Rachel York, Aaron Lazar and More Join Megan Hilty in Encores! GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
Rachel York will join Megan Hilty in the Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, opening May 9 at New York City Center. York will play the brunette, Dorothy Shaw, best friend of Lorelei, the diamond-loving blonde played by Hilty. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be directed by John Rando with music direction by Rob Berman and choreography by Randy Skinner and will play for seven performances, May 9 – 13, at New York City Center, 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
In addition to Megan Hilty and Rachel York, the cast includes Phillip Attmore, Steven Boyer, Brennan Brown, Stephen R. Buntrock, Jared Grimes, Simon Jones, Aaron Lazar, Deborah Rush, Sandra Shipley, Megan Sikora and Clarke Thorell with Callan Bergmann, Charissa Bertels, Sam Bolen, Eric Bourne, Kyle Brown, Robin Campbell, Christine DiGiallonardo, Luke Hawkins, Arlo Hill, Michael Marcotte, Nick McGough, Shannon M. O'Bryan, Lindsay O'Neil, Kristyn Pope, Lindsay Roberts, Kelly Sheehan, Jessica Vosk, Anna Aimee White and Matt Zimmerman.
Set in the Roaring Twenties, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes follows the madcap adventures of the original "dumb blonde," Lorelei Lee (Hilty), as she sets sail for Europe with her best friend Dorothy Shaw (York). Lorelei is engaged to Gus Esmond, the Button King (Clarke Thorell) and has a flirtation with Josephus Gage, The Zipper King (Stephen R. Buntrock). Traveling with them are Mrs.k Ella Spofford (Deborah Rush), the richest woman in Philadelphia, her son Henry (Aaron Lazar) and a ship full of colorful characters.
Based on Anita Loos's bestselling novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has a book by Anita Loos and Joseph Fields, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin. The show made a star of Carol Channing on Broadway and later cemented Marilyn Monroe's status as an American film icon and sex symbol in the 1953 screen version. "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is the crown jewel in a score that sparkles with songs like "Bye, Bye, Baby," "A Little Girl from Little Rock" and "I Love What I'm Doing (When I'm Doing it for Love)." The original production, directed by John C. Wilson and choreographed by Agnes De Mille, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 1949, and played a total of 740 performances. The show was revived by Tony Randall's National Actors Theater in 1995 and ran for 24 performances.
Phillip Attmore (Tap Dancer) has appeared in the Broadway productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has performed with Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen and Richard Harris. He has been nominated for the NAACP Theater Award and was cast in season six of "So You Think You Can Dance" as one of America's Top 20 dancers.
Steven Boyer (Louis Lemanteur) appeared in the Broadway revival of I'm Not Rappaport, and was seen off Broadway in The Ugly One, Hand To God, The School For Lies, The Coward and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Brennan Brown (Esmond Sr.) can currently be seen as Special Agent Donnelly on the CBS drama "Person of Interest". Recent TV/Film credits include I Love You Phillip Morris, State of Play, "Ugly Betty", "Damages," "Miss Marple" for Masterpiece Theater and the HBO miniseries "John Adams." He has appeared on Broadway in Major Barbara, The Persians, Right You Are, and in numerous off-Broadway & regional productions. He is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
Stephen R. Buntrock (Joseph Gage) has appeared on Broadway in A Little Night Music, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma! and Titanic.
Jared Grimes (Tap Dancer) last appeared at City Center in Cotton Club Parade. He has danced alongside Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, Jerry Lewis and Fayard Nicholas and toured with Mariah Carey. His credits include Babes in Arms at the Goodspeed Opera House;Sammy, directed by Debbie Allen; The Scottsboro Boys, directed by Susan Stroman (workshop); Pure Country, directed by Peter Masterson andVaudeville, directed by Christopher d'Amboise. Jared performed with Wynton Marsalis at the Kennedy Center on the occasion of the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Megan Hilty (Lorelei Lee) stars in the NBC musical drama, "Smash." She made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked, a role she repeated on the national tour and in Los Angeles. She played Doralee, the Dolly Parton role, in the Broadway production of 9 to 5: The Musical, (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League Award nominations) and starred in Two by Two opposite Jason Alexander and Faith Prince as part of the reprise series in Los Angeles. She is currently in production on the animated film Dorothy of Oz with Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele.
