Michael Cerveris and Laura Osnes Join Randy Newman in Encores! FAUST: THE CONCERT Tonight
Michael Cerveris, Isaiah Johnson, Randy Newman, Laura Osnes, Vonda Shepard, Brooklyn Shuck, Tony Vincent and Broadway Inspirational Voices have been cast in Randy Newman's Faust: The Concert, which will be performed tonight, July 1 as the second Encores! Off-Center presentation of the 2014 season. Faust will be directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Marcos Santana. Jeanine Tesori is the Encores! Off-Center artistic director; Chris Fenwick is its music director.
Randy Newman's FAUST: The Concert, with music and lyrics by Randy Newman, is, according to Newman, "like Goethe's Faust Pt. 1, but more complex psychologically; more like Pt. 2 but not the product of an ordered mind. The Lord and the Devil are childhood friends who in adulthood have a falling out. The Devil is expelled from Heaven, somewhat arbitrarily some might say, and though he reigns in Hell, he longs to return to his childhood home. He goes up to visit Heaven for the first time in a long while. He finds the Lord and tells him Man is bad, and should never have been created. The Lord says that He doesn't make mistakes. As they did in the 12th, 14th and 16th centuries, they bet on it, pick a young Notre Dame freshman as a representative specimen and hilarity ensues." The musical opened in 1995 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and was revived at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1996.
Michael Cerveris (Angel Rick) received the Tony Award for his portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, and received Tony Award nominations for his roles in Evita, LoveMusik, Sweeney Todd, and The Who's Tommy. Other Broadway appearances include In The Next Room (Or The Vibrator Play), Hedda Gabler, Cymbeline, and Titanic. Known for his versatility as an actor, Cerveris has also performed in Off-Broadway productions of King Lear, Macbeth, Nikolai and the Others, and Sondheim's Road Show, among others, and brought his performance as Hedwig to the West End in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Most recently, Cerveris performed in the Public Theater's highly acclaimed production of Fun Home, receiving the Lucille Lortel Award. Cerveris has also appeared in many film and television productions, including roles on the "The Good Wife," "Treme," and "Fringe." As a singer, he has performed with the NY City Opera and the NY Philharmonic, and at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. As a solo recording artist, Cerveris has released two albums, Dog Eared and Piety. His country band Loose Cattle recently released their live debut record, North of Houston. www.amazing-journey.com
Randy Newman (Composer/Randy/Devil) has written songs that run the gamut from heartbreaking to satirical, as well as a host of unforgettable film scores, using his many talents to create musical masterpieces widely recognized by generations of audiences. After starting his songwriting career as a teenager, Randy launched into recording as a singer and pianist in 1968 with his self-titled album Randy Newman. Throughout the 1970s he released several other acclaimed albums such as: 12 Songs, Sail Away and Good Old Boys. In addition to his solo recordings and regular international touring, Randy began composing and scoring for films in the 1980s. The list of movies he has worked on since then includes The Natural, Awakenings, Ragtime, all three Toy Story pictures, Seabiscuit, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug's Life, and more recently, Disney/Pixar's Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc. (which he also scored). The highly praised 2008 Harps and Angels was Randy's first album of new material since 1999. It was followed in 2011 by The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2, which is the second in a series of new solo piano/vocal recordings of his songs spanning five decades, and a live CD and DVD recorded at London's intimate LSO St. Luke's with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ziegler. The 22-song set features some of his best-known songs like "Short People," "Louisiana 1927," and "I Think It's Going to Rain Today," as well as newer songs such as "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" and "Laugh and Be Happy." Randy's many honors include six Grammys, three Emmys, and two Academy Awards, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013-the same year he was given an Ivor Novello PRS for Music Special International Award. Mostly recently, Randy was presented with a PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award in June 2014. randynewman.com
Isaiah Johnson (Lord) appeared on Broadway in Peter and the Starcatcher and The Merchant of Venice, and Off-Broadway in Othello, Far from Heaven and Richard III. His credits also include A Musical Inspired by the Brooklyn Hero Supply Company at the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar.
