Matt Bogart and Jessica Burrows to Star in American Theater Group's HIMSELF AND NORA, 4/24-5/12

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Matt Bogart and Jessica Burrows to Star in American Theater Group's HIMSELF AND NORA, 4/24-5/12

On April 24, American Theater Group, New Jersey's newest professional theater company, will present, direct from its success at the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival, Jonathan Brielle's new musical Himself and Nora at its new home, Hamilton Stage in Rahway, New Jersey.

Director Michael Bush brings to life Himself and Nora, a passionate, bawdy, funny and uplifting new musical that sings the true story of one of the great love affairs of the 20th century that changed the face of literature forever.

Himself...the brilliant and hard drinking Irish novelist James Joyce; and Nora...the earthy chambermaid Nora Barnacle who became his lover, his partner, and his muse for 29 years. This inspiring new musical, Himself and Nora sings a contemporary love story which survived their exile from their beloved Ireland, the condemnation of the Catholic church, and ultimately helped to create some of the greatest writing of the 20th century. Himself and Nora is alive with intelligent and witty tunes by Brielle with an inspiring and original score that ranges from raucously funny to movingly poignant.

Broadway star Matt Bogart of Jersey Boys fame and Jessica Burrows, one of theater's fastest rising stars who was honored with the Outstanding Performance Award as Nora in the NYMF production of Himself and Nora will recreate their roles for this premiere.

An earlier version of Himself and Nora, first produced at The Old Globe in San Diego, was honored with a National Endowment Award and was subsequently performed to great acclaim at The James Joyce Center in Dublin. American Theater Group's Co-Producing Artistic Directors James N. Vagias, Rick Sordelet and Joe Mancuso saw the Tritone production under the direction of Michael Bush at the acclaimed New York Musical Theatre Festival. The festival has been the launching pad for a remarkable number of successes on Broadway, off-Broadway and internationally for such shows as Altar Boyz,, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, Captain Louie, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Gutenberg! The Musical, Meet John Doe, Midlife (the Crisis Musical), Nerds, Rooms, Shout! the Mod Musical, Yank! and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal.

"When we first saw the piece at NYMF, we all agreed that this is the type of theater we want to produce: uplifting, passionate, funny and inspirational" says James Vagias. "As a theater company, we look to find exciting new voices in the American theater, and we are honored to be part of Himself and Nora's journey, and to introduce our audiences to the incredibly talented Jon Brielle".

American Theater Group is an ambitious new performing arts company launched in 2012 that offers musicals and spoken plays, a new musical reading series and theater education at the newly built state-of-the-art Hamilton Stage in Rahway. Its focus is on producing new and classic works, primarily by American playwrights, with an emphasis on the development of new works and the rediscovery of undeservedly neglected older ones. It is truly fitting that ATG's first offering is not only by a new voice on the American musical theater stage but a resident of Tewksbury, New Jersey, Jonathan Brielle.

"I am so grateful to be working with Jim Vagias at their gorgeous new facility for our next steps on the show that is so close to my heart", says Jonathan Brielle.

American Theater Group will aim to make theater's glorious possibilities accessible to the diverse surrounding community of Rahway and the region, and to maintain a nurturing environment for playwrights, actors and theatrical designers and technicians to develop and hone their works.

Performances are. April 24- May 12 (Wednesday through Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 3 p.m.). Tickets are $30-$35 (Special rates for seniors and students).

Tickets to all American Theater Group events can be purchased at the UC PAC Box Office. Purchase tickets online at the virtual Box Office and purchase tickets 24 hours a day, or call the UC PAC Box Office at 732-499-8226, or visit in person at the UC PAC Box Office at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway.

Box Office Hours:
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - 11am-5pm
Wednesday - 11am-5pm
Thursday - 11am - 8pm
Friday - 11am - 5pm
Saturday - Closed
Sunday - Closed
Or, by request. You may contact the UC PAC Box Office and make an appointment that is convenient for you to purchase tickets.

