Casting Announced for Goldrich and Heisler's DEAR EDWINA
Casting has been announced for the off-Broadway premiere of the Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler musical, DEAR EDWINA. A fully staged musical comedy for kids, DEAR EDWINA will have a limited engagement, as part of Daryl Roth Productions' DR2 Kids series at the DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th Street, NYC, from Friday, November 14, 2008 through Sunday, January 25, 2009, with an official opening on Sunday, November 16 at 4:00 p.m.
DEAR EDWINA features music by Zina Goldrich and book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler (the award-winning songwriting team behind the critically acclaimed family musical JUNIE B. JONES, the popular cabaret song "Taylor, the Latte Boy," and the Broadway-bound musical EVER AFTER). TIMOTHY MCDONALD, founder of family entertainment producer iTheatrics, will direct.
Janice Mays will appear in DEAR EDWINA's title role. Others in the cast include Tyler Adcock, Gordon Maniskas, Ernie Pruneda, Morgan Rose, Doug Thompson, Shannon Tyo, and Katie Whetsell. Musical direction is by Mark Hartman, with choreography by Steven G. Kennedy. Court Watson is scenic designer, lighting design is by Kathryn Furst, and costume design is by Theresa Squire. Pianist/conductor will be Joe Kinosian, and Nicole Marcus is the production's drummer.
In the classic tradition of "Let's put on a show," DEAR EDWINA's plucky heroine, Edwina Spoonapple, decides that she and her pals will do just that. Edwina's special talent is giving advice, and she would do almost anything to be a part of the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival. When a talent scout visits her hometown of Paw Paw, Michigan, Edwina – assisted by a host of quirky friends and neighbors - enthusiastically sings out her musical advice in hopes of finding her own special place in the spotlight. Together Edwina and chums put on a show in the Spoonapple garage that tackles a plethora of problems, in numbers about everything from birthday party etiquette to the proper way to set a table ("salad fork, fork, plate, knife, spoon"). This smart and sassy "show within a show" features such hilarious and endearing songs as "Put It in the Piggy," "Frankenguest," and "Hola Lola," offering clever advice on kid-troubling issues that run the gamut from what to do when offered icky food to how to deal with a truly annoying brother. After hearing "Hola Lola," Roy Sander of Backstage declared it was "so infectious you may not be able to get it out of your head … I couldn't stop singing it for hours."
Children attending DEAR EDWINA will have their own chance to ask Edwina for advice by placing letters in a special box in the DR2 Theatre lobby. Each week, one child's "Dear Edwina" letter will be selected, and Edwina's reply will be posted on the show's website: www.DearEdwina.com.
Praised by The New York Times as a "bright inventive production" that "beguiles with rock, rag, rhythm and blues and doo wop among other attractions," MARCY and ZINA's Junie B. Jones enjoyed three highly successful off-Broadway runs under the auspices of Theatreworks USA, earning two Lucille Lortel Award nominations. MARCY and ZINA, who have been collaborating since 1993, were voted "Best Knocking on Broadway's Door Songwriting Team" in The Village Voice's "Best of NYC" edition and are past recipients of ASCAP's Richard Rodgers New Horizons Theatre Award. As performers, MARCY and ZINA have toured domestically and internationally, presenting their music at some of the finest venues, including Carnegie Hall, Canada's "Juste Pour Rire" comedy festival and the Kennedy Center. Raved The Village Voice, "[They] have been turning out smart lyrics and sophisticated melodies for some time. Keep in mind they're the ones whose nifty love song rhymed 'quesadilla' with 'IKEA.'" Kristin Chenoweth has popularized their song, "Taylor, the Latte Boy," performing it on The Today Show and The Rosie O'Donnell Show and in concert at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, and the White House. Together and apart, MARCY and ZINA have provided original songs for The Disney Channel, Disney Interactive and Feature Animation projects, Disney Theatricals, PBS, and Nickelodeon.
Producer Daryl Roth says, "I've known and admired MARCY and ZINA for years, and seeing a production last year of their show Junie B. Jones through the eyes of my grandchildren inspired me to invite them to be a part of my new children's theatre series, DR2 Kids. By introducing young audiences to creative, imaginative, quality musical theatre, it is my hope that we will build audiences for the future. MARCY and ZINA have a youthful exuberance that is wonderfully contagious, and I look forward to DEAR EDWINA being the first of many future collaborations."
Marcy Heisler laughs … "Maybe it isn't such a stretch for me to write about Midwestern girls yearning for fame in their garages, but DEAR EDWINA is about more than that. It's about friendship and family, learning and listening, having fun, surviving disappointment – not only giving good advice, but taking it too. At its heart, DEAR EDWINA is a celebration of the garage full of dreams we all have wherever we call home … dreams that deserve to be pursued, protected, and, on occasion, performed in large production numbers for our neighbors."
Zina Goldrich adds, "And what better 'garage' to play in than the DR2 Theatre. It has such a warm and intimate feeling, and is a perfect match for DEAR EDWINA. We are thrilled to be working with Daryl Roth and her associates."
To coincide with the DR2 Theatre production, record label PS Classics will release the world premiere recording of DEAR EDWINA on November 11.
Daryl Roth is privileged to have produced six Pulitzer Prize winning plays: August: Osage County, Anna in the Tropics, How I Learned to Drive, Proof, Three Tall Women, and Wit. Other award winning productions include: Thurgood, A Catered Affair, Curtains, The Country Girl, Allergist's Wife, Caroline or Change, Coram Boy, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Inherit the Wind, Medea, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Year of Magical Thinking.
TIMOTHY McDONALD, CEO of the New York City-based family entertainment company iTheatrics, recently directed sold-out performances of The Phantom Tollbooth at The Kennedy Center. He has been the playwright of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (premiering at Goodspeed Musicals in December 2008), and is currently developing a stage version of James and the Giant Peach. Timothy worked with MARCY and ZINA to adapt DEAR EDWINA into an educational title for student performers, available through Music Theatre International Education.
DR2 Kids has presented such delightful family shows as The Funkey Monkeys, A Dolphin Up a Tree, and Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Sensation. In addition to DEAR EDWINA, this fall's offerings have included Moey Live: P is for Party, Custard the Dragon, and a return engagement of Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Sensation. New this season is the affordable DR2 Kids Theatre Membership Program, a wonderful chance to introduce young children to the magical world of live theatre. Information is available at dr2theatre.com.
Tickets for DEAR EDWINA are priced at $29 (previews) and $39 (general admission) and are available at DearEdwina.com or by calling Telecharge at 212.239.6200. Tickets may also be purchased at the DR2 box office, 103 East 15th Street, NYC. Group rates are available. This production is 60 minutes long and is recommended for ages 5 - 12.