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Stanley and Von Essen to Star in Xanadu Tour

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Stanley and Von Essen to Star in Xanadu TourCasting is announced for the anticipated Chicago and Midwest premiere of the surprise hit Broadway musical XANADU at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place. Performances are scheduled to begin January 16, 2009 and individual tickets are now on sale.

XANADU in Chicago will star Elizabeth Stanley as "Kira" (played in the film version by Olivia Newton-John), Max von Essen as "Sonny," Sharon Wilkins and Joanna Glushak as the evil Muses "Melpomene" and "Calliope," respectively, and Larry Marshal as "Danny" (played in the film version by Gene Kelly). XANADU's cast also features Tallia Brinson, Amy Goldberger, Vince Rodriguez III, Jason Michael Snow, Kristofer Stock, JB Wing and Chicagoland-natives Julius Thomas III and Tiffany Topol.

XANADU opened at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre to critical acclaim on July 10, 2007 as the first new musical of the 2007-2008 season. Since the 2007 opening, the award-winning musical garnered the best reviews of the season, with critics and audiences leaping to their feet! Winner of Best Musical (Outer Critics Circle Award) and Best Book (Drama Desk Award), The New York Times raves XANADU is "heaven on wheels," and the Washington Post says this musical is "a triumph!"

This wildly funny musical delivers a surprisingly touching story about the nine magical muse-daughters of Zeus, who come to earth in 1980 (disguised in roller skates, leg warmers and Australian accents) to inspire humans to create truly great work and discover the meaning of the universe's greatest secret: the Gift of XANADU. Zeus' most important decree is they can't fall in love with any mortals! But all that changes when the young Kira meets the handsome artist Sonny, who needs her help in achieving his greatest dream. It is only when Sonny teaches Kira the true meaning of inspiration, that the secret of XANADU is revealed!

With a book "ingeniously adapted" (New York Times) by Douglas Carter Beane, and a score by Jeff Lynne (writer and producer for the Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.)) and John Farrar (responsible for most of the hits performed by Olivia Newton-John in the 1970's), XANADU features the top 20 Billboard hits, "Magic," "Xanadu," "All Over the World" and "I'm Alive." Award-winning Christopher Ashley directs "at roller-derby speed" (New York Times) with choreography by Dan Knechtges.

XANADU also features scenic design by Tony Award winner David Gallo, costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley, projections design by Zachary Borovay, wig and hair design by Charles G. LaPointe and musical direction by Eric Stern.

XANADU is produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith, B. Swibel, Mickey Liddell, and Cari Smulyan.

XANADU performances begin January 16, 2009 at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut St.

Individual tickets range in price from $67.50 - $87 and are currently on-sale at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., and 18 W. Monroe St.), the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place Box Office (175 E. Chestnut St), through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (312) 902-1400, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Carson Pirie Scott stores, Hot Tix, select Coconuts and fye stores) or online at ticketmaster.com. Groups of 20 or more may receive a discount by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales (312) 977-1710. (312) 977-1710.

XANADU is proud to follow in the tradition of the Broadway company and offer special on-stage seating to each performance for $25.

XANADU is part of the 2009 Broadway In Chicago Season Series.

Elizabeth Stanley (Kira) is thrilled to be re-visiting the 80's on skates! On Broadway Elizabeth was most recently starred as Allison in Cry-Baby, and received much attention for her portrayal of April in the Tony Award-winning revival of Company (which was also recorded for PBS' "Great Performances"). Favorite regional credits include: Eliza in My Fair Lady, Brooke in Noises Off, Sugar in Sugar, Amneris in Aida, Maria in The Sound of Music, Daisy in Side Show, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Lucy in the operetta The Telephone. TV: "Chappelle's Show," and Fox's "Fringe." She holds a BA in vocal performance and music theatre from the Indiana University School of Music.

