Emma Center and Sean Hardin Star in TUTS' XANADU, Beg. Tonight
Grab your skates and sweatbands as Theatre Under The Stars' (TUTS) Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) takes you back to the 1980s for the Houston premiere of the hilarious roller skating musical Xanadu! Playing at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts tonight and tomorrow, September 13 - 14, 2013, Xanadu will feature an all-teen cast made entirely of local high school students who train at the professional and award-winning Humphreys School.
"TUTS is thrilled to present the Houston premiere of the brilliantly entertaining show Xanadu and who better than the students of the Humphreys School to make that happen. We are confident this production will push the performance skills of our students to the next level." stated TUTS Artistic Director, Bruce Lumpkin.
Xanadu follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens to inspire the greatest of artistic achievements - the first roller disco! Along the way she falls in forbidden love with a mortal, and chaos abounds when her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation. Rolling along with charm, Xanadu glitters to an original hit score composed by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar with classic feel-good songs like "Magic," "All Over the World," "Suddenly," "I'm Alive," "Evil Woman," "Have You Never Been Mellow" and the title song, "Xanadu."
Starring as Kira, and making her TUTS debut, is Westside High School senior, Emma Center. Sugar Land native, Sean Hardin, appears as Sonny Malone, the mortal chalk artist who falls in love with Kira. TUTS veteran Michael Tapley steps into the role of Danny Maguire, the hard-nosed businessman who owns the Xanadu theater. Maddie Baillio, a senior at Clear Falls High School, stars as Kira's oldest sister, Melpomene, who plots her downfall alongside Calliope, played by Spring native Madeline Dennison. Greek muses will be played by Mckenna Marmolejo, Raegan Roberts , Michelle Smith and Katja Yanko.
Rounding out the cast are Blair Baldwin, Hunter Burke, Bianca Canal, Lucas Champagne, Bethany Eggleston, Daniel Fonseka, Deion Galindo, Preston Granger, Rachel Heffelfinger, Dylan Lambert,London Lane, Sam Linda, Ashlyn Maddox, Alexa Magro, Jacob Major, William Metivier, Denitsa Nikolova, Savannah Schakett, Matthew Smith and Desi Stephens.
Directing the TUTS' production of Xanadu is Chesley Krohn, a renowned actor and director within the Houston community. Her professional career spans the realms of starring in shows like The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (Las Vegas), A Chorus Line and A...My Name Is Alice. Krohn has taught at the University of Houston, the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and Houston Community College where she initiated a dance program. The challenging task of creating dance choreography on wheels is superbly done by Shay Rodgers, a native Houstonian who is currently in her 26th year with Theatre Under The Stars. Rodgers not only serves as the Manager of Education for the Humphreys School, but has also choreographed several HSMT productions including Legally Blonde the Musical, VOTE! A New Musical, The Who's Tommy, and 13. John Cornelius serves as Music Director and has been the music director/arranger/composer for a number of theatres including The Great Caruso, The Ensemble Theatre, Main Street Theatre and Theatre Under The Stars. He has worked with the Humphreys School as Music Director on the productions of VOTE! A New Musical, The Who's Tommy, 13 and as Co-Creator/Musical and Vocal Arranger for The Stephen Schwartz Project.
Tickets for Xanadu are available on-line at www.tuts.com, by phone at (713) 558-8887, outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882, or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm). A student matinee performance for school and home-schooled groups is available and may be purchased by calling TUTS' Group Sales at (713) 558-8888 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are available for September 13 at 7:30 p.m. and September 14 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m,
Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston's acclaimed nonprofit musical theatre company whose mission is to enrich life through the experience of quality musical theatre and to positively impact lives beyond the stage through innovative education and community engagement programs. TUTS performs annually in Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center and at Miller Outdoor Theatre. TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public when it was founded in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the theatre opened. Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge and Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world. Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS regularly helps mount shows on Broadway which eventually show locally to Houston audiences.
In support of TUTS' mission, TUTS' Education & Community Engagement programs provide year-round instruction and stage experience. The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages. Through The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for individuals of all abilities. TUTS Education & Community Engagement provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites. TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.
Photo Credit: Claire McAdams