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DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED Begins Tomorrow at Lonny Chapman Theatre


The Group Rep presents the world premiere musical comedy Don't Hug Me, We're Married with book and lyrics by Phil Olson, music by Paul Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, choreography by Stan Mazin, and produced by Laura Coker for the Group Rep. The fifth in the popular Don't Hug Me series of musicals is set for a limited run, October 3rd through November 15th, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in the NoHo Theatre and Arts District - North Hollywood, CA.

Billed as "Fargo Meets Bridesmaids (without the wood chipper or food poisoning)," Don't Hug Me, We're Married tracks the trap-filled path down the aisle for a couple of couples in a north woods bar in Bunyan Bay, Minnesota. This latest installment in this series of raucous musical comedies boasts a bevy of comical complications, starting with a pair of unconventional proposals and running right up to a rapping minister. More than 15 new tunes are on tap for the premiere, including "The Greatest Love Song Ever," "The Marriage Test," "The Day that Bob Dylan Was Here" and "We're All Gonna Die."

The play features the talents of Truett Jean Butler, Kathleen Chen, Rebekah Dunn, Bert Emmett, Doug Haverty, Chris Loprete, Laurie Morgan, Don Schlossman and Troy Whitaker. The design team includes Set Design by Chris Winfield, Lighting Design by J Kent Inasy, Costume Design
By Angela M. Eads, and Sound Design by Steve Shaw.

Phil Olson (Book & Lyrics) and Paul Olson (Music)
The Olson brothers grew up in Edina, Minnesota, home of the first indoor mall. Norwegian on all sides of the family, their parents were related to each other before they were married. Thankfully, it wasn't a blood relationship, more like second cousins removed. But still.

Phil ventured out to California to write stage and screenplays while brother, Paul, stayed in Minnesota and became a medical doctor, a nephrologist.
They say to write what you know, which brought Phil to write about his emotionally reserved Scandinavian upbringing in Minnesota. Their father would tell them he was a Norwegian who loved his wife so much, he almost told her. The closest the family ever came to hugging was an awkward, arm's length pat on the shoulders kind of hug. Their parents were married forever and loved each other and their kids, they just never said it. It was assumed.

Phil's first play, Crappie Talk, premiered at the Lonny Chapman Group Rep Theatre in 1997. The play takes place in a fictitious town in northern Minnesota, similar to the Don't Hug Me musicals. His second play, A Nice Family Gathering, also premiered at the GRT, and is a story "loosely based" on his family.

For his third play, Phil wanted to write a small cast musical set in northern Minnesota. He called it, Don't Hug Me. He wrote the script as well as lyrics for some of the songs, but hit a roadblock not knowing how to compose music. He mentioned the dilemma to his brother who had played in concert, jazz and marching bands throughout high school and college.

Paul suggested that he compose the music for Don't Hug Me. That was in 2003. Don't Hug Me, We're Married is the fifth Don't Hug Memusical they've done together, which include over 80 songs. The others are A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol, A Don't Hug Me County Fair, and Don't Hug Me, I'm Pregnant. The Don't Hug Me musicals are published by Samuel French and have had over 200 productions around the US and Canada.

Phil has written 13 published plays, seven are published by Samuel French, including the Don't Hug Me musicals, A Nice Family Gathering,Polyester the Musical and most recently, Mom's Gift, which was produced by the Group Rep and premiered at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in December of 2013, directed by the late Sherry Netherland.
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Doug Engalla (Director) This is Doug Engalla's third world premiere in the Don't Hug Me series and his seventh Group Rep production as director. Originally joining the Company in 1997, Doug worked as actor, director, or producer on a number of main-stage projects, which include Nuts, The Sunshine Boys, Arsenic and Old Lace, plus the world premieres of A Nice Family Gathering and A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol.

Laura Coker (Producer) Laura has been a member of The Group Rep for 12 years where she has appeared as Eunice in A Streetcar Named Desire, Mrs. Norquist in Mom's Gift, Costanza in Enchanted April, and Verna in The Brothel. She has produced several shows for the Group Rep. Laura recently made her debut as a writer, with her short play, Can I Give You a Lift?

Stan Mazin (Choreographer) As Director and/or Choreographer: Anything Goes, Bells are Ringing, Festival, Chicago, Joseph and the Amazing ..., Pippin, Dames at Sea, Jesus Christ, Superstar, Cole, Footlighters, Don't Hug Me & sequels, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Is This Anyway To Start A Marriage?, Comic Potential, Give Em Hell, Harry, The City, Barefoot in the Park, September 10, and the world premiere of Bert 'n Eddie, among others. As Producer: Nijinsky Speaks and Give Em Hell, Harry off-Broadway in New York. As an Actor:Broadway Bound, 411 Joseph, Chaim's Love Song, and Awake and Sing.

