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Charlie Pollock and Mary Kate Morrissey Star in Signature Theatre's ELMER GANTRY, Beginning Tonight

Signature Theatre presents Elmer Gantry, a musical version of Sinclair Lewis' best-selling novel, directed by Signature's Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Follies, Million Dollar Quartet). Schaeffer collaborated on the last production of Elmer Gantry at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago with authors John Bishop (book), Mel Marvin (music) and Bob Satuloff (lyrics) in 1998; the show has not been produced since then. This will be the 5th production in the show's history. Running in the MAX Theatre today, October 7 - November 9, Signature's production will include several brand new songs by Mel Marvin and Bob Satuloff and a reimagined script that John Bishop worked on until his death in 2006.

"Elmer Gantry is one of those undiscovered gems in the musical theater world," said Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "I'm so thrilled that Signature Theatre will be producing a new version of this show. I've always had a fondness for the great score by Mel Marvin and Bob Satuloff along with John Bishop's smart and seductive book. Based on the iconic novel by Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry promises to raise the rafters in this newly conceived production."

Featuring a blues-, folk- and gospel-infused score, Elmer Gantry brings the evangelical charlatan of Sinclair Lewis' novel to life in a new reimagining. The charismatic, but completely broke, salesman Elmer Gantry stumbles upon a struggling religious tour, led by pious evangelist Sister Sharon Falconer. Falling for Falconer, Gantry joins the troupe as a preacher and, with a little showmanship and theatrics, transforms the revival into the hottest ticket in town. However, inspired by Falconer's earnestness and his reawakened spirit, Gantry inserts one spectacle too many and risks blowing up the entire operation.

The production will star Charlie Pollock (Broadway's Violet) as Elmer Gantry and Mary Kate Morrissey (Hair International Tour) as Sharon Falconer. Nova Y. Payton (Signature's Dreamgirls) will join the cast in the role of Mary Washington.

Pollock, Morrissey and Payton are joined in the cast by Jessica Lauren Ball (Paula; Olney Theatre Center's Cinderella), Ian Berlin (Young Man; The Kennedy Center's Camelot), Sean Burns (Salesman, Will, Choir, Bellboy; Keegan Theatre's Spring Awakening), Ashley Buster (Epatha Washington), Matt Conner (Art Nichols/Choir; Signature's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), William Diggle (Martin Ambrose/Choir; Signature's Sunset Boulevard), Jamie Eacker (Choir/Sarah/Mother/Bernice; Signature's The Threepenny Opera), Maria Egler (Maude; Signature's Sunday in the Park with George), Daphne Epps (Grace Washington; Signature's Dreamgirls), Nick Lehan (Tom/Choir; Olney Theatre Center's Cinderella), Lawrence Redmond (Merle Blanchard; Signature's Over & Over), Paul Scanlan (Salesman/Paul/Choir/Kohler; Signature's Sunday in the Park with George), Bobby Smith (Frank Shallard; Signature's The Threepenny Opera), Stephen Gregory Smith (Salesman/Dave/Choir/Emmitt; Signature's Miss Saigon), Russell Sunday (Salesman/Timmons/Carrigan/Father; Signature's The Boy Detective Fails), Bayla Whitten (Shirley; Signature's Beaches) and Harry A. Winter (Higby/Faucher/Stationmaster; Signature's Hairspray).

The creative team includes Musical Direction by Vadim Feichtner; Scenic Design by Daniel Conway; Costume Design by Frank Labovitz; Lighting Design by Chris Lee; Sound Design by Lane Elms; Wig Design by Anne Nesmith; and Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein.

Elmer Gantry with book by John Bishop, additional book material by Lisa Bishop, music by Mel Marvin and lyrics by Bob Satuloff, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, will be directed by Eric Schaeffer at Signature Theatre for four and a half weeks only, October 7, 2014 through November 9, 2014. Sign up now for priority ticket offers at www.signature-theatre.org.

CAST BIOS

Charlie Pollock (Elmer Gantry) BROADWAY: Violet; Love's Labour Lost; Urinetown, the Musical!; 9 to 5, The Musical. OFF-BROADWAY: Tick, Tick, Boom!; I Love You, You're Perfect... NATIONAL TOURS: Urinetown, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. REGIONAL: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Full Monty, Nerds!, Carnival, Tommy. FILM: P.S. I Love You, Walking Charley. TV: The Good Wife, As the World Turns, Law and Order, The Guiding Light. EDUCATION: U.T. Austin.

