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Is He Dead? to Star Butz, Pittu, McGrath, Gambatese, others


Complete casting is announced for Is He Dead?, a new comedy by master American novelist and satirist Mark Twain, adapted by David Ives, and directed by two-time Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore, which opens at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street) on November 29.  Previews begin on November 8.

Jeremy Bobb (Translations), Marylouise Burke (Into the Woods), Patricia Conolly (Enchanted April), Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan), Tony Award nominee Byron Jennings (Inherit the Wind), Tony Award nominee Michael McGrath (Spamalot), four-time Tony Award nominee John McMartin (Grey Gardens), Tony Award nominee David Pittu (LoveMusik), Bridget Regan and Tom Alan Robbins (The Lion King) will join Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) in the world premiere production.

"In this newly discovered Mark Twain comedy, the original master of American humor dishes out a sly critique of the art world with acerbic wit and social commentary well ahead of his time.  Is He Dead? is a fast-paced play about a struggling artist who stages his own death to drive up the price of his paintings.  As the riotous scheme unfolds, Twain poses daring questions about fame, greed and the value of art, and pokes his signature, mischievous fun at everyone involved," describe press notes, "Written in 1898, Is He Dead? remained unpublished until it was rediscovered in 2002 by noted Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin."

The design team includes Peter J. Davison (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), and Peter Kaczorowski (lighting).

Single ticket and performance schedule for Is He Dead? will be announced in the coming weeks.

Norbert Leo Butz (Jean-Francois Millet, Widow Daisy Tillou) received the 2005 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Drama League Awards for his performance as Freddy Benson in the Broadway musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He also originated the role of Fiyero in Wicked, plus original roles in Thou Shalt Not and The Last Five Years. Other credits include Rent, Buicks, Juno and the Paycock, Cabaret and Saved.

Jeremy Bobb (Phelim O'Shaughnessy) last appeared on Broadway in Translations. Other recent credits include The Calamity of Kat Kat and Willie; Love: A Tragic Etude; Hell and Back; and Murder in the First.

Marylouise Burke (Madame Caron) has appeared on Broadway in Into the Woods and Inherit the Wind and in the national tour of Lettice and Lovage. She received a Drama Desk Award for her performance in David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers at Manhattan Theater Club and a Drama Desk Nomination for Kimberly Akimbo.

Patricia Conolly (Madame Bathilde) appeared on Broadway in Enchanted April, Judgment at Nuremberg, Waiting in the Wings, The Sound of Music, The Heiress, The Real Inspector Hound, A Small Family Business, The Circle, Blithe Spirit; Lincoln Center Theater's The Coast of Utopia, A Streetcar Named Desire; Circle in the Square's The Importance of Being Earnest, Tartuffe, Roundabout's Hedda Gabler, Misalliance, Manhattan Theatre Club's Woman in Mind, House and Garden.

Jenn Gambatese most recently starred on Broadway in Tarzan as Jane. Other Broadway: All Shook Up, Hairspray, A Year with Frog and Toad and Footloose.

Byron Jennings (Bastien Andre) credits include Broadway: Inherit the Wind, Heartbreak House, A Touch of the Poet, Twelve Angry Men, The Man Who Came to Dinner.

Michael McGrath (Agamemnon Buckner) received both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his work in Spamalot. Broadway: Wonderful Town, Little Me, Swinging on a Star, The Goodbye Girl, My Favorite Year, The Boys From Syracuse (Encores!) and DuBarry Was a Lady (Encores!).

John McMartin (Papa Leroux) was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his performance in Grey Gardens (Broadway, Playwrights Horizons). Broadway credits include Into the Woods, High Society (Tony nomination), Showboat (Tony nomination), Follies (original production), Sweet Charity opposite Gwen Verdon (Tony nomination)

David Pittu (Basil Thorpe, Claude Riviere, Charlie, The King of France) recently appeared on Broadway in LoveMusik (Tony nomination), The Coast of Utopia, Never Gonna Dance. Off-Broadway: Stuff Happens (Drama Desk Award: Outstanding Ensemble), Of Thee I Sing (Encores!)

Bridget Regan (Cecile Leroux) makes his Broadway debut after appearances in The Scottish Play and Sweet Bird of Youth (La Jolla Playhouse).

Tom Alan Robbins (Hans von Bismarck) originated the role of Pumbaa in The Lion King, plus original companies: Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Threepenny Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Once Upon a Mattress. National tour: Les Misérables (Thérnardier).

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