BABY IT'S YOU Set to Open 4/27 at Broadhurst Starring Beth Leavel
The new Broadway musical Baby It's You! tells the inspiring story of Florence Greenberg, the woman who changed the recording world forever when she discovered The Shirelles and created Scepter Records, becoming the music industry's first female powerhouse. Starring Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Greenberg, conceived by Floyd Mutrux, directed by Floyd Mutrux and Sheldon Epps, and written by Tony nominated book writers Mutrux and Colin Escott, the team behind Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet, Baby It's You! begins performances at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street) Saturday, March 26, 2011, and opens Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at 6:30pm. Baby It's You! features a cast of 19 that includes Allan Louis, Geno Henderson, Erica Ash, Kelli Barrett, Kyra DaCosta, Crystal Starr Knighton, Barry Pearl, Christina Sajous, Brandon Uranowitz, Alison Cimmet, Erica Dorfler, Berlando Drake, Adam Heller, Jahi A. Kearse, Annette Moore, Zachary Prince, Ken Robinson and Chelsea Morgan Stock.
Baby It's You! is choreographed by Birgitte Mutrux, with musical supervision and arrangements by Rahn Coleman, Orchestrations by Don Sebesky, musical direction/conducted by Shelton Becton, scenic design by two time Tony nominee Anna Louizos, costume design by Lizz Wolf, lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley, sound design by Carl Casella, projection design by Jason H. Thompson, hair and wig design by David Lawrence, with legendary music producer Richard Perry as consulting producer. Baby It's You! is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and American Pop Anthology.
Before Motown and the British Invasion, Florence Greenberg took the male-dominated music industry by storm, revolutionizing pop music and becoming the most influential and successful female record company president ever. After discovering one of the greatest girl-groups of all time, The Shirelles, at her daughter's high school Greenberg packed the girls in her car, drove across the George Washington Bridge to New York City, and embarked on a trailblazing journey from New Jersey housewife to record mogul, creating the independent house of hits that was Scepter Records. Showcasing non-stop doo-wop, pop and rock 'n' roll classics such as "Dedicated To The One I Love," "Duke Of Earl," "He's So Fine," "I Say A Little Prayer," "It's My Party," "Louie Louie," "Mama Said," "Shout," "Sixteen Candles," "Stop In The Name Of Love," 'Twist and Shout" and many more, Baby It's You! is the true story of how Florence Greenberg launched the careers of such groundbreaking musical sensations as The Isley Brothers, B.J. Thomas, The Kingsmen, Chuck Jackson, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Dionne Warwick.
Baby It's You! played a pre-Broadway engagement at Pasadena Playhouse (where Epps is Artistic Director) in the fall of 2009 and, prior to that, received two workshops at the Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles. In 2010 Florence Greenberg was honored posthumously with the Grammy Trustees Award for her outstanding contributions to the industry.
Beth Leavel (Florence Greenberg) received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle, and L.A Drama Critics Awards for the title role in The Drowsy Chaperone. Other Broadway credits include: Elf, Donna in Mamma Mia, Frau Bleucher in Young Frankenstein, 42nd St. (original and revival), Tess in Crazy for You, Ellie in Hal Prince's Showboat and Mrs. Bixby in The Civil War. Also Lucille in No, No, Nanette at City Center.
Floyd Mutrux (Co-Director/Co-Author) is the co-author of Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet. Apprenticed at Alley Theatre, Houston; Second City, Chicago; studied in NY while working at Second City and attending Columbia University; in Los Angeles, created, wrote, directed or produced 50 films in 25 years: American Hot Wax (Best Picture, Direct, Village Voice, etc.), Scarecrow (Best Film, Cannes), Hollywood Knights, Urban Cowboy, The Untouchables, American Me, Freebie and the Bean, Up in Smoke, and Dick Tracy; With his wife, Birgitte, created a rock 'n' roll Field of Dreams, Moon Over Memphis.
Colin Escott (Co-Author) is the co-author of Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet, and the writer of several books on popular music. Co-produced "Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues" for PBS and BBC. A Grammy winner for The Complete Hank Williams on Mercury Records, Escott is currently a consultant to Time Life Music.
Sheldon Epps (Co-Director) has been Artistic Director of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse since 1997. Conceived and directed the musical revue, Blues in the Night, and the Duke Ellington musical Play On!, both receiving Tony Award nominations. Co-founded the off-Broadway theatre, The Production Company. Member of the Executive Board of Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Two-time recipient of the Theatre Communications Group/Pew Charitable Trust National Theatre Artists ResidenCy Grant. For TV directed episodes of "Frasier," "Friends," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Joey," "Out of Practice," "My Wife and Kids," "In Laws," "Veronica's Closet," "What I Like About You," "Evening Shade," and "Sister, Sister". For five seasons produced and directed "Girlfriends."
