Photo Flash: Laura Bell Bundy and the Cast of SWEET CHARITY Celebrate Opening Night at Reprise 2.0
REPRISE 2.0 (led by Producing Artistic Director Marcia Seligson), in association with the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's Department of Theater (UCLA TFT) chaired by Brian Kite, presents its inaugural production of Sweet Charity. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with musical direction by Gerald Sternbach, the classic Broadway hit plays through July 1 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Take a look at photos from the show's opening night below!
Sweet Charity director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall says, "I'm thrilled to be part of bringing Reprise back to Los Angeles. It's a blast to work on Sweet Charity with thrilling music by Cy Coleman, whip-smart lyrics by Dorothy Fields and a sharp and touching book by Neil Simon."
The production stars Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde - Tony Award Nomination, Hairspray, Anger Management) as "Charity," Barrett Foa (Eric Beale on NCIS: Los Angeles, Avenue Q, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as "Oscar" and Jon Jon Briones (Miss Saigon West End (Olivier Award Nomination) and Broadway (Drama Desk Award Nominee); The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as "Modesto Cunanan," father of Versace's murderer, "Andrew Cunanan") as "Herman."
Sweet Charity also features Terron Brooks (NBC mini-series The Temptations, The Lion King on Broadway) as "Daddy Brubeck," Krystal Joy Brown (Big Fish, Motown the Musical, Leap of Faith on Broadway) as "Helene," Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer ("Cha Cha" on FOX's Grease: Live!, National Tour of In the Heights) as "Nickie, "Ashley Loren (Broadway and National Tour of Jekyll & Hyde) as "Ursula," and Robert Mammana (Broadway and National Tour of Les Miserables) as "Vittorio."
The ensemble of Sweet Charity includes Ari Aaron, Justin Badding, Claudia Baffo, Gillian Bozaijan, Victor E. Chan, Catriona Fray, Bella Hicks, Lucia Joyce, Jeffrey Landman, Amber Liekhus, Ashley Matthews, Grayson McGuire, Angeline Mirenda, Chuck Saculla, Evan Strand, and Louis Williams, Jr.
Sweet Charity features scenic and projection design by Stephen Gifford; costume design by Angela Balough Calin; lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg and Brian Monahan; sound design by Jonathan A. Burke; with associate projection design by Ryan Marsh, and hair/wigs/makeup design by Judi Lewin. Press representation is by Davidson & Choy Publicity and Patty Onagan Consulting serves as marketing and sales director. Casting direction is by Michael Donovan Casting, CSA. Jack Lipson serves as assistant musical director; Jessie Vacchiano serves as production stage manager, and Rhonda Kohl serves as associate choreographer.
REPRISE 2.0 in association with UCLA TFT's Department of Theater, returns a professional musical theater season to UCLA's intimate 586-seat Freud Playhouse. This initiative allows the school to expand activities for its theater students - in performance, lighting, sound and set design, as well as interning with REPRISE 2.0 personnel in directing, stage management, casting, producing, musical direction, costuming and choreography. Students also appear in the productions on stage as part of the ensemble, as appropriate.
The ensemble of Sweet Charity features UCLA student Claudia Baffo and UCLA Alumni Gillian Bozajian and Catriona Fray, and the Projection Designer of Sweet Charity is UCLA third year undergraduate student Ryan Marsh.
REPRISE 2.0 is excited and honored to have this creative and mutually supportive partnership with UCLA TFT, which supports the School's central vision as a pre-eminent storytelling school - one whose mission is educating and developing a new generation of diverse, humanistic artists, industry leaders and scholars to use the power of story to not only entertain, but to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.
Brian Kite, the former producing artistic director of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (2008-2015) is the chair of UCLA TFT Department of Theater. While at La Mirada, he directed many musical productions for the theater, co-produced by McCoy Rigby Entertainment. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Ovation Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Spring Awakening and was again nominated for his productions of Les Misérables and American Idiot. He directed the national tours of Judgment at Nuremberg, In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Pride and Prejudice for L.A. Theatre Works, and staged the first production of Miss Saigon to ever play in China when his show closed the Macau International Music Festival. He also directed Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, starring Margaret Colin, which toured throughout Mainland China.
The REPRISE 2.0 2018 Season also includes Tony Award Nominee Carmen Cusack in Victor/Victoria directed by Richard Israel and choreographed by John Todd (September 5 - 16); and Grand Hotel - The Musical (October 24 - November 4) directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and choreographed by Kay Cole. Single tickets for Sweet Charity are now on sale at Reprise2.org or by phone at 800-982-2787. Subscription packages are still available at Reprise2.org or by phone at 1-866-811-4111.
