Isaiah Johnson and Stephanie Umoh to Star in THE MUSIC MAN: IN CONCERT at Two River Theater and NJPAC; Full Cast Announced!
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (President and CEO John Schreiber) and Two River Theater (Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst) announced today the full cast of Meredith Willson's The Music Man, a concert version of the classic Tony Award-winning musical, directed by Obie Award-winner Robert O'Hara, with music direction by Kenny J. Seymour. America's favorite musical about big brass bands and small-town spirit will be performed by an African-American cast. The River City, Iowa setting will be based on historical accounts of black communities established during the Great Migration as former slaves moved across the U.S. following the Civil War.
There will be six performances at Two River Theater in Red Bank from March 13-16 and four performances at NJPAC in Newark from March 21-23.
Isaiah Johnson will play Harold Hill and Stephanie Umoh will play Marian Paroo. Johnson has appeared on Broadway in Peter and the Starcatcher and The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino. Umoh played Sarah in the 2009 Broadway revival of Ragtime.
Also featured in the cast are Kevin Boseman (A Chorus Line at Paper Mill Playhouse) as Winthrop; Lawrence Clayton (Jean Valjean in the 25th Anniverary US Tour of LES MISERABLES) as Mayor Shinn; Bernard Dotson (Chicago Broadway revival) as Charlie Cowell; Kevin R. Free (Once On This Island at Paper Mill Playhouse) as Marcellus; Trent Armand Kendall (Into the Woods Broadway revival) as Olin Britt; Destinee Rea (Hairspray with Theatre Under the Stars) as Amaryllis; Myra Lucretia Taylor (Nine Broadway revival, As You Like It at Two River Theater) as Mrs. Paroo; Aurelia Williams (Once On This Island at Paper Mill Playhouse) as Ethel Toffelmier; and NaTasha Yvette Williams (A Night with Janis Joplin) as Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn.
The creative team includes scenic designer Craig Napoliello; costume designer Dede Ayite; lighting designer Alex Jainchill; sound designer Lindsay Jones; and associate sound designer Jake Zerrer. The casting is by Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell and the stage manager is David Apichell.
The Music Man won the 1957 Tony Award for Best Musical and the first Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. Winner of Best Musical at the 1957 Tony Awards, The Music Man tells the story of con man Harold Hill, who falls for piano teacher and librarian Marian Paroo in the summer of 1912 as he bamboozles the conservative townsfolk of River City into financing a marching band. "Professor" Hill has to choose between the promise of romance and a quick getaway as his scheme begins to unravel.
The memorable score, which won the first Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album, includes "Seventy-six Trombones," "Ya Got Trouble," "Marian the Librarian," "Goodnight, My Someone" and "Till There Was You."
Performances in NJPAC's Victoria Theater take place Friday, March 21 at 8pm; Saturday, March 22 at 3pm and 8pm; Sunday, March 23 at 3pm. Tickets, on sale now, are $59.50 and $69.50 and can be purchased at www.njpac.org, by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC or by visiting the box office at One Center Street in Downtown Newark. These performances have been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and by Discover Jersey Arts.
Performances in Two River's Rechnitz Theater are Thursday, March 13 at 8pm; Friday, March 14 at 8pm; Saturday, March 15 at 3pm and 8pm; and Sunday, March 16 at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets starting at $20 are available from 732.345.1400 or www.tworivertheater.org. $20 tickets may be partial view. The co-Lead Sponsors of this production are Brookdale Community College and WBGO.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey-where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey's Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State's and the world's best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.
Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of creating great American theater by developing and producing new works and world masterpieces. We cultivate an audience that cherishes the intimate joy of theater, enriched when shared by a community of others. Two River Theater supports adventurous theater artists and the development of new work making a sustained investment in the creative process, and cultivates a new generation of theatergoers through arts education programs. Two River Theater is a member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and ArtPride New Jersey, and has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride