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Hunter Foster, Malcolm Gets, Dick Latessa et al. Lead Starry Cast of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE at La Jolla


La Jolla Playhouse announced today the cast and creative team of its upcoming world-premiere musical Little Miss Sunshine, by the Tony Award-winning creative team of composer/lyricist William Finn and playwright/director James Lapine. Mr. Lapine has enjoyed a long association with The Playhouse, having previously directed Merrily We Roll Along (1985) and Luck, Pluck and Virtue (1993). The production runs February 15 - March 27, 2011 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

The cast features Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors) as "Richard Hoover," Malcolm Gets ("Caroline in the City," A New Brain, Amour) as "Frank Ginsberg," Georgi James (Billy Elliot) as "Olive Hoover," Dick Latessa (Hairspray) as "Grandpa," Jennifer Laura Thompson (Urinetown, Wicked) as "Sheryl Hoover" and Taylor Trensch (Spring Awakening) as "Dwayne Hoover." The ensemble includes Bradley Dean, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Eliseo Roman, Andrew Samonsky, Sally Wilfert and Zakiya Young; and the Pageant Girls include local actresses Felicity Bryant, Sophia Delange, Kishka Grantz and Madi Rae DiPietro.

The creative team includes: James Lapine, book writer/director; William Finn, composer/lyricist; David Korins, scenic designer; Jennifer Caprio, costume designer; Ken Billington, lighting designer; Dan Moses Schreier, sound designer; Christopher Gatelli, musical staging; Vadim Feichtner, music director/conductor; Michael Starobin, orchestrator; and William Aronson: music arranger.

"What a thrill it is to bring such an enormously talented cast and creative team to The Playhouse to mount the world premiere of this truly unique new musical," said La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "The Playhouse is deeply committed to being a home for great artists, providing a nurturing environment for the creation of new work, and we are delighted and honored to embark on the exciting journey of Little Miss Sunshine with this extraordinary company."

The Tony Award-winning team of composer/lyricist William Finn and writer/director James Lapine, who previously collaborated on the Tony Award-winning musicals Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, bring their latest project, Little Miss Sunshine, to La Jolla Playhouse. The Hoover family has seen better days. Richard, the father, is a floundering motivational speaker, Grandpa's been kicked out of his retirement home, and Uncle Frank's been dumped by his boyfriend. Moody teenager Dwayne has taken a vow of silence and overextended mom Sheryl can do little more than slap on a smile. But when the youngest Hoover - umm, energetic, Olive - enters a regional pre-teen beauty pageant, the family thinks their luck could change and embarks on a cross-country trek chasing the coveted title of "Little Miss Sunshine." Based on the Academy Award-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is an outrageously funny and surprisingly touching new musical.

Hunter Foster's ("Richard Hoover") Broadway credits include Million Dollar Quartet, The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominations), Urinetown (Outer Critics Circle nomination), Les Miserables, Grease, Footloose and King David. Off-Broadway: Happiness (Drama Desk Award nomination), Ordinary Days, Frankenstein, Dust, Modern Orthodox, Urinetown (Lucille Lortel Award nomination). Regional: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Signature Theatre-Helen Hayes Award nomination), The Government Inspector, Martin Guerre (Guthrie) Mister Roberts (Kennedy Center), Children of Eden (Papermill), Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, Boeing Boeing (Cape Playhouse). National Tours: Cats, Martin Guerre, The Producers. As a writer, Mr. Foster wrote the books for the musicals Summer of '42, which opened Off-Broadway in 2001; Bonnie and Clyde: a Folktale at the 2008 NY Musical Theatre Festival, and The Hollow, which premiered this summer at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Malcolm Gets ("Frank Ginsberg") is well known to television audiences as "Richard" on "Caroline in the City." His Broadway credits include The Moliere Comedies, Passion, The Story of My Life, A New Brain (Lincoln Center) and Amour, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Off-Broadway, he earned an Obie Award for his performance in Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along. He has also performed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, the Hollywood Bowl, among others. His film credits include Grey Gardens with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, Sex and the City, Adam and Steve and Thirteen Conversations about One Thing.

