Irving Berlin's 'I Love A Piano' Launches Second National Tour
Irving Berlin's I Love A Piano is an enchanting new musical revue that spans over seven decades of American History as seen through the insightful and earnest eyes of Irving Berlin, a man whom Jerome Kern described by saying "Irving Berlin has no place in American Music…he IS American music!"
Using 64 of Berlin's enduring and popular favorites, I Love A Piano captures the spirit of America from the ragtime era of the early 20th century through the swinging elegance of the 1920's and 30's. From the songs that inspired a nation through the Great Depression to the innocent optimism of the 1950's, I Love A Piano embarks on an enduring journey through musical heaven. Timeless classics, such as "Puttin' On The Ritz," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Change Partners," "How Deep Is The Ocean,""God Bless America," and "White Christmas," do more than identify the music of a generation, they define the music of our country. The show will be presented by Eva Price of Maximum Entertainment, Off-Broadway Booking, and Lawrence Toppall.
Beginning September 20th, I Love A Piano will bring its exuberant showstopping song and dance numbers to audiences across the nation. This Fall marks the start of its second touring season. Under the direction and choreography of Ray Roderick (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang National Tour), who co-created the show with Michael Berkely. The magic of each song brings new life to the material for a contemporary audience. This revitalized production brings today's audiences into the lavish musical world of Irving Berlin while holding true to its nostalgic nature.
Tour Stops include 48 cities across the United States from Michigan to Kentucky to Santa Fe, New Mexico to Carmel, California. In addition to 3 weeks at The Arena Stage Company in Washington D.C and 2 dozen more stops across the Southern United States and Florida.
The talented cast of 8 triple threat singer/dancer/actors includes Emily Mattheson, Jason Weitkamp, Alix Paige, Kyle Fowler, Ashley Peacock, Ryan Lammer, Tom Bruett, and Talia Corren.
The Los Angeles Times raved: "When asked where Irving Berlin ranked in American music, fellow giant Jerome Kern famously said, 'Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.' The enduring truth of Kern's assessment underpins the showbiz panache of 'I Love a Piano,' ...as invigorating a song-catalog revue as any since AIN'T MISBEHAVIN."
Variety reviewed it by saying: "Ray Roderick may love a piano, but his heart truly belongs to Irving Berlin. Roderick directed and choreographed this tribute revue and co-wrote it with Michael Berkeley. His affection for Berlin's songs has resulted in an energetic, animated presentation of nearly 60 of Berlin's tunes, ranging from 1911's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to selections from 1950's "Call Me Madam."
The Boston Globe called it "A spectrum of brilliant Berlin… It captures both the astonishing range of Berlin's musical styles and the cleverness of his simple rhymes, which makes it easy to understand why the songwriter remains a national treasure."
Ray Roderick (Conceiver/Director/Choreographer) is proud to bring I Love A Piano and the brilliant music and lyrics of Irving Berlin to audiences around the country. He has adapted the script and is director for an all new version of the West End's and Broadway's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for National Tour. Ray was also associate director of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden for six years, where he was privileged to work with original director Mike Ockrent. He was associate director for Susan Stroman's Broadway revival of The Music Man. He subsequently directed the successful 3 year North American Tour. He co-wrote and directed Heaven Help Us! (Carbonell Award nomination, best new work), A Christmas Survival Guide (published by Samuel French) and I Love New York(Bistro Award, Best Musical Review 1999). Off-Broadway, Ray directed and co-wrote the new musical The Prince & The Pauper (published by Samuel French), and directed and choreographed The Ark Lamour & the Merrier and The Story Goes On. He has directed and choreographed I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change throughout the country including The Denver Center (longest running show in Denver History). Ray was the founding artistic director of Tri-State Center for the Arts. With partner James Hindman he has formed Miracle or 2 Productions (Miracleor2.com) dedicated to the creation and development of the new American musical. Together, they have written the new musicals Are We There Yet? and Coming To America. Ray has been creative director for the Tennis Association's US Open for eight years, where he creates on court ceremonies for live television and is the Director of Arthur Ashe Kids Day for CBS. He is creative consultant and has written the English adaptation for the Chinese production of Chun Yi, The Legend of Kung Fu currently in its fourth year in Beijing and touring internationally. Most recently, Ray directed Singin' In The Rain at The Goodpeed Opera House and directed and choreographed The Taffetas at The Denver Center. Last season, he created an all new production of Barnum for Westchester Broadway Theatre. He then directed Believe, the all new award winning Shamu (killer whale) show for Seaworld in San Diego. As Broadway performer, Ray was see in many shows, including Barnum starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close, Gring Cats, The Wind & The Willows, Crazy For You and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum starring Nathan Lane and Whoppi Goldberg. Ray resides in NewYork City where he is married to Broadway actress Karyn Quackenbush and is the proud father of high school Junior and lighting designer Jamie Roderick.
