Breaking News: Jake Gyllenhaal Will Make Musical Debut in Encores! LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS This Summer!

By: Apr. 14, 2015

Jake Gyllenhaal, Chuck Cooper and Taran Killam will join the previously announced Ellen Greene in the Encores! Off-Center concert production ofHoward Ashman and Alan Menken's Little Shop of Horrors, running July 1-2, 2015. NOTE: A third performance has been added at 2pm on Thursday, July 2 in order to meet ticket demand. The production will be directed by Dick Scanlan, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox. Jeanine Tesori is the Artistic Director of Encores! Off-Center, and Chris Fenwick is Music Director. The show will mark the musical theater debuts of both Gyllenhaal and Killam.

Little Shop of Horrors is a sci-fi musical about Seymour Krelborn (Jake Gyllenhaal), a hapless florist shop worker who pursues a doomed romance with his ditzy, lovable co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene) by acquiring an R&B-singing plant (Chuck Cooper) that feeds on human blood. The production also stars Taran Killam as Audrey's sadistic dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello. An R&B girl group, The Urchins, provides commentary on the action and will feature Tracy Nicole Chapman, Marva Hicks and Ramona Keller. Little Shop is based on Roger Corman's 1960 black comedyfilm by the same name. With book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, the show premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving Off-Broadway to the Orpheum Theatre, where it played 2,209 performances, winning the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical. It was revived on Broadway in 2003, playing 372 performances at the Virginia Theatre.

New York City Center's acclaimed Encores! Off-Center series returns for a third season of landmark Off-Broadway musicals, opening on June 24, 2015 with William Finn and James Lapine's A New Brain starring Jonathan Groff, directed by James Lapine. After Little Shop of Horrors, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, starring Sutton Foster and directed by Leigh Silverman, wraps up the season, opening on July 15.

Tracy Nicole Chapman (Chiffon) was in the original Broadway casts of The Lion King, the 2002 revival of Into the Woods, the 2000 revival of The Music Man, The Who's Tommy, The Life andCaroline, or Change. She also appeared on Broadway in How to Succeed... Her first national tours include Jelly's Last Jam and Once on This Island, and she has toured with Jessica Simpson, Vanessa Williams and Heather Headley. Regional credits include Running Man. Her film and television credits include Across the Universe and "The Wrong Coast."

Chuck Cooper (Voice of Audrey II) is a Tony Award winner for The Life. Other awards include the Lucille Lortel Award for The Piano Lesson; the San Diego Critics' Circle Award for Two Trains Running; an Audelco Award for Caroline, or Change; and two Drama Desk nominations. He has been featured in 13 Broadway shows in every theatrical genre from Shakespeare to musical comedy. His most recent guest starring TV appearances include "House of Cards," "Madam Secretary," "Gossip Girl," "Nurse Jackie," and "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight."

Ellen Greene (Audrey) is perhaps best known for creating the lovable Audrey in the Off-Broadway, Los Angeles and London productions of Little Shop of Horrors; she reprised the role in the 1986 film made at Pinewood Studios in the UK. Ellen's Broadway credits include Rachael Lily Rosenbloom and Don't You Ever Forget It, Threepenny Opera (Tony Award nomination), The Little Prince and the Aviator, and Three Men on a Horse. Some of her Off-Broadway credits include In the Boom Boom Room, The Sorrows of Stephen, The Nature and Purpose of the Universe and Teeth and Smiles. Her many films include Léon: The Professional, Talk Radio, One Fine Day, The Cooler and Next Stop, Greenwich Village. Her TV credits include "Glory! Glory" for HBO, (Cable Ace Award nomination), "Dinner at Eight," "Pushing Daisies" and "Heroes." In 2009, she played Miss Adelaide in the all-star Hollywood Bowl staging of Guys and Dolls. Ellen's debut solo album In His Eyes was named the vocal recording of the year by Playbill, and this Thanksgiving she released a new Christmas album, Songs for a Winter's Night, to rave reviews.

Click here to watch Gyllenhaal sing DREAMGIRLS!

