Davis Gaines Stars in THE MUSIC MAN at Musical Theatre West, Beg. Tonight
Musical Theatre West presents the second production of their 61st season, Davis Gaines (Los Angeles' longest-running Phantom in The Phantom of The Opera) starring as Professor Harold Hill and Gail Bennett (Mary Poppins) starring as Marian Paroo in Meredith Willson's timeless and joyous, THE MUSIC MAN, book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, musical direction by Corey Hirsch, choreography by John Todd and directed by Jeff Maynard.
THE MUSIC MAN will preview tonight, February 14, open on Saturday, February 15 and perform for three weeks only through Sunday, March 2 at The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located at 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach on the campus of California State University, Long Beach.
Con man Harold Hill promises a boys' band to counteract the possibility of a pool table coming to River City. His persuasive patter fools everyone except the town librarian, Marian Paroo. Meredith Willson's score includes the timeless, "Goodnight, My Someone," "Seventy-Six Trombones," and "Till There Was You."
Davis Gaines (Harold Hill) performed the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera over 2,000 times, during his run on Broadway, in Los Angeles, (where he remains LA's longest-running Phantom), and in San Francisco, (where he received the Bay Area Critics' Award for Best Actor). Subsequently, he was chosen by Hal Prince and Lloyd Webber to play the leading role in the World Premiere of Whistle Down the Wind. Other Broadway and National Tour credits include Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! (w/Carol Channing), Camelot (w/Richard Burton) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (w/Alexis Smith). Gaines' Off-Broadway appearances include Des McAnuff's The Death of Von Richthofen as Witnessed from Earth, Maury Yeston/Larry Gelbart's One Two Three Four Five, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, She Loves Me and Forbidden Broadway. He recently appeared in Kiss Me, Kate (Cabrillo Music Theatre) and I Do! I Do! (Laguna Playhouse) and at Musical Theater West in 1776, Man of La Mancha (Ovation Award, Best Lead Actor in a Musical), Spamalot, Mack and Mabel In Concert, and directed Oklahoma! Other LA appearances include SILENCE! The Musical (LA Weekly Award, Best Male Musical Performance), Parade (Mark Taper Forum) and Side by Side by Sondheim (Rubicon Theatre/Pasadena Playhouse). Film work includes a featured role in Warlock: The Armageddon (with Julian Sands) and television credits include Desperate Housewives, Charmed, Chicago Hope, Veronica's Closet, Bodies of Evidence and Murder, She Wrote. Additionally, Gaines has sung for five U.S. Presidents and his voice can be heard over 30 cast recordings and compilation albums, as well as two solo CDs. For more information, visit www.davisgaines.com and www.facebook.com/DavisGainesActor.
Gail Bennett (Marian Paroo) performed the title role in Mary Poppins over 100 times on the First National Tour and Regional Premiere and played Usherette/ Lick- me Bite-me in the Las Vegas and Hollywood Bowl companies of Mel Brooks' The Producers, directed by Susan Stroman. Gail has worked at many of the best regional theatres in the country from Maine to California. Favorite roles include: Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady opposite Tony winner Jefferson Mays and Conrad John Schuck, Maria in The Sound Of Music opposite Rex Smith, Janet Van der Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone with Sally Struthers, Irene Malloy in Hello, Dolly, Betty Schaeffer in Sunset Boulevard, Betty Haynes in White Christmas, Claudia in NINE, Annie in Annie, Get Your Gun, Jellylorum in Cats, Dinah in Starlight Express, and Belle in A Christmas Carol with Christopher Lloyd and John Goodman. Gail has also starred in several feature films and on television, adores voice-over work, speaks French, and runs marathons. Her most treasured roles are Wife to Aaron and Mother to Baby Lydia.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST
Meredith Willson (Book, Music and Lyrics) musician, playwright and composer - was best known for the book, words, and music for The Music Man (1962). He wrote two other musical plays, including The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Many of his songs are standards, including "You and I," "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You," "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas," "Seventy-six Trombones," and "Till There Was You," which was a surprising song choice for a hit record by The Beatles. Willson left Mason City, the setting for The Music Man," in 1919 to attend Damrosch Institute (now Juilliard) in New York. He played flute and piccolo in John Philip Souza's band from 1921 to 1923 and then joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1924 to 1929. In 1930 he got a job in radio in California. Radio was his primary source of income over the following twenty-five years. He also composed several orchestral works during the '30s and '40s, including symphonies for "The Great Dictator" (1940) and "The Little Foxes" (1941). In 1951 the stage producers Martin and Feuer proposed that Willson write a musical comedy about his Iowa boyhood. With his common touch, they said, it was sure to be a hit. After seven years, he finally got what turned out to be his masterpiece onto the stage. The Music Man, which Willson said was "an Iowan's attempt to pay tribute to his home state," premiered on Broadway in 1957. Robert Preston recreated his most famous role and Willson's most famous character, that of Professor Harold Hill, in the film production of "The Music Man"
Jeff Maynard (Director) La Mirada Theatre/McCoy Rigby - Broadway Bound, Boeing Boeing, Tale of the Allergist's Wife starring Marilu Henner, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Actor's Co-op - Tales of Tinseltown, Blank Theatre Company's Young Playwright's Festival, a musical pilot for ABC television "Rated P for Parenthood" and Jason Robert Brown's new version of 13. Founding member of Buffalo Nights Theatre Company - directed, acted or produced over 15 productions including LA Weekly's Revival of the Year Modigliani and BSW's Garland winning Apollo of Bellac. As an actor Jeff appeared in the first national tour of Lost In Yonkers, and TV appearances on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Jeff runs the theatre program at Mirman School, and is a graduate of UCLA.
