John Tartaglia to Play 'Cat in the Hat' in 12.14 Foundation's SEUSSICAL

The 12.14 Foundation has just announced that Emmy Award, Tony Award, and Drama Desk Award nominated John Tartaglia (Avenue Q, Shrek, Johnny and the Sprites) will portray "The Cat in the Hat" and lead a cast comprised of 86 Newtown area students in Seussical: The Musical written by Tony Award winning team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The production will be presented August 9, 10 and 11 at Newtown High School.

"I am so excited to perform with these amazing kids. Live theatre is a great way to help encourage healing and positive expression, as well as entertain and bring people together, and this is a perfect show to accomplish this," said Tartaglia.

Seussical director Michael Unger said, "In addition to John's incredibly impressive talents, his heart is about a large as they come. Neither we, nor Theodor Geisel - a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, could dream up a better person for this job. I am certain that John will make what already promises to be an unforgettable experience for the children and audiences of Newtown, that much more zany, fun, meaningful and filled with wonderment."

In addition to the 86 student performers, this production will offer 20 apprenticeship positions to junior and senior high school students in the fields of direction, choreography, musical direction, stage management, stage crew, lighting design, prop construction, costume design and construction, sound design, and technical direction.

"We are so pleased that Seussical, the first of what will be many collaborations between the world's best in the arts and our amazing Newtown kids, is well underway," said Michael Baroody, founder of the 12.14 Foundation. "Even as we enter long-term planning for the Newtown Performing Arts Center, we are putting into practice a programmatic element that will be the hallmark of this center. By pairing established professionals in one-on-one mentoring relationships with students, we will provide these children with tools for creative expression, innovation, and confidence that will spill over into every other aspect of their lives."

Seussical authors Ahrens and Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island, My Favorite Year, A Man of No Importance and the upcoming Rocky musical) said, "We are grateful and honored that our show has been selected as the inaugural production of the 12.14 Foundation."

There are also volunteer opportunities for adults in the Newtown community who may want to get involved, as well as opportunities for musicians of any age to join the orchestra. The production includes 86 students from the Newtown area between the ages of 5 and 18. The rehearsal process will emulate a professional production with children working alongside New York professionals to give kids a "Broadway-type" of experience.

The three main forces behind "FROM BROADWAY WITH LOVE: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook", which took place on January 28, 2013 at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, CT, will reprise their duties on this production. Michael Unger (interNational Theatre and opera director, A Christmas Carol - McCarter Theatre, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - world premiere) will direct, Jeffrey Saver (End of the Rainbow, Chicago, Sister Act - and 15 other Broadway shows) will musical direct and Tony Award winning producer, Van Dean (Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Porgy and Bess, Matilda - and seven other Broadway shows) will produce. Jennifer Paulson Lee (City of Angels - Goodspeed, Annie Get Your Gun - Lincoln Center, Enter Laughing - York Theatre/Mark Taper Forum) will choreograph. Other established theatre professionals will complete the creative team. Ahrens and Flaherty, as well as several Broadway performers, will visit some of the rehearsals and performances.

Performances are August 9th and 10th at 7:00 PM and August 10th and 11th at 2:00 PM. There will be two casts with two performances each. Performances will take place at Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Rd, Newtown, CT 06482. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $17 for seniors/students which includes a credit card convenience fee. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.1214foundation.org/seussical. NOTE: This production is not affiliated with the Newtown school district.



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