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SpeakEasy Stages Boston Professional Premiere of DOGFIGHT, Beginning Tonight

From tonight, May 7, through June 4, 2016, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the Boston Professional Premiere of DOGFIGHT, a powerful new musical about unexpected love, loss, and brotherhood, based on the 1991 film starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor.

Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, DOGFIGHT tells the story of three young Marines enjoying one last night in San Francisco before their deployment to Vietnam. Part of their "fun" includes a contest to see who can bring the ugliest date to a platoon party. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, the awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win the bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.

Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort, DOGFIGHT features music and lyrics by the acclaimed young songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Peter Duchan. Pasek and Paul earned Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle nominations for their work on A Christmas Story, The Musical, and also wrote the music and lyrics for James and the Giant Peach, Edges, and Dear Evan Hansen, the latter now in previews in New York City. Peter Duchan is an American playwright and screenwriter, best known for the film Breaking Upwards.

SpeakEasy Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault will direct the Boston professional premiere of DOGFIGHT. His recent SpeakEasy directing credits include productions of Violet, Mothers & Sons, Big Fish, The Color Purple, In the Heights, and Next to Normal.

Boston Conservatory alumni Jordan J. Ford and current Conservatory senior Alejandra M. Parrilla head a talented cast that includes Drew Arisco, McCaela Donovan, Dave Heard, Liliane Klein, Edward Rubenacker, Jenna Lea Scott, Jared Trolio, Patrick Varner, and Dylan James Whelan.

The design team includes Cristina Todesco (scenic), Elisabetta Polito (costumes), Jeff Adelberg (lighting), and David Reiffel (sound). The Production Stage Manager is Dawn Schall Saglio. The Assistant Stage Manager is Tareena D. Wimbish.

DOGFIGHT will run for five weeks, from May 7 through June 4, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston's South End.

Tickets start at $25. For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call Boston Theatre Scene box-office at 617.933.8600 or visit

BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL (Music and Lyrics) premiered their musical Dogfight at New York's Second Stage Theatre, where it won the Lortel Award for Best New Musical. Broadway credits include A Christmas Story, The Musical (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre), which received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical. Other theatre credits include James and the Giant Peach (Kennedy Center, Goodspeed Musicals and Seattle Children's Theatre) and Edges. In TV, their original songs were featured on Season Two of NBC's "Smash" and rose to the Top 25 on the iTunes pop charts. They have also written songs for Sesame Street (PBS) and Johnny and the Sprites (Disney Channel). Other songwriting honors include the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; Sundance Institute Fellowship; ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award; ASCAP Songwriters Fellowship Award; Dramatists Guild Fellowship; Jonathan Larson Award; and Billboard Magazine's Top Five Broadway Songwriters. Benj and Justin work actively as teachers conducting master classes at top theater programs and universities around the world. Both are graduates of the University of Michigan and members of the Dramatists Guild of America.

PETER DUCHAN (Book) wrote the book of the musical Dogfight, which premiered at Second Stage Theatre in 2012 (directed by Joe Mantello, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli). Dogfight won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and was nominated for five Outer Critics Circle Awards (including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Book of a Musical) and two Drama League Awards (including Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical). Additionally, Dogfight earned Peter and collaborators Benj Pasek & Justin Paul the 2011 Richard Rodgers Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Peter also worked as a script consultant at the American Repertory Theater on the new musical Waitress. He co-wrote the screenplay for Breaking Upwards, released by IFC Films in 2010, as well as the short film Unlocked (official selection, Tribeca Film Festival). His play Lavender Scare was presented as part of the Geva Theatre's 2011 Plays-in-Progress series. He is currently at work on two new musicals, collaborating with composers Ben Lee and Breedlove, respectively. Peter received a Dramatists Guild Fellowship for 2011-2012, and is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.

PAUL DAIGNEAULT (Director/Producing Artistic Director) was the recipient of the 2014 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, presented by the Boston Theater Critics Association. Since founding SpeakEasy in 1992, he has produced over 100 Boston premieres. SpeakEasy directing highlights include Violet; Mothers & Sons; Big Fish; The Color Purple; In the Heights; Xanadu; Next to Normal; Nine; Body Awareness; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; [title of show]; The Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer - The Opera; The New Century; Some Men; Zanna, Don't!; Parade (2008 Elliot Norton Award - Outstanding Director, Midsize Company); Almost, Maine; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out; Company; A Man of No Importance (co-production Súgán); Bat Boy: The Musical (2003 Elliot Norton Award - Outstanding Director, Small Company); Passion; A New Brain; Violet; Songs for a New World; Floyd Collins; Jeffrey; and Love! Valour! Compassion! Regional credits: Grand Hotel and Nine (The Boston Conservatory and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music); Rent, City of Angels, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along (The Boston Conservatory); Into the Woods, Urinetown, and Blue Window (Boston College). Paul is on the faculty at The Boston Conservatory where he teaches musical theater and directing. He was also honored in 2007 with the Boston College Arts Council's Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, and served as the 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts. Outside the theatre, Paul serves on the Board of the ICU Patient & Family Council at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

JOSE DELGADO (Music Director) is excited to be back at SpeakEasy Stage having previously served as music director and/or performed in The Light in the Piazza; Parade; Caroline, or Change; Elegies; Floyd Collins; and others. He has also worked and performed with Jason Robert Brown, Laura Michelle Kelly, Darius de Haas, and The Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He is the Artistic Director/Conductor for the choral ensemble FORÇA, a faculty member at Emerson College, and co-owner of Jose Delgado Music Studio with his wife Jessica. Upcoming projects: writing/arranging for Darius de Haas and Laura Michelle Kelly; and co-composer/lyricist with Kevin Grudecki and Steven Bogart on an original show.

LARRY SOUSA (Choreographer) has directed and choreographed musicals from coast to coast. His work has appeared on the stages of Pasadena Playhouse, Goodspeed Musicals, The Joyce Theatre NYC, Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre, Boston Children's Theatre and more. At SpeakEasy, Larry directed Places, Please! featuring Broadway playwright Nicky Silver, and choreographed In the Heights, Big Fish, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Carrie. Larry is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the L.A. Ovation Award, and two IRNE Awards, and has twice been named "Choreographer of the Year" by the American Dance Awards. Before turning to directing and choreography, Larry appeared in TV sitcoms, films, and several Broadway musicals. BFA: Ithaca College. MFA: UC-Irvine.

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