HAPPY DAYS Musical to Play New Century Theatre, 4/24-5/17

Minneapolis Musical Theatre (MMT) concludes its 2014-2015 season with Happy Days-A New Musical making its area premiere April 24-May 17, 2015 at Hennepin Theatre Trust's New Century Theatre. Based on the hit ABC television show "Happy Days," the musical features a book by the series' original creator Garry Marshall, with music and lyrics by Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Paul Williams. Happy Days is directed by longtime Twin Cities' director and actor Joe Hendren working with MMT's artistic director, Christian Unser.

Tickets are $25-30 and are on sale now. To purchase and for more information, call 612.455.9501, visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org, or buy in person (no service fees) at the New Century Theatre (615 Hennepin Ave., street level, City Center) in downtown Minneapolis.

Inspired by the popular series that ran from 1974-1984, Happy Days-The Musical introduces Arthur, "The Fonz" Fonzarelli and one of America's most beloved families, the Cunninghams, to a new generation complete with varsity sweaters, hula hoops and jukebox sock-hoppin' fun. Set in Milwaukee in 1959, the town's malt shop, Arnold's, is scheduled to be torn down. This inspires Richie, Potsie, Ralph and the rest of the gang to save it by hosting a dance contest and a TV-worthy wrestling match. As time is running out, The Fonz must step up and save the day.

Happy Days-The Musical debuted at Garry Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California where Marshall directed before productions launched at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut and the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey. The national tour launched at the La Mirada Theatre in La Mirada, California in 2008 and was called "a power house, rock and roll trip down memory lane" by the New York Daily News, saying "If you like Grease you will love Happy Days." Marshall is a veteran producer, director and writer of film, television and theater. After graduating from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, he went on to create, write and produce some of television's most enduring situation comedies, including "Happy Days," "Laverne & Shirley," "Mork & Mindy" and "The Odd Couple."

Happy Days features 21 original songs written by Paul Williams including the famously catchy theme song. Williams is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning songwriter. His songs, made famous by The Carpenters, include"We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "You and Me Against the World," "An Old Fashioned Love Song," "I Won't Last a Day Without You," and "Let Me Be The One."

Local actor Eric Heimsoth is making his debut with MMT as Richie Cunningham, the lovable all-American Midwestern high school student. He was recently seen in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at The Jungle Theater, God Girl at the History Theatre and productions with Bloomington Civic Theatre, Stages Theatre and The Children's Theatre Company.

John Zeiler is also making his MMT debut as Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, the King of Cool. A graduate from Gustavus Adophus College, Zeiler has appeared onstage alongside his wife in "An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein" at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Lisa Denninger plays one of America's most famous mothers, Marion Cunningham. She most recently appeared (on skates) in Panties On My Head: Real Stories from Minnesota Roller Derby at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She also performed for three years in How To Talk Minnesotan: The Musical at the Plymouth Playhouse.

Minnesota native Quinn Shadko plays the sexy and confident Pinky Tuscadero in her first MMT production. She holds a master's degree in musical theatre from New York University and has worked with Park Square Theatre, Minnesota Orchestra, the Old Log Theater and Bloomington Civic Theatre.

Happy Days also stars Bill Marshall as the father Howard Cunningham, Brianna Patnode as the sister Joanie, Kory Pullam as Chachi, Matthew Englund as Ralph Malph, Andrew Newman as Potsie, Lindsey Oetken as Lori Beth and Richard Choate as Arnold. Rounding out the ensemble are Jill Iverson, Nikki Anthony, Kameron Nelson and Gregory Adam.

Happy Days is directed by Joe Hendren, who has worked locally on productions with MMT, Open Window Theatre and Lakeshore Players. The show features musical direction by Lori Maxwell, choreography by Valarie Falken, set design by Darren Hensel, costume design by Samantha Kuhn Stewart, lighting design by Grant E. Merges, sound design by Jordan Daoust and prop design by Valerie Larche. Miranda Shunkwiler is the stage manager.

Tickets for Happy Days are on sale now and range from $25 to $30 depending on performance dates. Tickets may be purchased in person at the New Century Theatre Box Office (615 Hennepin Ave., street level of City Center in downtown Minneapolis), by calling 612.455.9501 (no service fees) or online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org. Prices include applicable facility fees. Additional charges may apply. Groups of 10 or more should call 612.455.9525 for discount information.

Performance dates are Friday, April 24 to Sunday, May 17, 2015 at Hennepin Theatre Trust's New Century Theatre with performance times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. There are two additional performances on Saturday, April 25 at 2:30 p.m. and a 'pay what you can' performance on Monday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.

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