Mary Kate Morrissey (Sharon Falconer) OFF BROADWAY: Prospect Theatre Company: Tamar of the River. INTERNATIONAL TOUR: USA/Japan: Hair! REGIONAL: Portland Center Stage: Lizzie the Musical; Sundance Theatre Lab: Fun Home; Theatreworks New Works Festival: The Disappearing Man, A Folk Opera; Syracuse Stage: Little Women; Bristol Riverside Theater: Woodstock; Theatre Barn New Lebanon: Trailer Park. DEVELOPMENT READINGS: The Public, Musical Theatre Factory, B-Sides, NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Magic Kitchen Collective. BAND: She and the Sea. EDUCATION: Syracuse University.

Nova Y. Payton (Mary Washington) SIGNATURE: Crossing (Unknown Woman), Defying Gravity: Making of a SuperNOVA, Dreamgirls (Effie Melody White, 2013 Helen Hayes nom), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), Xanadu (Melpomene/Medusa), Hairspray (Motormouth Mabel, Helen Hayes). NATIONAL TOUR: 3 Mo' Divas (PBS Special, DVD and CD), Smokey Joe's Café (BJ). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Violet (Ensemble); Anacostia Playhouse: Wasn't that a Mighty Day (Narrator); 1st Stage: Trav'lin (Roz); Washington Savoyards: Ain't Misbehavin' (Nell); H Street Playhouse: Black Nativity; Adventure Theatre: Happy Elf (Mrs. Claus/Gurt); Shakespeare Theatre: Shakespeare Gala; Kennedy Center: Spring Gala Concert My Fair Lady (Ensemble). REGIONAL: Prince Music Theatre: Dreamgirls (Effie, 2006 Barrymore Nom); Flat Rock Playhouse: Smokey Joe's Café (BJ). www.simplynova.com. Proud member of AEA.

Jessica Lauren Ball (Paula) NATIONAL TOUR: The Pajama Game. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Cinderella, The Sound of Music (Helen Hayes nomination), Grease, 1776; Adventure Theatre: Miss Nelson is Missing; Imagination Stage: The Dancing Princesses; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Oklahoma! (Helen Hayes nomination), Legally Blonde, Cinderella, Nunsense, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Titanic, Grease.REGIONAL: Totem Pole Play House: Leader of the Pack. EDUCATION: London Dramatic Academy; BM, Catholic University of America.

Ian Berlin (Young Man) DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Camelot (Tom of Warwick); Arena Stage: The Music Man (Winthrop Paroo); Olney Theatre Center: The King and I (Louis Leonowens); Imagination Stage: James and the Giant Peach (James). EDUCATION: Maret School, French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, Imagination Stage, Levine Music.

Sean Burns (Will/Choir) DC AREA: Keegan Theatre: Spring Awakening; Kennedy Center: Defiant Requiem, Nightingale and The Rose; Atlas Theatre: Treemonisha, Pirates of Penzanze; Dissonance Dance Theatre: Cinema. REGIONAL: Pioneer Amphitheater: TEXAS, Disney Fantasy Cruiseline Entertainment. EDUCATION: Catholic University, 2012, Musical Theatre.

Ashley Buster (Epatha Washington) DC AREA: NextStop: Go Dog, Go; The Life Center: Cain and Abel; InterAct Story: Not My Monkey; Bowie Performing Arts: Little Shop of Horrors. REGIONAL: Manhattan Repertory: Valentine's Night; Temple: A Journey Through Our Past, Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival; St. Johns: A Glimpse in Time. INTERNATIONAL: Royal Caribbean Productions: Adventure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas.

Matt Conner (Art Nichols/Choir) SIGNATURE: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Rufus/Senator Wingwoah), Hairspray (Male Authority Figure), Sunset Boulevard (Manfred), Sweeney Todd (Bird Seller/Jonas Fogg), Show Boat (Windy), LES MISERABLES (Thenardier, Pimp), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Aurelio), Merrily We Roll Along (Scottie), The Witches of Eastwick (Toby), Into the Woods (Steward), My Fair Lady (Cockney), Assassins (Hinckley), Pacific Overtures (Tamate, Lion Dancer), A Funny Thing...Forum (Protean). DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: West Side Story (Riff); Synetic Theatre: Oscar Wilde's Salome (Page of Herodias); ATW: Naked Boys Singing; Open Circle Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas). COMPOSITIONS: Signature: Crossing, The Hollow, Nevermore, Partial Eclipse, The Girl from No Man's Land (Incidental music); Regional: NightoftheLivingDead, A Carol Christmas; Creative Cauldron: Martin: The King of Pizza, Eddie Allan Poe, Peter Pan and Wendy, Alice in Wonderland.

