Funk, Doyle, Trimm, Hoty, Ephraim and Schwencke Join Roundabout's 'BYE BYE BIRDIE'
After a 48 year absence, Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) will present the first new Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie as the inaugural production of the new Henry Miller's Theatre (124 West 43rd Street) beginning Thursday, September 10th, 2009 with an official opening on Thursday, October 15th, 2009. This will be a limited engagement through January 10th, 2010.
Bye Bye Birdie will star John Stamos (Albert Peterson), Gina Gershon (Rose Alvarez) & Bill Irwin (Mr. Harry MacAfee) with Jayne Houdyshell (Mrs. Mae Peterson) & Dee Hoty (Mrs. MacAfee). The Cast will also feature Matt Doyle (Hugo Peabody), Molly Ephraim (Ursula Merkle), Jake Evan Schwencke (Randolph MacAfee), Allie Trimm (Kim MacAfee) and as "Conrad Birdie" Nolan Gerard Funk. Robert Longbottom will direct and choreograph Bye Bye Birdie with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams.
Roundabout is proud to welcome back three artists who have previously worked at the theatrical institution: John Stamos, Gina Gershon and Bill Irwin. Additional company members and citizens of Sweet Apple, Ohio will be announced shortly. Bye Bye Birdie's design team includes Andrew Jackness (Sets), Gregg Barnes (Costumes), Ken Billington (Lights), Acme Sound (Sound) and David Chase (Music Supervisor).
In Bye Bye Birdie, the exuberant rock n' roll musical comedy, it's 1960 and hip-swingin' teen idol superstar Conrad Birdie (Funk) has been drafted into the army. Birdie's manager Albert (Stamos) and his secretary Rosie (Gershon) have cooked up a plan to send him off with a swell new song and one last kiss from a lucky teenage fan... on "The Ed Sullivan Show"! Bye Bye Birdie received the 1961 Tony Award® for Best Musical and features such beloved songs as "Put on A Happy Face," "Kids," "Spanish Rose," "The Telephone Hour" and "A Lot of Livin' To Do."
Lead support for Bye Bye Birdie provided by Roundabout's Musical Theatre Production Fund partners: Perry and Marty Granoff, The Kaplen Foundation, Peter and Leni May, John and Gilda McGarry, Tom and Diane Tuft. Generous support also provided by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
Tickets will be available exclusively to American Express Cardmembers beginning Wednesday, June 3rd online at www.byebyebirdieonbroadway.com or by phone at (212)239-6200. Ticket prices range from $86.50 - $136.50.
Public on-sale begins Friday, June 19th - visit www.byebyebirdieonbroadway.com or call (212)239-6200 for tickets.
To become a Roundabout subscriber visit www.roundabouttheatre.org or call Roundabout Ticket Services (212)719-1300.
Bye Bye Birdie will play Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8:00PM with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00PM.
Dee Hoty (Mrs. MacAfee). Broadway credits include: Footloose (Tony Award Nomination); The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (Tony Award Nomination), The Will Rogers Follies (Tony Award Nomination); Mamma Mia!; City of Angels; Me and My Girl; Big River; The Five O'Clock Girl; Shakespeare's Cabaret. Los Angeles: Dr. Doolittle (opposite Tommy Tune); Mamma Mia! (Donna). Dee's National Tour credits include: Barnum (opposite Stacy Keach). Favorite Off-Broadway and regional roles include Kay Thompson in Stormy Weather at Pasadena Playhouse & Prince Music Theater (Barrymore Award); Follies at the Paper Mill Playhouse and creating roles in Lanford Wilson's Book of Days and Arthur Laurents' Two Lives. Her recent television and film credits include The Understudy, "Law & Order", "Law & Order: Criminal Intent". Dee is working on workshop productions of Dangerous Beauty and Elf: the Musical. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a graduate of Otterbein College.
Nolan Gerard Funk (Conrad Birdie). One of Hollywood's rising stars, Nolan Gerard Funk is best known to family audiences for his starring role as Nikko in the Columbia Records/Nickelodeon movie Spectacular! Nickelodeon premiered Spectacular! in February 2009 and over 14 million viewers watched the first week it aired in the United States. With the number one soundtrack and a top ten album on itunes, Funk also had his first song on the billboard charts, "Break My Heart". Receiving rave reviews for his performance, this showcased the former national gymnast as a unique triple threat. Spectacular! is yet to be released internationally. Funk has made numerous guest starring appearances on TV series including "The L Word", "Smallville", "Supernatural", "Lie to Me" and a recurring role on "Aliens in America". He most recently played an elitist prep school murderer on ABC's "Castle". His movie appearances include X2 and the upcoming films Triple Dog and Bereavement opposite Alexandra Daddario (Fox's Percy Jackson). A diverse performer, he played real life rapist Michael Magidson in Lifetime's The Gwen Araujo Story by Oscar nominated director Agnieszka Holland. He also played a tormented jock in Deadgirl, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008. Funk received a Leo Award nomination in 2007 for his work on the youth television series Renegadepress.com and had his first live performance this year with David Archuleta at New York City's Hard Rock Cafe. He is a spokesperson for Nickelodeon's "The Big Green Help" and has publicly supported the charity organization Champions Against Bullying.
