Huffman, Rapp, Moses And More Join Inge Festival, Begins 4/13
A cast of Broadway veterans will converge on a small Kansas town April 13 to perform a new musical comedy by Sheldon Harnick, co-creator of "Fiddler on the Roof."
Tony-winning actress and singer Cady Huffman ("The Producers"); Burke Moses, the original Gaston of "Beauty and Beast;" and actor, singer, and top-selling author Anthony Rapp ("Rent"); and John Schuck ("M*A*S*H, " "MacMillan & Wife," "The Munsters," "Annie") are among four of the multi-talented performers of the new musical comedy "A Doctor in Spite of Himself."
It takes place as the opening of the 30th Annual William Inge Theatre Festival, in Independence, Kansas, which runs April 13-16. The book, lyrics and music of "A Doctor in Spite of Himself" are by Sheldon Harnick, of "Fiddler on the Roof" fame, who will also be at the Inge Festival for this preview performance.
Tickets are now on sale at www.ingefestival.org or at (620) 332-5491.
"A Doctor in Spite of Himself" performs Wednesday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the William Inge Theatre at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas.
Further cast members include: Alan Safier (national tour of "Goodnight, Gracie"); Patrick Richwood (Helen Hayes Award for "The Foreigner"); Elena Shaddow, (currently on Broadway as Anne in "La Cage Aux Folles," "The Woman in White"). Kansas City-based actress Cynthia Hyer, and local performer Dean Hayse is also featured.
"Most Broadway shows would be thrilled to have an ensemble cast as good as this," said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center Artistic Director. "It is a great privilege and joy to host these fine artists and to help Sheldon Harnick continue to develop this exciting show. Independence is fast becoming a premiere showcase for America's great playwrights."
Director David Glenn Armstrong has helmed 150-plus productions across the nation, including work at The Public, Goodspeed, Walnut Street, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Library of Congress, among many more. Musical director is Paul Baker, of Los Angeles.
With book, music and lyrics by Harnick, the musical is adapted from the Moliere play "The Doctor in Spite of Himself." It is a terrifically funny and warmly charming mixture of mistaken identity, satire and musical comedy.
The story involves a woodcutter who is manipulated by his spiteful wife into masquerading as a physician. A wealthy man summons the woodcutter to treat his daughter, who is victim of a curiously sudden and mysterious ailment.
Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist and Tony winner Marsha Norman is the Inge Center's Honoree Playwright this 30th year of the Inge Festival and will be present all four. During a star-studded multi-media Tribute to Norman, "Traveler in the Light", on Saturday April 16, she will accept the Inge Festival's Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.
Norman will join the elite list of previously honored playwrights who have traveled to Independence to accept this honor, including Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, and Edward Albee.
She received a 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play " 'Night, Mother," which was made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft.
Norman was also presented with a Tony Award for "Best Book for a Musical" and a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Book of a Musical" for "The Secret Garden," for which she wrote the book and lyrics that captured the magic of the famous children's novel.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ingecenter.org, or by phone at (800) 842-6063 ext. 5491 weekdays 1-5 p.m. In person, tickets are available at the Inge Center office at the Fine Arts Building, Room 123, at Independence Community College, 1057 W. College Ave., 1-5 p.m. weekdays. The box office mailing address is The William Inge Center for the Arts, PO Box 708, Independence, Kansas, 67301.
The William Inge Center for the Arts is a participant in the New Generations Program, funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre.
Also, this program is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Additional supporters include the Hallmark Corporation, the William Inge Festival Foundation, and Independence Community College.
Independence, Kansas, is located 90 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Missouri.
Cady Huffman wowed audiences and critics alike with her performance as the Swedish Bombshell "Ulla" in the Broadway smash THE PRODUCERS for which she won the 2001 Tony. Her other Broadway credits include her Tony-nominated performance as Ziegfeld's Favorite in THE Will Rogers FOLLIES as well as LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, STEEL PIER, DAME ENDA: THE ROYAL TOUR and Bob Fosse's last original musical, BIG DEAL.
Huffman is best known by television audiences for her recurring role on the hit HBO comedy, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," as well as being a regular judge on "Iron Chef America." Other guest-starring television credits include "Frasier," "Law & Order: CI," "Mad About You," as well as playing the second Dr. Paige Miller on daytime's "One Life To Live." On the big screen Cady is currently appearing in John Wells' "The Company Men." Other films include John Turturro's star studded musical film "Romance & Cigarettes," and "Hero" (with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia.