About the CAST
Truett Jean Butler (Bernice) makes her GRT debut in this production. Favorite roles include: Claire in Fuddy Meers, Phantom in The Rocky Horror Show, The Dominatrix in The Vagina Monologues and, most recently, Elaine in Arsenic and Old

Rebekah Dunn (Clara) was in all the original "Hugs" except the 3rd companies including Festival Stratford! at the American Shakespeare Theatre and Theatricum. Favorite stage roles include: Rosalind in As You and Love's Labour's, Ariel in Tempest, Kate in Shrew, Ophelia inHamlet and Titania and Helena in Midsummer. Her company Much Ado About Shakespeare, LLC is now in its 14th year. Training: NCSA. SAG and AEA since 2001.

Bert Emmett (Kanute) LA: Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Dodgson in Sherlock Through the Looking Glass (BroadwayWorld LA Awards nominee), Kanute in Don't Hug Me, I'm Pregnant (Eddon Award). At GRT: Edward in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Watson inSherlock's Last Case (Scenies Award), Ty in Cobb, Zarathustra in GRT's Putting on Your Shorts! Other: Every Christmas Story Ever Told, J.B. Film: "The Forsaken," "Alien Hunter," "Outside Ozona." SAG/AFTRA. See

Don Schlossman (Gunner) LA credits include Hartwell Clark in the LA premiere of A.R. Gurney's O Jerusalem, Billy Pilgrim in the west coast premiere of Slaughterhouse Five, Pato in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, Jerry in Road to Nirvana, Molokov in Chess, and Charles Guiteau in Assassins. Regional credits include Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Huntington Theater and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

Troy Whitaker (Arvid) is a recent graduate of Cal State University, Northridge with a B.A. in Screenwriting. He has been a member of The Group Rep for more three years and is the head of the GRT Playwriting Workshop. Most recently, he performed in Joseph Kesselring's production of Arsenic and Old Lace and in Putting On Your Shorts 3 (which he also participated in as a producer, director, and writer).

Kathleen Chen (Bernice U/s) is making her GRT debut! A Los Angeles native, she has performed on LA stages for more than 10 years. Favorite credits include: Ragtime (PCPA Theater fest), Miss Saigon (South Bay Civic Light Opera) and Song of Singapore (International City Theatre). She also performs in film, television and commercials.

Doug Haverty (Gunner U/S) Group Rep: Hotel Paradiso as Martin; Sherlock's Last Case as Holmes; My Three Angels as Felix; And Then There Were None as Wargrave; A Christmas Carol as Cratchit; Inspecting Carol as Wayne, Lend Me A Tenor as Max, Gunner in A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol; and around California: Professor in All the Great Books (Abridged) at Mammoth Lakes, Monet in Defying Gravityat NASA, Algy/ Fenton+5 in Bullshot Crummond at Advent and Ray Bradbury's Falling Upward at The Falcon & Theatre West.

Chris Loprete (Kanute U/S) Chris is excited to return to the stage after a seven year hiatus in which he was home playing the role of father to his sons (his best work, but his toughest critics). His last performance was his one man show You're From Philly, Charlie Brown! Prior to that he understudied the role of Kanute in the world premiere production of Don't Hug Me: A Christmas Carol, both shows were performed on the Group Rep stage. What better place to make his return?

Laurie Morgan (Clara U/S) GRT credits: Stepping Out, Sweet Sue, Comic Potential. Recent LA credits include: [world premiere] Don't Hug Me I'm Pregnant (Clara), Jewtopia (Arlene), Nunsense (Mother Superior), Damn Yankees (Sister), The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), Romeo & Juliet (Nurse) [world premiere] The Little Mermaid (Sea Witch) [west coast premiere] Splendora (Agnes). TV/Film credits include: "Killer Kids", "Mystery ER", "Twins by Surprise", Guilty or Innocent?", "Diary of an Affair", "Seeing Stars", "Mob Scene."

"Don't Hug Me, We're Married"
October 3 - November 15
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sunday Matinees at 2pm
Talkbacks after Sunday Matinees: Oct. 5 and Oct. 12
Tickets: $25. Seniors/Students: $20. Groups 10+: $15
Lonny Chapman Theatre 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601

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