Max von Essen (Sonny) Broadway credits include the revival of Les Miserables (Enjolras), Dance of the Vampires (Alfred), the original Les Miserables (final cast), and the 2000 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar (Disciple/Jesus). He has appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow (Woody, Irish Repertory Theatre/cast recording); The Fantasticks (Matt); John and Paul (Paul McCartney); in tours of Chicago (Mary Sunshine); West Side Story (Tony); The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber; and singing alongside Liza Minnelli in her international concert tour. Max also performed the role of Tremont in Jerry Springer: The Musical at Carnegie Hall (with Harvey Keitel). Regional credits include Sweeney Todd (Anthony, Sacramento Music Theatre), Mame (Patrick, The Kennedy Center), Simeon's Gift (Simeon, Bay Street Theatre), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Guy, Two River Theatre), The Baker's Wife (Dominique, Paper Mill Playhouse), Cabaret (Emcee, Sacramento Music Circus), Pirates of Penzance (Fredric, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera), Dorian (Dorian Gray, LA Premiere), Auntie Mame (Older Patrick, Bay Street Theatre), My Fair Lady (Freddy, Pittsburgh CLO and Paper Mill Playhouse), Joseph... Dreamcoat (Joseph, Sacramento Music Circus), Hair (Claude, Bay Street Theatre), Blood Brothers (Eddie, Downtown Cabaret Theatre) and various others. On television, Max has been seen on MTV, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The Tony Awards," numerous commercials, and singing the National Anthem at dozens of Yankees games, including The World Series. For more information and upcoming appearances, visit www.MaxvonEssen.com.

Sharon Wilkins (Melpomene) was last seen on Broadway in All Shook Up (Sylvia), Seussical the Musical (Sour Kangaroo) and The Life (Chi Chi). Other credits include Dreamgirls, Once On This Island, South Pacific, Ain't Misbehavin', Little Shop of Horrors, and My Fair Lady. Sharon's television and film credits include "I Robot;" "National Treasure;" "Maid in Manhattan;" "Bad Boys II;" "Palindromes;" "Two Weeks Notice;" "Keane;" "We Own the Night;" "Law & Order SVU;" "30 Rock;" "Third Watch;" "Wonderland;" "100 Centre Street;" and "Rescue Me." Upcoming projects include the feature film "Gigantic" with John Goodman. "I would like to thank my family and friends for all their love and support."

Joanna Glushak (Caliope) Broadway: The Original Cast of Les Miserables, Sunday in the Park With George, Hairspray, Urinetown, The Sweet Smell Of Success, Rags, Welcome to the Club and Conversations With My Father. National Tour: Hairspray, Evita and Fiddler On the Roof. Off-Broadway: The NY Shakespeare Festival ,Playwrights Horizons and Manhattan Theatre Club. Regionally Joanna Has performed at The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Rep, The Huntington Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Rep. .Joanna is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. You can see a Sample of Joannas' new TV show on YouTube under: "Juanita Ramirez, The Lonely Latin Lady"

Larry Marshall (Danny) recently appeared in the Broadway production of The Color Purple (Ole Mister). In 2006 he was seen as The General and The Farmer in Mother Courage with Meryl Streep. Larry received nominations for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his portrayal of "Sportin' Life" in The Houston Grand Opera's Grammy Award winning production of Porgy and Bess. In 1990 Larry made his official Metropolitan Opera debut in the opera under the baton of James Levine and has gone on to perform the role at La Bastille in Paris and the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan. Other Broadway credits include Gower Champion's Rockaby Hamlet (Hamlet); Hair (Berger and Hud); The Full Monty (Horse); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine); Bob Fosse's Big Deal (Slick); Comin' Uptown with Gregory Hines (The Ghost of Christmas Past); Play On! (Sweets); and Three Penny Opera with Sting (Tiger Brown). Among his regional theater credits are Jesus Christ Superstar at Paper Mill Playhouse (Judas); Looking Over the President's Shoulder at Portland Stage, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco and Capital Repertory Theatre (Alonzo Fields); Museum at the Folger Shakespeare Library / Theater in Washington, D.C.; and Driving Miss Daisy at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York (Hoke). Larry appeared with Gwyneth Paltrow in the Williamstown Theatre production of As You Like It (Adam). He played in Arthur Miller's first musical venture Up from Paradise (Lucifer); Duke Ellington's Queenie Pie at Philadelphia's American Music Theatre Festival and The Kennedy Center (Male Lead); and Leonard Bernstein's Mass (Preacher), which opened The Kennedy Center and later played The Metropolitan Opera House. His film credits includes "The Cotton Club" (Cab Calloway); "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Simon Zealotes); "Panic in Needle Park" (Mickey); and Showtime's "Keep the Faith" (Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.). He made appearances for three seasons in Showtime's "Soul Food" (Jeremiah Joseph) and was featured on The Comedy Channel's "Strangers with Candy" (Jazzy).

