Betsy Wolfe & Matt Bittner to Lead World Premiere of New Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez Musical UP HERE at La Jolla Playhouse
La Jolla Playhouse announces the cast and creative team for its world premiere of Up Here, a new musical comedy featuring book, music and lyrics by the husband-and-wife composing team of Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit), recipients of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Song for their hit song, "Let It Go," from the Disney animated film Frozen. Up Here is directed by Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Broadway's Rocky, Off-Broadway's Here Lies Love, Playhouse's Peter and the Starcatcher) and will run July 28 - September 6 in the Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre. Up Here is being presented by special arrangement with Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions, along with Victor Alvarez, Warner/Chappell Music, Sally Horchow International Productions, Caiola Productions, Dominion Pictures.
Tickets to Up Here are currently available only through a subscription purchase. Single tickets will go on sale Saturday, June 27. For more information please call (858) 550-1010 or visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
The cast is led by Broadway's Betsy Wolfe (Broadway's Bullets over Broadway, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and newcomer Matt Bittner (Public Theater's Much Ado About Nothing), along with Broadway alums Andrew Call, Giovanni Cozic, Jeff Hiller, Gizel Jimenez, Zonya Love (Playhouse's Side Show), Sarah Meahl, Eric Petersen, Devin Ratray, Devere Rogers, Charles South and Nick Verina.
The ensemble features local actors Kikau Alvaro, Hanz Enyeart (Playhouse's Without Walls presentation of The Grift at the Lafayette Hotel), Jacob Haren, April Jo Henry, Tamara Rodriguez and Graham Stevens, and UC San Diego M.F.A. students N'Jameh Camara, Zakiyah Markland and Lorena Martinez.
The creative team includes Joshua Bergasse, Choreographer; Aron Accurso, Music Director; Dave Metzger, Orchestrator; David Korins, Scenic Designer; Ann Closs-Farley, Costume Designer; David J. Weiner, Lighting Designer; Peter Hylenski, Sound Designer; Dan Scully, Projection Designer; Michelle Zamora, Puppet Designer; Gabriel Greene, Dramaturg; Carrie Gardner, Casting; Matthew DiCarlo, Production Stage Manager;
"It takes a hugely-talented, thoroughly committed group of artists to bring the ingenious and imaginative universe of Up Here to life," said La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "Fortunately, this first-rate cast and creative team is more than up to the task and will truly embody the spirit of this extraordinarily witty and wonderful new musical."
When introverted, 30-something computer repairman Dan finds a potential spark with outgoing t-shirt designer Lindsay, his attempts at a relationship are thwarted by the Technicolor world in his head. This world-premiere musical goes where no musical has gone before, bringing to life the circus of judgmental, neurotic, ever-changing characters that rule an ordinary man's mind. Up Here is an ambitious, razor-sharp musical comedy about recognizing your place in the universe - and maybe even finding happiness.
Matt Bittner appeared in New York in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing and in The Wild Project's Be A Good Little Widow. Regional credits include As You Like It (Two River); All Is Calm (Hudson Valley Shakespeare); Sweeney Todd (Pennsylvania Shakes); and productions with Allentown Shakes, Mile Square Theatre and Playhouse Theatre Tulsa. He is also a sound designer/composer, having arranged original pieces for theatres in New York and across the country, including arrangements for Tony Award-nominated director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel, the first regional production of Misterman, featuring Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, and 14 collegiate productions while earning his M.F.A. in acting from Rutgers University. Mr. Bittner has designed sound for original works by Neil LaBute and Brooke Berman and at the prestigious LaGuardia Performing Arts High School. He is developing/composing a new musical called Little Krushe, based on true events surrounding the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, where he has spent much of his time abroad. He can also be seen doing his infamous "Girl Voice" in a viral video by the same title and on episodes of Tosh.0.
Betsy Wolfe recently performed at La Jolla Playhouse's 2015 Gala. She was last seen on Broadway starring in Woody Allen's musical adaptation of Bullets Over Broadway as "Ellen," under the direction of Susan Stroman. She starred in the Off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years at Second Stage Theater and the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Prior to that she played Beth in Merrily We Roll Along at Encores and created the role of Mary Ann Singleton in ACT's World Premiere of Tales of the City, a musical based on the Armistead Maupin novels. Other Broadway credits include Everyday Rapture with Sherie Rene Scott (also Off-Broadway), 110 in the Shade and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (also in San Francisco and Boston). Ms. Wolfe made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Douglas Carter Beane's adaptation of Die Fledermaus. She has been a guest artist for over 30 Symphony, Pops and Philharmonic Orchestras across the U.S. and internationally, including the NY Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony. Her concert debut at Carnegie Hall was with the Cincinnati Pops under Maestro Erich Kunzel. Ms. Wolfe was a guest soloist for the New York City Ballet where she performed at Lincoln Center and at The Coliseum in London. Recordings include Bullets over Broadway, The Last 5 Years, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Stage Door Canteen, 35MM and Merrily We Roll Along. She holds a B.F.A. in musical theatre from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM). Ms. Wolfe can also be seen in the film adaptation of The Last Five Years.
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are the Oscar-winning married songwriting team behind the sensational Disney animated film, Frozen. Robert has co-conceived and co-written smash-hit musicals Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, which both earned him Tony Awards. Kristen's show, In Transit, opened off-Broadway in 2010 and earned recognition at the Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel awards that year. Lopez and Anderson-Lopez have written for television, film and stage, including the stage version of Finding Nemo, songs for The Wonder Pets (two Emmy award wins) and the Winnie the Pooh animated film.
Alex Timbers is a two-time Tony Award-nominated writer and director and the recipient of the Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as two OBIE Awards. His Broadway credits include Rocky, Peter and the Starcatcher (co-director, OBIE Award - Best Director, Tony Award nomination- Best Director), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (also book writer; Drama Desk Award - Best Book, Lortel and OCC Awards - Best Musical, Tony nomination - Best Book) and The Pee-wee Herman Show (aired on HBO; Emmy Award nomination). His Off-Broadway credits include the hit production of Here Lies Love (Drama Desk and OCC nominations - Best Director), A Very Merry Unauthorized Pageant (OBIE Award, Garland Award - Best Director), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Drama Desk nomination, Best Director), Hell House (Drama Desk nomination - Unique Theatrical Experience). His recent work includes Love's Labour's Lost, which he co-wrote and directed at the Public's Shakespeare in the Park in 2013, and The Last Goodbye, which sets Romeo and Juliet to the music of Jeff Buckley. He is a former President of the Yale Drama and Artistic Director of Les Freres Corbusier.
The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is internationally-renowned for creating some of the most exciting and adventurous work in American theatre, through its new play development initiatives, its innovative Without Walls series, artist residencies and commissions, including BD Wong, Daniel Beaty and Kirsten Greenidge. Currently led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, the Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and reborn in 1983 under the artistic leadership of Des McAnuff, La Jolla Playhouse has had 25 productions transfer to Broadway, garnering 35 Tony Awards, among them Jersey Boys, Memphis, The Who's Tommy, Big River, as well as Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, both fostered as part of the Playhouse's Page To Stage Program. Visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
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