The Box Office is open 2 hours prior to every performance. If you are purchasing tickets on the day of an event, please note that online sales end two hours prior to the performance. All purchases must be processed through the UC PAC Box Office either over the phone or in person after that time.

American Theater Group's home is the new intimate new 199-seat Hamilton Stage at 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway New Jersey. Hamilton Stage is governed and operated by the Union County Performing Arts Center.

JONATHAN BRIELLE (Book, Music, Lyrics) Currently has four musicals in development including the critically acclaimed NYMF production of Himself and Nora opening April 24th at the brand new Hamilton Stage in New Jersey; 40 Naked Women, A Monkey and Me premiered last summer at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Conference staring Veanne Cox and Steve Blanchard; Nightmare Alley premiered at the Geffen Playhouse as the last project directed by the legendary Gil Gates; as well as a brand new unnamed musical at the Colony.

On Broadway, Jonathan wrote the songs for Foxfire staring theater legends Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, and Off-Broadway served as Composer in Residence at Circle Rep in NY under Marshal Mason and Lanford Wilson writing songs and scores for dozens of plays including a new version of Fifth of July, The Great Grandson of Jedidiah Kohler, and Besides Herself. Regionally, an earlier version of Himself and Nora earned a National Endowment Award at The Old Globe in San Diego and then at The James Joyce Center in Dublin earning the Joyce estate's seal of approval. His US and UK Tours include: Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, Rugrats, & Goosebumps Live!; Jonathan's Las Vegas shows include: Enter The Night (book, music, lyrics) which ran for 12 years at the Stardust Hotel, and a two year run of Madhattan (book, music, lyrics) which opened the New York, New York Hotel featuring 30 street performers from the streets of Manhattan.

Jonathan is serving his fourth year as Board Member of The Johnny Mercer Foundation and his second term as Vice-President overseeing the JMF Songwriting Project at Northwestern University, originating the Kaufman Lyric writing program in title one schools in New York, the NJPAC lyric writing program for title one schools in New Jersey, and is serving as the Writer Producer in Residence of the Writers Colony. He is also the former National Projects Director of the Songwriters Guild of America and is the founding member of Tritone Productions with partners director Michael Bush, and producer Aldo Scrofani. For more info go to: www.jonathanbrielle.com.

MICHAEL BUSH (Director) most recently directed the Off-Broadway productions of Psycho Therapy , Cactus Flower, and Based On A Totally True Story. Regional Productions include: Stormy Weather (Pasadena Playhouse, Prince Music Theatre), The Sisters Rosensweig (Capital Repertory Theatre), Murderers (Philadelphia Theatre Company, City Theatre), etc. He is the co-author and director of Leslie Uggam's Uptown Downtown (Pasadena Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theatre) which won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best solo performance. He won the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence in Direction for the world premiere musical Hurricane. Since 2005 he directed 7 NYMF musicals including The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, The Piper, and Jonathan Brielle's Himself and Nora for the 2012 Festival. His second show for Leslie Uggams, Classic Uggams, premiered at New York's 54 Below in November 2012. He will be remounting Himself and Nora for the American Theatre Group in the spring of 2013.

He is the former director of artistic production and associate artistic director for the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. He was associated with MTC for over 25 years and helped artistically guide more than 150 new plays and musicals, including the TonyˇAward and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof and Doubt, the Tonyˇ Award winning Love! Valour! Compassion!, and the musicals A Class Act (Tony Nomination for Best Musical) and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. He was instrumental in the rebirth of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret & Performance Conference, and served as its artistic director from 2005 to 2012. Under his tenure the conference developed over 100 new shows, revues, and intimate musicals including [title of show] and The Story of My Life, both of which were produced on Broadway, and Now, Here, This produced by the Vineyard Theatre in New York City this past spring. He is currently developing three additional new musicals as a founding partner of Tritone Productions, including 40 Naked Women, a Monkey, and Me, Nightmare Alley, and Menu. His production of the musical Stormy Weather has been optioned for Broadway and projected for the 2013-14 season.