Simon Jones (Sir Francis Beekman) made his Broadway debut in The Real Thing (1984) and has since appeared in Benefactors, The School for Scandal, Getting Married, Private Lives, The Real Inspector Hound/Hamlet, The Herbal Bed, Ring Round the Moon, Waiting in the Wings andBlithe Spirit. His off-Broadway/regional theater credits include Death takes a Holiday, Long Island Sound, Home and The Cocktail Party. Simon's television credits include the roles of Bridey in "Brideshead Revisited" and Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy."
Aaron Lazar (Henry Spofford) has appeared on Broadway in A Tale of Two Cities, Impressionism starring Jeremy Irons, the revival of Les Miserables and most recently, A Little Night Music. He also starred as Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center. Aaron appeared in a concert staging of Stephen Sondheim's Company with Neil Patrick Harris. He recently starred in Michael John LaChiusa's new musical Giant at the Dallas Theater Center.
Deborah Rush (Mrs. Ella Spofford) was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her appearance in Noises Off. Her other Broadway credits include Blithe Spirit, Absurd Person Singular, The Sisters Rosensweig and Hay Fever. She has been seen in the films Julie & Julia,American Pie 3, You've Got Mail, In and Out, Big Business, Purple Rose of Cairo and Zelig.
Megan Sikora (Gloria Stark) appeared on Broadway in How to Succeed.., Promises, Promises, Curtains, Wicked, Dracula, Wonderful Town,Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street. Megan's Encores! credits include Fanny, Applause and A Connecticut Yankee.
Clarke Thorell (Gus Esmond, Jr) appeared on Broadway in Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, Sinatra…His Way, Titanic and The Who's Tommy. His off-Broadway credits include Satellites, Sondheim's Saturday Night, Wise Guys and Lone Star Love. Clarke played Charlie Bentham in theEncores! production of Juno.
Rachel York (Dorothy Shaw) has appeared on Broadway as Fantine in Les Misérables; Norma in Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award) with Julie Andrews; Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel; Miss Fancy in Sly Fox with Richard Dreyfuss; and Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrelswith Jonathan Pryce. She appeared off-Broadway opposite Julie Andrews in Stephen Sondheim's Putting It Together and in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Dessa Rose. Most recently, Rachel was seen in The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman and created the role of Cruella de Vil in The 101 Dalmatians Musical directed by Jerry Zaks.
John Rando (Director)'s Broadway credits include The Wedding Singer, Urinetown (Tony Award for Best Director), The Dinner Party and A Thousand Clowns. His other credits include The Toxic Avenger at New World Stages and Polish Joke at Manhattan Theatre Club. His previousEncores! credits include On the Town, Damn Yankees, Face the Music, Strike Up the Band, Do Re Mi, The Pajama Game and Of Thee I Sing.
Randy Skinner (Choreographer) is an award-winning director, choreographer and performer whose work has encompassed Broadway, National and International tours, and regional theatres. He received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Astaire nominations for his choreography for42nd Street. His many credits include the Broadway productions of State Fair (Outer Critics nomination), Ain't Broadway Grand (Tony, Outer Critics nominations), After the Night and The Music (MTC/Biltmore), Irving Berlin's White Christmas, and the Encores! productions of Do Re Mi, Of Thee I Sing, Face the Music and No, No Nanette.
Rob Berman (Music Director) has been music director of Encores! for the past five seasons, and has conducted Merrily We Roll Along, Pipe Dream, Where's Charley?, Lost in the Stars, Bells Are Ringing, Anyone Can Whistle, Fanny, Finian's Rainbow, Music in the Air, Damn Yankees, Applause and Stairway to Paradise, as well as several gala concerts. Broadway conducting credits include Finian's Rainbow, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, The Pajama Game, The Apple Tree, Wonderful Town and Promises, Promises, among others. He is a three-time Emmy nominee for his work as music director of the Kennedy Center Honors and a winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical Direction for his work on the Kennedy Center's production of SUNDAY IN THE Park with George. He was also music director for A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is generously supported by The Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, Lincoln and Roz and Jerry Meyer.
In addition, Encores! is supported by Newman's Own Foundation. Paul Newman was committed to helping make the world a better place. To carry on his philanthropic legacy, Newman's Own Foundation donates to charity all net royalties and profits after taxes from the sale of Newman's Own products. To date, Paul Newman and Newman's Own Foundation have given over $300 million to thousands of charities around the world. For more information, visit www.newmansownfoundation.org.
New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city for nearly 70 years. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 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 and 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." Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start, and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival and a partnership with London's Sadler's Wells Theatre, remain central to City Center's identity. 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. Last year, City Center completed an extensive renovation project to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.
City Center is located on 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will run for seven performances, May 9 – 13,according to the following schedule: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.