The Group Rep Stages World Premiere Musical THE GHOST OF GERSHWIN, Now thru 6/22
The Group Rep presents the world premiere musical "The Ghost of Gershwin," with music by Wayland Pickard, book by Doug Haverty, lyrics by Laura Manning, directed by Jules Aaron, choreographed by Michele Bernath, and produced by Richard Alan Woody. The play runs today, May 9 through June 22, 2014, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm at the Lonny Chapman Theatre at the edge of the NoHo Arts District.
Set in today's Brooklyn, a struggling young composer is haunted by the music of George Gershwin, until he meets the Ghost of Gershwin and his life is never the same. This romantic musical harkens back to the whacky world of the 1930s when the artsy tenants of an apartment building were known to burst into song and dance at the drop of the hat.
This world premiere musical features all new music in the style of George and Ira Gershwin, a delightful homage to the legacy of these celebrated American music icons
The cast features Jean Altadel, Emma-Jayne Appleyard, Kyle Bares, Andrew Bourgeois, Gregory Guy Gorden, Daniel Lench, and Suzy London.
The design teams include Chris Winfield and Jules Aaron for set design, Angela Eads for costume design, J. Kent Inasy for lighting design, and Steve Shaw for sound design.
This is the 4th original musical from this award-winning composer, actor, director, producer and headline entertainer Wayland Pickard. A national recording artist and multi-Grammy Award contender, Wayland is also a published author and playwright with Samuel French. He won the 2008 ADA "Best Director" Award and was the 2006 ADA Award Winner for "Best Actor." He is an HBO Television "ACE" Award Nominee, Cine Golden Eagle Film Award Winner and a Billboard Songwriting Finalist. He's been featured in recordings, film and TV and has appeared on stages around the country, from NBC's "Tonight Show" and Carnegie Hall, to starring in his own one-man show in Las Vegas. He studied music with Henry Mancini and has been Musical Conductor for numerous celebrities including Andy Williams and Eartha Kitt. Wayland currently headlines several touring shows at concert halls around the country, including the 2 piano/vocal Double Grande show with Deborah Johnson, plus his own Liberace Tribute show. Find out more by visiting www.waylandpickard.com, www.DoubleGrandePianos.com or www.LiberaceConcert.com.
Doug Haverty's award-winning plays and musicals have been produced around the world.Could I Have This Dance? was named "Best New Play" by The American Theatre Critics Association. His works have been presented at Cherry Lane, Charlotte Rep., Laguna Playhouse, Phoenix Theatre, Florida Studio, Theatre West, The Colony, Theatre 40, The Lyric, Here Performing Arts Center, Long Island Stage, Theatre in the Square and the Lobero, to name a few. Published works include: In My Mind's Eye, Inside Out (A Musical), Could I Have This Dance?, Flavia & The Dream Maker (A musical). He's been commissioned to write three musicals and one play. Three of Doug's works have premiered here at The Group Rep: In My Mind's Eye, Inside Out (formerly titled Roleplay), and Next Window, Please. This marks Doug's third collaboration of a World Premiere in Los Angeles with director Jules Aaron. Doug co-moderates the Writers Workshop at Theatre West in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ALAP and NARAS.
Laura Manning began her career as a band singer, and sang at over 4000 weddings with famous band leaders such as Meyer Davis, Lester Lanin and Jeno Bartal. A singer in seven languages, she has appeared on cruise ships Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Anna Maria. She has sung in countless nightclubs and over the years has been the opening act for comedians Henny Youngman, Alan King, Buddy Hackett, Woody Allen, Jan Murray, Morey Amsterdam, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn and George Jessel, the latter during a 1965 Vietnam tour. Ms. Manning started writing lyrics with composer Leo Ross. Her first song "Busy Little Bee" was published in 1956. She has since written with composers Cass Harrison, Alan Greene, Henry Tobias, Inez James, Sidney Miller, Arnold Freed, and now, Wayland Pickard. Her musicals include Antiques (produced in NYC by Dore Schary), The Fortunes of Farley (produced in LA at Actors Forum) and Go Like Sixty (produced by Ernie Glucksman). Songs from her children's albums were performed on "Captain Kangaroo". Her songs have been recorded by Robert Goulet, Guy Pastor, Dick Roman, Carol Ventura and even Walter Matthau. Ms. Manning has just finished the book and lyrics for a children's musical called The Animals' Christmas.
