Pittsburgh CLO Announces Cast for THE TOXIC AVENGER!
Are you ready to ROCK, Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh CLO is proud to announce casting for the Pittsburgh premiere of THE TOXIC AVENGER, September 22 - December 18 at the CLO Cabaret. This cult film-turned musical smash is a toxic love story with an environmental twist you won't want to miss! Featuring a rock score with instant hits such as: "Who Will Save New Jersey," "Thank God She's Blind," "My Big French Boyfriend" and "Evil is Hot," THE TOXIC AVENGER is sure to satisfy musical theater and movie lovers from the 'Burgh and beyond.
BILLY MASON (Black Dude) is making his CLO Cabaret debut. Mason's theater background includes PMT, The Strand Initiative, The Lyric Stage, Split Stage, Lincoln Park and a host of others in a wide array of roles. Favorite roles include Shrek in Shrek The Musical, Horton in Seussical the Musical, Kerchak in Disney's Tarzan, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and "Lucien P Smith" in The Boys Next Door.
Caroline Nicolian (Mayor/Ma) was last seen as Casey in Pittsburgh CLO's FIRST DATE. Past credits at the CLO Cabaret include Side by Side by Sondheim, Judge Jackie Justice and A Grand Night for Singing. She is a native of Pittsburgh and has worked for numerous theater companies in the city. Nicolian was seen in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris with PICT Classic Theatre, A Grand Night for Singing at St. Vincent's Summer Theater, and was the understudy for Eliza Doolittle in Pittsburgh Public Theater's My Fair Lady, to name a few. She received her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Point Park University.
QUINN PATRICK SHANNON (White Dude) returns for his fifth production at the CLO Cabaret. He is currently appearing in THE 39 STEPS (Clown), and previously appeared in Plaid Tidings (Frankie), Judge Jackie Justice (Male Swing) and A Grand Night for Singing (Male Swing). Most recently, Shannon played Nicely Nicely Johnson in The Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of Guys and Dolls. Other credits include My Fair Lady with The Pittsburgh Public (Ensemble), Forever Plaid (Frankie) with the Mountain Playhouse, Young Frankenstein (Igor) with PMT and Our Class (Wladek) with PICT Classic Theatre.
Evan Ruggiero (Toxie) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after last appearing in MAN OF LA MANCHA (ensemble/guitarist). He will also play the Pied Piper in this summer's SHREK THE MUSICAL. Additional credits: The Ellen Show (Burbank, CA), Yes I Can (London, U.K.), Quelli Che il Calcio (Milan, Italy), Transcendence Theatre Company (Sonoma, CA), The Penalty (The Public, NYC), and his own one man show, "One-Legged Song and Dance Man, which was just featured at The Kennedy Center in D.C., and is performed regularly at 54 Below.
KATIE SEXTON (Sarah ) is joining Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. She is a New York City-based actress whose credits include South Pacific (Nellie), Oklahoma! (Laurie), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Suzie) at Allenberry Playhouse, Evil Dead the Musical (Linda) with Wolfbane Productions and Company (Susan) with BOMP in NYC. Sexton was last seen on stage in Pittsburgh in Point Park University's production of The Light in the Piazza as Margaret Johnson. BFA Point Park University.
Julia Geisler (Understudy) returns to Pittsburgh CLO for her third production. She has previously appeared in the casts of BOEING, BOEING and A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL. She works regionally as an actress and musician at The Human Race Theatre, The Lawrence Arts Center, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, 12 Peers Theater, and as an occasional soloist at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh. Geisler is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Kansas where she also taught acting and Musical Theater.
David Toole (Understudy) recently appeared in Pittsburgh CLO's FIRST DATE as Reggie, Gabe, Casey's Father and Stoner Guy. Past credits include: Pittsburgh CLO's The Student Prince; The Last 5 Years (Jamie Wellerstein) with Front Porch Theatricals; PMT's Disney's Tarzan (Tarzan), Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas), RENT (Roger), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph), West Side Story (Tony) and High School Musical (Troy Bolton). Outside of theater, Toole is one of five rotating National Anthem Singers for The Pittsburgh Penguins. He is a private voice instructor based out of the North Hills, and is the frontman for the Rock/Alternative band "Identity X."
