Zoetic Stage and Arsht Center to Host South Florida Premiere of FUN HOME

Zoetic Stage and Arsht Center to Host South Florida Premiere of FUN HOME

Zoetic Stage (@ZoeticStageMIA) and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@ArshtCenter) are proud to present the South Florida premiere of FUN HOME, the five-time Tony Award-winning musical and tragicomedy based on Alison Bechdel's best-selling memoir. Playing April 12 - May 13, 2018 in the intimate Carnival Studio Theater (Ziff Ballet Opera House), FUN HOME closes Zoetic Stage's 2017-2018 season and the Center's Theater Up Close Series.

The Arsht Center's 2017-2018 Theater Up Close Series is supported by Adrianne and Jerry L. Cohen, Alan and Diane Lieberman and the Hotel Croydon Miami Beach.

Tickets to FUN HOME are $50 & $55* and they may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center Box Office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.

Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book of a Musical, FUN HOME is about Alison, a graphic novelist who dives deep into her past to tell the story of her father, a volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Through her work, she relives her unique upbringing in the family's funeral home, her burgeoning sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father. FUN HOME is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer will direct the production. "Fun Home is a unique musical that touches audiences' souls with its clear storytelling and honesty," he says. "The musical is unafraid and Alison Bechdel's story resonates with so many people because we all can relate to the dynamics of family, whether that family is functional or dysfunctional. People relate to her need to accept the past as she moves on to the future. Our cast is sublime and we are all working together to create a version of this beloved musical that will seem like an entirely new experience for those diehard Fun Home fans."

ABOUT THE CAST AND CREATIVES

Hannah Benitez (Joan) BFA in Acting, Florida State University. Regional Actor/Musician credits: White Fang, Mr. Burns - A Post- Electric Play, A Fiddler on the Roof (freeFall Theatre), Godspell (Off Square Theatre), Dogfight (Slowburn Theater), The Dead (Mad CowTheatre), Robin Hood (Hippodrome State Theater). Other regional: Othello and Loves Labor's Lost (Montana Shakespeare), The Golem of Havana (Miami New Drama), Twelfth Night (Thin Air Shakespeare), New Jerusalem (GableStage), Bad Jews (Main Street Players & upcoming at Mad Cow Theater), The Pirates of Penzance, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (free Fall Theatre), Three Sisters, Tribes (Mad Cow Theater).

Jeni Hacker (Helen Bechdel, Choreographer) was last seen Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center as Frieda in Sunday in the Park with George and as Fosca in Passion (Silver Palm Award and Carbonell winner for Best Actress) and Connie in After (Carbonell winner for Best Supporting Actress). Other recent credits: Evelyn in The Camp (Carbonell nominee for Best Supporting Actress) at Boca West Theater, Poppy in Noises Off, Aunt Sheila in It Shoulda Been You, Beverly in Miracle on South Division Street, Peggy in Godspell and Louise/Eve in Ruthless! The Musical at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. Other favorites: Our Town (Miami New Drama), Les Miserables (Maltz Jupiter Theater), Marie in The Most Happy Fella (Palm Beach Dramaworks) and Alysha in Fugitive Songs at Theatre Lab.

ANNA LISE JENSEN (Alison) is back at Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center after appearing as Clara in Passion and Yvonne/Naomi in Sunday in the Park with George. Other South Florida theater credits include Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County (Slow Burn Theatre), Reza in Once, and Lisa in Finding Mona Lisa (Actor's Playhouse). She is a proud teacher at New World School of the Arts as well as coaches privately in Miami.

Kimmi Johnson (Medium Alison) was recently seen in the Ensemble of South Pacific (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), The Bridges of Madison County and The Secret Garden (Slow Burn Theatre Company), Anne in La Cage aux Folles (MNM Productions), and Melody in Bad Jews (Main Street Players). She earned her BFA in Acting from Elon University, and is a proud staff member at the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts.

BRAYDEN LABGOLD-CARROLL (John Bechdel) is in the fourth grade at Ojus Elementary. This will be his fourth production as he has recently appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as the Butler and a Key Kid. Prior to that he was in Beauty and the Beast as Maurice and Seussical as Cat in the Hat.

Alexa Lasanta (Small Alison) professional credits include: Tony award-wining director Jack O'Brien's national Broadway tour of The Sound of Music as "Gretl/Marta." Her regional credits include: Slow Burn Theatre Company's The Secret Garden as Mary Lennox. Other regional credits include: The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton - Beauty and the Beast as "Chip" and The Sound of Music as "Gretl."

NATE POSES (Christian Bechdel) is a fifth grader at Temple Beth Am Day School. Area Stage Company performances include A Year with Frog and Toad, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Winnie the Pooh, and Best Christmas Pageant Ever. School productions: Fiddler on the Roof, Seussical, Mary Poppins, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

JONAH ROBINSON (Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby Jeremy, Zoetic Stage Young Artist) is back at Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center after appearing in Sunday in the Park with George. Additional regional theater credits include The Three Musketeers (Marin Shakespeare Company), Mary Poppins and South Pacific (Utah Shakespeare Festival). He is graduating from the University of Miami this spring with a BFA in musical theatre.

