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SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS & ASSASSINS Set for Kokandy Productions' 2014 Season

With the debut of their all-musical 2014 season, Kokandy Productions announces itself as Chicago's newest non-Equity musical theater company, dedicated to producing high-stakes musical theater pieces that authentically mine the emotional truth of the human experience and explore complex, challenging themes.

"We believe in the power of musical theater," states Executive Producer Scot Kokandy, "and our goal is to exceed audience expectations, both with our production values and the material we choose to present. More than just great voices singing great songs - we want to take strong emotional risks, tell complex stories, and truly earn every second of our audience's investment."

Kokandy's premiere all-musical season kicks off with the Marvin Hamlisch/Craig Carnelia/John Guare noir SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS running January 11 - February 2, 2014 at Theater Wit. Directed by John D. Glover with music direction by Aaron Benham and choreography by Steven Spanopoulos, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS features Brian Rooney (J.J. Hunsecker), David Schlumpf (Sidney), Victoria Blade (Susan), Nathan Gardner (Dallas), and Christina Hall (Rita), supported by an ensemble of 13 actor-singer-dancers.

Stephen Sondheim's ASSASSINS rounds out the season, running June 14 - July 20, 2014 at Theater Wit, with direction by Rachel Edwards Harvith and choreography by Mike Ford. The cast will include last season's star performers Jim DeSelm and Allison Hendrix (THE LAST FIVE YEARS).

"Our 2014 season addresses some pretty hard questions," states Kokandy. "Both shows center around issues of self-identity and the negative lengths people are willing to go to feel validated. Obsession with fame and celebrity isn't a modern product of reality shows and YouTube, it's been true a long time, and the season asks our performers and audience to really explore that."

In addition to the mainstage lineup, Kokandy will expand their commitment to support the growth of local musical theater artists with the presentation of their off-night New Musical Staged Reading Series. The series debuts with Michael Potsic's Icarus-inspired FLIGHT (running concurrent with SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS), followed by Ethan Deppe's exploration of modern relationships, PERPETUAL POSSIBILITY (running concurrent with ASSASSINS).

Kokandy Productions is also pleased to announce the appointments of John D. Glover and Allison Hendrix as the company's first-ever Associate Artistic Directors. "John and Allison share a strong artistic vision and appreciation for the potential of musical theater," states Kokandy. "Their passion is inspiring to everyone in the company, and we're confident that their influence will be a major factor in our continued growth and success."

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