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Wes Grantom (Director) is joining Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Recent directing credits include: Lone Star Spirits by Josh Tobiessen (Crowded Outlet), Eager to Lose by Matthew-Lee Erlbach (Ars Nova), Clybourne Park (Premiere Stages), Not J.A.W.S. (Fight or Flight Theatre Company), The Cloud by Matt Moses and The Steadfast by Mat Smart (Slant Theatre Project). Broadway credits as Associate Director: Act One, Annie, Brief Encounter, Waiting for Godot and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Grantom is a recipient of the Drama League Directing Fellowship, Member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet and graduate of the University of Evansville.
Mara Newbery GREER (Choreographer) counts the following among her choreography credits: 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards, A Christmas Story: The Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse and Seattle 5th Avenue Theatre), Shrek The Musical (North Shore Music Theatre), Legally Blonde (Sacramento Music Circus), Guys and Dolls (University of Michigan), Fiddler On The Roof (Burns Park Players) and Oliver! (Plymouth State University). As a performer, she has worked on Broadway, national tours, London and at regional theatres across the United States. Proud member of SDC and AEA.
MICHAEL MORICZ (Music Director) has arranged for John Lithgow, Chita Rivera, Tommy Tune, Linda Lavin, Marvin Hamlisch, Renee Fleming, B.E. Taylor, and many others. He has composed original music for the Showtime, Disney, Discovery, Fox and PBS networks and incidental music for the Pittsburgh Public Theater and Columbia University; is music director for Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards and Broadway's Jimmy Awards. He is the ballet conductor for the Fort Worth Symphony, and has long associations with American Ballet Theatre, Mark Morris, PBT and Juilliard. He is proud to have been the music director for the final 5 years of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS. For CLO Cabaret he has music directed JUDGE JACKIE JUSTICE and PLAID TIDINGS.
TONY FERRIERI (Set Designer) returns to Pittsburgh CLO: THE 39 STEPS, FIRST DATE. City Theatre: Sex With Strangers. Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre: Miss Julie. barebones: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center: The Little Mermaid. Quantum: The Master Builder. Other credits include designs for: Milieu Theatrics NY, Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Opera, Carrnivale, PICT, Emelin, Northlight, Madison Rep, TheatreWorks, 1812 Productions, Playhouse REP & Conservatory, Tuesday Musical Club, Hartwood, Gargaro, Physical Theatre, Spur of the Moment, Chatham, Pitt, International Poetry Forum, Dana Phil Productions, Development Dimensions International, Saltworks and Unseam'd.
KEITH TRUAX (Lighting Designer) returns to the CLO Cabaret after FIRST DATE and ALTAR BOYZ. Additional credits include PICT Classic Theatre's Two Tales of Terror, Oliver Twist, Sharon's Grave, How The Other Half Love and Women and Scarecrow; and Sherlock's Last Case and Romance for Kinetic Theatre Ensemble. In NYC: Good Girl Gone Bad and Walken on Sunshine Fringe Festival. Truax recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with an MA in Lighting Design.
THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE TEAM:
Joe DiPietro (Book & Lyrics) is best known for his Broadway hit MEMPHIS, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and two additional Tony Awards (Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score/Music and Lyrics Written for the Theatre (with David Bryan). DiPietro was born and raised off Exit 166 in New Jersey and thus has been a Toxic Avenger fan for the last twenty years. He wrote the book & lyrics to I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, the longest running musical revue in New York history, which has had hundreds of productions across the country and around the world, including at the CLO Cabaret. He also wrote the book and lyrics to the Broadway musical All Shook Up, and the award-winning musical, The Thing About Men, which has played internationally. His plays include the Edgar Award-winning mystery, "The Art of Murder," as well as the long-running hit comedy "Over the River and through the Woods," which has had over a hundred productions around the world.
