Performance Network to Present JERRY'S GIRLS, 11/14-1/5

During the holiday season Performance Network Theatre presents a new take on the larger than life Broadway musical "Jerry's Girls", a revue of the work of Jerry Herman who wrote the music for shows such as "Hello, Dolly!", "La Cage Aux Folles", and "Mame". "Jerry's Girls" is directed by Carla Milarch and stars an all female cast including award-winning musical theatre actress, Naz Edwards, from November 14 - January 5, 2014 as well as a special New Year's Eve performance followed by a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are available now at performancenetwork.org, over the phone at 734-663-0681, or at the theatre at 120 East Huron in Downtown Ann Arbor.

The work of Jerry Herman, as reflected in "Jerry's Girls" celebrates everything that is big, bold, and breathtaking about the human experience. From lavish production numbers to heartbreakingly poignant solos, Herman's heroines live life large. PNT pairs a cast of 5 show-stopping divas (Naz Edwards, Barbara Scanlon, Leslie Hull, Erin Esposito, and Thalia Schramm) with a never-before-seen production concept that explores both the onstage moments of opulent theatricality and the tender and funny behind-the-scenes moments of a production. Embracing both the epic and intimate qualities of Herman's work, it is a celebration of life, love, and laughter, perfect for the holiday season.

Winner of four Tony Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, the work of Jerry Herman has garnered many awards and accolades for decades. His first Broadway show, "Milk and Honey" premiered in 1961 and was later nominated for a Tony and a Grammy Award. In 1964 Jerry Herman's "Hello, Dolly!" won a Tony Award, launched a major single for Louis Armstrong, and won a Grammy for the original cast album with Carol Channing. Other award-winning shows such as "Mame" and "Dear World" are products of Jerry Herman as well as the Tony Award-Winning Best Musical, "La Cage Aux Folles".

Performance Network's "Jerry's Girls" is sure to not only be fabulous, vivacious, and truthful, but also spectacularly designed with high quality elements to delight the senses of musical theatre goers with direction by Associate Artistic Director Carla Milarch, music direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, choreography by Phil Simmons, set design by Monika Essen, lighting design by Mary Cole, and costumes by Suzanne Young.

Recent winner of the Rogue Critic's Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her role as Amanda Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie", Carla has played many other roles during her thirteen years at Performance Network including: Actress, Director, Sound Designer, Dramaturg, TreeTown Festival Producer, Development Director, Artistic Director and Executive Director. At the Network, she directed "Red", "The Drowsy Chaperone", "Little Shop of Horrors" (Best Musical - Wilde Award), "The Baker's Wife", "The Fantasticks", "Ice Glen", "She Loves Me", "The Sins of Sor Juana", and "Special Relativity" (Best Play - Wilde Awards). Carla is the Board Chair of the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance, a member of Actor's Equity Association, the Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan, and the National Showcase selection committee of the National New Play Network. Recent projects and accomplishments include organizing a performance of the "Vagina Monologues" on the Capital Steps in Lansing and celebrating the fifth birthday of her son. She received her conservatory training in acting at Interlochen Arts Academy and State University of New York at Purchase. Carla lives in Ann Arbor with her husband Phil Powers and son, William Tyrone.

Cast Biographies:

Naz Edwards was last seen in "My Name is Asher Lev" at Performance Network Theatre and recently won a Wilde Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Desiree in "A Little Night Music" at Performance Network Theatre. Naz is a New York actor now living in Ann Arbor. She is a proud member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA , as well as being an Associate Artist at Performance Network. Naz has performed on Broadway, National Tours and Regional theatres across the country and in Canada, as well as in Film, TV and Voice Animation.

She has created many roles on Performance Network's stage, such as in "Man of La Mancha", "She Loves Me", "The Clean House", "Souvenir", "Woman Before a Glass", "Little Shop of Horrors", and "Drowsy Chaperone". Naz is also the voice of the wicked Queen Beryl in the animated cartoon of "Sailor Moon"! Naz is a Midwest Region mentor for the Michael Feinstein GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK VOICE COMPETITION, which takes place across the country. She teaches Broadway performance master classes as well as teaching voice privately. Please look into her upcoming Vocal Performance Intensive workshop weekend for high school students coming up here at Performance Network in February.

Barbara Scanlon is thrilled to return to Performance Network after having a great time as Mme. Armfeldt in "A Little Night Music". She has also appeared locally in "The Light in the Piazza" (Margaret) and "Nunsense" (Reverend Mother) at Encore Theatre, as well as roles with Arbor Opera and the Comic Opera Guild, while fitting in a Master's in Vocal Performance at EMU. She spent many years on the road with national tours of "The Phantom of the Opera" (Carlotta and Madame Giry), "Camelot" (Broadway and tours), and an international tour of "Evita". For more information, visit barbscanlon.com.

Leslie Hull, is thrilled take part in her second season at Performance Network, and is happy to be back home in Michigan after a short stint in NYC. She graduated from Michigan State with her M.F.A in acting, and received her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint. Recent credits include "Blithe Spirit" at Tipping Point Theatre; "A Little Night Music", "In the Next Room: or the Vibrator Play" at Performance Network; and "The Usual: A Musical Love Story" at Williamston Theatre.

Erin Esposito is delighted to be a part of the PNT family for the first time! Erin, a born and raised Jersey girl from Tewksbury, NJ, holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College and is a member of Actors Equity Association. Past credits include "The Miracle Worker", "A Few Good Men", "Ragtime", and "Cabaret" at the Surflight Theatre (NJ); "The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe" at the Grove St. Playhouse (NYC); and "Alice in Wonderland" at the Growing Stage Children's Theatre of NJ. Most recently, she understudied the role of Dr. Ladenburger in the Purple Rose Theatre Company's production of "33 Variations". Additionally, Erin has served as the Director of Education/ Company Manager at the Surflight Theatre and is the current Company Manager for West Virginia Public Theatre. Erin would like to thank everyone at PNT for this special opportunity and sends her love to her family and Darin. She would like to dedicate this performance to the memory of her grandfather, Vito, who passed away in October.

