International City Theatre Opens AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, 1/25

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International City Theatre Opens AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, 1/25

On your marks for the original amazing race! International City Theatre's 28th season gets off to a flying start with Around the World in 80 Days, adapted by Mark Brown from the visionary, classic adventure story by Jules Verne. For a taste of exotic locales, daring exploits, narrow escapes and great fun, head over to International City Theatre at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center between January 25 and February 17, or take in a low-priced preview on January 23 or 24.

It's 1872, and Phileas Fogg—normally the most exact of men who conducts his days on a most precise schedule—agrees to an outrageous wager that puts both his fortune and his life at risk. With his resourceful servant Passepartout, Fogg sets out to circle the globe in an unheard-of 80 days. It's a whirlwind journey filled with danger, romance, secret plots and comic surprises that will keep audiences on The Edge of their seats—until they begin to roll in the aisles with laughter.

"It's a madcap adventure—pure, hysterical fun," says director Allison Bibicoff. "We have five actors playing over 3 dozen parts, and they face everything from stampeding elephants to a raging typhoon to a runaway train. It's an extremely challenging production, and also a chance to be mega-creative."

Those five actors are Mark Gagliardi (original revival cast of Second City's National Lampoon Lemmings), Melinda Porto (Bend in the Road at Pasadena Playhouse, ROOMS: a rock romance at the Chance Theater), Brian Stanton (ICT's Bright Ideas; Is He Dead?; Tom, Dick & Harry; Charley's Aunt), Michael Uribes (The Robber Bridegroom at ICT, Oedipus El Rey at Theatre @ Boston Court) and Jud V. Williford (company member at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Nicholas Nickleby and The Tempest at California Shakespeare Theater)—and they will be stashing energy bars in their make-up kits, because together they will play 39 characters and traverse seven continents in their race to beat the clock.

"I wanted this one to be fun for the audience, and for the actors," explained Mark Brown in an interview. "Sometimes I think actors want to kill me for what I have done. But I sort of knew what was possible for quick changes, and breaking down the fourth wall as well as breaking down time and space throughout the entire show. It's a really fun play, a fun night out at the theater. It's about as deep as a shallow puddle, but it's really fun."

Around the World in 80 Days had its world premiere at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in September 2001, was workshopped at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival in May 2002, and had its Off Broadway premiere in July 2008. Since then, it has literally been produced around the world, from Tauranga, New Zealand to Baridhara Dhaka, Bangladesh. Awards for 80 Days include six Acclaim Awards, two Lillie Stoates Awards, two Connecticut Critics Circle Awards and four Shellie Awards. The New York Times called Around the World in 80 Days "unabashedly theatrical...smart enough to make sophisticated adults laugh out loud and shamelessly silly enough to keep children interested and entertained."

As part of an 80-day countdown to opening night that began on November 6, International City Theatre continues to document the many ways we get around. Adults 18 and older still have time to send in photos of themselves in the process of getting somewhere—anywhere—for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the production. Submitted photos will also be considered for the lobby display. Contestants are urged to have fun; photos may be serious or silly, real or imagined. For more information and to submit photos, go to www.InternationalCityTheatre.com. Contestants must be at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. All submissions must be received by January 25, 2013.

Jules Verne was a French author who pioneered the genre of science-fiction. He is best known for his novels "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1864), "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1870) and "Around the World in Eighty Days" (1873). Verne wrote about space, air and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated author of all time, behind Disney Productions and Agatha Christie. His prominent novels have been made into films. Verne, along with H. G. Wells, is often referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction."

Mark Brown's other plays include the musical China–The Whole Enchilada (Outstanding Musical, 2008 New York International Fringe Festival); The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge (the best-selling show in Seattle's Taproot Theatre's history, called "a sequel worthy of Dickens' approval"); his adaptation, co-written with Paul Kiernen, of The Little Prince (which set box office records at both Florida's Hippodrome Theatre and the Orlando Theatre Project) and Poe: Deep Into That Darkness Peering, co-written with Mark Rector. Mark received his acting training at The American Conservatory Theatre and has appeared in theaters across the country, including South Coast Repertory, the McCarter Theatre (company member, five years) and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Films include Out of Sight (with George Clooney), Holy Man (with Eddie Murphy and Jeff Goldblum) and Amy's O (winner, Best Film: Santa Barbara Film Festival). TV credits include the Emmy Award winning series From the Earth to the Moon (with Tom Hanks), House, Ally McBeal, Providence, Diagnosis Murder and countless commercials and made-for-TV films. His song "Bring Me Back Home," which he wrote and performed, appears in the film "The Dig".

Allison Bibicoff is a Los Angeles-based choreographer and director. Her choreography has been nominated for a Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award (The Who's Tommy), two LA Weekly Awards (Godspell and 1776) and a Back Stage Garland (Songs For A New World at ICT), and she received the Garland Award for her work on The Who's Tommy. Allison was the assistant choreographer for Xanadu on Broadway, which received four Tony nominations, including Best New Musical and Best Choreography, and she was the SDCF observer to Kathleen Marshall on Applause! at City Center Encores! in NYC, starring Christine Ebersole and Kate Burton. She has recently focused on directing and developing new work, directing staged readings of many new musicals and plays at the Colony Theatre, Academy for New Musical Theatre, Edgemar and more. Allison is currently directing and choreographing Modrock, a new jukebox musical currently in development that is set in mid-'60s London and features music originally performed by The Kinks, The Who, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, the Yardbirds, The Hollies, Petula Clark, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Zombies, Herman's Hermits and others.

Set design for Around the World in 80 Days is by Staci Walters; lighting design is by Donna Ruzika; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; sound design is by Dave Mickey; hair and wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi; props are by Patty and Gordon Briles; and casting is by Michael Donovan Casting.

Around the World in 80 Days runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm, January 25 through February 17. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, January 23 and Thursday, January 24 @ 8 pm. Tickets are $38 on Thursdays and $45 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night which is $50 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance. Preview tickets are $29. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.com.

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