David Bryan (Music & Lyrics) is the Keyboard Player and a Founding Member of Bon Jovi. He is a singer/songwriter, composer, lyricist and programmer. BrYan Lives near Exit 109 off the Garden State Parkway. He was conceived, born and raised in New Jersey. As a young man, he saw The Toxic Avenger at a midnight showing in Newark, and from that day on, he dreamed of writing a musical about the first mutant superhero from his home state. This show is a fulfillment of that dream. Bryan has also written and released a solo record, Lunar Eclipse (Rounder/Universal) an instrumental collection with a single vocal bonus track highlighting all of the aspects of his training and influences blues, classical, jazz and of course, rock & roll. In his time off from recording and touring with Jon, Richie and Tico, David began a career as a composer and lyricist of musicals. The song, "Memphis Lives In Me," which he performs on Bon Jovi's box set, is from his Tony Award-winning musical, MEMPHIS. David also won a Tony for Best Orchestrations (with Daryl Waters) and Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics) Written for the Theatre (with Joe DiPietro). Bryan has also dedicated his time to become a National Spokesperson for VH1's Save The Music Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of music education in America's schools.
Lloyd Kaufman (Creator of The Toxic Avenger)
"Without Lloyd Kaufman," writes film critic Michael H. Klienschrodt in the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, "there probably never would have been There's Something About Mary or Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo. " Whether or not he would accept the credit (or blame) for these raunchy, mainstream blockbusters, there can be no doubt that what Kaufman has achieved is enormous. In 30 years, Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, has built Troma Studios up to legendary status as a bastion of true independence, the world's greatest concentration of camp.
In the late 1960s, Kaufman was enrolled at Yale University, diligently working on a respectable degree in Chinese Studies. When he was placed in a dormitory room with two film fanatics, however, Kaufman was infected with a love of movies from which he never recovered. In 1971, Kaufman met his future partner Michael Herz. The Troma Universe was born in 1974 with a series of highly original comedies such as Squeeze Play!,Waitress! and other titles ending with an exclamation point. These movies, independent precursors to such later smash hits as National Lampoon's Animal House and Porky's, did well financially, although Kaufman continued to work on such outside productions as Rocky and Saturday Night Fever. Kaufman achieved new levels of success with his 1984 breakthrough movie, The Toxic Avenger. The Toxic Avenger led to an animated spin-off series, Toxic Crusaders, several different comic book titles (published by Marvel and, most recently, Troma's own independent comic book imprint) and three sequels. Its success was followed by a string of commercial and artistic triumphs that blended fantasy, heavy action, comedy, and eroticism in a style that the Cinemateque Francais described as "Tromatic," including the Class of Nuke-Em High trilogy, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and Troma's War.
In January 2000, Kaufman founded the TromaDance Film Festival, which gives filmmakers and audiences alike the opportunity to enjoy a broad spectrum of independent films for free. He has released a feature length documentary about the Cannes Film Festival, entitled All the Love You Cannes: An Indie's Guide to the Cannes Film Festival. His second book, Make Your Own Damn Movie has inspired him to teach a series of filmmaking Master Classes at colleges and institutions across the country. He is also the co-author of the The Toxic Avenger novel, published in June 2006. Kaufman most recently went behind the camera again for a chicken-zombie filled satire about the fast-food industry called Poultrygeist.
Performance Schedule for THE TOXIC AVENGER
Wednesdays at 7:30pm
Thursdays at 1:00pm* 7:30pm
Fridays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sundays at 2:00pm
*November 17 and December 15
Tickets start at $38.75 and are available online at CLOCabaret.com, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Groups of 10 or more can call the Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 to learn more about special discounts, priority seating and corporate discounts. Visit pittsburghCLO.org for more information.
Pittsburgh CLO graciously acknowledges the generosity of The Charity Randall Foundation for its sponsorship of the 2016-2017 CLO Cabaret Series.