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Tony Winners Tapped for THE SILK CRANE Creative Team Aboard Princess Cruises


Princess Cruises and Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell) today announced the creative team for the third show in its exclusive partnership, The Silk Crane.

Created and directed by John Tartaglia (Avenue Q, ImaginOcean), The Silk Crane is a remarkable tale of adventure, romance, and enchantment that features familiar music and brings together some of Broadway's best creatives to transport audiences on board. Told entirely through music, dance, puppetry, and visuals, acclaimed puppeteer, actor, comedian, and director John Tartaglia brings a contemporary spin to a classic, ancient folktale exclusively for Princess Cruises.

The Silk Crane will debut in late 2017 onboard Diamond Princess and follows Magic to Do and Born to Dance, the first two shows in the collaboration.

Auditions for The Silk Crane will be in Honolulu on April 4 and 5, Los Angeles on April 26 and 27, and in New York May 1 through 4.

The Silk Crane will feature original puppet creations by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, with choreography by Shannon Lewis (Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, A Dog Story), scenic design by Tony Award-nominee Anna Louizos (Broadway's School of Rock, In the Heights), costume design by Tony Award-winner Clint Ramos (Eclipsed, Here Lies Love), lighting design by Kelly Easterling (Uprising of Love with Sting, Forever Cunard), and media design by Aaron Rhyne (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Broadway's Anastasia).

With lyrics by Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, Old Jews Telling Jokes), compositions by Jihwan Kim (Cupid, Cinderella After the Ball), music direction and vocal arrangements by Brad Ellis (Disney's Beauty and the Beast, "Glee"), and music production and orchestrations by Andrew Christie (Rush, "Survivor"), Jayson Raitt ("Dancing with the Stars," Rock of Ages) serves as consulting producer.

"John's creativity and Stephen's guidance and vision are a winning team, and we are very much looking forward to bringing this timeless, ancient fable to our passengers," said Denise Saviss, vice president, entertainment, Princess Cruises.

In 2015, Princess Cruises and the three-time Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz created a first-of-its-kind cruise industry partnership. Schwartz oversees the creative development for four shows exclusive to the Princess fleet, bringing together a cadre of Broadway talent to support the productions through direction and design.


Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway hits Wicked, Pippin, Godspell and The Magic Show. For film, he wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt, and collaborated with composer Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted, as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's Mass, and his first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, was produced at Opera Santa Barbara and New York City Opera. Schwartz has won three Oscars, four Grammys and a Tony. He has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

John Tartaglia (Creator and Director). Directing credits include The Wizard of Oz, Shrek the Musical and Tarzan (The MUNY), Claudio Quest (New York Musical Theatre Festival, winner Outstanding Direction, Best of the NYMF), Lord Tom (York Theater), Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train Live! (national tour), Elmo the Musical, Live! (Sesame Place), Avenue Q (off-Broadway, Resident Director). Theatre performance credits include a Tony Award nominated Broadway debut in Avenue Q creating the roles of Princeton and Rod, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, and Pinocchio in Shrek The Musical. Best known to parents and kids as "Johnny" from Disney's Johnny and the Sprites (Daytime Emmy award nomination) on Disney Junior Worldwide, additional performing credits include 13 seasons on "Sesame Street," Disney's "Bear in the Big Blue House," "Ugly Betty," "Animal Jam," "Dog City," "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss," "Play with Me Sesame," "Sesame English," "Blue's Room," and "JoJo's Circus." His acclaimed off-Broadway, national and international touring show ImaginOcean will premiere in November as a new Jim Henson Company series on PBS entitled Splash and Bubbles with John serving as an executive producer and performer of "Splash." John is also the host of SiriusXM On Broadway's Sunday Funday.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop (Puppet Designer). Over the past 50 years, Jim Henson's Creature Shop , a division of The Jim Henson Company, has been one of the premier practical visual effects companies in the entertainment industry; creating memorable puppet and creature characters for film and television. Following in the footsteps of Jim Henson, the Creature Shop continues to be on the forefront of technological innovation in both practical visual effects, and now animation. They have developed a breakthrough in animation with their patented Emmy-Award winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. The groundbreaking system produces immediate real-time animation of 3D generated digital characters. The Creature Shop also functions as a creative service company to the rest of the entertainment industry, working on projects in the areas of film, advertising, and themed-entertainment; and creatively collaborating with artists in the music industry.