Matt Doyle (Hugo Peabody). Broadway: Spring Awakening. National Tour: Spring Awakening. NY Theatre: The Butcherhouse (SPF), Lunch (NY Musical Theatre Festival). Film: Once More with Feeling. TV: "Gossip Girl" (recurring). Recording: "Bare: A Pop Opera". LAMDA: Titus Andronicus, The Relapse, Much Ado About Nothing, Women Beware of Women.
Molly Ephraim (Ursula Merkle). Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods, (Little Red Ridinghood) Drama League Nom. Off-B'way: End Days -2009 (Rachel Stein) at EST. Film/TV: Disney's College Road Trip (Wendy Greenhut); "Law and Order," and HBO Pilot "The Wonderful Maladys". Regional: Olive in The 25th Annual... Spelling Bee at Barrington Stage Co. & North Shore Music Theatre; NYMF's College: The Musical; Arden Theater's Into The Woods, Barrymore Nomination; Gerda in The Snow Queen at the Prince Music Theater. B.A. in Religion from Princeton University.
JAKE EVAN SCHWENCKE (Randolph MacAfee). Jake Schwencke, 10 is thrilled to be playing Randolph in the new production of Bye Bye Birdie. His most recent appearance was in the Cynthia Nixon hit Distracted. He has been on the National Tour of Les Miserables and Whistle Down the Wind. Jake is the voice of the Hippo and the Turtle in the 20th Century feature film Ice Age III. In addition to many commercials and voiceovers he has appeared locally in many theatrical productions.
Allie Trimm (Kim MacAfee). A San Diego native, she made her Broadway debut in Jason Robert Brown's 13, the Musical in the role of Patrice. Regional: 13 (Patrice), Goodspeed; The Secret Garden (Mary Lennox); Festival of Christmas '05, '07, Lamb's Players Theater; How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Old Globe Theatre. TV: "30 Rock". Readings: Georgia Stitt's, Water; A.D. Penedo and Marshall Pailet's On a Glorious Day. Allie will sing the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers this summer.
Michael Stewart (Book) scored on Broadway the first time out when he won a Tony for his Bye Bye Birdie libretto. He was the librettist for Carnival (Drama Critics Circle Award) and Hello, Dolly!, which won him both Tony and Drama Critics prizes. He also wrote the books for 42nd Street (with Mark Bramble, Tony nomination), George M!, Mack and Mabel and The Grand Tour; both book and lyrics for I Love My Wife; and lyrics for Barnum. Mr. Stewart died in 1987.
Charles Strouse (Music) music has been an integral part of American culture for over forty years. His first Broadway musical was the smash hit Bye Bye Birdie (written with long time collaborator Lee Adams). It won him a Tony Award for best score - his first of three - and paved the way for his next show All American (book by Mel Brooks) which produced the well-known standard "Once Upon a Time" (recorded by countless vocalists, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin). In 1964, Golden Boy (starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) earned four Tony Award nominations, and in 1966, Mr. Strouse went on to write the Broadway favorite It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Superman! (based on the popular comic strip). In 1970, Applause (starring Lauren Bacall) won Mr. Strouse his second Tony Award. In 1977, Mr. Strouse adapted another comic strip for the stage. It was the hugely popular Annie- which went on to become a world wide phenomenon, and garnered Mr. Strouse yet another Tony (in addition to two Grammys). Some of Mr. Strouse's other musicals include Dance a Little Closer (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), Charlie & Algernon (Tony nomination), Rags(Tony nomination) and Nick & Nora (Tony nomination). Mr. Strouse's film scores include the classics Bonnie & Clyde, There was a Crooked Man (with Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas), The Night They Raided Minsky's and the popular animated movie All Dogs Go to Heaven. He also wrote the theme song "Those Were the Days" for the groundbreaking television show "All in the Family". Mr. Strouse's songs have been heard on the radio throughout his career and have run the gamut from girl-band pop to hip hop. In 1958, his song "Born Too Late" was number one on the Billboard charts, and in 1999 the quadruple platinum "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" by artist Jay-Z was the winner of a Grammy for Best Rap Album of the year & the Billboard R&B Album of the Year. Mr. Strouse's writing also extends into orchestral works, chamber music, piano concertos and opera. His "Concerto America" premiered at The Boston Pops in 2004, and his opera "Nightingale" (starring Sarah Brightman) had a long and successful run in London's West End. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Mr. Strouse studied under Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger. In 1977, he founded the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in NY. He is the recipient of the "Richard Rodgers" as well as the "Oscar Hammerstein" Awards. He is also a member of the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His new musical, Minsky's, premiered in January 2009 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. His book, Put an a Happy Face: A Broadway Memoir was released in June 2008 and is available in bookstores.
