Michele Ragusa & Thom Sesma to Star in CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater; Cast Announced

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Michele Ragusa & Thom Sesma to Star in CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater; Cast Announced

Casting is complete for the world premiere of Greg Edwards & Andy Sandberg's new comedy, Craving for Travel, which will run Off-Broadway January 9 - February 9, 2014 at the Peter J. Sharp Theater (416 W. 42nd Street, NYC).

Directed by Sandberg (Shida, The Last Smoker in America), a Tony Award-winner as a producer of Hair, the cast features Michele Ragusa (Young Frankenstein, Disaster!) and Thom Sesma (The Lion King, The Times They Are A-Changin') collectively playing thirty characters-chiefly, Joanne and Gary, rival travel agents (and former spouses) vying for their industry's most prestigious honor: the Globel Prize. Craving for Travel is commissioned and produced by Jim Strong, one of America's leading luxury travel agents.

More than a month before the world premiere begins, half of the performances are already sold out. Tickets are $32.50 and $49.00 and can be purchased online at www. ticketcentral.com or www.CravingforTravel.com, by phone at 212.279.4200, or in person at the box office at 416 W. 42nd Street (12 - 8pm daily).

With their reputations on the line, travel agents Joanne and Gary will tackle any request, no matter how impossible, and any client, no matter how unreasonable. Full of overzealous travelers, overbooked flights, and hoteliers who are just over it, Craving for Travel reminds us why we travel-and everything that can happen when we do.

The genesis of Craving for Travel began in 2011, when Jim Strong set out to find New York theater artists who could write about the travel industry in their own voice and shed light on the role of the modern travel agent. He found Edwards and Sandberg, arranged for them to interview travel professionals, and encouraged the writers to theatricalize their impressions, whatever they may be.

The creative team for the world premiere includes scenic design by Charlie Corcoran (The Weir), costume design by Tony Award nominee Michael McDonald (Hair), lighting design by Tony Award-winner Jeff Croiter (Peter and the Starcatcher), and sound design by Bart Fasbender & Dave Sanderson (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Pamela Edington is the Production Stage Manager, and Andrew Jones is the General Manager. Casting is by Geoff Josselson.

Performances will take placeTuesday - Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. The evening performance on Wednesday, Jan 22 will take place at 7pm (instead of 7:30pm); and the Sunday, Feb 9 matinee performance will take place at 2pm (instead of 3pm). There will be added performances Jan 29 and Feb 5 at 3pm; no 7pm performance on Feb 2 or 9; and no 3pm performance on Jan 11. A full schedule can be found on the show's website, www.CravingforTravel.com.

Michele Ragusa (Joanne et. al.) just finished a successful run as Jackie in the Off-Broadway production of Disaster, the Musical. She last starred on Broadway as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, succeeding Megan Mullally. Her other Broadway credits include Urinetown, Ragtime, A Class Act, Titanic and Cyrano. HerOff-Broadway credits include Adrift in Macao (Primary Stages, Lortel and Drama League nominations as well as the Barrymore Award. Regional credits: Spamalot (Lady of the Lake, The Muny); Gypsy (Rose, The Hangar Theatre); Singing in the Rain (Lina Lamont, The Muny); Into the Woods (The Witch, Kansas City Rep., dir. Moises Kaufman); Annie (Miss Hannigan, TUTS); Kiss Me Kate (Kate, Paper Mill, dir. James Brennan); The Drowsy Chaperone (The Chaperone, Flat Rock Playhouse); Company (Sarah, Geva Theatre); Bad Dates (Haley, Studio Arena, dir. Scott Schwartz); She Loves Me (Amalia, Paper Mill, dir. James Brennan); Boeing Boeing (Gabriella, Engeman Theatre, dir. BT McNicholl); Guys and Dolls (Adelaide, Rabin Award, Dallas Theatre Center); Noises Off (Belinda, Studio Arena); Sweeney Todd (Beggar Wmn, Portland Center Stage); Side Sondheim (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Lend Me a Tenor (Maria, Portland Stage/Engeman Theatre); Me and My Girl (Jacquie, Goodspeed, dir. Scott Schwartz); Nunsense (Sr. Amnesia, Sacramento Music Circus). Ms. Ragusa is also seen as star vocalist with symphonies across the country.

Thom Sesma (Gary et. al.) recently returned to New York from DC's Signature Theatre, where he appeared as the Engineer in Eric Schaeffer's newly re-imagined Miss Saigon. Mr. Sesma's other theater credits include leading roles on Broadway and on tour, including The Times They Are A-Changin', The Lion King, Search & Destroy, Titanic and Chu Chem. He has performed Off-Broadway with NSYF/Public Theatre, the Roundabout, Second Stage, The Drama Department, The Mint, NAATCO, Epic Theatre and others. Regionally, he has performed new plays, musicals and classical theater with The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, The McCarter, Two River Theatre Co., Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage and many more. Among his TV and film credits: are The Good Wife, Single Ladies, Third Watch, Law & Order, Canterbury's Law, Over/Under, Lay The Favorite, Building Girl, and Person of Interest.

Greg Edwards (Co-Author) has written lyrics for Neurosis: A New Musical (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse); book and lyrics for Taking the Plunge (NYMF, Samuel French OOB Festival), The Temptation of Lady Amsterdam (Prospect Musical Theatre Lab), and Office Space: The Musical (Yale); the script for Application Pending (with Andy Sandberg); and assorted songs with Marvin Hamlisch (White House Governors' Dinner, Mr. Hamlisch's holiday tour). Honors and approximations thereof include the BMI Harrington Award and the Fred Ebb Award (two-time finalist). He's backpacked through India, Guatemala, Peru, and Iceland, but really he should have used a travel agent. For more information: www.greged.com.

Andy Sandberg (Director; Co-Author) recently directed the world premiere of Shida (Ars Nova; nominated for four 2013 AUDELCO Awards), the world premiere of Operation Epsilon (nominated for three 2013 Elliot Norton Awards) at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA, and the New York premiere of The Last Smoker in America (Westside Theatre), having previously directed the world premiere at CATCO (Columbus, Ohio). Sandberg is the co-author of Application Pending, also with Greg Edwards. He has been represented on Broadway and London's West End as a producer of HAIR (2009 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle Awards) and the Broadway revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man (2012 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle Nominations). Other New York directing credits include Zelda at the Oasis (St. Luke's Theatre), R.R.R.E.D. and Bernice Bobs Her Mullet (NYMF), Into the Woods and A Funny Thing...Forum (Blue Hill Troupe), "Eli's Comin' to Broadway," a BC/EFA benefit hosted by Nathan Lane (Lincoln Center), and multiple workshops, benefits, and readings. As producer: A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane Theatre); Paradise Found (Menier Chocolate Factory, London; dir. Hal Prince and Susan Stroman); and Vigil (DR2 Theatre). In 2007, Sandberg worked with Hal Prince on the Broadway production of LoveMusik. For more information: AndySandberg.com. Twitter: @Andy_Sandberg.

Jim Strong (Producer) is one of America's leading luxury travel agents and the President of Strong Travel Services in Dallas, Texas, a Virtuoso member agency. His experience and travel insights are sought by an exclusive clientele that includes prominent names in the arts, entertainment and business. Jim travels extensively throughout the world selecting and vetting unique hotels, villas, and destinations for his clients. He is the author of two luxury travel books and recently developed an iPhone and iPad app, all under the name Craving for Travel. A Certified Travel Counselor and an Accredited Cruise Counselor, Jim serves on the advisory boards of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Ritz Carlton Hotels, Rosewood Hotels, Travel + Leisure Magazine, as well as many other luxury travel organizations.

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