Theatre Nova Presents The World Premiere Of DJWHITTINGTON'S KOOL KAT: A HIP-HOP PANTO

By: Oct. 30, 2019
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Theatre Nova Presents The World Premiere Of DJWHITTINGTON'S KOOL KAT: A HIP-HOP PANTO

Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor's professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, presents the world premiere of "DJ Whittigton's Kool Kat: A Hip-Hop Panto" by Carla Milarch and R. MacKenzie Lewis.

All the holiday hilarity and happiness you've come to love from our annual Panto returns in this hip-hop twist on a seasonal favorite. Kids ages 2 to 102 will enjoy this rollicking family entertainment, complete with heroes, villains, original tunes, and parodies of popular songs, physical comedy, and fun (and candy!) -- this time set to the hip-hop stylings of DJ Whittington and his Kool Kat's sick beats.

Directed by Jennifer Felts, with musical direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, "DJ Whittington's Kool Kat" features Asia Marie Hicks, Alaina Kerr, and Mike Sandusky. The production and design team includes Monica Spencer (scenic design), Daniel C. Walker (lighting design), Angeline Fox Maniglia (costume design), and Briana O'Neal (stage manager/props).

"Follies in Concert" will run from Nov. 29 through Dec. 29, 2019, at Theatre NOVA (410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor), a downtown performance space. Showtimes are 7:30 pm on Fridays, 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturdays, and 2:00 pm on Sundays. Theatre NOVA features free parking for patrons, as well as quick access to the city's restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Tickets are $25 ($10 for kids 16 years and under.) Theatre NOVA continues to making theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them. For tickets, visit TheatreNOVA.org, call 734-635-8450 or buy them in person at the box office one hour before showtime.

Theatre NOVA is Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre company. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and playwrights and provide resources for playwrights to develop their craft by importing, exporting, and developing new work. This activity is supported by the MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.

CARLA MILARCH (Playwright) is a former Artistic Director of the award-winning Performance Network Theatre, whose passion for new plays led her to found Theatre NOVA. As a dramaturg, director and artistic director, she has brought over 25 brand new plays to world premieres, as well as hundreds to staged readings, including those at the Michigan Playwrights Festival, the Fireside New Play Festival, the National New Play Network (NNPN) National Showcase of New Plays, and the Kennedy Center's MFA playwright's showcase. She served as a board member on the NNPN for 10 years and co-founded the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance, on which she served as Board President from 2011-2014. Some awards include "Best Overall Season/Artistic Direction" from the Oakland Press, "Outstanding Contributions to an Ensemble" from The Detroit Free Press, "Most Valuable Performer" from the Oakland Press, and the Between the Lines "Angel" award for outstanding contributions to the LGBT community, as well as numerous awards for acting and direction. Carla started her career as an actress. By her early teens, Carla's love for the arts flourished, and she was accepted to the world-famous Interlochen Arts Academy in the acting department. Attending high school with Jennifer Ehle and Elizabeth Marvel, and later college with Parker Posey, Seth Gilliam, and Reno Wilson at SUNY Purchase, Carla studied alongside some of today's most talented actors. Carla's love and experience for both sides of the stage have taken her from producing theatre at The Barn Theater in Port Sanilac Michigan, to co-founding a theatre in Amarillo, TX with her Purchase classmates, to working at Bob and Harvey Weinstein's Miramax Films in New York City, to helping establish Performance Network as an artistic leader in Michigan, to producing theatre in a barn again, this time in the middle of a world-class city, at Theatre NOVA. She is a proud resident of Ann Arbor, where she lives with her husband Phil Powers and son, William Tyrone, a proud producer of regional theatre, and a proud advocate of the American New Play.

R. MacKenzie Lewis (Music Director/Composer) is the composer and music director for Eastern Michigan University's School of Theatre arts and lecturer and accompanist with the School of Music and Dance. Some favorite projects outside of the university have been orchestrating and music directing the national tour and Off-Broadway premiere of The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical; music directing and orchestrating Gypsy at the Hangar Theatre in New York (Broadway World Award for Best Music Direction); music directing A Little Night Music at the Performance Network in Ann Arbor (Wilde Award for Best Music Direction and Best Musical); music directing Legally Blonde as a guest artist for MSU (Pulsar Award for Best Music Direction); composing Irrational (Wilde Award for Best New Script); associate music directing the workshop of Romance in Hard Times with William Finn at the Barrington Stage Co.; composing music for Mockingbird (two Helen Hayes nominations), Wings of Ikarus and Jason Invisible-all of which were commissioned and premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. He also composed the musicals Video Games: The Rock Opera, Treasure Island, Pinocchio, A Very British Christmas, A Sugar Plum Panto, and Soaring on Black Wings-a world premiere with Ben Vereen.

JENNIFER FELTS (Director) is currently a lecturer of Theatre at Eastern Michigan University and received her Master of Fine Arts from The London International School of Performing Arts. She directed Trojan Women and The Birthday Party at Eastern Michigan University and Venus in Fur at the Performance Network Theatre and has created movement, choreography and stage combat for many productions including Spring Awakening, One Man, Two Guvnors, Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown, Julius Caesar, Fiddler on the Roof, Angels in America, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Bud, not Buddy and Equus (Wilde award for Best Movement Direction). As a performer, she has worked at the London Gate Theatre in the UK, Tipping Point, Andiamo Theatre, Theatre NOVA, and Performance Network. She also enjoys devising and collaborating on new work such as Simone: An Evening in Chapter Titles at Detroit's Planet Ant Theatre or Shoulder to the Wheel at the Riverside Arts Center.



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