MATT BOGART (James Joyce) is currently on Broadway starring as Nick Massi in Jersey Boys. Past Broadway roles include Radames in Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, as Chris in Miss Saigon (after originating the 2nd National Touring "Engineer" Company), in Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War (also originated at the Alley Theatre) and as the White Guy in Smokey Joe's Cafe, which was filmed for television, video and DVD Other Film and TV include an indie feature film, Summer Nuts and Law & Order on NBC. Recently, Matt played Lancelot to Lou Diamond Phillips' King Arthur of the Round Table in the National Touring Company of Camelot. Regionally, Matt appeared as Val in Orpheus Descending, Lancelot in Camelot (Helen Hayes nomination) and Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees at Arena Stage where he is an Affiliated Artist and serves as a member of Arena Stage's alumni steering committee. Matt originated the roles of Pasha/Strelnikov (San Diego Critic's Circle Award) in Lucy Simon's Zhivago at La Jolla Playhouse under the direction of Des McAnuff, Paul Claudel, opposite Linda Eder, in Frank Wildhorn's Camille Claudel at the Goodspeed Opera House, the title character of Ace in Ace (opposite his wife, Jessica Bogart) at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse, and the role of James Joyce in Himself and Nora at the Old Globe and in Dublin Ireland for the Bloomsday Festival, in association with the James Joyce Center. In the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, he portrayed Paul in Company and reprised his role for the 2002 Kennedy Center Honors in praise of Elizabeth Taylor. Other credits include originating the role of Matt in People Like Us, Off-Broadway, for the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mat in Joe Masteroff and Ed Thomas' opera of Anna Christie at the York Theatre, Sydney Carton in Two Cities (Connecticut Critic's Circle nomination) at the Stamford Center, the title role in Phantom at Music Theatre Wichita, Alfred/Sam in Romance, Romance (opposite his wife, Jessica Bogart), Billy in Carousel and Lancelot in Camelot at Paper Mill Playhouse, Starbuck in 110 in the Shade and Terry in Side Show at Signature Theatre. In concert, Matt has sung and performed the Sondheim Celebration at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, with Steven Sloane and the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, with Peter Nero and the Philadelphia Pops with Joel Levine and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. He earned his BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Matt's first solo theatre album, "Simple Song," was released on the Jay Records label.

JESSICA BURROWS (Nora Barnacle) is so thrilled to be a part of Himself and Nora. She was last seen as Greta Garbo in the new musical When Garbo Talks at ICT in Los Angeles. Other favorites include The Toymaker (NYMF), Lara in Zhivago (La Jolla Playhouse), Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme (The Ahmanson), The Ten Commandments (The Kodak), 110 in the Shade (Pasadena Playhouse), and Julie Jordon in Carousel. Jessica owns her own practice as a Holistic Health Coach - www.healthilluminated.com.

JAMES VAGIAS (Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Producing Director, American Theater Group) was the Executive Producer at the American Stage Company in Teaneck, New Jersey for nine years. During his tenure, Vagias produced more than 40 productions, including 12 world premieres, many of which went on to long and healthy afterlives in both New York and regional theaters. While at ASC, Vagias developed the world premiere production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which became one of the most successful off-Broadway productions of all time, and continues to be produced in more than 400 cities throughout the world. In addition to his tenure at ASC, Vagias has worked with various New York commercial producers, and served as a magic consultant for Broadway productions. He has served on the panel of the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop with such theater notables as Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) and Rupert Holmes (Edwin Drood). Vagias is also the founder of Educational Productions, a company that has produced motivational school assemblies for more than half a million students. A former attorney for Screen Actors Guild and Actor Equity, Vagias is an Adjunct Professor at Montclair University, and lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

