Tony Sheldon to Lead 'THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT' at Goodspeed

By: Apr. 12, 2016
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Goodspeed Musicals continues its commitment to innovative, thought-provoking works with a bold reimagining of the witty and ridiculous The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd. The tremendously talented cast of four will be Tony Sheldon playing the role of Sir, Caesar Samayoa appearing as Cocky, Michelle Aravena as The Kid, and Gregory Treco as The Stranger.

Filled with familiar melodies including songs made famous by the likes of Nina Simone; Sammy Davis, Jr.; Shirley Bassey; Johnny Mathis; The Temptations; Michael Bublé; Muse; Lena Horne; Tony Bennett and Queen Latifah, The Roar of the Greasepaint... promises to be a timely story of redemption, celebrating the oddity of human nature and ultimately, hope for all.

In a world turned upside down, a rag-tag group relies on humor, song and dance to try to build a new life. But can show tunes and music hall merriment revive the human spirit? On the highway of life, hope is just around the bend in this arresting reinvention of the vivacious Broadway hit. Their world may have ended, but songs like "Who Can I Turn To?," "The Joker," "Feeling Good" and "A Wonderful Day Like Today" echo on, welcoming new love and another dawn. The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd features book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

Tony Sheldon, the multi-award-winning actor whose unforgettable portrayal of Horace Vandergelder in Goodspeed Musicals' Hello, Dolly! earned him the Connecticut Critics' Circle Award for Best Actor, will play Sir. Sheldon played the role of Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for 1750 performances in Australia, New Zealand, London, Toronto and on Broadway, winning the Theatre World Award and nominations for the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award, the Drama League Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. In London he was nominated for the Olivier Award and won the Toronto Theatre Critics Award and the DORA Award as Best Actor in a Musical. In New York he has starred with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Tracey Ullman in The Bandwagon at Encores/City Center, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol with Douglas Sills, and Art & Science with John Tartaglia, and was featured in Broadway Backwards at the Palace Theatre and A Tribute to Audra McDonald for the Drama League.

Caesar Samayoa who previously performed at The Terris Theatre as Hysterium in The Great American Mousical, directed by Julie Andrews, will play Cocky. Samayoa has appeared in the Broadway productions of Sister Act, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, and Hot Feet. His other credits include leading roles in Film, TV, Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre companies around the country including La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep, Huntington Theatre, Le Freres Corbusier, Primary Stages, Urban Stages, The Play Company, Maltz Jupiter Theatre and Contemporary American Theatre Festival.

Michelle Aravena who performed in the Broadway productions of The Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line, and Rocky, will play The Kid. Ms. Aravena recently appeared as Rose Alvarez in Bye Bye Birdie at Drury Lane where she also performed in West Side Story as Anita, a performance that earned her a 2015 Jeff Award. She has also performed in the National Tours of West Side Story (Anita, LA Critics nomination) directed by the late Arthur Laurents, Jersey Boys (Chicago, Vegas, 1st National Tour), LES MISERABLES (Fantine understudy), Mamma Mia (Sophie), Steel Pier (Bette). Michelle's other credits include the World Premiere of First Wives Club (Old Globe), Tigerlily in Peter Pan (Actors Theater of Louisville), and Cassie in A Chorus Line (Olney Theater), among others.

Gregory Treco who appeared on Broadway in Taboo (produced by Rosie O'Donnell) will play The Stranger. Mr. Treco's other credits include the Off-Broadway hit Zanna Don't, where he created the role of Zanna, Miracle Brothers at the Vineyard Theatre (directed by Tina Landau), and the World Premiere of Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan's The 12 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Gregory was a finalist on WB's television show Popstars. He choreographed/musically staged the international touring hit Broadway Rox. His TV credits include a guest-starring role on the CBS sitcom Whoopi.

This unconventional musical which examines the world of the haves and have-nots will be directed by Don Stephenson who helmed last season's hit production of Guys and Dolls at The Goodspeed. Mr. Stephenson has directed numerous productions regionally including Lend Me a Tenor and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Paper Mill Playhouse, and productions of Titanic at Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall, MUNY Opera, Hangar Theatre and Westchester Broadway Theatre. As a performer he played Peter McCourt in Goodspeed's Silver Dollar and appeared on Broadway in Titanic, Parade, The Producers, By Jeeves, Rock of Ages and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

Choreography will be by Liza Gennaro who returns to The Goodspeed where she previously choreographed The Most Happy Fella (1991) and Kiss Me Kate. Ms. Gennaro's Broadway credits include Once Upon a Mattress and The Most Happy Fella, as well as Smile for which she served as Assistant Choreographer.

The Roar of the Greasepaint... Set Design will be by Walt Spangler whose designs for Goodspeed Musicals include The Terris Theatre productions of Camille Claudel, The Flight of the Lawnchair Man, Happy Days, Lucky Guy, and The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown. In addition to nearly 30 Off-Broadway productions, Mr. Spangler has designed the Broadway productions of Tuck Everlasting, Scandalous, A Christmas Story the musical, and Desire Under the Elms. Costume Design will be by Tony Award-winning designer Jess Goldstein. His designs for Goodspeed include Butterfly at The Terris Theatre, and The Goodspeed productions of The Most Happy Fella (1991) and They All Laughed. Goldstein made his professional New York debut designing costumes for Sam Shepard's landmark Off-Broadway production of Buried Child in 1978. Other major credits include Jersey Boys (Broadway, West End, and all touring and international companies), the critically-acclaimed revival of On The Town, Disney's Newsies, The Merchant Of Venice with Al Pacino, Lincoln Center's Henry IV with Kevin Kline and The Most Happy Fella, as well as The Roundabout's The Apple Tree with Kristin Chenoweth, The Homecoming with Ian McShane, Tintypes, Enchanted April and Daniel Sullivan's Broadway revival of Julius Caesar starring Denzel Washington. In 2005 he won the Tony for his designs for The Rivals.

Lighting Design will be by Stephen Terry who created the lighting for last season's production of Guys and Dolls at The Goodspeed. Mr. Terry served as Associate Designer for the Broadway productions of Sixteen Wounded, The People in the Picture and Glengarry Glen Ross. Sound Design will be by Goodspeed's Jay Hilton, who is in his 31st season at Goodspeed.

Michael O'Flaherty, who is in his 25th season with Goodspeed Musicals, will serve as Music Supervisor. Adam Souza who returns to The Terris Theater where he last music directed Stephen Schwartz's Snapshots, will serve as Music Director. Casting for The Roar of the Greasepaint... was done by Paul Hardt of SH Entertainment.

The Roar of the Greasepaint... will run May 20 - June 26, 2016. Curtain times are Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 pm and 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are available through the Goodspeed Box Office (860.873.8668), open seven days a week, or on-line at For show highlights, exclusive photos, special events and more, visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

For over 30 years, The Terris Theatre has been Goodspeed's home for developing fresh, innovative, and original new musicals. Many new and reimagined musicals have been developed in Chester, Conn., before moving on to Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, and other Regional Theatres. Because this is a developmental theatre, the show can change on a day-to-day basis. New scenes are added, songs are moved, costumes are changed, dialogue is tweaked?all based on audience response and feedback.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development, and advancement of musical theatre. Goodspeed produces three musicals each season at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn., and additional productions at The Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. The first regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement), Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. Goodspeed gratefully acknowledges the support of United Airlines, the official airline of Goodspeed Musicals, and official auto sponsor Hoffman Audi. Goodspeed is supported in part by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Photo by Linda Lenzi


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