Jules Aaron is winner of CBS's Five Best Productions of 2014 for Kin and Best Director for Stage Scene LA for his productions of Hunger, The Paris Letter, Private Lives and Southern Comfort (with actress Michael Learned). He has directed over 250 productions including over 75 world premieres and has worked at the Public Theatre (NY), South Coast Rep, Actors' Theatre of Louisville (Humana Festival), Walden Productions, TheatreWorks, McCoy/Rigby Entertainment, ICT, Colony Theatre, Hudson Theatre, Odyssey Theatre and Theatre 40, among many others. He has directed Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Bruce Davison, Mercedes Ruehl, Salome Jens, Ralph Waite and Marian Mercer, among others. Jules has won Drama-Logue Awards, Garland Awards, LA Drama Critics' Awards and the Granada Chair at UC Davis. Last summer Jules directed the World Premiere of Ethel Sings at Soho Rep in New York and is currently rewriting I Can, I Will, a musical based on the life of Sammy Davis Jr. starring Wayne Brady to open in New York in 2015.
At Group Rep, Richard Alan Woody directed Doug Haverty's Next Window, Please, Lee Blessing'sA Walk in the Woods, Gene Casey's theatresongs; the Casey-Buhrer musical Milagro; Frances Mizrahi's Closets; Phil Olson's A Nice Family Gathering; Craig Alpaugh's Neighborhood Crime Watch; and Jeffrey Sweet's Bluff. He also helmed Linda Steinbaum's Fat Chance and Jeremy Kehoe's Ready, Aim, You're Fired, both at the NoHo Actors' Studio, as well as the L.A. Premiere of Yazmina Reza's Life X 3 at The Asylum.
Michele Bernath was the Eddon Award- winning "Bessie Berger" in the Group Rep's Awake and Singas well as the scene-stealing maid "Berthe" in their production of Boeing Boeing. Additional Group Rep appearances includeStepping Out, A Nice Family Gathering, Chaim's Love Song and String of Pearls. Other L.A. appearances include The Beat Goes On, Sidetracked and Broken Glass. As an actress, singer and dancer, Michele has appeared in New York, Las Vegas and in touring companies. Favorite roles include "Minnie Fay" in Hello Dolly, "Aunt Sue" in No No Nanette and "Anybody's" in West Side Story. LA choreographic credits include Polyester - the Musical, Stiltz and A Christmas Carol. TV appearances include "Columbo", "Murder She Wrote", "Taxi" and "Laverne and Shirley". She has her MFA from UCLA.
Jean Altadel (Mel) is a Southern California native. She has a B.A in Theatre Arts and completed the conservatory program for Musical Theatre at AMDA, Hollywood. Favorite stage roles include, "June" in The Musical of Musicals (Chromolume Theatre), "Kira" in Xanadu (DOMA Theatre), "Nellie" in South Pacific (4onBroadway), "Laurie" in Oklahoma (MTLA), "Hero" in Much Ado About Nothing (East LA Classic), and a gun-slinging gold miner named "Pitch Pine Billy" in the Laguna Playhouse touring production of By the Great Horn Spoon.
Emma-Jayne Appleyard (Nessa) National Tours: The Producers "Ulla" and Chicago The Musical "Go-To-Hell-Kitty/U/S Velma Kelly"; Regional Theatre: Beautiful and Damned "Mdme Ergova"and Daisy Pulls It Off "Alice Fitzpatrick". Created the role of "Deadpan Dolores" in the World Premiere of Richard O'Brien's The Stripper, and also created the role of "Coral" in Simply Cinderella. Emma-Jayne has also worked internationally as a model for Wella and Pretty Polly.