Cynthia Hyer is an actress, writer, director and fight choreographer based in Kansas City. She was part of the extensive ensemble in A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS, performed during last year's tribute to Paula Vogel at the Inge Festival. Cynthia has worked with an incredible group of playwrights over the last few years through the William Inge Center such as Carson Becker, Adrienne Thompson, Arlene Hutton, Marcia Cebulska and Adam Szymkowicz. These fine playwrights have challenged Cynthia to perform in every possible dialect and goofy voice known to man. Cynthia will appear this summer in New York City as part of the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival in the play HANKY PANKY by Kansas City playwright, Vicki Vodrey. Cynthia will perform with an accent and a goofy voice in this play too. She looks forward to seeing old friends in addition to making new friends at this year's tribute to Marsha Norman.
Burke Moses debuted on Broadway as Sky Masterson in GUYS AND DOLLS, and then went on to create the role of Gaston in the original Broadway, Los Angeles, and London productions of Disney's mega-hit BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Also on Broadway, Mr. Moses headlined as FrEd Graham in the smash revival of KISS ME, KATE, and played Heracles in Stephen Sondheim's THE FROGS at Lincoln Center. Mr. Moses made his N.Y. musical debut at the New York City Opera as Joey in THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, and opened the first New York revival of THE FANTASTICKS as El Gallo. At City Center's Encores series he played the title role in LIL' ABNER and was seen in DUBARRY WAS A LADY. He recently portrayed Babe Ruth in JOHNNY BASEBALL at A.R.T. in Cambridge, and Captain Von Trapp in the sumptuous David Mirvish/Andrew Lloyd Webber revival of THE SOUND OF MUSIC in Toronto. Mr. Moses is a proud member of Actor's Equity.
Anthony Rapp is best known for originating the role of "Mark Cohen" in the Tony Award-winning rock opera RENT. Rapp shared an OBIE (Off-Broadway) Award with the rest of the cast for the performance. After taking the show from Off-Broadway to Broadway, Chicago to London, Rapp reprised his role in the 2005 motion picture adaptation. RENT ended its incredibly successful 12 year Broadway run in September of 2008. Rapp's prolific career includes roles in additional Broadway shows, major motion pictures and several television series. He is back on tour with a performance adapted from his 2006 national best-seller "Without You: a Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical "Rent"." Rapp's novel details his experiences during RENT'S original run-as well as his personal struggle with losing his mother to cancer.
Patrick Richwood Favorite Theatre roles: Seymour LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Goat THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM (Off Broadway), Treplev THE SEAGULL, Albert THE BODY BEAUTIFUL (Off Broadway - Original Cast Recording), Renfield DRACULA, Stephen Stevens DOWN SOUTH (Off Broadway), Mr. Smee PETER PAN (starring Cathy Rigby) and Ellard Simms THE FOREIGNER, for which he received the Helen Hayes Award. 3 TV series, countless wacky commercials and 21 films, including: "The Princess Diaries", "Dear God," "Beaches," "The Race to Space," "Runaway Bride," "Streets," "Armageddon," "The Other Sister" and "Soul Surfer" starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. Most often recognized as Dennis, the elevator operator in the film "Pretty Woman"... and least recognized as the White Rabbit, a 65 year-old British bunny, (underneath 3 hours of prosthetic makeup), on Disney's acclaimed, Emmy winning series, "Adventures in Wonderland". Last month, Patrick worked with Robert DeNiro on the film "New Year's Eve," currently shooting in Manhattan.
Alan Safier returns to the Inge Festival for his eighth season. He continues to tour the U.S., playing to sold-out houses as George Burns in the one-man show, SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE. Some of his favorite stage roles include Stephen in DEALER'S CHOICE, Buddy in CITY OF ANGELS, Adam and Flip in THE APPLE TREE, Jimmy in THE RAINMAKER, John Adams in 1776, Rocky in FORTUNE & MEN'S EYES, Guiteau in ASSASSINS, Littlechap in STOP THE WORLD..., Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Versati in Steve Martin's THE UNDERPANTS, and multiple roles in the musical comedy revues SCRAMBLED FEET and the off-Broadway revival of NEW FACES OF 1952. Alan has done hundreds of voiceovers (perhaps most notably as the Kibbles 'n' Bits dog), and has guest-starred on dozens of TV series. His new CD of standards from the 1930s and 1940s, Alan Safier Sings the Songs of George & Gracie's Heyday, was released in February, 2011. He composed the song "Another Tuesday Morning," featured on the Jim Brickman CD Simple Things. www.alansafier.com
John Schuck's first screen kiss was with Elizabeth Taylor. He has starred with Charlton Heston, Bette Midler, Warren Beatty Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Rock Hudson and Little Orphan Annie in his rich career. He may be best known for his role as Painless the dentist in the original "M*A*S*H" motion picture. On Broadway, he held the role of "Daddy Warbucks" in ANNIE and reprised the role in the recent Broadway revival and subsequent tour. He most recently appeared on Broadway opposite Reba McEntire in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. He played opposite Charlton Heston in "Detective Story" and toured the following year with Heston to London's West End in a production of THE CAINE MUTINY. He has been seen extensively on television and on screen, including as Sgt. Enright in "MacMillan and Wife."