Thalia Schramm is so excited to be on the Performance Network stage again (after a brief stint as Anne in "A Little Night Music" last season). Previous credits include: "Evita in Concert", "Guys and Dolls", "The 25th Annual... Spelling Bee", "The Fantasticks", and "The Last 5 Years" at The Encore Musical Theatre Company; as well as "Evil Dead the Musical" with Olympia Entertainment and Who Wants Cake? Theatre.

About the Production Team:

R. MacKenzie Lewis (Music Director) recently music directed the Wilde Award Winner for Best Musical, "A Little Night Music", music directed "Brill", wrote and orchestrated "Silver Bells: A Christmas Cabaret", and music directed "Striking 12" at Performance Network. Lewis is also a composer and music director for Eastern Michigan University's Department of Theatre, a lecturer with their Department of Music and Dance as well as being a guest artist and music director for Michigan State University. Aside from his university responsibilities, R. Mac music directs, composes, orchestrates, and arranges music for various theaters, bands, orchestras, and musicals. Recent works include composing for "Jason Invisible" and "The Wings of Ikarus Jackson", both commissioned by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., orchestrating and music directing the National Tour and Off-Broadway premiere of "The Berenstain Bears LIVE: Family Matters", composing "Video Games: The Rock Opera" and the world premiere musical with Ben Vereen, "Soaring on BlacK Wings." He keeps himself busy by writing and performing in a wide variety of venues and genres around the country including the Las Vegas production of "Ain't Misbehavin'"

Phil Simmons (Choreographer) recently won the award for Best Musical for his directorial debut at Performance Network, "A Little Night Music". Phil is proud to be an Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at Eastern Michigan University and a card-carrying member of Actors' Equity Association. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Georgia and is very happy to be doing his 18th show with his partner in crime, R. MacKenzie Lewis. Phil is a Fosse specialist and his passion is teaching young actors to be career performers who not only survive, but who thrive in this crazy business we call "show."

Monika Essen (Set Designer) is an award winning, nationally recognized artist and designer, and is the recipient of the prestigious Detroit Free Press Lawrence DeVine Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre. She studied interior architecture and environmental design at Parsons School of Design NYC, and received her MFA in sceneography from the renowned Hilberry Repertory Co., attending on a full fellowship. She has designed sets, costumes and props for countless productions in theatre, opera and film. Some of her recent favorites include " I Hate Hamlet" at Tipping Point Theatre, "God of Carnage" a joint production between The Jewish Ensemble Theatre and The Network, and "Amadeus", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Woman Before a Glass", "In the Next Room" and "RED" here at The Performance Network. Currently she is the Resident Designer at the Michigan Opera Theatre, where she designed the nationally acclaimed production of "Carmina Burana" and " The Medium." Additionally, she creates interiors and full sensory, multi-media environments for residential and commercial clients, including the Detroit Zoo. She also designs and creates a custom furniture line called "Mococo" with her husband Kurt Kastner at her company Epoque Design. You can see Monika's design work at www.studioepoque.com.

Mary Cole (Lighting Designer) currently is a Lecturer at the University of Michigan's Department of Dance as well as their Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and Technical Director. She also fulfills those same roles for Ann Arbor Dance Works. Mary is honored to continue being an Associate Artist with Performance Network. Her most recent shows were "Becky Shaw" with PN last summer and "Red Noses" this fall with UM's Theater Department. She is looking forward to this year's season with designing "Jerry's Girls", "County Line", "Other Desert Cities" and "The Renaissance Man". In 2007-2008 and in 2008-2009 she received best lighting design from the Subscriber's Choice Awards for "Exits and Entrances", "9 Parts of Desire" and "Fences". Mary received her BS in Dramatic Arts from Eastern Michigan University and did graduate work in lighting design at the University of Michigan.

Suzanne Young (Costume Designer) is delighted to be returning to Performance Network for "Jerry's Girls", the latest of many productions which have included "A Little Night Music" (Subscribers Choice Award for best costumes 2013), "The Glass Menagerie", "Burn This", "Ain't Misbehavin'" (Subscribers Choice Award for best costumes 2012), "The Circle Mirror Transformation", "The War Since Eve", and" Drowsy Chaperone" for which she was a 2011 Wilde Award nominee and Subscribers Choice award winner for best costumes. Other recent credits include "33 Variations" and "Escanaba in Da Moonlight" for the Purple Rose Theatre, "Cosi Fan Tutti", for Pine Mountain Music Festival, and" Ordinary Days" and "The Love List" for the Tipping Point Theatre. Other credits include the Wild Swan Theater, Ann Arbor Dance Works, The University of Michigan Dance Department, The Opera Company of Boston, The Cathedral of St John the Divine and Boston University. Suzanne trained at the Wimbledon School of Art and started her career in London where she worked on costumes for the BBC Shakespeare series "Hamlet", Opera at Covent Garden, London Weekend Television, The Edinburgh Festival, The Versailles Festival, The Athens Festival and many others.

"Jerry's Girls" with music by Jerry Herman and concept by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento, and Jerry Herman runs at Performance Network from November 14 - January 5, 2014. Regular tickets are $27 - $46 with discounts for students, seniors, children under the age of 16, and military and can be purchased online at performancenetwork.org or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.

Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge, and inspire audiences and artists.



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