CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ Begins Performances Tomorrow At Paper Mill Playhouse
Paper Mill Playhouse presents the New Jersey premiere of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz with a book by Marc Acito, musical adaptation & additional music by David Libby and conceived by and additional lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento.
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz begins performances tomorrow, Thursday, September 26, 2019, and will continue through Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ).
Directed and choreographed by Tony award nominee Denis Jones, with Orchestrations by Larry Blank and David Libby and music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the principal cast features Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot) as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, Tony Award nominee Max von Essen (An American in Paris, Paper Mill's The Baker's Wife) as Frank Gumm, Olivier Award-winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes 'Round) as Ma Lawlor/Kay Koverman, Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods, HBO's "Boardwalk Empire") as Louis B. Mayer, Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting) as Mickey Rooney, and Colin Hanlon (ABC's "Modern Family," Paper Mill's Benny & Joon) as Roger Edens.
Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Grace Brown, Lamont Brown, Joe Cassidy, Clara Cox, Tessa Grady, Sophie Knapp (Teaneck, NJ), Molly Lyons, Kimberly Immanuel, Christina Maxwell, Kevin B. McGlynn, Allsun O'Malley, Samantha Joy Pearlman, Drew Redington, Joshua J. Schwartz, Parker Slaybaugh, Sean Thompson, Violet Tinnirello and Kathy Voytko (Bloomfield, NJ).
Before she burst onto the big screen as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was a young vaudeville trouper named Frances Gumm. In this highly anticipated new musical chronicling Garland's early career from vaudeville baby to MGM teen star in the making, the road to Oz is paved with adversity. At its heart a story of love between a father and daughter, featuring such legendary songs as "Over the Rainbow," "You Made Me Love You," and "Everybody Sing," Chasing Rainbows is a poignant coming-of-age tale about "the little girl with the big voice," who went on to become one of the world's most beloved entertainment icons. The show has already earned praise from Liza Minnelli, who said, "My mother said that her biography is in her music, and now a talented creative team is using that music to tell the story of her early years and her extraordinary rise to fame."
The production team includes scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Matt Kraus, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and makeup design by Dena Olivieri. John Fricke serves as creative consultant. The production stage manager is Bonnie Panson. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
"If you grew up watching The Wizard of Oz, it's almost impossible to imagine that movie with anyone else but Judy Garland as Dorothy," commented the show's conceiver Tina Marie Casamento, a member of the theater faculty at New Jersey's Rider University. "But it is the iconic performance that almost didn't happen. Chasing Rainbows is about how, against all odds, the teenage Frances Gumm became the legendary Judy Garland, and it's a story I've wanted to tell as a musical for years, since first reading a Garland biography. It's the ultimate story of knowing there's something special inside of you and waiting for that chance to share your gifts with the world. I'm grateful we are able to include so many of the songs, recorded by or associated with Judy Garland in the telling of her early career, and the unprecedented support of the Garland Estate for this production."
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