Lauren Elder, Anthony Galde, and More Lead World Premiere Of MARY AND MAX - A NEW MUSICAL
Theatre Calgary's artistic director Stafford Arima (Allegiance, Broadway; Carrie, Off-Broadway revival; Altar Boyz, Off-Broadway) is thrilled to officially announce the casting for the world premiere of Mary and Max - A New Musical, with music and lyrics by Bobby Cronin, book by Crystal Skillman, directed by Arima, choreography by Jenn Rapp, and orchestrations and music supervision by Anna Ebbesen.
Mary and Max will feature Lauren Elder in the role of Mary, and Anthony Galde as Max. Ms. Elder's Broadway credits include the revival productions of Side Show and Hair. Mr Galde is known for the original Broadway productions of Wicked, The Civil War, and Starlight Express. Joining them are Susan Gilmour (Fantine in the Canadian, Broadway, and International touring productions of Les Misérables) as Vera, and Nick Adams (original Broadway productions of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and The Pirate Queen) as Damian. Rounding out the cast are Chase Crandell (Theatre Calgary debut), Alana Hibbert (Theatre Calgary debut), Kevin Aichele (Mary Poppins at Theatre Calgary), Kelsey Verzotti (Theatre Calgary debut), Eric Wigston (The Secret Garden at Theatre Calgary), and introducing Calgarian Katie McMillan as Young Mary.
Based on an Australian claymation film by Adam Elliot about two unlikely pen pals, Mary and Max - A New Musical is a heartening tale that proves friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. The musical ?recently? receive?d? a staged reading at Pace Performing Arts (under the umbrella of Pace New Musicals), directed by Amy Rogers and musical direction by Angie Benson. It also had a reading in Atlanta through Broadway Dreams' New Works Development Project, in June 2017. Cast members Elder, Galde, Adams, and Crandell have all previously been a part of the development process of the show.
"I am thrilled to be bringing this amazingly talented group of artists together from Calgary, across Canada, and the United States," says Arima. "To be able to give Mary and Max a fully realized production, after five years of development, warms my heart. Bobby and Crystal have been working tirelessly on this musical, and I am thrilled beyond belief that Theatre Calgary will be the home of the World Premiere. Bringing together this deliciously, eclectic ensemble of performers, and international designers and creatives to Calgary, also adds to my joy and pride."
"When I saw the claymation film, I knew right away that I had to musicalize it. It sang to me," says Cronin. "As we developed the piece, it was clear that we were on to something very important in this frustrating time of worldwide chaos, discrimination, and rebellion. Mary and Max is a much-needed reminder of the importance of kindness, friendship, acceptance, and the need for human connection. As Ethel Watts Mumford said, God gave us our relatives; thank God we can choose our friends."
"To be working on this moving piece about connection and friendship has been life-changing for us as a team; Bobby and I are honored that Mary and Max has found its first home at Theatre Calgary in Stafford's first season," says Skillman. "As a dramatist dedicated to strong female protagonists, and as a team dedicated to exploring meaty issues on stage, such as Max's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, we are excited that this rich and magical story-telling of Mary and Max allows us to bring these unique characters to life on stage."
Mary and Max - A New Musical creative team also includes scenic and costume design by Bretta Gerecke (Nevermore, Off-Broadway; The Tempest, Stratford Festival of Canada; Fat Friends, UK Tour), lighting design by Kimberly Purtell (Snow Child, Arena Stage), projection design by Sean Nieuwenhuis (Broadway: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical; Jesus Christ Superstar - revival), sound design by Peter McBoyle (Arrabel, A.R.T.; Life After, Toronto), the stage manager is Patti Neice, and the assistant stage manager is Emma Brager.
Mary and Max - A New Musical will play at Theatre Calgary October 14 - November 10, 2018, in the Arts Commons Max Bell Theatre, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Tickets go on sale to the general public on July 24th, 2018 at theatrecalgary.com.
Award-winning composer/lyricist of: Mary and Max (Winner, Pace New Musicals; Finalist SigWorks; Finalist Germany's MUT Prize); The Concrete Jungle (London, cast recording); Daybreak (US & London); and currently writing book, music & lyrics for: #W2ML a new pop-rock musical; and PSYKIDZ (A Class Act NY commission); music & lyrics for Olisnach (book by Crystal Skillman); and the music for Christine Toy Johnson's Till Soon, Anne. A Yale graduate, Bobby scores/writes songs for many award-winning short films. BobbyCronin.com
Crystal Skillman's plays include Geek and Cut (NYTimes Critics Picks), as well as Pulp Vérité (Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission, 2018 Last Frontier Theatre Conference Selection), and Rain and Zoe Save the World announced as the winning script for the 2018 Earth Matters On Stage (EMOS) New Play Competition. Crystal is the musical theater bookwriter of Mary and Max, as well as Postcard American Town (composer/lyricist Lynne Shankel), just selected for the 2018 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, both with director Stafford Arima. Her work has previously been produced in Calgary at Sage Theatre with King Kirby, co-written with Fred Van Lente (NYT Critics Pick). Her comic book Eat Fighter, also written with Fred Van Lente, is coming out on Line Web Toon this fall. crystalskillman.com
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