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Photo Flash: 'tick, tick...BOOM!' At Westport Country Playhouse

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From the genius who created the smash hit, "Rent," comes "tick, tick...BOOM!," a vital American musical about a young artist on the verge in New York City. Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, Connecticut, will stage this lesser-known work by Jonathan Larson, June 23 through July 18. The director is Scott Schwartz, who helmed the original off-Broadway production of "tick, tick... BOOM!," winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for outstanding musical.

The cast includes Wilson Cruz as Michael, Colin Hanlon as Jon and Pearl Sun as Susan.

Cruz appeared on the popular television series "My So-Called Life" and received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Angel in the Broadway production of "Rent." He is in the recent film "He's Just Not that into You" opposite Drew Barrymore. Wilson won both a Young Artist Award and ALMA for his acting pursuits, and in 2008, received the prestigious Visibilidad Award from GLAAD.

Hanlon's Broadway/Off-Broadway credits include "Rent," "Pirates of Penzance" and "I Love You Because." Regionally, Hanlon spent three seasons at George Street Playhouse doing "tick...tick..BOOM!," "The Last Five Years" and "Falsettos." He was in the first professional production of "Edges" by Pasek & Paul and in Jim Henson's "Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas" at Goodspeed Opera House.

Ms. Sun recently completed her run in Lincoln Center Theater's production of "Happiness," directed by Susan Stroman. Other credits include Broadway's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and Off-Broadway's "Walmartopia." She was in the world premiere of "Long Story Short" for which she garnered a Bay Area Critics Theatre Circle Award nomination.

Jonathan Larson received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "Rent." He also won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical and the 1994 Richard Rodgers Award for "Rent" and twice received The Gilman & Gonzales-Falla Theatre Foundation's Commendation Award. In 1989 he was granted the Stephen Sondheim Award from American Music Theatre Festival, where he contributed to the musical "Sitting on the Edge of the Future." In 1988 he won the Richard Rodgers Development Grant for his rock musical "Superbia," which was staged at Playwrights Horizon. He composed the score for the musical "J.P. Morgan Saves the Nation," which was presented by En Garde Arts in 1995. Mr. Larson performed his rock monologue "tick, tick... BOOM!" at Second Stage Theatre, The Village Gate and New York Theatre Workshop. In addition to scoring and song writing for "Sesame Street," he created music for a number of children's book-cassettes, including Steven Spielberg's "An American Tail" and "Land Before Time." Other film scores include work for Rolling Stone Magazine publisher Jann Wenner. He conceived, directed and wrote four original songs for "Away We Go!," a musical video for children. "Rent," his rock opera based on "La Boheme," had its world premiere on February 13, 1996 at New York Theatre Workshop. Mr. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on January 25, 1996, ten days before his 36th birthday.

Scott Schwartz directed the original off-Broadway production of "tick, tick... Boom!," as well as the national tour, London and Los Angeles productions. On Broadway, he directed "Golda's Balcony" and "Jane Eyre" (co-directed with John Caird). Off-Broadway, he helmed "Bat Boy: The Musical," "Rooms - a rock romance," "The Foreigner" starring Matthew Broderick for Roundabout Theatre, "Kafka's The Castle" and "No Way to Treat a Lady." Recent credits include "Othello" and "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Alley Theatre and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" at Paper Mill Playhouse and North Shore Music Theatre. For radio, he directed the Grammy-nominated recording of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. He is Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre and a graduate of Harvard University.

The production team includes Charles Czarnciki, musical director (conductor for Broadway's "Jersey Boys"); Christopher Gattelli, choreographer (Tony, Outer Critics Circle award nominations for Broadway's "South Pacific"); David Farley, scenic design (Tony Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for "Sunday in the Park with George"); Ilona Somogyi, costume design (Westport Country Playhouse's "Scramble!," "Vigil," "Sedition," "The Voice of the Turtle"); Herrick Goldman, lighting design ("The Who's Tommy: 15th Anniversary Concert"); Jon Weston, sound design (AUDELCO Award for "Caroline, or Change"); Janet Foster, C.S.A., casting; and Matthew Melchoirre, production stage manager.

"tick, tick...BOOM!" contains mature language and themes.

Board of trustees partners for "tick, tick...BOOM!" are Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler.

Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a treasured home for the performing arts and is a cultural landmark for Connecticut. Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management direction of Michael Ross, the Playhouse creates quality productions of new and classic plays that enlighten, enrich and engage a diverse community of theater lovers, artists and students. The Playhouse's rich history dates back to 1931, when New York theatre producer Lawrence Langner created a Broadway-quality stage within an 1830s tannery. The Playhouse quickly became an established stop on the New England "straw hat circuit" of summer stock theatres. Now celebrating its 79th season, Westport Country Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway, most recently the world premiere of "Thurgood" and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with Paul Newman, and in earlier years "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth, "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish, and "Butterflies Are Free" with Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner. For its artistic excellence, the Playhouse received a 2005 Governor's Arts Award and a 2000 "Connecticut Treasure" recognition. It was also designated as an Official Project of Save America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is entered on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, the Playhouse transformed into a year-round, state-of-the-art producing theater, which has preserved its original charm and character. In addition to a full season of theatrical productions, the Playhouse serves as a community resource, presenting educational programming and workshops; a children's theater series; symposiums; music; films; and readings.

For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westportplayhouse.org.

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