All of the productions will be conducted by REPRISE 2.0 Musical Director Gerald Sternbach. Joining the REPRISE 2.0 team with Seligson are Co-Artistic Directors Glenn Casale and Michael Donovan; Executive Producers Kevin Bailey and Arthur Allan Seidelman; and General Manager Matthew Herrmann.
Sweet Charity is a collaboration between some of Broadway's most spectacular talents. The hilarious, razor-sharp dialogue is by Neil Simon (Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple); the pop-influenced, jazzy music by Cy Coleman (Barnum and City of Angels) and lyrics by the legendary Dorothy Fields ("On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "I Can't Give you Anything But Love").
Based on Federico Fellini's The Nights of Cabiria, Sweet Charity was director Bob Fosse's riotously colorful valentine to his then-wife, Broadway dancing phenomenon Gwen Verdon. Premiering in 1966, it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran for 608 performances. John McClain said in the Journal-American, "The word was all around that Sweet Charity was a hit and after catching it I can only add that it is a big fat one ... there was that wonderful electricity which crackles through an audience at a successful premiere. Sweet Charity is simply an atomic smash."
Charity was played in Las Vegas and London by Juliet Prowse and by numerous stars in subsequent New York revivals, including Debbie Allen and later Ann Reinking (1986), Christina Applegate (2005) and Sutton Foster (2016). The film version (1969) stars Shirley MacLaine and was directed and choreographed by Fosse.
The story centers on Charity's life as a dance hall hostess "with a heart of gold", determined to break out of the Fan-Dango Ballroom. Her misadventures in 1960s New York take her from a zany night with Italian film star Vittorio Vidal (in which she ends up alone in his bedroom closet), to dating the neurotic and shy Oscar Lindquist. When Oscar proposes, he insists he doesn't care about Charity's profession. But in the end, he does care very much and Charity is soon back to having her toes and heart stepped on in the ballroom. But not before singing and dancing to such rousing Broadway classics as "Big Spender," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Where Am I Going," and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This."
The REPRISE 2.0 production is directed and choreographed by one of Broadway's most celebrated artists, Kathleen Marshall. A winner of three Tony Awards (with six more nominations), she directed and choreographed such Broadway hits as Anything Goes (2011 revival with Sutton Foster) and The Pajama Game (2006 revival with Harry Connick, Jr.). She was Artistic Director of New York's "Encores" series from 1996-2000.
REPRISE 2.0, led by its Producing Artistic Director Marcia Seligson, is presenting three classic American musicals at UCLA's Freud Playhouse in its inaugural season. REPRISE 2.0 is partnering with the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's Department of Theater (UCLA TFT), chaired by Brian Kite. Seligson was the founder of Reprise! Broadway's Best, which presented nearly 50 productions of classic musicals between 1997 and 2012. These included Promises, Promises; Finian's Rainbow; Wonderful Town; The Pajama Game; Sweeney Todd; Bells are Ringing; Call Me Madam; Hair; 1776; The Most Happy Fella; Follies; Anything Goes; Kismet; Company; Brigadoon; Pippin, On the Town, Carousel, How to Succeed, and the final show Cabaret.
Under Seligson's previous direction of Reprise! Broadway's Best, it presented productions starring some of the best musical theater talent in America, both gifted newcomers and established stars such as Christine Baranski, Kelsey Grammer, Maureen McGovern, Jean Smart, Rachel York, Tony Danza, Jane Krakowski, Donna McKechnie, Christopher Sieber, Davis Gaines, Steven Weber, Lucie Arnaz, Christine Ebersole, Orson Bean, and Judith Light. REPRISE 2.0 will continue to collaborate with many of these stellar performers.
"Since those days, after Reprise! had ended, so many of us have been approached by former audience members asking the same question: 'Can you bring Reprise! back? There's nothing like it in LA. We miss it!' With REPRISE 2.0, what is the same from the original is the passionate vision that made Reprise! so special," shared REPRISE 2.0 Producing Artistic Director, Marcia Seligson.
She added, "The new REPRISE 2.0 will be faithful to the original concept, combining simple sets and costumes with outstanding directors and choreographers, the band on stage, and stellar performances that lets the material shine, allowing audiences to experience musicals they have never seen before, or have not been performed in the area for many years."
Sharon Lawrence and Bethany Joy Lenz
The company of Sweet Charity