Kyles Bares (Wilfred) is a native Minnesotan who has performed in London's West End, Off-Broadway, European tours, and numerous Regional Theater productions. His eyes have been eaten out by crows on "Law and Order SVU" and played "Clark Kent" in "Little Man of Steel". Kyle is about to film the horror feature "On the Brain" and plays a priest in the soon to be released "The Possession of Annabelle".
Andrew Bourgeois (Grant) is a Group Rep member previously seen in Hotel Paradiso and at the Visceral Theatre Company in Lovecraft Nightmare Suite. Andrew holds an M.A. in Acting from Birmingham City University in England and has also spent time in Wroclaw, Poland at the Grotowski Institute. He can be seen in "Tabloids: Bling Ring" on Discovery Investigation and in the films "Helen Alone" and "In a Madman's World", out later this year.
Gregory Guy Gordon (Dennis) is a company member of Sacred Fools Theater and Celebration Theatre. Stage credits include China: The Whole Enchilada, Forbidden Zone, The Real Housekeepers of Studio City (Best of Hollywood Fringe 2013), Anything Goes, Cabaret, Footloose, The Baltimore Waltz, The Big Bang, Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly, and Top Gun The Musical. www.GregoryGuyGorden.com.
Daniel Lench (George Gershwin): Highlights: STAGE ICT: "Rev. Duncan Wooley" Leading Ladies; Repertory East: "Atticus Finch" To Kill A Mockingbird; "Salieri" Amadeus; The Colony/Studio Theatre: "Little Harp" The Robber Bridegroom; "Will Mossop" Hobson's Choice; "Judas" Godspell; "Paul Verrall" Born Yesterday; FILM Leads: "Circle" (Dir. Aaron Hann/Mario Miscione), "Treading Water, "Spin, "Charlie Wilson's War" (Dir. Mike Nichols). TV/WEB: "The Vault", "National Banana" (Dir. Jerry Zucker), "Homefront", "Princesses", "Zoey 101", "Sisters", "Untold Stories of the ER", "Medicine Ways", and "Heaven's REP".
Suzy London (Coronelia) for the Group Rep: Hotel Paradiso, Stepping Out, Moon Over Buffalo, And Then There Were None. In Los Angeles awarded the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress as "Janet Preston" in Intent To Murder," Buttercup" inH.M.S. Pinafore, and "Jenny Diver" in Three Penny Opera. Regionally, awarded The ACTF Outstanding Acting Award forMarat/Sade and "Aldonza" in Man of La Mancha. Suzy has done numerous voiceovers, films, and animated features. Suzy has sung all over the world and written numerous songs, stories and plays.
The Group Rep, has produced well over 250 productions including more than 40 World Premieres. The company boasts more than 80 active company members, from those with notable careers to those building new careers. The acting company began May 1973, with a rag-tag group of 11 actors performing scenes for audiences in a laundramat-turned 36 seat theatre on Van Ness Blvd. When Lonny Chapman first entered that theatre, the match was perfect and the Group Repertory was born with Chapman at the helm. In 1999, Lonny was honored when the current theatre's name officially became the "Lonny Chapman Theatre". The partnership continued until Lonny's passing in 2007.
In addition to productions, The Group Rep gives back to the community with its Annual Foster Children's Holiday Party. Also, its Participating Actor and Technical Associates (PATA) program provides internship opportunities for aspiring theatre artists. Past graduates include such notables as Sean Penn and Jennifer Tilly.
From 2009 - 2010, Ernest Figueroa who is producer for the Broad Stage, came on board as Artistic Director, and brought many needed creative and organizational changes to The Group Rep. In April of 2010, Figueroa passed the torch to longtime members Larry Eisenberg and Chris Winfield to serve as Co-Artistic Directors of the Group Rep.
General admission tickets are $22, tickets for seniors and students are $17, and groups of 10+ are $15. For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.thegrouprep.com or call (818) 763-5990.
The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 at the edge of the NoHo Arts District. Ample street parking is available on Burbank Blvd. and on Cleon Avenue just south of the theatre. The Lonny Chapman Theatre offers comfortable seating for 90 patrons.