Shannon Lewis's (Choreographer) career has spanned the globe from Broadway to feature films to the Radio City Rockettes. Performance credits include 10 Broadway shows and numerous national tours. As a choreographer, Lewis is developing a project with Dreamworks and is the creator of StyleSmash Project. She is a frequent guest choreographer and faculty member with Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Other choreography credits include the 2014 Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the feature film STUCK, A Dog Story (Off-Broadway), Joseph... (3D Theatricals), Pageant Princess, Dee Snider's Rock and Roll Xmas Tale (Winter Garden Toronto), Claudio Quest (NYMF/ Off-Broadway), The Roger Rees Awards, The Lion King Junior, ReUseable the Musical, Lord Tom (York Theatre), Sid the Science Kid LIVE, The Passing Show, The Gershwin Awards, LoveYourself, RedRum and BustleFluffah.

Anna Louizos (Scenic Designer) is a three-time Tony Award nominee who has designed sets for such Broadway musicals as School of Rock (sets/costumes - US, London and national tour), Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, In the Heights, High Fidelity, Dames at Sea, Honeymoon in Vegas, It Shoulda Been You, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Avenue Q, The Performers, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Curtains, Baby It's You, All About Me, To Be Or Not To Be, Steel Magnolias, and Golda's Balcony. She has also designed numerous regional and off Broadway shows across the US including world premiers of Disney's Aladdin (5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle), Minsky's, (Ahmanson, LA), Altar Boyz (New World Stages, NYC), Speech and Debate (New York), Jonathan Larson's tick, tick... BOOM! (Jane Street, NYC), Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas (Goodspeed, CT), Vanities, the Musical (Second Stage, NYC), In Transit (Primary Stages, NYC). Awards include the USITT 2016 Distinguished Achievement Award and NAACP 2011 Theatre Award. Louizos also served as art director on "Sex and the City." And is the founder of Broadway Design Exchange, an online theatrical marketplace.

Clint Ramos (Costume Designer) is the recipient of a Tony Award, the OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Design, Helen Hayes Award, three Lucille Lortel Awards, two American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Awards and the TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award. He has designed sets and/or costumes for over a hundred theater, opera and dance productions. Recent credits include the Broadway productions of Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong'o, Violet with Sutton Foster, and The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper (also West End). Notable credits include the New York and London productions of Here Lies Love by David Byrne, Little Shop of Horrors with Jake Gyllenhaal, Angels in America Parts 1 and 2, Appropriate and the current Kid Victory by John Kander. He is the principal costume designer for Encores! Off Center at New York City Center. Upcoming productions include The Rose Tattoo for Williamstown Theatre Festival. He holds and Master of Fine Arts from NYU and was born and raised in the Philippines.

Kelly Easterling (Lighting Designer) leads Quantum Creative Studios with a focus on imagining, designing, and developing attractions, themed environments, experiences, and shows. He designed and directed the historic Queen Mary 2 spectacular Forever Cunard, handled ride attraction lighting for the Drop of Fear at World of Wonderland Theme Park featuring a custom 65-foot, 360 degree video wall installed 200 feet atop the ride tower redefining the skyline of Amarillo, Texas, as well as numerous lighting and effects shows, ride attraction effects, and the park-wide lighting design for Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America. Easterling was also a member of the systems design team for 4Wall Entertainment, facilitated and project managed the design and installation of the Brooklyn Nets custom court lighting system at Barclays Center, and designed the control system and architectural integration of the acclaimed LightCycles art exhibit (inspired by the Aurora Borealis) at World Financial Center. Additionally, he led the design teams and managed themed installations for Google Tech Talk venues in New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. Easterling has been the lighting designer for hundreds of productions across the country, including Uprising of Love featuring Sting, Patti LuPone, and Jane Lynch, and theatrical productions including Moon Over Buffalo, The Music Man, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, The Wiz, Grease, and Guys and Dolls.

Aaron Rhyne (Media Designer) is a video and projection designer with offices in both New York and Los Angeles. His designs have been seen on stages around the world in over 100 productions of musicals, plays, operas, and dance performances. He designed the Broadway and national tours of the Tony Award-winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, for which he won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Projection Design. Recent projects include Disney's Frozen at Disney California Adventure, Anastasia premiering on Broadway this spring, and The Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera. Rhyne currently teaches Projection Design at his alma mater, Fordham University.