TALLIA BRINSON (Ensemble) is very excited about putting on skates every night again. Growing up in Atlanta, skating was a weekend pastime of hers. Originally a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Tallia received a BFA in Theater Arts from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Some of her credits include Rent National Tour (Mimi), Caroline or Change at Arden Theatre Company (Radio 2), and two productions of High School Musical (Taylor) at North Shore Music Theater and The Muny. "This run is dedicated to my family for being the most fun, loving, silly, and supportive people I could ever ask for."

Amy Goldberger (Ensemble) is thrilled to be a part of Xanadu! Recent credits include Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey) and Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up is Hard to Do starring Renée Taylor (Lois). Off Broadway credits include The Body Beautiful at The York Theatre Company (Kathy), The Prince and the Pauper at Lamb's Theatre (Annie). Amy has toured with The Sound of Music, Leader of the Pack with Mary Wilson and Joseph... Dreamcoat. Other credits are Daisy in Side Show at Signature Theatre (Helen Hayes nominee), Urinetown at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Little Becky) and Footloose at Kansas City Starlight Theatre and North Shore Music Theatre. Amy earned a BFA at Ithaca College. "Thanks to the Xanadu team and Avalon artists group. Love to Mom, Dad and Josh."

Vincent Rodriguez III (Ensemble) is so stoked to be hitting the road with the 1st National tour of Xanadu. Righteous! "I'd like to give personal thanks to Cindy, Adam, the whole Xanadu family, Jim Flynn and to all those supported me and my dreams. I am forever grateful." Proud member of the Actors Equity Association.

KRISTOFER L. STOCK (Ensemble) has been in the National Tours of Joseph...Dreamcoat starring Patrick Cassidy and Amy Adams, Starlight Express and Footloose. Favorite regional production is Altar Boyz (Matthew); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy); Hair (Woof); and Grease (Roger). Look for Kristofer in "Bride Wars" (Officer Not Your Husband) starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in theaters January 2009. "Thanks to family and friends for unending love and support!" Proud member of Actors' Equity Association.

Julius Thomas III (Ensemble) is a Gary, IN native and, thus, feels right at home being back in Chicago! Most recently Julius originated the role of Buford in Hunter Foster's Bonnie & Clyde at the NY Musical Theatre Festival. He spent two and a half years in the National Touring and Chicago Companies of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! He has had much regional success appearing at West Virginia Public Theatre, Music Theatre of Wichita, Lyric Theatre of OK., Stage One, Caberet Old Town, Wichita Center for the Arts, and many more. Wichita State Grad! Julius is most proud of his one man Cabaret Soulful Kid Again which played to a standing room only crowd! Currently he is writing music for independent artists, and working on his own solo project. He could not be more thrilled to work on Xanadu!

TIFFANY TOPOL (Ensemble) is more-thrilled-than-you-can-possibly-imagine to be joining the cast of Xanadu. She most recently played in David H. Bell's new adaptation of The Boys From Syracuse (Luciana/Drury Lane Oakbrook). Other credits include Nunsense; Seussical; The Wizard of Oz at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois; and The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Noble Fool Theatricals in St. Charles, Illinois. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Millikin University. Much love and thanks to her parents, her lovely boy, and the Chicagoland theatre community for being so good to her.

J.B. Wing (Ensemble) has been in Broadway's High Fidelity at Imperial Theatre and at off Broadway's St. Luke's Theatre in Bingo. Favorite regional productions are Lucky Duck at The Old Globe (director, John Rando) and Oklahoma! at The Cherry County Playhouse with Sandy Duncan. She thanks her agent, Chris Nichols. She also thanks her Mom, Dad, teachers and the rest of her wonderful family.

 

 

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