RICK SORDELET (Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Producing Director, American Theater Group) has been recognized as this nation's leading Fight Director. Creating original fight direction for thousands of shows world wide has enabled Rick to work with the best directors all over the world. With 54 Broadway shows including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Annie also the National Tours of Beauty and the Beast, and Les Miz . Rick staged the fights for Cyrano the opera (starring Placido Domingo) at the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House and La Scalla, in Milan. Don Carlo directed by Nicholas Hytner at the MET, and Heart of the Soldier, a new Opera at San Francisco Opera, Hundreds of productions in Regional Theaters across America. Rick was Stunt coordinator for The Game Plan and Dan in Real Life and for Guiding Light for 12 years. Rick starts his 14th year teaching at Yale School of Drama, and has been awarded the Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence from the Off-Broadway League's Lucille Lortel Awards and received a Jeff Award for Best Fight Direction for Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As a director, Rick did Romeo and Juliet at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Macbeth for the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Of Mice and Men the opera for Kansas City Opera among others. He wrote Buried Treasure, directed by Joe Mancuso, at George Street Playhouse's Second Stage. He also penned a major notional picture with his writing partner Dan Studney that is in negotiations. Rick started SORDELET INK, which will give first time playwrights and writers an opportunity to get their work seen by the industry.

JOSEPH MANCUSO (Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Producing Director, American Theater Group) has more than 28 years of significant experience as an artist, educator and arts/business administrator including a combined sixteen years as Executive Director for two not-for-profit arts institutions: The Union County Performing Arts Center and The Shoestring Players. He is about to celebrate his twenty-fifth year of teaching at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers and his eleventh year as Theater Arts Coordinator for the Career Training Program at Somerset County Vocational High School. His work was featured in an eight part educational series The Art of Teaching The Arts produced by the Center for Public Broadcasting and the Annenberg Foundation. He has served as producer and/or director for several regional as well as New York productions. Here at UCPAC he produced and directed Fiddler On The Roof where he was nominated for Best Director and Best Musical Revival by the Newark Star Ledger. Also produced at UCPAC: A Chorus Line (Best Musical Revival), Man of La Mancha, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, La Cage aux Folles and Into The Woods. In NYC, his original adaptation of the works of Carl Sandburg entitled Lessons On How To Behave Under Peculiar Circumstances premiered at the 28th Street Playhouse. He also produced eleven shows over six seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland winning the prestigious Fringe First Award in 1992. He currently serves as a Board Member of Rahway Arts District, Inc.

STEVEN COHEN (Production Supervisor) brings an added dimension to this production of Himself and Nora, A n accomplished production designer, lighting designer and director, Cohen has worked with many of the world's most prominent music artists including Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Billy Joel, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz and more as well as numerous TV productions for VH1, AOL Music Live, HBO Music, HBO Comedy, Showtime and television networks. He has also lent his talents to such special events as Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children and Justin Timberlake and Friends.

JAMES SAMPLINER (Music Director /Keyboard 1)
Broadway: Never Gonna Dance, BKLYN The Musical, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde (arranger as well as MD). Off-Bway: Radiant Baby, Ghetto Superstar, (Public Theater) The Mistress Cycle. Regional: Sleeping Beauty Wakes (McCarter Theater, La Jolla Playhouse), In This House (Two River Theater), Being Alive (Westport Country Playhouse, Philadelphia Theater Group), The Soul Of Rodgers (Reprise, Los Angeles), Most Wanted (Sundance), 8 summers as the Music Director of the Williamstown Theater Festival. West End: Legally Blonde (US music supervisor). Recordings: BKLYN The Musical, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde, At The Corner of Broadway & Soul (Billy Porter), Love Travels (Julie Reiber), Coming To My Senses (Jaron Vesely). Arranger/MD for Billy Porter, Shoshana Bean, Patina Miller, Leslie Odom Jr. and many others.

