Photo Flash: Almost Heaven: The Songs Of John Denver

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Harold Thau will present the New York premiere of ALMOST HEAVEN: THE SONGS OF JOHN DENVER, a new musical opening Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre (2162 Broadway at 76th Street). Directed by Tony Award nominee Randal Myler (It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues), ALMOST HEAVEN begins preview performances on Friday, October 28. 

Originally conceived by Harold Thau, ALMOST HEAVEN is adapted by Peter Glazer, with orchestrations, vocal arrangements and music supervision by Jeff Waxman.

ALMOST HEAVEN weaves together the songs of John Denver to create a uniquely theatrical narrative that reflects upon the country during the years in which he wrote them.


Twenty-nine of Denver's songs – including "Rocky Mountain High," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Annie's Song," "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Calypso" and more – are rediscovered and reinvented, performed against a backdrop of stunning visual images of America in the late '60s and early '70s, a time of social unrest and political protest.

ALMOST HEAVEN stars Jennifer Allen (Broadway's City of Angels), Terry Burrell (Broadway's Thoroughly Modern Millie), Valisia Lekae Little (Las Vegas' Mamma Mia), Lee Morgan (Broadway's Brooklyn, The Musical), Jim Newman (Broadway's Steel Pier) and Nicholas Rodriguez (Jesus Christ Superstar, Nat'l Tour).

The production features scenic design by Kelly Tighe, costume design by Tobin Ost, lighting design by Don Darnutzer and sound design by Lewis Mead. Jan Hartley serves as projection technical advisor. ALMOST HEAVEN is produced in association with Lexie Potamkin, R.H. & Ann Crossland, Lawrence J. Winnerman and Robert Courson.

ALMOST HEAVEN will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.*

Tickets for ALMOST HEAVEN are $51.25-$69.50 (prices include a $1.25 facility fee) and are available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 beginning Monday, October 17 or in-person at the Promenade Theatre Box Office (2162 Broadway at 76th Street).

Same-day general rush tickets are also available for $26.25 at the Promenade Theatre Box Office, beginning at noon daily. There is a limit of two rush tickets per person, and tickets are subject to availability.

For more information, please visit http://www.almostheaventhemusical.com.

* There will be NO MATINEE PERFORMANCES on Sat. 10/29, Weds. 11/2, Weds. 11/9 or Weds. 11/23. There will be NO PERFORMANCE on Thurs. 11/10. There will be ADDED PERFORMANCES on Mon. 11/7 (8 p.m.) and Fri. 11/25 (2 p.m.).


BIOGRAPHIES
JOHN DENVER. Since 1972, John Denver has sold more than 60 million albums around the world. His 1973 Greatest Hits package racked up sales of over 10 million – an unprecedented achievement for a compilation disc. In the U.S. alone, John Denver had ten #1 hits and multiple RIAA certification awards: 21 Gold album awards, 14 Platinum album awards and seven multi-Platinum album awards. Statistics tell only a small part of John's story, though. He quickly became a global multi-media star, segueing into movies like the hit comedy Oh, God! with George Burns, and into television, where he hosted several musical variety specials, including the Emmy Award-winning An Evening with John Denver. He performed with fellow artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to the Muppets and recorded duets with Emmylou Harris ("Wild Mountain Skies") and Placido Domingo ("Perhaps Love"). He used his celebrity clout to further issues he cared deeply about, especially environmental conservation and world hunger. He encouraged the exploration of space and of our oceans (which inspired the exuberant "Calypso"), and he tried to foster understanding among diverse cultures as the first Western superstar to tour extensively in China and the former Soviet Union.

