Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of Gloucester Stage's JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS
Gloucester Stage Company kicked off the 35th Anniversary Season on June 12 with Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, the internationally acclaimed musical revue of satirical and poignant songs by the late Belgian genius, Jacques Brel. Scroll down for a first look at the cast!
Encompassing themes of joy and sorrow, love and loss, life and death, this compilation of Brel's finest work celebrates the diverse complexity of the human heart. Often haunting, always vividly dramatic, sometimes funny, heart-rending and poetic, the songs of Jacques Brel have been recorded by countless artists throughout the world.
The revue features Brel classics including Marathon, Madeleine, Mathilde, Amsterdam, Brussels, Funeral Tango, Carousel, If We Only Have Love and many others. Directed by Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Eric C. Engel with musical direction by David McGrory, the production features Jennifer Ellis from 2011's Most Happy Fella, Daniel Robert Sullivan from 2013's Dueling Divas and GSC newcomers Shana Dirik and Douglas Jabara.
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is based on Jacques Brel's lyrics and commentary with all music by Brel. Eric Blau and Mort Shuman conceived the original production, translated Brel's lyrics into English and wrote additional material for the production. Translator Eric Blau and translator/rock composer Mort Shuman were so inspired by Brel's work they joined forces to adapt and assemble his songs into a stage production. Brel knew of Blau from reading his published translations and knew Shuman from working on English translations of his songs with him. Brel gave his approval and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris was born. The powerful musical theatre piece was first premiered off-Broadway in 1968 at the Village Gate in New York City's Greenwich Village where it enjoyed critical acclaim, SRO audiences and a record breaking five year run. Brel refused to attend the show's world premiere due to his vehement opposition to American involvement in Vietnam. He first saw the production in 1969 and returned again in 1972 when the show played a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall in honor of its fourth anniversary. The highly successful revue was made into a film in 1974, revived in New York in 1981 and 2006 and is still produced all over the world.
Director Eric C. Engel is in his eighth season as GSC's Artistic Director following two years serving as Producing & Associate Artistic Director and three years as a guest director. Jacques Brel...marks the 25th production he has directed at Gloucester Stage. Recent GSC directing credits includeSpring Awakening (recipient of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical), Dueling Divas, The Norman Conquests trilogy of plays, and Nine Circles (originally directed for the Publick Theatre Boston).
Music Director David McGrory makes his GSC debut with Jacques Brel... His credits include Next to Normal at The Accessible Theatre; Camelot andMarry Me a Little with New Repertory Theatre and HPT 164: There Will Be Flood with The Hasty Pudding. A composer as well, he holds an Artist Diploma (piano performance), from The Longy School of Music; a Graduate Diploma (piano performance) from New England Conservatory; and Bachelor of Music (performance) from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. His debut CD, "Beethoven & Bizet: Variations," was launched in 2012.
Daniel Robert Sullivan returns to Gloucester Stage Company. He made his Gloucester Stage debut in 2012's Carnival and returned to GSC in 2013 forDueling Divas. On tour he has been seen as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys in Toronto and in the National, and International Companies. Off Broadway he has appeared in I'm Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road at the York Theatre; Rangoon with Pan Asian Rep; andWhat You Get and What You Expect with New York Theatre Workshop. Regionally he has been seen at Kansas City Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Hudson Stage Company, Music Theatre of Connecticut, Oregon's Broadway Rose, Theatre-By-The-Sea, and Virginia's Barter Theatre. Mr. Sullivan is the author of a new theatre memoir: Places Please! (Becoming a Jersey Boy). A playwright as well, his first play, Prospect High: Brooklyn, has just had a developmental workshop at Roundabout Theatre Company in New York.
Jennifer Ellis is also returning to Gloucester Stage and last appeared there as Rosabella in 2011's Most Happy Fella, a role for which she won the 2012 IRNE Award. Most recently, she appeared in The Secret Garden at the Stoneham Theatre. She has also worked at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Central Square Theater, Speakeasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage, New Repertory Theatre and The Huntington Theatre Company. Ms. Ellis has worked often as an actor and narrator with the Boston Lyric Opera Signature Series. She attended Bridgewater State University and Circle in the Square Theater School.
Shana Dirik and Douglas Jabara make their Gloucester Stage Company debut in Jacques Brel... Ms. Dirik's most recent appearances include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at The Emerson Center for the Arts and the Boston Premiere of Fiddlehead Theater's production of A Little Princess. Douglas Jabara's most recent credits include Herbie in Gypsy, Dan in Next to Normal and Javert in LES MISERABLES. A native New Yorker, Mr. Jabara also enjoys teaching voice and maintains a private studio in Manhattan.
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris runs from June 12 through July 6. Gloucester Stage is handicapped accessible. Ticket prices are $40 for all performances. Senior citizen & student tickets are $35 for all performances. All performances are held at The Gorton Theatre, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or at www.gloucesterstage.com.
Photo Credit: Gary Ng
Shana Dirik, Daniel Robert Sullivan