Birgitte Mutrux (Choreography) grew up in Oslo, Norway, where she studied dance and theater. Choreographed Million Dollar Quartet in Florida and the Pasadena Playhouse production of Baby It's You (NAACP Theatre Award- Best Choreography). For the last decade, she has collaborated on several projects with her husband, Floyd, mainly the American Pop Anthology, a series of biographical musicals telling the story behind the music that changed the culture of America and the rest of the world.
Rahn Coleman (Musical Supervision/Musical Arrangements) Regional: Musical Director and Conductor for Sammy at The Old Globe Theatre. Musical Director for Freda Payne Live in Concert and Director for Evening with Freda Payne: Live. Film: Music Supervisor for Lady Magdalene's.
Don Sebesky (Orchestrations) Tony winner for Kiss Me, Kate; also Flower Drum Song, The Life, Bells Are Ringing, Parade, The Boys From Syracuse, The Look of Love, Sinatra at Radio City, Sweet Charity, Porgy and Bess (Trevor Nunn), Pal Joey, Liza's at the Palace. Three Tony nominations, two Drama Desk Awards, three-time Grammy winner, 31 Grammy nominations, three Emmy nominations. Recent projects: Julie & Julia, English National Ballet, John Pizzarelli. Love to Janina, Elizabeth and Olivia.
Shelton Becton (Musical Direction/Conductor) On Broadway, Shelton has performed with Memphis (Associate Conductor, Keyboard 2) and The Color Purple (Keyboards). He has conducted productions of The Wiz and Ain't Misbehavin and arranged two pieces for the revue Three Mo' Tenors, which toured the country and aired on a PBS special. He has conducted the critically acclaimed Nativity- A Life Story with Stephanie Mills, BeBe Winans, Phylicia Rashad, Lillias White, and FrEddie Jackson. His recording credits include Judy Collins' The Times of Our Lives, Noel Pointer's Calling, Frankie Knuckles' Beyond the Mix, Patti Austin's Love Is Gonna Getcha and Live at The Bottom Line, and Roberta Flack's Christmas Album. Well-known artists such as Anita Baker, Billy Preston, Bette Midler, Rickie Lee Jones, and Wintley Phipps have sought after his signature performance style.
Anna Louizos (Scenic Design) Set Designs - Broadway: In the Heights (Tony nominated), White Christmas (Drama Desk nominated), Curtains (Drama Desk nominated), High Fidelity (Tony nominated), Avenue Q (including National Tour, Las Vegas and London), To Be or Not to Be, Steel Magnolias, Golda's Balcony. Off-Broadway: Vanities the Musical and Birdie Blue (Second Stage); Crimes of the Heart and The Foreigner (Roundabout); Speech and Debate (Roundabout Underground); Based on a Totally True Story (MTC); Altar Boyz (NWS); tick, tick...BOOM! (Jane St.). Regional: Minsky's (Ahmanson); Baby It's You (Pasadena Playhouse); Sarah, Plain and Tall (DTC); Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas; Me and My Girl (Goodspeed); Seven Brides... and The Baker's Wife (Paper Mill), et al. Art Direction - TV: "Sex and the City" (HBO). Feature Film: The Secret Lives of Dentists.
Lizz Wolf (Costume Design) started in the motion picture business as a set costumer. She than advanced to become key wardrobe supervisor, costume supervisor, assistant costume designer and eventually costume designer. Her most recent costume design credit was for Rambo in 2008. Lizz has had design credits on the films Spy Game, The Rules of Attraction, Suspect Zero, The Black Dahlia and Dreamgirls among others. Baby It's You! is her first costume design for the stage.
Howell Binkley (Lighting Design). Broadway: Lombardi, Million Dollar Quartet, Memphis, West Side Story (2009 Tony nomination), Guys and Dolls, Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, In the Heights (2008 Tony nomination), Jersey Boys (Tony Award winner), Avenue Q, The Full Monty, Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony nomination/Olivier winner), How to Succeed... Dance/Regional: The Joffrey Ballet's Billboards. Designs for more than 60 pieces for Parsons Dance which he co-founded with David Parsons. Six musicals in repertory for the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration. Five-time Helen Hayes Award recipient, 1993 Sir Laurence Olivier Award and Canadian Dora Award for Spider Woman, 2006 Henry Hewes Design Award, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Award for Jersey Boys.