Nicholas Richberg (Bruce Bechdel) most recently created the role of Tennessee Williams in the world premiere of Terry Teachout's Billy and Me at Palm Beach Dramaworks (Carbonell Nom.) At Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center, he last appeared as Aston in the critically-acclaimed production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker. Also with Zoetic Stage: Passion (Giorgio, Silver Palm Award, Carbonell Nom.), Betrayal (Jerry, Silver Palm Award), Assassins (John Wilkes Booth, Best Actor, Miami New Times; Carbonell Nom.), The Great God Pan (Jamie), and Zach Braff's All New People (Charlie, Carbonell Award Best Ensemble). Additional South Florida credits: 1776 (Richard Henry Lee/Dickinson; Silver Palm Award), Palm Beach Dramaworks; Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache, Carbonell Award Best Actor in a Play; Miami New Times Best Actor), Arsht Center; Mike Bartlett's Cock (M, Carbonell Nom.), GableStage; Michael McKeever's Stuff (Langley), Caldwell Theatre Company. Nicholas is a graduate of the University of Miami.

STUART MELTZER (Director) is the Artistic Director and a founding member of Zoetic Stage. He is the proud recipient of Carbonell Awards for Best Director of a Musical for Passion and Best Director of a Play for Clark Gable Slept Here, both at Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center. Altogether, he has been honored with 16 Carbonell nominations. He is pleased to return to the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center after directing Zoetic Stage's highly successful productions of Dancing Lessons, Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts,Topdog/Underdog, The Caretaker, Sunday in the Park with George, After, Passion, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Stripped, Betrayal, Trust, Detroit, The Great God Pan, Assassins, Fear Up Harsh, The Savannah Disputation, All New People, I Am My Own Wife, Moscow, The SantaLand Diaries, Captiva and South Beach Babylon. Previously, Stuart served as the Artistic Director of City Theatre in Miami, where he oversaw and expanded the Summer Shorts Festival. New York and South Florida credits include Romulus Linney's Gint, Harold Pinter's One for the Road, Aristophanes' Lysistrata, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Painted Alice, Everything Will be Different and Melt. He is the recipient of three Silver Palm Awards for his work as the Resident Director of Zoetic Stage. He received his M.F.A. in Directing from the Actors' Studio in 2002 and B.F.A. from New World School of the Arts in Miami, where he currently serves on the faculty.

Lisa Kron (Book and lyrics) is a writer and performer whose work has been widely produced in New York, regionally, and internationally. Her plays include Well, 2.5 Minute Ride, and The Ver**zon Play. She wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Fun Home (with music by composer Jeanine Tesori), winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Lisa and Jeanine were the first all-woman team to ever receive a Tony for best score. As an actor, Lisa was most recently seen as Mrs. Mi-Tzu and Mrs. Yang in the Foundry Theater's acclaimed production of Good Person of Szechuan (Lortel Award, Outstanding Featured Actress). Honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artists Award, and the Cal Arts/Alpert Award. She is a proud founding member of the OBIE - and Bessie-Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers. Lisa currently serves as Secretary of the Dramatists Guild Council and on the boards of the McDowell Colony and the Lilly Awards.

Jeanine Tesori (Music) has written a diverse catalog for Broadway, opera, film and television. Her Broadway musicals include: Fun Home (2015 Tony Award Winner, Pulitzer finalist); Violet; Caroline, or Change; Shrek the Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Twelfth Night (LCT); John Guare's A Free Man of Color. Delacorte: Mother Courage (starring Meryl Streep). She has received five Tony nominations, three Obie Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. The hallmarks of her work have been described as "close-to-the-surface emotion, structural rigor and rhythmic drive". Her operas include: The Lion, the Unicorn and Me; Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (MET/LCT Opera/Theater and Glimmerglass Opera commission); and her upcoming collaboration with Tazewell Thompson, Blue was commissioned for Glimmerglass Opera company and will premier there next season. She wrote the musical featured in the 2016 revival of Gilmore Girls and has also written special material for artists such as The Girl in 14G for Kristin Chenoweth and has been featured in documentaries ShowBusiness and Theater of War. Jeanine Tesori became the founding Artistic Director of a new concert series at New York City Center called Encores! Off-Center for which she has helmed seasons joined by artists such as Stephen Sondheim, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Randy Newman, William Finn, Alan Menken, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff. After producing four seasons of Off-Center concerts, she took one of those concerts, Sunday in the Park with George (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) to Broadway where she produced the 2017 revival, with ATG and Riva Marker. She was the recording producer for Sunday as well as the Original Cast Recordings of Violet; Caroline, or Change; Shrek; Twelfth Night; etc. A lecturer in music at Yale and on faculty at Columbia University, Tesori has spoken and taught at universities and programs all over the country. She is the founding Creative Director of the non-profit A BroaderWay, an arts empowerment program for young women. She was given the Einhorn Mentorship Award by Primary Stages for her exceptional work with young artists.

Eric Alsford (Musical Director) returns to Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center after music directing last season's Sunday in the Park with George. Eric is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has played Off-Broadway for That's Life, I Love You, You're Perfect ..., and Naked Boys Singing, as well as the national tour of Mamma Mia. He has served as music director/conductor for national tours of Nunsense, Stars of David and Joseph/Dreamcoat. Regionally, Eric has music directed for Theater Aspen, North Shore Music Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Cape Playhouse, John Engeman Theater, Arkansas Rep, Drury Lane Chicago, Artpark, Meadowbrook Theater, Westchester Broadway, and Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Locally, Eric regularly works with Maltz Jupiter Theater, Actors Playhouse, Gablestage, Slow Burn Theater and the Wick Theater. He is a four-time recipient of South Florida's Carbonell Award for Best Musical Direction as well as Colorado's Henry Award for a Best Music Director.

The play's creative team features scenic design by Michael McClain; costume design by Angelina Esposito, lighting design by Rebecca Montero, sound design by Ross LaBrie, properties by Natalie Taveras and technical direction by B.J. Duncan. Amy Rauchwerger is the production's stage manager.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus



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