Jennifer Allen. Jennifer's Broadway credits include starring roles in Cats (Grizabella), Little Me (Belle understudy), Guys and Dolls (Adelaide) and City of Angels (Oolie/Donna). On tour, she played leading roles in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Sally Bowles in Cabaret opposite Joel Grey; and she understudied Emma Goldman in the American Premiere of Ragtime in Los Angeles. Regional Credits include Smokey Joe's Cafe at Theatre Works in Northern California and the title role in Victor/Victoria at the American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Other New York credits include Mrs. Santa Claus in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the starring role in Martha and Me, a musical about a housewife obsessed with Martha Stewart in last season's NYC Fringe Festival. Currently, Jennifer is co-writing two musicals titled The Old Dead 5 and Vegas Organic with composer/actor Michael Gruber. They have presented several readings of these new works under auspices of the York Theatre Company.

Terry Burrell. Terry's Broadway credits include starring roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swingin' on a Star, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, Honky Tonk Nights and Eubie, which she also filmed for television. Off-Broadway, Terry appeared in And the World Goes Round, Just So and Taking a Chance on Love. Terry toured the U.S. as Julie in the Hal Prince production of Showboat and reprised the role in the London revival. Other tours include Copacabana, Thunder Knocking on the Door, A Grand Night for Singing, The Wiz and Bubbling Brown Sugar. Terry was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress in a musical for her portrayal of Queenie in Queenie Pie at the Kennedy Center. Other regional credits include Time and Again, Of Thee I Sing, Sweet and Hot, Man of La Mancha, Arthur Miller's Up From Paradise and Cinderella. Terry has performed her night club act for audiences around the world.

VALISIA LEKAE LITTLE. Valisia is proud to be joining the cast of Almost Heaven. Some of her work includes: International Tours: USO Salute to America, Jean Ann Ryan Productions/NCL. National Tour: First National Tour Mamma Mia (Lisa, final cast). Las Vegas: Mamma Mia (Lisa). New York Theatre: The Sixties Project (Workshop) with Richard Maltby, Jr. Regional Theatre: Smokey Joe's Cafe, Godspell, & Mama Said There'll Be Days Like This (World Premiere Chicago). Her television credits include: "The Ryan Seacrest Show," "Girls Behaving Badly," "The Today Show" (NBC), "Pure Oxygen" and "Fox & Friends."

Lee Morgan. On Broadway performed as Taylor Collins in Brooklyn The Musical, and The Who's Tommy. Off-Broadway and Regionally as Taylor Collins in Brooklyn The Musical (Denver), The Who's Tommy (La Jolla Playhouse), Hamlet in Hamlet (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Quincey in Dracula (La Jolla Playhouse), and Seth in  Heat Lightning (Theatre Row). Lee is a singer-songwriter with a new CD, Basic. http://www.joeandlee.com.

Jim Newman. Broadway: Original companies of Minnelli on Minnelli (cast album) and Happy in Steel Pier (cast album), also Sunset Boulevard and The Who's Tommy, as well as the workshops of Footloose and Urban Cowboy. 1st National Tours: Originated the starring roles of Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me Kate and Josh Baskin in Big! Jim also played Levi in Joseph...Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond. Off-Broadway: George Bush in Newsical, Millard in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Encores), Destry in Destry Rides Again (York) as well as A Good Swift Kick (Variety Arts) and Up Against It (NYSF/Public). Regionally: John Denver in Almost Heaven (DCTC), the Leading Player in Pippin (Paper Mill Playhouse) and Henry in Kander and Ebb's Over and Over (Signature Theatre) as well as Cole! (Theatre on the Square-Dramalogue award for best actor). Television: Guest appearances on "Hope and Faith," "All My Children," "One Life to Live," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and "The Magic of Music" on NBC. Film: Out of Sync with L.L. Cool J.

Nicholas Rodriguez originated the role of Aaron, starring opposite Val Kilmer's Moses, in the U.S. Premiere of The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre in L.A. Nicholas also had the pleasure of playing Moses at several performances. Following that, he originated the role of Akhenaten in the pre-Broadway run of Nefertiti at Parker Playhouse. Tours include: Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), Evita (Che), and Hair (Claude). Regional credits include: Cinderella (Prince Charming), at North Shore Music Theatre, Last 5 Years (with Kate Shindle) at the Kennedy Theatre, Candide with Harrisburg Opera, Footloose (Ren), Love, Valour, Compassion! (Ramon), and Master Class (Tony). He can be heard on the cast albums of The Ten Commandments, and Evita as well as Voices of Light: A Collection of Inspirational Songs, and several recordings for Disney. A native Texan, he holds a BM and MM in Vocal Performance from the Univ. of Texas at Austin.

