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Denee Benton Steps in for Phillipa Soo in MasterVoices' OF THEE I SING at Carnegie Hall; More Cast Announced!

Denee Benton Steps in for Phillipa Soo in MasterVoices' OF THEE I SING at Carnegie Hall; More Cast Announced!

MasterVoices announces additional casting for its season opening presentation of George and Ira Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing on Thursday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.

Tony Award nominee Denée Benton (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) joins the cast as Mary Turner, replacing Phillipa Soo, who regretfully can no longer participate due to scheduling conflicts.

Additional cast members joining the production include three time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin (The Addams Family) as Vice President Alexander Throttlebottom, Tony Award winner Zach Grenier (The Good Wife) as Louis Lippman, and Fred Applegate as Francis X. Gilhooley (Wicked).

The production additionally features previously announced cast members Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) as President John P. Wintergreen, Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town) as Diana Devereaux, and David Pittu (Lovemusik) as the French Ambassador.

The first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize, Of Thee I Sing is a satiric tale of truth, justice and corn muffins that skewers the electoral process, presented during a week when New York City is focusing on its own electoral process just five days before the mayoral election. With book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind-written during the time of their famed association with the Marx Brothers-the production features hits such as "Love is Sweeping the Country" and "Who Cares."

An additional performance of Of Thee I Sing is held at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Additional productions in MasterVoices' 2017-18 season include: Our America, celebrating how immigrants have shaped American music (March 7 at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union); a new production of Orphic Moments, an evening featuring Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice paired with Matthew Aucoin's dramatic cantata The Orphic Moment (May 6 and 7 at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater); and Naamah's Ark, a MasterVoices commission (Sunday, June 17 in Lower Manhattan, exact location to be announced), co-presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as part of the River To River Festival 2018.


PROGRAM:

OF THEE I SING
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind

Featuring:
Bryce Pinkham, President John P. Wintergreen
Denée Benton, Mary Turner
Kevin Chamberlin, Vice President Alexander Throttlebottom
Elizabeth Stanley, Diana Devereaux
Zach Grenier, Louis Lippman
Fred Applegate, Francis X. Gilhooley
David Pittu, French Ambassador

MasterVoices Chorus and Orchestra
Ted Sperling, Conductor
Musical staging by Andrew Palermo

Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
57th Street and Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Tickets for the Carnegie Hall performance, priced at $20-$155, are available for purchase at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, at 57th and Seventh, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website at carnegiehall.org.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

MasterVoices was founded in 1941 by conductor Robert Shaw, who believed in the voice as the world's most powerful instrument. Today the human voice remains at the heart of MasterVoices' concerts, from its acclaimed 100+ member chorus to the dazzling array of world-class soloists that perform with the group each year.

MasterVoices' productions are known for their vitality and scale, and the group's repertoire spans multiple genres, including choral classics, operas in concert, musical theater programs, and newly commissioned works at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and New York City Center to site-specific concerts at synagogues, airplane hangers, museums, and bandshells. MasterVoices often tours internationally, most recently appearing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

The organization's concerts serve a deeper purpose as well: to nurture the artists of tomorrow. The Faith Geier Initiative gives debuts to promising young soloists, and at any time the chorus may include high school students from the Side-By-Side program, which invites aspiring young singers to join MasterVoices in concerts and tours, guided by experienced chorus members as mentors.

MasterVoices' vision continues to expand under the baton of Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Ted Sperling. Its musical theater offerings have become richer, as a result of the establishment of The Rees Fund for Musical Theater, and its new Bridges program has started to introduce composers to specific New York City communities to create new choral works inspired by their stories. For more details, please visit mastervoices.org.

One of today's leading musical artists, Ted Sperling is a director, music director, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, singer, pianist and violinist. Mr. Sperling became the Artistic Director of MasterVoices in October 2013 and additionally serves as the Principal Conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. He has conducted concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, the Lyrics and Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y.

Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, My Favorite Year, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off- Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, A New Brain, Saturn Returns and Floyd Collins. Opera work includes two New York City premieres by composer Ricky Ian Gordon: 27 starring Stephanie Blythe, and The Grapes of Wrath, starring Nathan Gunn; Dido and Aeneas starring Kelli O'Hara and Victoria Clark; and La Voix Humaine starring Audra McDonald. Mr. Sperling's work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Striking 12, and Charlotte: Life? Or Theater?, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Mr. Sperling received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, headed the Music Theater Initiative at The Public Theater, and is Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals.

Bryce Pinkham (President John P. Wintergreen) is most widely known for originating the role of Monty Navarro in the Tony Award winning musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, for which he was nominated for Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk awards. In 2015, he appeared in the Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. His other Broadway credits include Holiday Inn, Ghost, the Musical, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He most recently starred in Benny and Joon, a new musical adaptation of the 1993 movie starring Johnny Depp at The Old Globe Theater. His latest on-screen appearances include Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series The Get Down, Robert De Niro's The Comedian, and he was a series regular on PBS' Civil War drama series Mercy Street. His previous TV credits include The Good Wife and Person of Interest.

