Blickenstaff, Lewis, Murney & More Star In Signature's FIRST YOU DREAM Kander & Ebb Celebration 9/10-27

August 26
8:52 2009
Blickenstaff, Lewis, Murney & More Star In Signature's FIRST YOU DREAM Kander & Ebb Celebration 9/10-27

The 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award® winning-Signature Theatre presents the world premiere theater event First You Dream": The Music of Kander & Ebb, September 10 through 27, 2009. A tribute to Broadway's most celebrated songwriting partnership - from Cabaret to Chicago to Curtains - Signature pulls out the stops with Broadway's Heidi Blickenstaff, James Clow, Norm Lewis, Julia Murney, Matthew Scott, and Eleasha Gamble and a 19-piece orchestra, plus staging and set design by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and choreography by Karma Camp. The Broadway touch continues with new orchestrations created by Tony Award winner William David Brohn and musical supervision and new vocal arrangements by David Loud. First You Dream will be performed in the company's larger yet very intimate 299-seat theater, The Max, with tickets priced at $60 and $65.

Director Schaeffer described the world premiere: "First You Dream is Broadway razzle dazzle! With six performers and a19 piece-orchestra, Kander and Ebb's canon of work is brought to exciting life with over 35 songs discovered and reinvented for this theatrical event. We're doing numbers from all 17 of their musicals and most of their movies. With new discoveries as well as the amazing songs that everyone knows - and brand-new orchestrations and vocal arrangements - this is Kander and Ebb like you've never heard before!"

With First You Dream , Signature continues its intimate relationship with the works of the great Broadway songwriting team of Fred Ebb and John Kander which received national attention during Signature's acclaimed 2008 Kander & Ebb Celebration. First You Dream spans 43 years of outstanding musicals starting from Kander and Ebb's first show, Flora, the Red Menace in 1965, through their most recent musical, The Visit, which starred Chita Rivera and George Hearn last year at Signature.

First You Dream spotlights Broadway stars Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid, [title of show], and D.C.'s Helen Hayes Award winner for Meet John Doe), James Clow (Assassins, Company, and Peter Pan's Captain Hook opposite Cathy Rigby), Norm Lewis (The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, and the title role in Signature's Sweeney Todd), Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party, and Lucille Lortel nominee for Time and Again), Matthew Scott (Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair, and the title role in Signature's Ace), and Signature favorite Eleasha Gamble (Into the Woods, Urinetown, and the Sondheim Award Gala).

The behind-the-scenes team is led by director Eric Schaeffer who took on set design as well. Two of musical theater's leading creative talents, Tony Award-winning orchestrator William David Brohn (Wicked, Miss Saigon, Ragtime) with his new orchestrations, and David Loud (Curtains, Steel Pier, And the World Goes ‘Round) with musical supervision and new vocal arrangements, are complemented by the conducting of Signature's resident musical director Jon Kalbfleisch. Lighting design is by Mark Lanks, costume coordination by Kathleen Geldard, and choreography is by the nationally known, Washington-based choreographer Karma Camp.

First You Dream: The Kander & Ebb Concert is sponsored by the Bernard Family Foundation. Special thanks to Macy's for their support, with additional thanks to Bradshaw Smith of Broadway Beat.

The first performance of First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb on September 10 is Signature's Third Annual American Musical Concert Benefit with a special reception honoring John Kander. For more information, please contact Emily Hill at (571) 527-1828 or Performances of First You Dream then continue through September 27 in Signature's MAX Theatre. Show times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The press performance is Saturday, September 12 at 8:00 pm.

Tickets for First You Dream are $60 and $65 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328) or visiting Group discounts are available for parties of ten or more by contacting Discounts are also available for students, teachers, members of the military, and seniors.

Starting one hour before and extending for one hour after performances, patrons can visit Ali's Bar for outstanding wine, beer, mixed drinks, and chef-prepared light fare. The theater's much praised source of refreshment overlooking a tree-lined boulevard has been masterminded by wine expert Suzanne McGraff, the proprietor of Shirlington's acclaimed wine store, "The Curious Grape." The purchase of tickets is not required to eat or drink at Ali's Bar.

Dirty Blonde, a play with music about Mae West starring Emily Skinner, is currently playing in Signature's 110-seat ARK Theatre through October 4 to sold-out houses. Other offerings in Signature's 20th anniversary season include Show Boat, I Am My Own Wife, Sweeney Todd, [title of show], and the world premiere of Sycamore Trees. For more information visit

Heidi Blickenstaff BROADWAY: The Little Mermaid (Ursula), [title of show] (Heidi), The Full Monty. OFF-BROADWAY: Vineyard Theatre: [title of show] (Heidi). DC AREA: Ford's: Meet John Doe (Ann, Helen Hayes Award, dir. Eric Schaeffer). REGIONAL: Goodspeed Opera's Norma Terris Theatre: The Girl in the Frame (Laney); Theatreworks (Palo Alto): Bat Boy: The Musical (MerEdith Parker, Bay Area premiere), New York Stage and Film: Prairie (Caroline Ingalls, dir. Francesca Zambello). TOURS: The Full Monty, Jekyll & Hyde, Steel Pier, The Who's Tommy, Dreamgirls. TV: PBS's "Word World" (voiceover cast). EDUCATION: Duke University. Heidi recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with The Gay Men's Chorus.