PETER GLAZER (Adaptation) created the musical Woody Guthrie's American Song, his first collaboration with arranger extraordinaire Jeff Waxman. American Song has been seen at over 100 theaters around the country since its premiere in 1988, including Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Northlight Theater, San Jose Rep, Goodspeed at Chester, Syracuse Stage, Ford's Theater, and the Melting Pot Theater in New York City. It has received numerous awards, including three Joseph Jefferson Awards in Chicago, two Bay Area Drama Critics Awards in San Francisco, and both Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations in New York City. Glazer adapted Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee's novel Foe for the stage, and directed its world premiere at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. Other projects include the musical Heart of Spain, co-written with composer Eric Bain Peltoniemi;   Michael, Margaret, Pat & Kate, a collaboration with Chicago singer/songwriter Michael Smith, also a multi-Joseph Jefferson Award winner; the Foothill Theater Company this fall. He directed the world premiere of Almost Heaven at the Denver Center Theater Company in 2001. He is presently writing a new musical with Irish singer and composer Melanie O'Reilly about Irish women who immigrated to the United States in the 19th century. Glazer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he will be directing the Howard Baker's Seven Lears this season. He is a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and sits on the Governing Board of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.

RANDAL MYLER (Director). Broadway: It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues (Director/Co-Author, Tony Award nomination). Off-Broadway: Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Director/Co-Author, Outer Critic's Circle nomination for Best Director); Love, Janis (Over 750 performances at the Village Theater), Dream A Little Dream (Director – with original Mamas and the Papas lead singer Denny Dougherty), both the musical The Immigrant (Director) and the coal mining musical Fire On The Mountain (Director/Co-Author). His numerous other directorial credits include most regional theatres in America, among them The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Denver Center, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory, The Old Globe, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Royal George Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Meadowbrook Theatre, Crossroads Theater, The Barter Theater, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, B.B. King's, Dodger Stages, Manhattan Ensemble Theater, New Victory Theater in New York City, Cleveland Playhouse, Kansas City Rep and many others.

JEFF WAXMAN (Orchestrations/Vocal Arrangements/Music Supervision) has worked in New York as a musical director, arranger, composer, musician and producer for over 25 years. He owns Dancing Bull Music and Waxtrax Recording where he produces and composes music for television and film (commercials, television themes, documentaries, etc.) and for pop, rock, folk and country artists. Jeff received a Grammy nomination for producing the cast album of the Broadway Musical Doonesbury, which he also arranged, conducted and musical directed. Other Broadway work includes Gorey Stories, The Cherry Orchard at Lincoln Center and Into The Light. Jeff received a Drama Desk nomination for his orchestrations for the hit Off-Broadway Musical, Woody Guthrie's American Song. For his work in the cabaret field Jeff was honored with a Back Stage Bistro Award for outstanding musical direction. For more information please visit www.dancingbullmusic.com.

HAROLD THAU (Producer, Original Concept) has produced theatre in New York, London, Los Angeles and Aspen. His recent credits include the productions of Bombay Dreams and Tuesdays With Morrie in New York City. Other credits include productions of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, Sam Shepard's True West, Stephen Poliakoff's Breaking The Silence, Camille, Beirut, Love Letters, Swim Visit, The Flying Brothers Karamazov and Sid Caesar & Company – Does Anybody Know What I'm Talking About. Mr. Thau was Executive Producer of the television production of A.J. Gurney's The Dining Room, True West and Heartbreak House. He is the President of Advent Management Corp., an entertainment management firm. Mr. Thau is a director of Plant-It 2020, a tree planting foundation in Colorado, as well as a director of the Jazz Aspen Festival and Foundation. Mr. Thau's autobiography, Bronx to Broadway – A Life in Show Business, has been published by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

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