William Diggle (Martin Ambrose/Choir) SIGNATURE: Sunset Boulevard, And the Curtain Rises, Saturday Night (in concert). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: 1776, A Christmas Carol, Lincoln in Love (world premiere reading); Olney Theatre Center: Call of the Wild (world premiere), The Sound of Music; Kennedy Center: Camelot (in concert), Orphie and the Book of Heroes, Chasing George Washington (National Tour). REGIONAL: Texas Shakespeare Festival: Amadeus, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing; Wayside Theatre: The Matchmaker; Kiss Me, Kate;, A Christmas Carol; Totem Pole Playhouse: I Love You, You're Perfect...; Cole; Prather Entertainment: White Christmas; Hello, Dolly!; Monomoy Theatre: Macbeth, Oklahoma!, A Servant of Two Masters, The Butter and Egg Man, Noises Off!. EDUCATION: University of Houston PATP: MFA. WilliamDiggle.com

Jamie Eacker (Choir/Sarah/Mother/Bernice) SIGNATURE: The Threepenny Opera (Betty/Ensemble), Beaches (Ensemble), Spin (Latrissa Washington), Company (Kathy, D.C.), The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (Ruby Rae, D.C.), Xanadu (Euterpe, Kira u/s, D.C.), Hairspray (Tammy, Amber u/s), Chess (Ensemble/Assistant Choreographer), Revenge of the Understudies, A Matt Conner's Christmas. NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL TOUR: The Kennedy Center: The Phantom Tollbooth; Phoenix Entertainment: Grease (China). DC AREA: Shakespeare Gala as Elizabeth McGovern; Artscentric: Delilah (Delilah); Teatro101: The Wild Party (Queenie); Ford's Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Studio Theatre: Carrie: The musical (Miss Gardiner), Grey Gardens; Totem Pole: Leader of The Pack; Washington Savoyards: The Music Man; Olney Theatre Center: Joseph..., Fiddler On the Roof; Keegan Theatre: DMLRR - The Oresteia; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Hairspray, Aida, The Wizard of Oz, George M!, EDUCATION: AMDA of NYC. www.jamieeacker.com

Maria Egler (Maude) SIGNATURE: Sunday in the Park with George; Good Times: TV Theme Songs; Lost Songs of the 80s; 2013 Holiday Follies; Signature's Funny Ladies cabarets; Hello, Dolly! (Ford's Theatre co-production); Dirty Blonde; Giant; Crossing; Crossing in concert. NATIONAL TOURS: Gypsy. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Camelot, The Sound of Music, Cinderella; Studio Theatre: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Washington Savoyards: The Music Man, It's A Grand Night for Singing; DMLRR: The Oresteia, The Saints, Finn McCool. EDUCATION: BM, The Catholic University of America.

Daphne Epps (Grace Washington) SIGNATURE: Dreamgirls, Defying Gravity, Revenge of The Understudies. DC AREA: theatreWashington: Summer Hummer; Lincoln Theatre: If This Hat Could Talk, Everyman Street Theatre; Creative Cauldron: Shakespeare Sings; Ellington Theatre: Dreamgirls, Annie; Discovery Theatre: Going the Distance; Crampton Auditorium: A Mighty Day; DC Art Works: New Cotton Club Review, Drop Me Off In Harlem, Comin' Uptown. NEW YORK: Biv Ten Records: Recording Artist, Promo Tour Vocalist; Character Music: Vocalist, Writer, Vocal Arranger.

Nick Lehan (Tom/Choir) SIGNATURE: Company (u/s), Sycamore Trees (u/s). DC AREA: Studio Theatre: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Olney Theatre Center: Cinderella, Joseph..., Big River; Keegan Theatre: Spring Awakening, RENT; Washington Savoyards: Grand Night for Singing; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Spamalot, Pirates of Penzance, Aida. EDUCATION: The Catholic University of America. UPCOMING: Olney Theatre Center: Godspell, Carousel.

Lawrence Redmond (Merle Blanchard) SIGNATURE: Gypsy; Sweeney Todd; Over and Over; A Stephen Sondheim Evening; Working; Sunday in the Park with George; No Way to Treat a Lady (1998 Helen Hayes Award); Three Nights in Teheran; The Rink (1997 Helen Hayes Award); Passion; Cabaret. DC AREA: Shakespeare Theatre Company: Midsummer Night's Dream, Government Inspector, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III; Arena Stage: The Music Man, Ruined, Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Passion Play: a cycle; Olney Theatre Center: How to Succeed...; Studio Theatre: Rock 'n' Roll, Jerry Springer: The Opera (2ndStage), Reefer Madness (2ndStage); Folger Theatre: Henry VIII, The Winter's Tale, The Clandestine Marriage, Othello; Theatre J: New Jerusalem, Life in Refusal. AWARDS: Six Helen Hayes nominations, Theatre Lobby Award.