Georgi James's ("Olive Hoover") credits include the Broadway productions of Billy Elliot and A Tale of Two Cities, the off-Broadway production of Orphan's Home Cycle, and various workshops, including Driver's Education.

Dick Latessa's ("Grandpa") Broadway credits include Promises Promises, Hairspray (Tony, Drama Desk, Critics Circle Awards), Cabaret (Helen Hayes Award, Joseph Jefferson nomination), Proposals, A Funny Thing Happened..., Damn Yankees, The Will Rogers Follies, Rumors, Broadway Bound, Rags, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Passion, I Ought to Be in Pictures, Chapter Two, Follies and Awake and Sing!. Encores! productions include: Promises Promises, DuBarry Was a Lady, Li'l Abner. Off-Broadway: Chaucer in Rome (LCT), Over the River and Through the Woods, Fit to Be Tied, Sophistry, Man in His Underwear, Philemon (Obie Award), Bells Are Ringing (Kennedy Center). Films: The Substance of Fire, Stigmata, The Great New Wonderful, Alfie, The Last New Yorker. TV: "The Good Wife," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "The Black Donnellys," "Brotherhood."

Jennifer Laura Thompson ("Sheryl Hoover") made her Broadway debut in 1998 as "Ariel Moore" in the original cast of Footloose. She also originated the role of "Hope Cladwell" in Urinetown, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. In addition to playing the role of "Glinda" (first replacement for Kristin Chenoweth) in Broadway's Wicked, MS. Thompson's New York credits include the recent Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor, Little Fish at Second Stage Theatre, A Doll's Life at the York Theatre, Pardon My English, Strike up the Band! Of Thee I Sing, and On The Town for City Center Encores!. She played "Julie Jordan" in the first national tour of Carousel (Lincoln Center revival) and appeared in national tours of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Television; "Law & Order SVU," guest star. She holds her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan.

Taylor Trensch's ("Dwayne Hoover") credits include the first national tour of Spring Awakening ("Moritz"). Regional appearances include: Rabbit Hole ("Jason"), Little Shop of Horrors ("Seymour") and The Rocky Horror Show ("Frank 'N' Furter"). He received his training at Elon University.

William Finn (Composer/Lyricist) is well known for the trilogy of short musical shows: In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland. Falsettos, the combination of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, ran for 486 performances on Broadway and won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book, the latter shared with James Lapine. Finn and Lapine's other collaborations include the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and A New Brain, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. Mr. Finn wrote the lyrics for world premiere musical Dangerous Games - Two Tango Pieces (1989), a co-production of La Jolla Playhouse, American Music Theater Festival and Spoleto Festival U.S.A. He is also the composer of Romance in Hard Times and Elegies, A Song Cycle.

James Lapine (Playwright/Director) collaborated with William Finn on the off-Broadway shows March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, later produced together on Broadway as Falsettos (Tony Award); A New Brain (Lincoln Center Theater); and Muscle. He also directed Finn's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. With Stephen Sondheim he was both librettist and director on the Broadway productions of Passion (Tony Award; Drama Desk Award; Evening Standard Award), Into the Woods (Tony Award; New York Drama Critics Award; Drama Desk Award; Evening Standard Award) and Sunday in the Park with George (Pulitzer Prize; Drama Desk Award; New York Drama Critics Award; Olivier Award), the revue Sondheim on Sondheim. He wrote the book and directed the Menken/Schwartz musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney, which ran three years in Berlin. He also wrote and directed the plays Table Settings (George Oppenheimer Award); Twelve Dreams (revived by Lincoln Center Theatre); Luck, Pluck & Virtue; The Moment When; Fran's Bed; and Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing. He also directed the Broadway productions of Michel Legrand's Amour; the revival of The Diary of Anne Frank with Natalie Portman; David Henry Hwang's Golden Child; and Claudia Shear's Dirty Blonde (Tony nomination). For the New York Shakespeare Festival: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale and King Lear. He directed the films Impromptu, Life with Mikey and Earthly Possessions, as well as the television presentations of Into the Woods and Passion.

The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including Big River, The Who's Tommy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Jersey Boys, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations and Memphis. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre, and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-Art Theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.








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