James Clow BROADWAY: Assassins, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers. OFF-BROADWAY: Mark Blitzstein's Juno. NEW YORK: Madison Square Garden (and across America) Peter Pan (Captain Hook, with Cathy Rigby); City Center's Encores!: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. NATIONAL TOURS: Les Misérables (Javert), Jekyll and Hyde (Utterson), Oklahoma! (Curly), Sunset Boulevard (Artie), Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter), Into The Woods. OTHER: PBS's "Great Performances" - Sondheim, a Celebration at Carnegie Hall; Emmy Award-winning "Live from Lincoln Center"'s Passion (starring Patti LuPone). EDUCATION: Syracuse University, BFA; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts; studied with the Groundlings.

Eleasha Gamble SIGNATURE: Partial Eclipse, Stephen Sondheim Award Gala, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Best Ensemble), Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Urinetown, Follies, Grand Hotel, Gospel According to Fishman, The Christmas Carol Rag, The Rink, Company. OFF-BROADWAY: Zipper Theatre: Under the Bridge. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Broadway: Three Generations; Arena: The Women of Brewster Place; Ford's: Civil War, Meet John Doe; Round House: Once On This Island (Helen Hayes nomination); Olney: Joseph..., Oliver, West Side Story; Toby's: Ragtime (Helen Hayes nomination). REGIONAL: ALLIANCE THEATRE (Atlanta): The Women of Brewster Place; Perseverance Theatre (Alaska): Hair. CABARET: Signature: Lost Songs Vol. II, Last Garage Hurrah; Ebony & Ivory, Ebony & Ivory: The Second Coming. RECORDINGS: Euan Morton's New Clear. EDUCATION: Catholic University.

Norm Lewis SIGNATURE: Sweeney Todd (Sweeney). BROADWAY: The Little Mermaid (King Triton), Les Misérables (Javert), Dessa Rose (Nathan), Chicago (Billy Flynn), Amour (Painter), Dreamgirls Benefit (Curtis), The Wild Party (Eddie), Side Show (Jake), Miss Saigon (John), Tommy. OFF-BROADWAY: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine), Captain's Courageous (Doc), A New Brain (Roger). INTERNATIONAL: Miss Saigon (John), Metro (Marc). NATIONAL TOUR: Once on this Island, Four Score and 7 Years Ago. REGIONAL: Denver Center: The Little Mermaid (King Triton); Pittsburgh CLO: Dreamgirls (Curtis); Sacramento Music Theatre: The Fantasticks (El Gallo); North Caroline Theatre: Ragtime (Coalhouse Walker); Fox Theatre: Dreamgirls (Curtis, with Jennifer Holliday); Helen Hayes PAC: Company (Bobby); Gateway Playhouse: Once on This Island (Agwe); Cleveland Playhouse: Abyssinia (Marcus); Shawnee Playhouse: Pippin; Harrah's Marina Hotel: A Funny Thing...Forum (Protesto, with Nipsy Russell). TV: "Mystery Woman 10," "On the One," "Strong Medicine," "Confidences," "All My Children," "Cosby," "As the World Turns," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

Julia Murney BROADWAY: Wicked (Elphaba). NATIONAL TOUR: Wicked (Elphaba, Acclaim Award). OFF-BROADWAY: Lennon, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Drama Desk nomination), The Vagina Monologues, A Class Act, Saved, Crimes of the Heart, First Lady Suite, Time and Again (Lucille Lortel nomination). REGIONAL: Williamstown, Reprise! (LA), Sacramento Music Circus, NCT, Rubicon, Goodspeed, others. CONCERT: performances at Joe's Pub, Feinstein's, Kennedy Center, Caramoor, Town Hall, Birdland; performances with Peter Nero, Philly Pops. TV: "30 Rock," "Sex and the City," "Ed," "NYPD Blue," "Law and Order" (all three), many voiceovers. RECORDINGS: The Wild Party, A Class Act, Hair (Actor's Fund, Grammy nomination), solo album "I'm Not Waiting" (Sh-K-Boom Records). EDUCATION: Syracuse University.

Matthew Scott SIGNATURE: The title role in Ace; BROADWAY: Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Actor's Fund). REGIONAL: Old Globe: A Catered Affair; Paper Mill Playhouse: Ragtime (Houdini), My Fair Lady, Carousel; Alliance Theater: tick, tick... BOOM! (Jonathan); The Muny: West Side Story (Tony), Side by Side by Sondheim, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls; Pittsburgh CLO: Les Misérables (Marius), Swing! (Male Diva #2), 1776 (Courier); Pittsburgh Music Theater: Bat Boy (Bat Boy); York Theater: Greenwillow. Matthew has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Erich Kunzel. TV: "All My Children," 2006 & 2008 Tony Awards. WORKSHOPS: Catch Me if You Can, The Flamingo Kid. EDUCATION: BFA, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

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by Peter Danish