Laura Osnes (Margaret) most recently starred in the Off-Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera directed by Martha Clarke. Her Broadway credits include the title role in Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Drama Desk Award), Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, Hope Harcourt in the Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes, Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center's South Pacific, and Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. Other New York credits include the Encores! production of Pipe Dream and a one-night-only concert of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall. Laura made her cabaret debut at the Café Carlyle in 2012, resulting in her first solo CD, Dream A Little Dream: Live at The Carlyle. She followed that appearance with an evening of Maury Yeston's music at 54 Below, which led to her second solo CD, If I Tell You: The Songs Of Maury Yeston. www.laura-osnes.com
Vonda Shepard (Martha) starred as the voice of Ally McBeal in the hit television series for five years. Throughout the show's five year run, Vonda performed on each episode and produced the show's music, recording nearly 500 songs featuring artists including Gladys Knight, Sting, Barry Manilow, Al Green, Chubby Checker and Jon Bon Jovi. She has over 12 million album sales to her name, two Golden Globes, two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actor's Guild Awards, and the Billboard prize for selling the most television soundtrack records in history. She has worked with Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, Jackson Browne, the Indigo Girls, The Funk Brothers, Sting, The Eurythmics and Santana. www.vondashepard.com
Brooklyn Shuck (Angel Child) is a singer, actress and dancer from Lexington, Kentucky. She was recently seen on Broadway in the revival of Annie. Brooklyn has appeared as Baby Kangaroo in Seussical, Jr., was a featured soloist in the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre's 20th Annual Broadway Review, and was the youngest cabaret singer for the Music of Change performance at the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. brooklynshuck.com
Tony Vincent (Henry Faust) has appeared on Broadway as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, in Rent, and as St. Jimmy in Green Day's American Idiot. He originated the role of Galileo Figaro in Queen's We Will Rock You (London's West End, Las Vegas), and has fronted the rock band Queen on multiple occasions, including Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee and Party in the Park. In 2002 he was chosen as one of the first artists to bring the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber to Asia in Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece, (Live From Beijing) and was one of the most talked-about vocalists during season 2 of NBC's The Voice. www.tonyvincent.com
Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV), a gospel ensemble comprised of actors performing on and off Broadway, is directed by Choirmaster Michael McElroy, who founded it in December of 1999. Some of the shows currently represented are After Midnight, Violet, Holla If You Hear Me, Disney's Aladdin, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Motown the Musical, Pippin and Wicked. BIV uses the power of music in rousing live concerts and benefits, along with a dynamic outreach programs for children and teens to inspire creativity and promote a message of tolerance, understanding and respect for cultural diversity through the arts. www.broadwayinspirationalvoices.org
Thomas Kail (Director, Faust) received a Tony nomination for his direction of In the Heights. His additional Broadway credits include the plays Lombardi and Magic/Bird. Other credits include In the Heights (Off-Broadway - Callaway Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics nomination); Broke-ology and the world premiere of When I Come to Die at Lincoln Center Theater; The Wiz at New York City Center; the world premiere of The Tutors at Second Stage Uptown; the world premiere of Broke-ology at Williamstown Theater Festival; the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's Family Furniture at The Flea; the national tour of In the Heights; and Once on this Island at the Paper Mill Playhouse. He is the co-creator and director of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme, which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival, and Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Chris Fenwick (Music Director) is currently music director of the Broadway production of Rocky and recently music directed Fun Home at The Public Theater. He was music director of the original productions of Michael John LaChiusa's Giant, Los Otros, Queen of the Mist and See What I Wanna See. Broadway credits include Grease, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, and Elaine Stritch at Liberty. Other credits include the Off-Broadway productions of Hello Again, Here Lies Jenny, Road Show, Happiness, and Mother Courage and concerts with Patti LuPone at Carnegie Hall, Ravinia Festival, and many more. Chris was music director of the Encores! Off-Center productions of The Cradle Will Rock and I'm Getting My Act Together.
Marcos Santana (Choreographer) is associate choreographer of the Broadway production of Rocky. He choreographed the U.S. tour of Rock of Ages and was associate choreographer of the show's West End Production. His acting credits include the Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls and In the Heights.
Jeanine Tesori (Artistic Director) has written four Tony-nominated scores for Broadway: Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek the Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical, Violet, opened on Broadway this spring, starring Sutton Foster, and has garnered four Tony Nominations including Best Musical Revival. Her most recent musical, Fun Home (lyrics, Lisa Kron) made its premiere at the Public Theater this fall to critical acclaim (winner of Lortel, Outer Critics, NY Drama Critics, and Obie Awards). Jeanine's opera credits include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy; Kennedy Center). She has written music for the plays Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline), John Guare's A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe, Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala).
City Center's Encores! Off-Center series presents musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced. Filtered through the lens of today's artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital works that continue to resonate with audiences. In the Encores! tradition, Off-Center places a great emphasis on the scores, with the orchestra performing onstage. The series reflects City Center's ongoing outreach to new and younger audiences. In keeping with this mission, the majority of tickets are $25.
New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO), now in its 70th year, has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with a mission to make the best in music, theater and dance accessible to all audiences. Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, City Center's Principal Dance Company, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as "one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York." In summer 2013, City Center launched Encores! Off-Center, a new series featuring landmark musicals filtered through the lens of today's most innovative artists. Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start, and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival, remain central to City Center's identity. Vital partnerships with arts organizations including Jazz at Lincoln Center and London's Sadler's Wells Theatre enhance City Center's programmatic offerings. City Center is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to New York City students and teachers with programs such as Encores! In Schools and the Young People's Dance Series. Special workshops cater to families, seniors and other groups, while events such as the Fall for Dance DanceTalk series offer learning opportunities to the general public. In October 2011, City Center completed an extensive renovation project to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.
Randy Newman's Faust: The Concert will play tonight, July 1 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix at 212-581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org.