La Jolla Playhouse to Premiere FINDING NEVERLAND Musical by GREY GARDENS Team; Ashford Directs/Choeographs

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La Jolla Playhouse announced the fifth production in its 2011/12 season: Finding Neverland, book by Allan Knee, with a score by the Grey Gardens writing team of Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics), directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (Cry-Baby, Thoroughly Modern Millie).

"The addition of this new musical enhances our already astonishing season - now featuring three world premieres," said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "We're delighted to bring back to The Playhouse Rob Ashford, one of the most sought-after directors on Broadway, as well as welcome this new, award-winning creative team to The Playhouse family. It gives us great pride to serve as a home for these acclaimed artists, offering the resources, support and freedom to go wherever their passion leads them, as part of our steadfast commitment to the development of new work."

In Finding Neverland, the pressure is on for Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie - his last play was an abysmal failure and his career is threatened by crippling writers block. With his deadline fast approaching and an impertinent producer hounding him, a chance meeting in a London park with a woman and her spirited young boys provides just the inspiration he needs. Based on the 2004 Academy Award-nominated film - which in turn was adapted from librettist Allan Knee's play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan - this world premiere musical tells the enchanting story of the real boys who inspired a literary masterpiece.

Subscriptions to La Jolla Playhouse's 2011/12 season (http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/2011-2012-season) are available by calling (858) 550-1010 or by visiting lajollaplayhouse.org

The nationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, The Playhouse is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Jersey Boys, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations and the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical Memphis. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre, and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-Art Theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.

BIOGRAPHIES

Rob Ashford's (Director/Choreographer) Broadway credits include Promises Promises (Tony Award nomination), Cry-Baby (Tony nomination), Curtains (Tony nomination), The Wedding Singer (Tony nomination), Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002 Tony Award for Best Choreography), The Boys From Syracuse (Roundabout) and the upcoming revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliff, opening on Broadway this spring. In London, he serves as the Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse, where his credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rachel Weisz, and Parade (Olivier Award nominations for Direction and Choreography), Evita (Olivier nomination). Additional London credits include Guys and Dolls (Olivier nomination), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Olivier nomination), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Once in a Lifetime (National Theatre). Other credits include Parade (Mark Taper Forum), English National Opera's Candide (La Scala, Milan, Chatelet, Paris), Tenderloin, Bloomer Girl, A Connecticut Yankee... and Pardon My English (Encores!). Mr. Ashford provided choreography for the film Beyond the Sea, directed by and starring Kevin Spacey. He recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for his work on the 81st annual Academy Awards. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Joyce Theatre.
Scott Frankel (Music) was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his work on Grey Gardens. He has written the music for Happiness (Lincoln Center Theatre), Doll (Ravinia Festival, Richard Rodgers Award) and Meet Mister Future (winner, Global Search for New Musicals), all with lyricist Michael Korie. As a music director, conductor and pianist, his Broadway credits include Into the Woods, Les Misérables, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Rags and Falsettos, as well as Off-Broadway's Putting It Together starring Julie Andrews. Motion picture credits include Mike Nichols' Postcards from The Edge, where he can be seen (and heard) playing for Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. His many recordings include Barbra Streisand's Back to Broadway and a slew of original cast albums. Mr. Frankel is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and the Frederick Loewe Award. He is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and a graduate of Yale University.

Allan Knee's (Book) play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan, was the basis for the Academy Award-winning film Finding Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. His play Syncopation won an American Theatre Critics Award after premiering at the Long Wharf Theatre and George Street Playhouse. Other works include Shmulnik's Waltz (music by David Shire), Santa Anita ‘42, The Jazz Age and Sholem Aleichem Lives, which toured with Theodore Bikel. His Little Women earned him a Richard Rodgers Musical Theatre Award. For young audiences he adapted Around the World in 80 Days, which toured nationally for Theatreworks/USA. For PBS he wrote the four-part adaptation of The Scarlet Letter. He is a graduate of Yale Drama School and a founding member of the WorkShop Theater Company.

Michael Korie (Lyrics) was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards and received the Outer Critics Circle Award for his lyrics to Grey Garden (composer Scott Frankel, book by Doug Wright, directed by Michael Grief). The musical's route to Broadway was profiled in a documentary on PBS. Also with composer Frankel, Korie created lyrics to Happiness, book by John Weidman, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman at Lincoln Center Theater. Korie wrote co-lyrics with Amy Powers for Doctor Zhivago, directed by Des McAnuff which debuted at La Jolla Playhouse in 2006. For opera, Korie wrote the libretto to composer Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath, which premiered to acclaim at Minnesota Opera, followed by productions at Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and in a concert version at Carnegie Hall narrated by Jane Fonda. Korie's libretto to The Garden of the Finzi Continis, with music by Gordon premieres at Minnesota Opera 50th anniversary 2013 season. His operas composed by StewArt Wallace include Harvey Milk (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera); Hopper's Wife (Long Beach Opera, director Christopher Alden); Kabbalah (BAM Next Wave Festival); and Where's Dick? (Houston Grand Opera, director Richard Foreman). Korie's lyrics have received The Kleban Award, Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, and ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award. His songs with Scott Frankel were spotlighted at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage Broadway Today. He serves on the council of the Dramatists Guild and as a panelist for ASCAP, Opera America and BMI Musical Theater Workshop development programs. He teaches lyric-writing at Yale University and serves as an artistic advisor to emerging opera composers and librettists at the American Lyric Theater.

 

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