KELLI BARCLAY (Choreographer)
NYC: City Center Encore's Pipe Dream, Camelot in Concert starring Jeremy Irons, Oscar Hammerstein Awards salute to Carol Channing. NYMF: Hurricane the Musical, My History of Marriage director Michael Bush. Goodspeed Opera House: My One and Only (CT Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography,) How to Succeed in Business...(CT CC Award nom.) and the new musical Hello My Baby at the Norma Terris. MUNY: Bye Bye Birdie, Singin' in the Rain (Kevin Kline Award,) Beauty and the Beast, 42nd Street, 50 Years of Muny Magic, and White Christmas. Feature film: Made for Each Other. Associate Choreographer on Broadway: 42nd Street (Revival), Irving Berlin's White Christmas, State Fair, Ain't Broadway Grand. Associate Choreographer on four City Center Encore's productions. Asst. Choreographer: Radio City's Christmas Spectacular Detroit MI. Original ballets: Angels Among Us featuring NY Times best selling author Alma Daniel, Extensive teaching in all forms of dance including as a member of the faculty of American Ballet Theater's Dance Intensive in NYC.

STEPHANIE KLAPPER (Casting Director) is pleased to continue her collaboration with Michael Bush and team. Klapper Casting's work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, internationally, on television, film, the web, and heard on radio. Select Credits: Broadway: A Christmas Story, The Musical; Dividing The Estate; Bells Are Ringing. Off -Broadway: Horton Foote's Harrison, Texas (upcoming); The Morini Strad; RX; Olive and the Bitter Herbs (Primary Stages/Resident Casting Director); Twelfth Night (New York Classical Theatre); Karen O's Stop the Virgens! (St. Anne's Warehouse); Cactus Flower (Westside Theatre); Regional: Emotional Creature (Berkeley Rep); Nobody Loves You (Old Globe); Three Musketeers (Cincinnati Playhouse); Venice (Kansas City Rep/Kirk Douglas Theatre); God of Carnage (Capital Rep); Next to Normal (Milwaukee Rep and Adirondack Theatre Festival); The Whipping Man (Hartford Stage Company and Baltimore Center Stage),.Television: Lazytown; Film: Alice Jacobs; Roberta; Feast of the Goat. Casting Society of America, League of Professional Theatre Women. Casting Assistants: Lauren O'Connell and Tyler Albright.

ALDO SCROFANI (Producer/Executive Producer) Aldo Scrofani founded Theatre Management Associates, Inc. (TMA) and its subsidiary, Moonglow Productions LLC in 2009. TMA/Moonglow is a theatrical production and management company providing expertise and professional services to theatrical ventures on a worldwide basis. With 36 years of experience in the live entertainment industry, prior to forming TMA/Moonglow, Mr. Scrofani served for 13 years as Executive VP/Producer of Jujamcyn Theatres, and 18 years as the COO of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. and Executive Producer & COO of Columbia Artists Theatricals. In these capacities, he has produced, co-produced and been associated with well over 100 productions on Broadway, London, Off-Broadway, National Touring companies as well as numerous international presentations of known and branded artists and productions. During this tenure, Mr. Scrofani has garnered multiple Tonyˇ Nominations and Tonyˇ Awards as well as Drama Desk, Obie, Pioneer in the Theatre Award, The Elliot Norton Award for outstanding production, and others. Productions include, Gone With The Wind directed by Trevor Nunn, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels directed by Jack O'Brien, Chita Rivera The Dancer's Life directed by Graciela Daniele, Lovemusik directed by Hal Prince, STOMP, Stomp Out Loud, Tap Dogs, Grand Hotel directed by Tommy Tune, City of Angels directed by Michael Blakemore, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown directed by Michael Mayer, Gypsy directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Tyne Daly, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof with Kathleen Turner, Big River, Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk, Jelly's Last Jam, Elaine Stritch At Liberty all directed by George Wolfe, Sunset Boulevard, The Royal National Theatre production of Carousel directed by Nicholas Hytner, The World Goes Round directed and choreographed by Scott Ellis and Susan Stroman, Master Class with Elizabeth Ashley, The Belle of Amherst with Julie Harris, M. Butterfly directed by John Dexter, Into the Woods directed by James Lapine, The Piano Lesson directed by Lloyd Richards, My One and Only with Tommy Tune.Dracula with Frank Langella. He has served on the Tonyˇ Management and Tonyˇ Administration committees as well as The Executive Committee and The Board of Governors of The Broadway League of which he has recently been elected to become a "Lifetime Member".

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