John Todd (Choreography) is thrilled to be back with his MTW family. Recent choreography credits include: "Sofia The First," "Monster's University," "Jake and the Neverland Pirates," and "Mulan" stage shows for Disney. COMMERCIALS: Rayban eyewear and Scope w/Ryan Seacrest. THEATER: "Kiss Me Kate" (Cabrillo Music Theatre) "Sunset Boulevard" (MTW), "Company" (Crown City), "Bells Are Ringing" and "Anyone Can Whistle" (MTW), "Jasper In Deadland" (PMT), "Falsettos," "The Full Monty" (Third Street Theater), "Gypsy" and "Merrily We Roll Along." ] FILM & TELEVISION: "Samantha Spade Ace Detective," "The Office," "Saving Mr. Banks." Mr. Todd has also created 3 works for Houston Ballet. As a performer, Mr. Todd's Broadway credits include, "Movin' Out" (original cast) and "The Phantom of The Opera." FILM & TELEVISION: "Bourbon Street" (series Regular), "As The World Turns," "Sex And The City," "Law and Order," "Days Of Our Lives," Jack The Giant Slayer," "Gnomio and Juliet," "Alpha and Omega," "Jackass Number Two," "A Christmas Carol," and "Spells" (with John Lithgow).
The Cast of THE MUSIC MAN will also feature (in alphabetical order): Ashley Anderson (Zanetta Shinn), Maguire Balleweg (Amaryllis), Paige Brinskele (Pick-a-Little), Emzy Burroughs (Oliver Hix), Peyton Crim (Olin Britt), Joey D'Auria (Mayor Shinn), Jon Hand (Constable Lock), Emilie Lafontaine (Gracie Shinn), Cathy Newman (Mrs. Paroo), Jenny Moon Shaw (Pick-a-Little), Rebecca Spencer (Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn), Bryan Vickery (Jacey Squires) and Matt Walker (Marcellus).
The Ensemble of THE MUSIC MAN features: Eboni Adams, Steven Adam Agdeppa, Mackinnley Balleweg Luke Beshoff, Kenzie Braithwaite, Mackenzie Browning, Matthew Funke, Sammy Gayer, Shayna Gayer, Jenna Gillespie, Nancy Lam, Derek Anthony Lewis, Tyler Logan, Kimberly Mikesell, Gemma Pedersen, Michelle M. Pedersen, Steven Rada, Christanna Rowader, Taylor Simmons and Christopher Utley.
THE MUSIC MAN will preview on Friday, February 14 and will open on Saturday, February 15 (press opening) and perform Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 2:00pm and 8:00pm (no matinee Saturday, February 15) and Sundays at 2:00 pm through Sunday, March 2, 2014. There will be an additional Sunday evening performance on February 23 at 7pm.
Ticket prices for THE MUSIC MAN range from $20.00 - $92.00. Children 18 and under are $20 off ticket price in Section B; $10 off in Section C, via walkup and phone orders only. All tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 562-856-1999 - Ext. 4; at the Box Office in person at 4350 E 7th Street, Long Beach (cross street is Ximeno) - Box Office hours are 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday or online at www.musical.org. GROUP DISCOUNTS for parties of 12 or more are available by calling the Group Sales Department at 562-856-1999 ex 222. All tickets are subject to dynamic pricing based on demand. Purchase early to lock in prices and best seats.
All shows perform at The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located at 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach on the campus of California State University, Long Beach.
The story of Musical Theatre West is the 61-year journey from a group of volunteers performing in a high school auditorium to one of the largest and most respected theatrical production companies in Southern California. Beginning as the Whittier Civic Light Opera in 1952, the company originally produced two shows a year for just two days each, back when shows like RIO RITA and THE RED MILL were still in vogue. During most of the 1960s and 1970s, the group remained an all-volunteer effort, producing one show a year. Back then tickets were sold at Hinshaw's and Myers department stores and could be had for all of $1.50 (75 cents for children)! In 1977 the group moved to the brand-new La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and began to produce a full season of shows. During the 1980s and 1990s the company began to assert itself as one of the top companies in the area, utilizing professional talent and producing regional premieres and even a world premiere musical (1992's HURRY! HURRY! HOLLYWOOD), while continuing to honor the tradition of classic musical theater. The company entered a new phase in 1997 when it began to produce shows at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach and quickly became the largest arts producer in the Long Beach area. The company greets the 21st Century by continuing to produce newer fare (RENT, THE FULL MONTY, THE PRODUCERS, HAIRSPRAY) alongside classics of the genre (MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE KING & I, MAN OF LA MANCHA), and has recently produced two additional world premieres. The company continues to receive critical acclaim and national recognition - and many performers who cut their teeth on the MTW stage have gone on to successful careers on Broadway and in television and film. Just as important, stage and screen veterans now come to Musical Theatre West to perform, finding it to be one of the friendliest and most fun venues to work. A key aspect of the company is its dedication to education, and the Education and Outreach Programs of Musical Theatre West brings the joy and magic of musical theater to over 17,000 children each year through special morning performances, school assemblies, and the Summer Youth Conservatory. We hope that you'll join the thousands of performers, technicians, audience members, donors and volunteers that make up the Musical Theatre West family as we look forward to another 61 years of bringing Broadway to Southern California.
Photo Credit: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging