Jason Graae, Heather Lee, Beth Malone and More Join CHRISTMAS MY WAY at El Portal Theatre, 12/15-31
Weddington Street Productions in association with Summerwind Productions proudly presents Christmas My Way - A Sinatra Holiday Bash! starring Luca Ellis, Jason Graae, Heather Lee and Beth Malone; directed by David Grapes with musical direction by Vince di Mura. The holiday celebration will be December 15 – December 31, 2012, with low price previews December 13 & 14 and special New Year's Eve performances on December 31, at the historic El Portal Theatre Mainstage in the NOHO Arts District, North Hollywood, CA.
Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson with a book by Todd Olson and Original Musical and Vocal arrangements by Vince di Mura, Christmas My Way, brings together Broadway performers and Los Angeles musical theatre favorites, Jason Graae , Heather Lee and Beth Malone along with crooner Luca Ellis, known for his Sinatra-like stylings, as they serve up cool versions of Sinatra mainstays like "Fly Me To The Moon," "New York, New York," "That¹s Life," "Love and Marriage," "I Get A Kick Out of You," "I've Got You Under My Skin," and "The Lady is a Tramp".
Joined by a swingin' live band, they make a little hey-hey with groovy versions of such Sinatra Christmas hits like "Mistletoe and Holly," "The Christmas Song," "Christmas Memories," "Winter Wonderland," "Silver Bells" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Toss in Rat Pack-ish versions of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The Twelve Days of Christmas," Christmas My Way invites you to grab your bird, jingle your bells, pour a good stiff egg nog, and have yourself a merry little Christmas NOW, baby.
About the artists…
Luca Ellis starred as Frank Sinatra in the hit musical HOBOKEN TO HOLLYWOOD and in LOUIS & KEELY LIVE AT THE SAHARA: A VEGAS HOLIDAY. Luca is widely known for mastering the singing style, phrasing and intonation of Frank Sinatra, he built his foundation as a crooner in the lounges of fine dining chop houses and mansions for Hollywood's elite. Luca has performed with the Gene White Orchestra at the Las Vegas Hilton and played Sinatra in Sandy Hacket's RAT PACK SHOW at the Sahara in Las Vegas under the Musical Direction of Joey Singer (Debbie Reynolds' musical director). Most recently Luca sang with the Les Brown Band of Renown for the 25th Anniversary Fundraising Gala for the Barbra Sinatra Children's Center. In the100 Year Anniversary celebration of the Beverly Hills Hotel, where, MR. Ellis can be heard every week at Bar Nineteen12.
Jason Graae starred on Broadway in A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING, FALSETTOS, STARDUST, SNOOPY!, DO PATENT LEATHER SHOES REALLY REFLECT UP?. Off- Broadway shows include FOREVER PLAID, OLYMPUS ON MY MIND, ALL IN THE TIMING, HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDUH. Jason has performed his one-man show all over the country, including Rainbow and Stars, Birdland, and the Metropolitan Room in NYC, Caramoor Music Festival, Wolf Trap, Feinstein's in L.A., the Fairmont Hotels in New Orleans and Dallas, and The Plush Room in San Francisco. In Los Angeles, Jason originated the role of Houdini in RAGTIME at the Shubert Theatre and at the Hollywood Bowl, he was Benny Southstreet in GUYS & DOLLS and Marcellus in THE MUSIC MAN. Jason has recorded over forty CDs, including his three solo CDs, PERFECT HERMANY: Jason Graae Sings Jerry Herman, YOU'RE NEVER FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT A SMILE- Jason Graae Sings Charles Strouse, and Jason Graae LIVE at The Cinegrill.
Heather Lee created the role of stripper Tessie Tura in the Broadway revival of GYPSY starring Bernadette Peters She originated the role of Babette in the 1st National Production of Disney's BEAUTY& THE BEAST at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles and made her Broadway debut in GUYS & DOLLS. Regional credits include THE WIZ, PALM BEACH, ELMER GANTRY all at La Jolla Playhouse. In the Los Angeles area she starred opposite Gregory Harrison in OF THEE I SING at Reprise! and A NEW BRAIN also at Reprise! as well as a The Colony, The Blank, Rubicon Theatre, South Bay CLO, ICT, and many other regional theatres across the country. Heather appeared as a soloist at Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series in Michael John La Chiusa's THE GIRLY SHOW. Recordings: CAROLS FOR A CURE, FIRST LADY SUITE, and GYPSY (Grammy Award – Best Show Album).
Beth Malone made her Broadway debut creating the role of June Carter Cash in RING OF FIRE. She was in the original Off-Broadway casts of THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES and BINGO! The musical. Regional: SISTER ACT at Pasadena Playhouse and Atlanta's Alliance; ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, at Sacramento Music Circus; POST OFFICE at Center Theatre Group; A NEW BRAIN and BABES IN ARMS at Reprise!; GRAND HOTEL and YOU'RE A GOOD MAN at the Colony Theatre; and recently created the role of Alison Bechdel in FUN HOME at The Public Theater. She has performed her solo piece Beth Malone: SO FAR at The Triad, Sterling's Upstairs, Upright Cabaret and The Wheeler Opera House. Original Cast Recordings: RING OF FIRE, BINGO, THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, and her solo album THE LUNCH SHIFT.
David Grapes II (Director/Co-Creator) is currently a Professor of Theatre and the Director of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Here he administers one of the country's largest undergraduate theatre programs and serves as the Producer for UNC's 72 year-old professional summer stock company the Little Theatre of the Rockies. David is the creator/co-author (with Todd Olson) of four musical revues; My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Christmas My Way – A Sinatra Holiday Bash, Moon River – Johnny Mercer's American Songbook, and I Left My Heart – A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, which have been performed at over 200 theatres world wide. His most recent play Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream (with Robert Neblett) had its world premiere at Tennessee Repertory Theatre and has received six additional productions since 2003.
Vince di Mura (Musical Director/Composer/Arranger) is a veteran Jazz musician and musical director; appearing on concert stages and theatres throughout North America, Canada, and Latin America. He holds fellowships from the William Goldman Foundation, Temple University, Meet the Composer, CEPAC, the Union County Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.Vince has fulfilled compositional commissions for Rutgers and Princeton Universities, Rider University, the Pingry Foundation, the University of Colorado, The Scioto Society, Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and a host of scores for People's Light and Theatre Company including his 1999 Barrymore Award nominated score for More Grimm's Tales, as well as three comic pantos in the British Style. Best known for his arrangements of My Way: A Sinatra Cabaret,"(with over 250 productions nationally), Vince created full arrangements for American Stage's production of I Left My Heart; A Tribute to Tony Bennett.
Todd Olson (Co-Creator, Book and Director) is currently the Producing Artistic Director for American Stage Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, Prior to that he spent three seasons as the Associate Artistic Director at Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville. He received his M.F.A. from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a graduate from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard where he took classes with David Mamet, Peter Sellars, Andrei Serban, Robert Scanlan, RoBert Woodruff, Anna Deveare Smith, and Robert Brustein, among others. He has taught theatre at Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Boston University, among others. Mr Grapes and Mr. Olson also co-created - I Left My Heart – A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett.
DATES: December 15 thru December 31
Previews: Thursday, December 13 at 8pm; Friday, December 14 at 8pm
Gala Opening: Saturday, December 15 at 8pm
Special New Year's Eve Performances: Monday, December 31 at 4pm & 9pm
Regular Schedule: Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm; Saturday & Sunday at 3pm
TICKETS: $35 Previews; $45 - $55 Regular Performances; $60 - $120 New Year's Eve. For Tickets call: 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111, or order online: www.elportaltheatre.com.