Elena Shaddow - Tours: Clara Johnson in the First National Tour of THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (Bartlett Sher). Broadway: Anne in the original 2010 Revival Cast of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, U/S and played - Laura in THE WOMAN IN WHITE (Trevor Nunn), Hodel in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and Claudia in NINE (David Leveaux), Abigale Barclay in SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (u/s Susan - Nicholas Hytner), and Cosette in LES MISERABLES. London: Magnolia in SHOWBOAT at the Royal Albert Hall (Francesca Zambello). New York: Fanny in FANNY at New York City Center, THE BACCHAE at The Public (JoAnne Akalaitis). Regional: Lili in CARNIVAL! (Papermill), Olivia in TWELFTH NIGHT and Cecily in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), Lupita in SEÑOR DISCRETION HIMSELF (Arena Stage). Workshops: LOVE NEVER DIES (Christine Daae, Jack O'Brien), THE UNSINKABLE Molly Brown (Kathleen Marshall), EVER AFTER (Doug Hughes).
David Glenn Armstrong is thrilled to collaborate once again with Sheldon Harnick. David directed the first revival of Sheldon, Jerry Bock and Joe Stein's 1958 musical THE BODY BEAUTIFUL starring Brad Oscar, Cady Huffman and Megan Lawrence, and co-produced the original cast album. David has staged 150+ productions/workshops seen in 49 states including work at the Public, Goodspeed, Walnut Street, Manhattan Theatre Club, Library of Congress, Chicago Humanities Festival, Amas, HERE, New Dramatists, Pacific Repertory Opera, Mason Street, York, Arkansas Rep, NYMF, Riverside, Anchorage Opera, Iowa Shakespeare, and NY Fringe. Favorites include Arlen/Gershwin/Harburg's LIFE BEGINS AT 8:40 (Faith Prince, Kate Baldwin, Rebecca Luker); Lerner & Loewe's THE DAY BEFORE SPRING (Hunter Bell); Joe Stein's PLAIN AND FANCY (Charlotte Rae), Joan Ross Sorkin's MIS)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY (Drama Desk nominee Capathia Jenkins); Sorkin and Steven Fisher's IN THE THEATRE (Beth Fowler, Judy Kaye); and Jonathan Larson's SAVED! AN IMMORAL MUSICAL ON THE MORAL MAJORITY (co-writer, ASCAP Award).
Paul Baker was a winner in the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best New Age Album ("The Quiet Path") and Best New Age Song ("Heart's Gate"). Voted "Best Musical Director of the Year" for his work with Stephen Sondheim's musical ASSASSINS, Mr. Baker continues to play for many national tours and concerts in the Los Angeles area. The group "Pastiche" premiered his GERSHWIN SAMPLER at Carnegie Hall and he was seen in motion capture in the animated feature BEOWULF. Mr. Baker returns to the Festival for his eighth year as Musical Director, having co-created the productions of ALL THAT JAZZ, a concert of songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, COMES ONCE IN A LIFETIME, a musical tribute to Betty Comden and Adolph Green, ARTHUR'S TURN, a collection of songs from the shows of Arthur Laurents, and BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL WORLD, the songs of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.
A Doctor in Spite of Himself
Concert reading of a new musical
April 12, 2011, William Inge Theatre Festival
Book, lyrics, and music by Sheldon Harnick
David Glenn Armstrong, director
Paul Baker, musical director
Sgnarelle, a woodcutter (Alan Safier), is deceived by his spiteful wife Martine (Cynthia Hyer) into masquerading as a physician. Valere (Burke Moses) and Jaques (Patrick Richwood), two stewards of the wealthy landowner Geronte (John Schuck), summon Sgnarelle. It seems that Geronte's daughter Lucinda (Elena Shaddow) suffers from a sudden and mysterious ailment. It turns out that Lucinda is about to enter a pre-arranged marriage, but really wants to be with her true love Leander (Anthony Rapp.) Complications ensue at the intervention of Jacqueline (Cady Huffman), the family wetnurse. Independence area performer Dean Hayes portrays several roles.
Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia