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West Coast Ensemble's BIG: The Musical Extends Through 7/26 At El Centro Theatre


West Coast Ensemble is thrilled to announce that their critically-acclaimed, smash-hit production of BIG, The Musical, with book by John Weidman, music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., based on the motion picture "BIG" written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg and directed by Richard Israel (Floyd Collins, Assassins) is EXTENDING THROUGH SUNDAY, JULY 26 at West Coast Ensemble's new home - The El Centro Theatre, 800 N. El Centro Ave. in Hollywood.

"I wanna be Big!" - This rarely produced musical gem, based on the smash-hit 1987 movie, bursts onstage in this vibrant, tuneful, funny and touching production by three of Broadway's modern masters. When frustrated adolescent Josh Baskin wishes he were big and wakes up the next morning a 30 year-old man, he discovers there's much more to being an adult than he'd bargained for - and learns we must all grow up at our own pace, in our own time. A witty, moving, insightful book and a dazzling, energetic, heartfelt, contemporary score turn this already classic motion picture fantasy into an unforgettable theatrical experience.

John Weidman (Playwright) wrote the book for Pacific Overtures (Tony nominations, Best Book and Best Musical), score by Stephen Sondheim, produced and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince. He co-authored, with Timothy Crouse, the new book for Lincoln Center Theater's revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival; Olivier Award, Best Musical Production). He wrote the book for Assassins, score by Stephen Sondheim, directed Off-Broadway by Jerry Zaks and in London's West End (Drama Critics Award for Best Musical) by Sam Mendes. He wrote the book for Big (Tony nomination, Best Book), score by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, directed on Broadway by Mike Ockrent, and co-created with choreographer/director Susan Stroman the musical Contact (Tony nomination, Best Book; Tony Award, Best Musical). His new musical, Bounce, score by Stephen Sondheim, direction by Harold Prince, premiered this summer at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and he is currently completing a screen adaptation of Contact for Miramax. Since 1986, he has written for Sesame Street, receiving 11 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children's Program. Weidman is president of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Richard Maltby, Jr. (Lyrics) has conceived and directed the only two musical revues to ever win "Best Musical". Tony Award-winning musicals: Ain't Misbehavin' (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards, also Tony Award for Best Director) and Fosse (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards).

He was director/co-lyricist for the American version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance, (1986) starring Bernadette Peters. He was co-lyricist for Miss Saigon (Evening Standard Award 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991).

Maltby and David Shire started working together as students at Yale University; their first Broadway credit was in 1968, when their song "The Girl of the Minute" was used in the revue New Faces of 1968. In 1977 the Manhattan Theatre Club produced a review of their earlier songs, written for other works, finally titled Starting Here, Starting Now. With composer Shire, Maltby was the director and lyricist for Baby, (1983, book by Sybille Pearson) and the lyricist for Big, (1996, book by John Weidman). Also with Shire, he conceived and wrote the lyrics for Take Flight (book by John Weidman), which had its world premiere in July 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London.

He also conceived and directed Ring Of Fire, The Johnny Cash Musical Show, (2006). He is co-bookwriter/lyricist for The Pirate Queen (2007). He was most recently represented on Broadway as the director of the new, original musical The Story of My Life by composer/lyricist Neil Bartram and book writer Brian Hill. That musical had a brief run at the Booth Theatre in February 2009.

David Shire (Music) As a pit pianist, David Shire played for the original productions of both The Fantasticks and Funny Girl, eventually serving as Barbra Streisand's accompanist for several years. He also intermittently conducted and arranged for her (most notably for her television specials Color Me Barbra and The Belle of Fourteenth Street), and over a period of several years she recorded five of his songs.

Shire's musical theatre work, always in collaboration with lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. includes the two off-Broadway reviews Starting Here, Starting Now (Grammy nomination for Best Cast Album) and Closer Than Ever (Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Musical) and the two Broadway shows Baby (Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Score) and Big (Tony nomination for Best Score). All of these shows have had hundreds of regional and stock productions worldwide. A new musical entitled Take Flight premiered in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory in July 2007, with a separate production in Tokyo in November 2007. Previously concert versions were performed in Australia and Russia.

He recently completed A Stream of Voices, a one-act opera, with libretto by Gene Scheer, for the Colorado Children's Chorale, which premiered in June 2008 in Denver.

RICHARD ISRAEL (Director) As the Co-Artistic Director for West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Richard has directed critically acclaimed productions of Assassins (LA Weekly Nominee for Best Director of a Musical), Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins (BackStage West Garland Award for Direction), Douglas Carter Beane's Music From A Sparkling Planet, David Lindsay Abaire's Wonder of the World, the West Coast premiere of David Crane's Epic Proportions, The Diary of Anne Frank and the West Coast premiere of the Jonathan Larson Award-winning musical Vanishing Point. His most recent directing credit was the L.A. Times Critic's Choice production of 1776 for the Actor's Co-op (LA Weekly nominee for Best Director of a Musical). Other directing highlights include Rudolph The Red-Hosed Reindeer for TheSpyAnts, Lee Blessing's Two Rooms, My Fair Lady for Galveston Island Musicals, musicalizations of Aladdin, Peter Pan, The Velveteen Rabbit and Jack and the Giant for The Nine O'Clock Players of the Assistance League of Southern California and the world premiere of the new musical Hereafter at Chicago's Porchlight Theatre.

The cast of BIG, THE MUSICAL features Ashley Marie Arnold, Sterling Beaumon, LJ Benet, Joseph Castanon, Will Collyer, Coby Getzug, Johanna Kent, Larry Lederman, Lisa Picotte, Darrin Revitz, Frank Romeo, Alex Scolari, Sara J. Stuckey, Jake Wesley Stewart, Kailey Swanson and Stephen Vendette.

BIG, THE MUSICAL has assembled an award-winning design team. The Set design is by Stephen Gifford. The Lighting Design is by Lisa D. Katz. The Costume Design is by Sharon McGunigle. The Sound Design is by Cricket Myers. The production is Stage Managed by Amy E. Stoddard and Produced for WCE by Ben Campbell.

BIG, The Musical is EXTENDING through SUNDAY, JULY 26 at The El Centro Theater, 800 N. El Centro Ave. in Hollywood. PLEASE NOTE THE NEW PRICING! Ticket prices are $34 general; $30 student/senior/union; $20 for GROUPS over 10 or ALL KIDS UNDER EIGHTEEN! Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm. For tickets, please visit or call the West Coast Ensemble Box Office at 323-460-4443 or visit for tickets, groups or additional ticket information.


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