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Tamyra Gray & Cleavant Derricks Lead TWIST Musical at Pasadena Playhouse this Summer

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that full casting is complete for the west coast premiere of the new musical TWIST - An American Musical by William F. Brown and Tina Tippit (book), Tena Clark (lyrics and music) and Gary Prim (music). Golden Globe and multi-Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen directs a cast of 31 performers led by Tamyra Gray ("American Idol," Rent and Bombay Dreams) and Cleavant Derricks (Tony Award-winner, Dreamgirls). The five-week limited engagement performs June 14 - July 17, 2011 with the official press opening on June 26, 2011 at The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Avenue).

The creative team for the production is also confirmed with scenic design by Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal (2011 Tony nominee, Mother...with the Hat); costume design by Emilio Sosa ("Project Runway" Season 7 finalist, Diane Paulus' upcoming Broadway production of Porgy & Bess); lighting design by Tony Award-winner Howell Binkley (Tony Award nominee for How to Succeed...2011 Broadway revival); sound design by Peter Fitzgerald (Broadway's Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Burn the Floor); orchestrations by Tony Award nominee Harold Wheeler (musical director "Dancing with the Stars"); musical direction and vocal arrangements by Jim Vukovich (Broadway's The Wedding Singer; national tour of Hairspray).

"I can hardly sleep at night thinking about rehearsals and the work that we will do to realize the vision of this new telling of the Dickens classic Oliver Twist, now set in New Orleans," stated Director/Choreographer Debbie Allen. "Born and raised in Texas and Louisiana, I know the sounds and smells and tastes of the people. The rich cultural fusion from the swamp to the French Quarter provides a dynamic tapestry upon which we will weave a story that takes place in 1918-1929, but is still so relevant today. TWIST is the story of a boy lost in a river of racial hatred, greed and deceit, who is found on a road to hope, love and family, with a lot of great singing and dancing along the way."

The TWIST cast includes (in alphabetical order):

Paul Aguirre as "Potlatch"/Ensemble
Cliff Bemis as "Mr. Prudhomme"
• Joshua Bolden as "Pistol"/Ensemble
Diane Delano as "Ms. Cotton"/Ensemble
Cleavant Derricks as "Crazah Chesterfield"
Alaman Diadhiou as "Twist" (Coco Monroe will play "Twist" at select performances)
Chad Doreck as "Lucius Thatcher"
• Kyle Garvin as "Skillet"/Ensemble
Ava Gaudet as "Angela"/Ensemble
Tamyra Gray as "Della"
Jared Grimes as "Roosevelt"/Ensemble
• Chantel Heath as Ensemble
• Holly Hyman as Ensemble
Matthew Johnson as "Boston"
Olivia-Diane Joseph as Ensemble
Chase Maxwell as "Yancy"/Ensemble
Vivian Nixon as Ensemble
Carla Renata as "Naomi"/ "Mrs. Beaudreux"
• Malaiyka Reid as Ensemble
Terrance Spencer as Ensemble
• Dougie Styles as Ensemble
• Armando Yearwood as Ensemble
• Children's Ensemble: Nickolas Eibler, John Fisher, Joshua Horton, Wayne Mackins, Micah Patterson, Julianna Rigoglioso, Issac Spector and Dempsey Tonks

TWIST - An American Musical is a timely adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic with a contemporary score, set in New Orleans on the eve of the Great Depression. TWIST tells the story of a young orphan boy born of a courageous white mother and an incredibly talented black father who navigates the colorful and sometimes rough waters of street life and racial intolerance in his quest to find his family and to find love. The score for TWIST features the musical pulse of New Orleans in the 1920's and is highlighted by a tapestry of soaring ballads, hot jazz, blues, gospel and tap-infused dance numbers that will take audiences along this magical journey.

TWIST will play at The Pasadena Playhouse from June 14 - July 17, 2011 with the official press opening on June 26, 2011. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Please note that there will be two Wednesday matinees scheduled on July 6 and July 13. The Tuesday evening performances on July 5 and July 12 have been cancelled. Regular ticket price range is from $39.00 - $69.00, with Premium Seating available for $100.00. All preview performances are $10 off the regular ticket price (except Premium Seating). Rush tickets are available for $20.00 one hour prior to the performance time and are subject to availability. Rush tickets must be purchased at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office. Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Monday from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday - Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates and Tuesday - Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on performance dates. The box office is closed on holidays. Tickets are available 24 hours online at Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161. 

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