Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre Staging Musical Adaptation of HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE

Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre Staging Musical Adaptation of HOWL'S MOVING CASTLEBook-It Repertory Theatre brings magic, adventure, and inspiration this holiday season with Howl's Moving Castle, a new musical based on an original book by Diana Wynne Jones.

Founding Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt has adapted and will direct the musical stage adaptation of the award-winning fantasy novel that features music and lyrics by local performer Justin Huertas.

When Sophie unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, she finds herself turned into an old woman. To break the enchantment, she must strike a bargain with a fire demon and seek the help of the frightening sorcerer Howl. The award-winning 1986 novel inspires each of us to trust in our own powers of transformation.

The story is a phenomenon that has thrilled audiences around the world and Book-It is delighted to bring the book to life on stage. The 2004 Oscar-nominated Hayao Miyazaki film Howl's Moving Castle from Studio Ghibli is also based on Jones' novel.

Platt says the story is about "discovering one's inner power. We chose this book because of the strong female lead character, Sophie Hatter. She is the eldest of three sisters and therefore, destined 'to fail first and worst.' But in truth, she is she is smart, funny, and defies time and age as she stares fearlessly into her own future."

Platt has helped produce more than 125 world-premiere mainstage productions and over 30 education touring productions and most recently directed The Brothers K, Little Bee, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Howl's Moving Castle is the first time Book-It has done a full-scale musical, but past shows with musical elements include Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed, Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

"Our musical adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle is a combination of beloved published work and exciting, new material. We need more magic in the world and being a part of the team that gets to transform this magical piece for new audiences is a dream," says Porkalob, who will star as Sophie Hatter.

An award-winning solo performer, director, and theatre theorist/activist and currently serving as Intiman Theatre's 2017 co-curator, Porkalob appeared in Book-It's Emma and is the writer/performer of DRAGON LADY.

A Seattle-based actor, musician, playwright, and songwriter, Huertas recently appeared in Book-It's Welcome to Braggsville. His original musical Lizard Boy premiered at Seattle Repertory Theatre and had its second production at San Diego's Diversionary Theatre. "There's nothing more inspiring to me than stories of self-discovery and coming-of-age told through the lens of magic. It's even more special and important to me that we'll be telling this story through the eyes of a woman of color. Sara Porkalob is one of the most important voices in Seattle theatre, and I couldn't be happier that she'll be the face and voice of Sophie Hatter," says Huertas. Huertas says the contemporary pop score is inspired by indie rock music and Sondheim and both influences will be woven throughout the score.

The cast includes Randall Scott Carpenter as Michael/Ensemble, John Coons as Prince Justin/Ensemble, Michael Feldman* as Howl, Rachel Guyer-Mafune as Martha Hatter/Ensemble, Kate Jaeger* as Witch of the Waste/Mrs. Fairfax, Katherine Jett as Lily Angorian/Ensemble, Lamar Legend as Calcifer/Ensemble, Sarah Russell as Lettie Hatter/Ensemble, Opal Peachey as Mrs. Fanny Hatter/Ensemble, Sara Porkalob* as Sophie Hatter, and Tyler Rogers as Wizard Suliman/Ensemble. *Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Adam Quillian is the music director and local group Table Flip will choreograph. The design team is led by Scenic Designer Julia Hayes Welch with lighting design by Andrew D. Smith, costume design by Margaret Toomey, and sound design by Erin Bednarz.

Howl's Moving Castle plays November 29-December 30, 2017 (Opening/Press Night on Dec 2) at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109). Performance tickets start at $26 with group rates available. $15 tickets will be available to students during the entire run with valid school ID. Purchase at book-it.org or by calling the box office at 206.216.0833. The box office is open Tues through Fri, 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Tues - Sat during production run), located in the outer lobby of The Center Theatre at the Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle.

Beyond-the-Book Event:

Front Row Center with KUOW's Marcie Sillman
Join KUOW's Marcie Sillman for a conversation with Myra Platt (adapter/director) and Justin Huertas (music/lyrics) after Howl's Moving Castle.
Sunday, December 3 following the 2pm matinée at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison St.)
FREE

In the fall of 2017, Book-It presents Dr. Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. During the holiday season, a musical adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones features music by Justin Huertas and stars Sara Porkalob. Book-It kicks off 2018 by returning to Pioneer Square for a theatrical culinary collaboration with Café Nordo with one of the most popular detective novels The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. In the spring, Book-It presents Young Audiences New York's production of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz in a limited run. Book-It's final selection is Oscar Wilde's The Picture of DorIan Gray.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

As Founding Co-Artistic Director of Book-It Repertory Theatre, Myra has helped produce over 125 world-premiere mainstage productions and over 30 education touring productions. Her adapting credits include The Brothers K, Parts One and Two, Little Bee, The Financial Lives of the Poets, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The River Why, The House of the Spirits, Giant, and Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant (with Jane Jones). She has directed more than 20 productions, most recently The Brothers K, Little Bee, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2014 Gregory Award for Outstanding Production, Seattle Times Footlight Award). She's the recipient (with Jane Jones) of Paul G. Allen Family Foundation's Founders Award, the 2010 Women of Influence from Puget Sound Business Journal, and was named a 2010 Unsung Hero and Uncommon Genius by The Seattle Times.

Justin Huertas is a Seattle-based actor, musician, playwright, and songwriter. His original musical Lizard Boy premiered at Seattle Repertory Theatre (Gregory Award, Outstanding New Play) and had its second production at San Diego's Diversionary Theatre (Craig Noel Nomination, Outstanding Musical). Justin also composed and performed original music for Romeo and Juliet at Seattle Shakespeare Company (Gregory Nomination). Acting credits include Lizard Boy (Gregory, Footlight, Gypsy Rose Lee, Craig Noel Awards), In the Heights at Village Theatre (Gregory Nomination), and Welcome to Braggsville at Book-It.

Sara Porkalob is an award-winning solo performer, director, and theatre theorist/activist recently recognized on City Art Magazine's 2017 Future List and currently serving as Intiman Theatre's 2017 co-curator. Her original musical about her gangster Filipino family, DRAGON LADY, premiered this fall produced by Intiman Theatre and in spring 2018 the show will travel to American Repertory Theater as part of their Oberon Presents series. An Asian-Pacific Islander and fervent intersectional feminist, she is committed to dynamic storytelling, cultural place-making in her community, and the destruction of white supremacy in America. Past Book-It credits include Flora and Ulysses (2016, Arts & Education Tour) and Emma (2015). www.saraporkalob.com

Born in London, Diana Wynne Jones studied English at St Anne's College, Oxford. Her books, which range from amusing slapstick situations to sharp social observation, include Howl's Moving Castle, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and Changeover, among others. Jones' works are compared to those of Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman, and the Harry Potter series. Awards include 1978 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999, and World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2007.

Book-It Repertory Theatre, a leader in the narrative theatre movement, was founded in 1990. Book-It is a non-profit organization with a dedication to great literature and quality theatre experiences employing simple, sensitive, and imaginative production techniques, and to inspiring its audiences to read. The company is funded, in part, by generous contributions from corporations and foundations, and hundreds of individuals who share its passion for literature.


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