinson, Makayla Shope, Alyssa Sowers, Benjamin Stidam, Billy Clark Taylor and Paul Thiemann.

In addition to Hupp as director, the creative team includes choreography by Robert Kolby Harper and music direction by Mark Binns. The design team features Mike Nichols (scenery), Rafael Colon Castanera (costumes), Yael Lubetzky (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), Lynda J. Kwallek (props) and Rob Pickens (wigs).

Performances are Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm and 7pm.  During the run, there are Tuesday performances at 7pm on March 18 and April 1.

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).

Final Weekend for A LOSS OF ROSES at Arkansas Rep

Theatregoers hoping to not lose out on on Pulitzer Prize winner William Inge’s A Loss of Roses have a few remaining performances to catch it at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

The production, directed by Tony nominee and Obie winner Austin Pendleton, stars Tony nominee Jane  Summerhays, Bret Lada and Jean Lichty as a mother, son and a visitor from their past who resurfaces.

Pendleton directed a staged reading of A Loss of Roses featured in TONGUES at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre in 2010. Pendleton has served as artistic director of the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York and is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

“Bringing a rarely-produced work by William Inge to the stage is cause for celebration; doubly so when the creative team is led by Austin Pendleton,” says Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp. “He’s assembled a dynamic cast for this fascinating play. Arkansas Rep is honored to introduce A Loss of Roses to a new generation of theatregoers and to re-examine Inge in the context of what he spoke of as his favorite among his many works.”

The cast also features Todd Gearhart, Max Jenkins and Sara Croft as members of a traveling troupe of actors and Keegan McDonald, Katye Dunn and Sydni Whitfield as neighbors of the central family.

A Loss of Roses plays tonight at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday, July 1 at 7pm.