Lee Adams (Lyrics) began his professional career as a journalist, working as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor, and radio writer and interviewer. But his life took a sudden turn when his "hobby" of lyric writing let to Bye Bye Birdie in 1960. This unheralded little Broadway musical was a smash hit and went on to become a classic. Now, forty-six years later, Birdie remains the most performed musical for schools and amateur theaters. Adams received the first of his two Tony awards for Birdie, followed on Broadway by All American (1962); Golden Boy with Sammy Davis (1964); ‘...It's Superman (1966); Applause with Lauren Bacall (1970), for which he won his second Tony. In 1972, with his composer-collaborator Charles Strouse, Adams wrote a much -acclaimed musical, I And Albert in London. He wrote the lyrics for TV's long-running "All in the Family" theme, "Those Were The Days," which has been heard more often than any other television theme. And with Strouse he wrote the score for the film The Night They Raided Minsky's, a cult favorite. Among his hundreds of songs, a number have become standards, including "Put On A Happy Face," "Kids," "Once Upon A Time," "Applause," "Night Song," "I Want To Be With You," and "A Lot Of Livin' To Do." Adams' other awards include an Emmy for "Let's Settle Down," from the TV version of Birdie, and the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award for outstanding contributions to the American Musical Theater, and his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has taught seminars on American musical theater at Yale, Columbia, and N.Y.U., and is proud to be a Life Member of the Dramatists Guild Council. Adams is currently working on a musicalization of the 1950's classic movie, Marty, with composer Strouse and bookwriter Rupert Holmes.
Robert Longbottom (Director/Choreographer) made his Broadway debut as Director/Choreographer on the original musical Side Show, which earned four Tony Award nominations including one for Best Musical. Other Broadway credits include the Mark Taper Forum production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song with a new book by playwright David Henry Hwang. This production earned Mr. Longbottom a Tony Award nomination for his Choreography as well as an Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Other New York credits include the Broadway musical The Scarlet Pimpernel; The Off-Broadway hit Pageant that he conceived as well as directed and choreographed, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and Anything Goes in Concert at Lincoln Center starring Patti LuPone. For Disney Theatrical he created the compilation musical On the Record. At the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, he directed a new production of the wartime classic, Mister Roberts and most recently returned to direct and choreograph a critically acclaimed production of Carnival. He recently directed a staged reading of Stage Door for the Roundabout Theatre as well as a new musical Triangle at the Eugene O'Neil Center. Upcoming Broadway projects include a ‘new' Irving Berlin musical with playwright Jeffrey Hatcher entitled Let Yourself Go and a new production of Dreamgirls for producer John Breglio.
The Durst Organization and Bank of America recently announced the completion of the Henry Miller's Theatre on West 43rd Street in Times Square. The 1,055-seat house inside the new 55-story Bank of America Tower will be New York's first LEED rated theatre. Henry Miller's Theatre is the first new Broadway theater built in over a decade and sets new standards for environmentally sustainable design and construction of performing arts venues. Henry Miller's Theatre sits behind the preserved and restored neo-Georgian façade of the original 1918 theater. The theater and the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park are an Empire State Development Corporation project and a joint venture of The Durst Organization Inc. and Bank of America, N.A.
By 1969, after being used as a Broadway theatre for 51 years Henry Miller's Theatre was abandoned as a legitimate theater. In 1998, Roundabout Theatre Company transformed, reopened and operated the venue as a Broadway theatre with their Tony award winning production of Kander & Ebb's Cabaret. Cabaret ran for nine months, closed because of a construction accident at an adjacent building, re-opened briefly, and transferred to Studio 54 for a five-year run.
The revitalization of Henry Miller's Theatre is consistent with Roundabout's history of bringing dilapidated, lost theatres back to life and programming the venues as viable, live performance spaces for the benefit of theater artists and audiences and managing them efficiently. Henry Miller's Theatre serves the company's mission by providing more opportunities for artists as well as audiences. With Henry Miller's Theatre, Roundabout will create 80-100 new jobs each year for artists and theater staff through its activities. Beyond this project, the institution continues to employ hundreds of artists each year, including actors, designers, directors, playwrights, stage crew, front of house staff and administrators.
Funk Photo Credit: Sarah DeBoer/Retna Ltd.
Doyle and Trimm Photos by Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.