Stephen Purdy (Music Director) Broadway and National Tours: Tarzan, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Glory Days, Peter Pan (Cathy Rigby) and The Full Monty. Off Broadway: The Fantasticks (Original at Sullivan Street), York Theatre, Playwrights Horizons. International: Grease (Paris) A Chorus Line (European tour) Grease (European Tour), 42nd Street (European Tour) My Fair Lady (Hong Kong). Regional: Atlanta North Shore, Helen Hayes, Kansas City Starlight, Burt Reynolds. Education: The University of Mississippi and The Juilliard School. A former Wall Street stockbroker, Stephen now spends as much time as possible not worrying about other people's money
J BRANSON (Scenic Designer) For over eighteen years, J Branson has been a Chicago-based designer working regionally in the US. National-tour credits include The Music Man, Beauty and the Beast and Brigadoon. Past regional work includes Hairspray, High School Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Smokey Joe's Café, Jekyll and Hyde, Chess, The Wizard of Oz (for which he received Chicago's After Dark award), Children of Eden, Rags, Assassins, Guys and Dolls and The Pajama Game. Original productions include Etc. and Barak to Obama (Second City Chicago), Shockwave (Disneyworld), Jungle Man, Stardust, A Room With a View, The Conversation and A Tale of Two Cities. J has an array of industrial design credits and has been honored with one After Dark Award and three National Addy Awards.
Eva Price/ Maximum Entertainment PRODUCTIONS
(Producer/General Manager) Credits include Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Broadway and Tour), Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, (Broadway and Tour), The Great American Trailer Park Musical(US and UK National Tour), The J.A.P Show: Jewish American Princesses of Comedy (Off-Broadway and Tour), Los Big Names (Off-Broadway Drama Desk Nomination), Private Jokes Public Places (Off-Broadway and London), Joy (Off-Broadway), and Sunfish (a new musical in development). Maximum Entertainment is also a partner in Elephant Eye Theatricals; upcoming Productions include The Addams Family (Broadway '09).
LAWRENCE S. TOPPALL (Producer) owns MAZEL MUSICALS, INC., the New York and Florida Production Company specializing in touring, producing and presenting Jewish themed theatrical and concert presentations. The company has produced, co-produced or presented On Second Avenue, The Golden Land, Yiddle With a Fiddle, Those Were The Days, The Sheik of Avenue B, Catskills on Broadway, Tovah Feldshuh in Tovah! Cross Over,
Bubbe Meises, The Rothschilds, Bagels & Yox with Joel Gray, Shlemel The First, That's Life,Entirely Sophie, the Sophie Tucker musical and Buttons in Boca starring Red Buttons, The Israel Pops Orchestra with Theodore Bikel and Mamaloshen with Mandy Patinkin. Mr. Toppall co-produced The Sunshine Boys with Frank Gorshin, Freddie Roman's highly successful Mishegass 1 and Mishegass 2, The Florida Follies , the Sammy Cahn musical, Words and Music, starring Bruce Adler, Hot, Hip and Heimish, Bingo - the Musical, I May Be Black ... "but god knows I'm Jewish" and Dudu Fisher in Jerusalem of Gold. The company also co-produced the long running So. Florida hit, Menopause The Musical. Constantly on the lookout for investment opportunities, Mazel Musicals has raised funds for the New York productions of Urinetown, The Producers, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Man of La Mancha, Stomp, Modern Orthodox, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Jewtopia and the Tony award winning Broadway hit, Jersey Boys. Broadway producing credits include The Gathering, starring Hal Linden andthe Tony nominated Say Goodnight, Gracie, starring Frank Gorshin. Mr. Toppall is a Tony Award voter and member of The Broadway League.
OFF BROAWAY BOOKING (Producer/Booking Agent) The Off Broadway theatre scene has revamped its image over the past several years from inexpensive and experimental theatre to a vibrant and exciting form of commercial entertainment that has attracted Broadway producers and notable celebrities. Off Broadway Booking is dedicated to the promotion and awareness of Off Broadway as a brand of excellence in theater to audiences outside of New York City. Off Broadway Booking creates an economically viable model of success for each touring production and successfully fills the void of quality commercial theater that can tour at an affordable rate. By doing this, Off Broadway Booking opens up the touring markets to small and mid-size theaters that otherwise cannot afford commercial productions, while still providing quality Broadway level programming to the larger markets across the country. Whether you are looking for a single night engagement or a headliner for your series, Off Broadway Booking is ready to meet all your creative and financial needs by bringing you the very best in theatrical entertainment.