Carl Casella (Sound Design) For more than 25 years, Carl Casella has worked as an audio engineer and producer in some of New York's busiest recording studios. He designed corporate audio/video systems for several Fortune500 companies. He has engineered/mixed initial recordings for a number of Alan Menkin musicals, including Hercules, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and King David. Broadway: A Tale of Two Cities, Xanadu; Ring of Fire; Sly Fox; Little Shop of Horrors, A Moon for the Misbegotten; Latinologue; Raisin in the Sun; Sexaholix; Squonk; Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks. Off-Broadway: Southern Comforts; A Mother, A Daughter, A Gun; Once Around the Sun; They Wrote That; The Joys of Sex; Mr. Goldwyn; Adult Entertainment. National Tour: Little Shop of Horrors; Little House on the Prairie. Regional: Sister Act (Pasadena Playhouse); My Mother is Jewish (Little Shubert); The Ten Commandments (The Kodak LA); Showstoppers 2004 (Avery Fisher Hall). Sound Designer for upcoming musical Unchain My Heart. He is a member of Sound Associates, Inc.
Jason H. Thompson (Projection Design) International/Regional: Baby, It's You (Pasadena Playhouse), Rock of Ages (Flamingo Casino), Aerosmith Route of All Evil Tour (opening video montage), Stars on Ice 2006-07 and 2007-08 Tours, Buckminster Fuller (Rubicon Theatre), Palm Beach (Director Des McAnuff, La Jolla Playhouse), Moses the Musical (Alvin Ailey Studios, NY), Finding Home (National Concert Hall, Taiwan and Vancouver, Canada). Geffen Playhouse: The God of Hell (director Jason Alexander), The Quality of Life (director Jan Anderson). Other Los Angeles: Sunday in the Park with George (director Jason Alexander, Reprise!), Best in Drag AIDS Benefit, The 2006 Ovation Awards, Evel Knievel the Rock Opera (Bootleg Theatre), C'Opera (Collage Dance Theatre Company), Access by Jerry Quickley and Flip the Game (CTG's P.L.A.Y), 12th Premise (Lillian Theatre). Associate Projection Design: Jersey Boys (Broadway and worldwide). Training: UC San Diego MFA in Design. Off-Broadway: This Beautiful City.
David Lawrence (Hair and Wig Design) Broadway: Rock 'n' Roll, Coram Boy, Company, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, 42nd Street, All Shook Up, Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The King and I, On the Town, Grease, Bells Are Ringing, The Full Monty, Souvenir, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible. Tours: Chicago, Bounce, Doctor Dolittle, All Shook Up. Also many regional theatre/summer stock productions.
Richard Perry (Consulting Producer) is one of the most successful producers in music history, and over his 45-year career, he has produced classic albums and singles with such legendary artists as, Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Pointer Sisters, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Harry Nilsson, Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson, Art Garfunkel, The Temptations, Leo Sayer, DeBarge, Pattie LaBelle, Manhattan Transfer, Neil Diamond, Randy Travis, Martha Reeves, Captain Beefheart, Jeffrey Osborne, Fats Domino, and Ella Fitzgerald. Perry has collaborated with Rod Stewart for the last decade on a series of albums of timeless standards called The Great American Songbook Vols. I-V. They went on to become the biggest selling ongoing series of new music recordings in history, with over 17 million copies worldwide. Perry has had albums in the top ten every decade since the 60's, and the records that he produced during the 1970's and 80's remain among the steadiest and biggest-selling catalog items in the recording industry of the 21st century.
WARNER BROS. THEATRE VENTURES (Producer) is the live stage play division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and responsible for developing and producing world-class musicals and other stage productions for the Studio. The division currently has 15 licensed properties in production worldwide and more than a dozen other projects in various stages of development, including co-productions with award-winning Broadway and film producers. WBTV's parent company, WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT, a Time Warner Company, is a fully integrated, broad-based entertainment company and a global leader in the creation, production, distribution, licensing and marketing of all forms of creative content and their related businesses, across all current and emerging media and platforms. The company stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, TV and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, licensing and broadcasting.
AMERICAN POP ANTHOLOGY (Producer) A series of innovative stage musicals about the people who made the music that changed the culture of our country. American Pop Anthology is represented on Broadway and in London's West End by Million Dollar Quartet and is currently workshopping The Alan Freed Show, When The Fat Man Sang, Boy From NYC, Lonesome Town (with John Kaye), and Someday My Prince Will Come. APA is excited to be bringing Baby It's You! to Broadway after two workshops and a sold-out not-for-profit run in Pasadena, California.