Adam Gwon (Lyricist) is a composer and lyricist whose musicals have enjoyed more than 150 productions worldwide. Off-Broadway credits include Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre) and Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre). Regional credits include Cake Off (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination), Cloudlands (South Coast Rep), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma) and the West End's Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios). His songs have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, among others, by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James. Honors include the Kleban Award, Ebb Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Loewe Award, Second Stage Theatre's Donna Perret Rosen Award, Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award. Recordings include Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records), Audra McDonald's Go Back Home (Nonesuch), The Essential Liz Callaway (Working Girl Records) and Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Album. Gwon has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Dramatists Guild.

Jihwan Kim (Composer) is a New York-based composer and pianist. He is currently the pianist for the upcoming Broadway show Sousatzka by Maltby and Shire and has been pianist for An American In Paris on Broadway and the first national tour of A Chorus Line. Kim has also played in the Broadway orchestra pits of Mary Poppins and Evita. With lyricist/bookwriter Sean Hartley, he wrote Cupid and Psyche, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Lyrics and has been produced Off-Broadway at the John Houseman Theatre and in regional theatres across the country. With lyricist/bookwriter Eddie Sugarman, he wrote The Nutcracker Sings and Cinderella After the Ball which recently ran at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, NE. He orchestrated The Moon and The Son, which won an Oscar in 2006 for Best Short Film, Animated. Other works include One World Symphony, Ureuk Symphony Orchestra, and a film score played live-to-picture at the Tribeca Film Festival. Kim holds a B.A. from Harvard University, M.A. in Film Scoring from NYU, and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School.

Brad Ellis (Music Director and Vocal Arranger) is a composer, musical director, orchestrator, and jazz pianist. Credits include the quiet teacher/pianist on "Glee," where he also served as a music director, arranger, pianist and composer. He was the music director for Fox's recent The Rocky Horror Picture Show and contributed music and orchestrations for Netflix's "The Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life." Other television credits include "Gilmore Girls," "Bunheads," "2009 Academy Awards" (co-creating Hugh Jackman's opening number), "The Glee Project," and "The Middle." Film credits include Chicago, De-Lovely, and Beauty and the Beast. Ellis has conducted and performed in over 6,000 performances of more than 400 different concerts and musicals, and orchestrates for the LA Phil, Boston Pops, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, National Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra. He's led 35 albums for RCA, DRG, and Varese Sarabande, and has worked closely with Billy Joel, Christoph Eschenbach, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, and Tim Curry, and is Matthew Morrison's music directoR. Ellis received an Emmy certificate for his work on the Oscars, and in 2011 Donate Life Hollywood honored him as their Person of the Year for his work promoting organ transplant awareness.

Andrew Christie (Music Producer and Orchestrator) is a Los Angeles-based Australian music producer, composer and arranger. After graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Applied Music (Composition) Degree majoring in Film Scoring, Christie joined Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions working on a host of major blockbuster motion pictures and computer games. Since 2013 he has worked as a composer for The Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop, a new joint venture between Extreme Music and Sony/ATV and is currently composing and producing original sound tracks for major US network and cable TV.

Jayson Raitt (Supervising Producer) is a Tony Award-nominated producer who has 20 years of creative development, management, and leadership experience. Through his Quantum Creative Studios, he has produced nighttime spectaculars and complete park-wide lighting for Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America, major press events for Princess Cruises, and Forever Cunard, a light and effects spectacular, from the decks of Queen Mary 2. In a unique partnership with Princess Cruises, Raitt develops new musicals with creative partner Stephen Schwartz. These shows, developed exclusively for Princess, feature creative teams made up of top theatre writers, songwriters, designers, and performers. Producing highlights include Sting and Patti LuPone in Uprising of Love, "Dancing with the Stars," "The American Music Awards," the UK's "X Factor," concerts featured in 100 Voices: A Journey Home, and appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show" and the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." Raitt also produced New Line Cinema's 40th Anniversary Gala. Theater credits include Rock of Ages, Murder for Two, Love Makes the World Go 'Round, Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, Vanities, Make Me A Song: The Music of William Finn (Off-Broadway and in London), and Being Alive. Jayson spent seven years on the producing team at Pasadena Playhouse and graduated from University of Michigan and the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television's Producers Program.

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 18 modern cruise ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided with the experience of exceptional customer service. As world's largest international premium cruise brand, Princess carries two million guests each year to more than 360 destinations around the globe on more than 150 itineraries ranging in length from three to 114 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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