Alysha Umphress and Mara Davi Set to Lead BEACHES Musical at Signature Theatre; Runs 2/18-3/23
Virginia's Signature Theatre just announced the full cast of this spring's world premiere musical Beaches, adapted from the beloved 1985 novel by Iris Rainer Dart. Directed by Signature Theatre's Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Follies, Million Dollar Quartet), this heartfelt chronicle of a decades-long friendship between two unforgettable women will star Mara Davi (Broadway's A Chorus Line and The Drowsy Chaperone) as Bertie White and Alysha Umphress (Broadway's American Idiot and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) as Cee Cee Bloom.
The production, touted by TIME magazine as one of the "10 Reasons for Theater Lovers to Leave New York in 2014" begins at Signature's MAX Theatre February 18. It will play for five weeks, through March 23. Single tickets go on sale January 17.
Based on the 1985 novel by Iris Rainer Dart (later adapted into the 1988 movie with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey) this newly adapted world premiere musical is by a creative team that includes Ms. Dart (book & lyrics) Thom Thomas (book) and David Austin (music).
Beaches follows two extraordinary friends through 30 years of camaraderie, laughter and sorrow. Vivacious, outlandish Cee Cee and beautiful, privileged Bertie meet as children and become fast friends. From pen-pals to roommates to romantic rivals, Cee Cee and Bertie's oil-and-water friendship perseveres through even the most tragic trials. With a touching vulnerability, Beaches exemplifies the triumph of the human spirit and the bonds of sisterhood.
"Beaches marks our third world premiere production this season. We've assembled an amazing cast along with a terrific creative team to bring this special story to life," stated Eric Schaeffer. "Iris, Thom and David have created a magical world of memories and friendship in this heartfelt story for the stage in a very original way."
The creative team includes choreography by Tony nominee Dan Knechtges (Broadway's Xanadu, Sondheim on Sondheim, 110 in the Shade); Musical Supervisor Mary Mitchell Campbell (Broadway's Big Fish, The Addams Family, Company); orchestrations by Lynne Shankel (Alter Boyz, Radio City Christmas Spectacular); Scenic Design by Tony Award-winner Derek McLane (Broadway's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Follies); Costume Design by Frank Labovitz; Lighting Design by Chris Lee; Sound Design by Lane Elms; Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein; and Assistant Stage Manager Stephanie Junkin. Casting by Telsey + Company.
Davi and Umphress are joined in the cast by Clifton Samuels (Michael Barron; Broadway's Follies) and Matthew Scott (John Perry; Broadway'sSondheim on Sondheim, Jersey Boys) along with Donna Migliaccio (Leona Bloom; Broadway's Ragtime, National Tour, Guys & Dolls, Signature'sGypsy, Assassins, Sweeney Todd), Helen Hedman (Rose White; Signature's My Fair Lady, Show Boat, Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage),Brooklyn Shuck (Young Bertie; Broadway's Annie), Presley Ryan (Young Cee Cee; NBC's The Sound of Music, Broadway Youth Ensemble, TV'sCelebrity Ghost Story), Maya Brettell (Teen Bertie; Woolly Mammoth's Appropriate, Studio Theatre's The Big Meal), Gracie Jones (Teen Cee Cee, Olney Theatre Center's Spring Awakening, Cinderella), Svea Johnson (Karen Lewandowski/Nina), Michael Bunce (Arthur/Melman/ensemble; National Tours of Victor, Victoria, The Scarlet Pimpernel), Bayla Whitten (nurse/ensemble; Signature's Chess, Merrily We Roll Along), Jamie Eacker(ensemble; Signature's Company, Xanadu), Heather Brorsen (ensemble; Broadway's Avenue Q), Davis Hasty (ensemble), Dan Manning (ensemble; Broadway's Ragtime, Signature's Gypsy), Ryah Nixon (ensemble; National Tour of 9 to 5: The Musical) and Robbie Roby (ensemble; Broadway'sBilly Elliot, Hairspray).
Photo Credit: Chris Mueller