Jake Gyllenhaal (Seymour) made his Broadway debut this season in Constellations. He was seen Off-Broadway in Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet (Lucille Lortel and Drama League nomination) and in London in Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth (Evening Standard Theatre Award). His film credits include Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (Academy Award nomination, BAFTA award, National Board of Review Award), Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler (Golden Globe nomination, SAG nomination, BAFTA nomination, Independent Spirit Award nomination), Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners (National Board of Review Ensemble Award), David Fincher's Zodiac, Sam Mendes' Jarhead, Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko (Independent Spirit Award nomination), Denis Villeneuve's Enemy, David Ayer's End of Watch, Duncan Jones' Source Code, Edward Zwick's Love & Other Drugs (Golden Globe nomination), Jim Sheridan's Brothers, Miguel Arteta's The Good Girl and Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow. His upcoming films include Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw, Baltasar Kormákur's Everest, and Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition.

Marva Hicks (Crystal)'s Broadway credits include Motown the Musical; Caroline, or Change; The Lion King; and Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. She has appeared Off-Broadway inThunder Knocking on the Door and The First Breeze of Summer. Regional work includes Thunder Knocking on the Door (Helen Hayes Award), Cuttin Up, The Women of Brewster Place (Suzi Award), Crowns and Sophisticated Ladies. She played Bess in the Zach Theatre's Jazz/Blues production of Porgy and Bess (B. Iden Payne Award). Her films include Labor Day, Virtuosity andPreaching to the Choir. She has toured with Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, and has recorded on Polygram Records.

Ramona Keller (Ronnette) made her Broadway debut inSmokey Joe's Café and later toured with the show in Germany. On Broadway, she originated roles of in Caroline, or Change (also in London) and Brooklyn. Some of her regional credits include the female lead in Handel's Messiah Rocks! , two productions of Dreamgirls, Lonestar Love, Beehive, The Buddy Holly Story and the musical revue In Time with Hugh Jackmanin Las Vegas. Ramona has also performed with New York Pops, Sioux City Orchestra, Bay Atlantic Symphony and Grand Rapids Orchestra.

Taran Killam (Orin Scrivello) is currently in his fifth season on "Saturday Night Live." His many celebrity impressions include Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Eminem, Paul Ryan, Piers Morgan and Rush Limbaugh. Taran established his comedy career in Los Angeles as a main company member of the acclaimed comedy troupe The Groundlings and co-starred in the play Three Companeros at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He has appeared on episodes of "How I Met Your Mother," "Community" and "Scrubs," and voices the character of Frantic in the Hulu original animated series "The Awesomes," created by Seth Meyers. His feature-film work includes The Heat, Grown Ups 2 and 12 Years a Slave. He can also be seen opposite Brooklyn Decker in the upcoming film Casual Encounters. In 2013, Taran released "The Illegitimates," a comic book miniseries focusing on a team of illegitimate children tasked with replacing their father, a James Bond-esque superspy.

Photo credit: Anthony Behar


New York City Center Will Extend Encores! Runs to 2 Weeks Photo
New York City Center Will Extend Encores! Runs to 2 Weeks

NEW YORK CITY CENTER announced that the 2024 Encores! series will feature special two-week runs of all three productions for the first time in the series’ history, celebrating 30 years of the Tony-honored series.

Review Roundup: THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at Encores! Photo
Review Roundup: THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at Encores!

Up next at New York City Center, the Encores! season continues with The Light in the Piazza, led by Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles. Encores! The Light in the Piazza runs for seven performances only, through June 25, at New York City Center.

Video: Watch Highlights from Encores! THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA Photo
Video: Watch Highlights from Encores! THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA

Up next at New York City Center, the Encores! season continues with The Light in the Piazza, led by Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles. In this video, watch highlights of the cast in action!

Video: Go Inside Rehearsals for Encores! THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA with Ruthie Ann Miles and Photo
Video: Go Inside Rehearsals for Encores! THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA with Ruthie Ann Miles and More

In this video, the cast of Encores! The Light in the Piazza, rehearses 'Statues and Stories' and 'The Beauty Is' and checks in with BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge to chat about the new production!



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