Is Broadway Next for Flaming Lips Musical YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS?
The world premiere musical Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots just finished its West Coast run at La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Des McAnuff, on December 16. According to the North County Times, when the McAnuff spoke after the final curtain about the musical's future, he discussed the possibility of taking it to Broadway.
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Based on the rock music of The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi will likely be led through further workshops and mounted in another production before a Broadway run. Some of this has to do with the show's potential budget-Yoshimi has a sweeping cast and grandiose technical effects.
McAnuff is no stranger to pre-Broadway development. He helmed The Who's Tommy and Jersey Boys in La Jolla before both became hits on the Great White Way, and La Jolla's Hands on a Hardbody is set to premiere on Broadway in 2013.
With story by The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar), Yoshimi features music and lyrics by The Flaming Lips, and direction by McAnuff.
The cast featured Kimiko Glenn (The Nightingale) as "Yoshimi," and several Jesus Christ Superstar alumni: Tom Hewitt (Zhivago, Dracula, The Musical) as "Dr. Peterson," Paul Nolan as "Ben" and ensemble members Mary Antonini, Laurin Padolina, Jaz Sealy, Jason Sermonia and Julius Sermonia. The Playhouse also welcomes back Pearl Sun (The Seven) as "Mrs. Yasukawa" and ensemble member Albert Guerzon (The Wiz).
Seven local actors joined the cast, including ensemble members Richard Bulda, LaMae Caparas and Jonny Wexler; swings Chelsea Diggs-Smith (The Nightingale) and Christopher Cortex; and two UC San Diego M.F.A. students: Katie McGehee and Jack Mikesell.
Additional cast members included Nik Walker as "Booker," John Haggerty as "Mr. Yasukawa," and ensemble members Michael Balderrama, Emmanuel Brown, Ian Paget, Vasthy Mompoint, Catherine Ricafort, Vanden Thurgood and Jesse Wildman.
The creative team features Des McAnuff, Director; Ron Melrose (Jersey Boys, The Wiz), Musical Supervisor; Bradley Rapier (Jesus Christ Superstar), Choreographer; Robert Brill (Jesus Christ Superstar, Creditors, The Wiz), Scenic Designer; Paul Tazewell (Jesus Christ Superstar, Private Fittings), Costume Designer; Michael Walton, Lighting Designer; Steve Canyon Kennedy (Hands on a Hardbody, Jersey Boys), Sound Designer, Sean Nieuwenhuis (Jesus Christ Superstar), Projection Designer; Basil Twist (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dogugaeshi), Puppet Designer; Steve Rankin, Fight Director; and Gabriel Greene, Dramaturg.