Paul Scanlan (Salesman/Paul/Choir/Kohler) SIGNATURE: Sunday in the Park with George, The Threepenny Opera, Company, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Really Really. DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: The Laramie Project; Kennedy Center: Orphie & The Book of Heroes; Round House Theatre: Fahrenheit 451; Studio 2nd Stage: The Rocky Horror Show; Keegan Theater: Spring Awakening (Helen Hayes nomination), Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination), Hair; 1st Stage: By Jeeves; Capitol Fringe: Who's Your Baghdaddy?. EDUCATION: Catholic University.

Bobby Smith (Frank Allard) SIGNATURE: See What I Wanna See, Show Boat, Company, Spin (2014 Helen Hayes Award), The Threepenny Opera. BROADWAY: Crazy for You. OFF-BROADWAY: Forever Plaid, The World Goes 'Round, Of Thee I Sing. NATIONAL TOURS: Brigadoon, The World Goes 'Round. DC AREA: Studio Theatre: A Class Act; The Long Christmas Ride Home; Caroline, or Change; Grey Gardens; Reefer Madness; Jerry Springer: The Opera; Ford's Theatre: Elmer Gantry, Liberty Smith, 1776, A Christmas Carol, Violet; Olney Theatre Center: Little Shop of Horrors, Annie, The Sound of Music; MetroStage: Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, Musical of Musicals, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor in a Resident Musical), Kennedy Center: The Happy Prince, Peter and the Wolf with the NSO.

Stephen Gregory Smith (Salesman/Dave/Choir/Emmitt) SIGNATURE: Miss Saigon, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Brother Russia (Prince Felix), Hairspray (Corny Collins), The Boy Detective Fails (Billy Argo), Sunset Boulevard, LES MISERABLES, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods (Jack), My Fair Lady, Assassins (Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), Pacific Overtures, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower (Billy), Allegro (Charlie), 110 in the Shade (Jimmy, 2004 Helen Hayes Award). DC AREA: DCAC: High Fidelity (Rob); StudioTheatre: Adding Machine: A Musical (SHRDLU), MetroStage: tick, tick...BOOM! (Jon); Ford's Theatre: Violet, The Civil War, Meet John Doe; Arena Stage: Damn Yankees; Kennedy Center: My Fair Lady in concert, First You Dream, Regina; Wolf Trap: Street Scene (Dick); OlneyTheatre Center: Avenue Q (Nicky/Trekkie).

Russell Sunday (Salesman/Timmons/Carrigan/Father) SIGNATURE: The Boy Detective Fails (Det. Brown), The Hollow (Ellis), Chess (Walter Anderson), Sweeney Todd (Ensemble, Sweeney u/s), LES MISERABLES (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble, Jean Val-Jean u/s performed). DC AREA: Studio Theatre: Jerry Springer: The Opera (Chucky, Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble); MetroStage:Closer than Ever, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!); Theatre J: David in Shadow and Light (Goliath); Toby's Dinner Theatre: Jekyll and Hyde (Jekyll/Hyde, 2003 Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Male Lead), Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd), Titanic (Andrews), Aida(Radames), Miss Saigon (Chris), Kiss Me, Kate (Fred), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston & The Beast), Damn Yankees (Young Joe), Annie Get Your Gun (Frank Butler), Carousel (Billy Bigelow).

Bayla Whitten (Shirley) SIGNATURE: Beaches, Chess (Ensemble, u/s Florence), Saturday Night, The Boy Detective Fails, Merrily We Roll Along (Beth). LONDON: West End: LES MISERABLES (Ensemble/Fantine). NEW YORK: Lady, Hurricane, In the Ebb. REGIONAL: My Fair Lady; Enchanted April; Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera); Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred!); Christmas Carol 1941; No One in the World. WORKSHOPS: The Lord of the Rings, Tamar and the River. EDUCATION: RoyalAcademy of Music; London School of Musical Theatre. AWARDS: Broadway World's 'Best Actress in a Musical' for Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. UPCOMING: Some Kind of Wonderful: Bayla Whitten sings Carole King at the JCCNV. www.baylawhitten.com.

Harry A. Winter (Higby/Faucher/Stationmaster) NATIONAL TOURS: Gigi, Jolson: the Musical. DC AREA: Allegro, 110 in the Shade, Hairspray, The Government Inspector, Racing Demon, The Laramie Project, Circle Mirror Transformation, Pins and Needles, and Bringing Up Amy.

Pictured: Charlie Pollock and Mary Kate Morrissey star in Elmer Gantry at Signature Theatre. Photo by Christopher Mueller, Design by Jessica Aimone.


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