Denée Benton (Mary Turner) made her Broadway debut and received a 2017 Tony Award nomination, a 2017 Drama League Distinguished Performance Award nomination, a 2017 Theatre World Award, and a 2017 Lilly Award for her portrayal of Natasha in the Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. She had previously played the role of Natasha at the American Repertory Theater. Other credits include Nabulungi in the West End and U.S. national tour of The Book of Mormon, and Ruby in season 2 of Lifetime's hit television series "UnREAL." She is a 2014 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Kevin Chamberlin (Vice President Alexander Throttlebottom) has been nominated for three Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards on Broadway as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, Horton in Seussical, and Charlie in Dirty Blonde. His other Broadway credits include Disaster, The Ritz, Chicago, Triumph of Love, My Favorite Year and Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Recently he starred as Jimmy Durante in New York City Center Encores! production of Cole Porter's The New Yorkers. Kevin had the honor of singing with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall as part of their tribute to Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. In Los Angeles, Kevin starred in the Hollywood Bowl productions of Hair, West Side Story and Spamalot. Film credits include: Die Hard with A Vengeance, Road to Perdition, Taking Woodstock, In and Out, Christmas with the Kranks, Suspect Zero, Lucky Number Slevin and The Emoji Movie. Kevin's television credits include Modern Family, Heroes, Frasier, and as Bertram on Disney Channel's long-running hit show, Jessie.

Elizabeth Stanley (Diana Devereaux) starred as Francesca in the first national tour of Jason Robert Brown's The Bridges of Madison County, and prior to that as Claire De Loone in the Broadway revival of On the Town (Drama Desk Nomination). Other roles originated on Broadway include Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet, Allison in Cry-Baby, and April in the Tony Award-winning revival of Company. She appeared as Kira in the first national tour of Xanadu. Her Off-Broadway credits include Gussie in the New York City Center Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along, and The Nurse in Hello, Again with Transport Theatre Group. Her television credits include The Get Down, The Affair, Black Box, Made in Jersey, Fringe, The Chappelle Show, and the PBS Great Performance broadcast of Company. Regionally she has performed with Sundance Theatre Festival, Sacramento Music Circus, Pittsburgh CLO, Barrington Stage Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Zach Grenier (Louis Lippman) recently played Willy Loman in Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of Death of a Salesman. Selected television credits include series regulars on The Good Wife, C16:FBI, and Touching Evil; recurring roles on 24 and Deadwood; and appearances on NBC's Blindspot, and Chicago PD. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Beethoven in Moisés Kaufman's 33 Variations, and also appeared on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company's Man and Boy and A Man For All Seasons, as well as Off-Broadway in New York Theatre Workshop's A Question of Mercy (Outstanding Artist, Drama League Award), the Atlantic Theater Company's Storefront Church (Lucille Lortel Award nomination), and The Public Theater's Stuff Happens (Drama Desk Ensemble Award).

Fred Applegate (Francis X. Gilhooley) has appeared on Broadway in Wicked (The Wizard), Tuck, Everlasting (Constable Joe), The Last Ship (Father O'Brien), Sister Act (Monsignor O'Hara), La Cage aux Folles (M. Dindon), Young Frankenstein (Inspector Kemp/The Blind Hermit), and The Sound of Music (Max Detweiller). Fred also starred as Max Bialystock in The Producers on Broadway and in London. His other New York credits include Fanny (Panisse) for New York City Center Encores! and Happiness (Kevin) at Lincoln Center. He appeared on the first national tours of Wicked (The Wizard), Anything Goes (Moonface, Helen Hayes nomination), The Producers (Franz, Helen Hayes nomination), and Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth, Ovation Award nomination). Recent television credits include Person of Interest, Billions, and Crashing. Fred was a series regular on Newhart, FM, Life... and Stuff, Woops!, and Nine to Five; had recurring roles on Cosby, Night Court, and Growing Pains; and guest-starred on Will and Grace, Dr. Quinn, ER, Seinfeld, Touched by an Angel, and Northern Exposure.

David Pittu (French Ambassador) has received Tony Award nominations for his performances in Is He Dead? and LoveMusik, and additionally appeared in The Front Page on Broadway, in Big River with New York City Center Encores!, in Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater, in The Mystery of Love & Sex at the Mark Taper Forum, in the national tour of Parade (National Broadway Award) and in The Heir Apparent with Classic Stage Company. His recent TV and film credits include Chicago PD, Search Party, House of Cards,The Blacklist, Power, Mercy Street, The Following, The Knick, Cafe Society, True Story, King Kong, Men in Black III, Person of Interest, The Good Wife, Damages, and Law & Order. David is also an award-winning audiobook narrator.

Pictured: (clockwise from left to right) Bryce Pinkham, Denée Benton, Kevin Chamberlin, Elizabeth Stanley, Ted Sperling, David Pittu, Fred Applegate and Zach Grenier


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