MMT's LEAP OF FAITH to Bring Miracles and Praise to New Century Theatre
Minneapolis Musical Theatre (MMT) concludes its 2015-2016 season with LEAP OF FAITH makings its area debut April 29-May 22, 2016 at Hennepin Theatre Trust's New Century Theatre.
Based on the 1992 film Leap of Faith, starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger, a charismatic con man learns about the power of love and faith. LEAP OF FAITH is directed by Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha, with vocal direction by Christian Unser (MMT Artistic Director), and musical direction by Alison Shirk. The Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir lends musical heart and soul as the Angels of Mercy.
The "Reverend" Jonas Nightengale, an electrifying performer and con artist, is traveling with his ministry when his bus breaks down in a small Kansas town. The part-time reverend, and full-time crook, pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival. That's when the sheriff, a woman named Marla McGowan, tries to stop Jonas from separating the townspeople from their hard-earned money. Jonas' real challenge arises when he finds unexpected love, forcing this ultimate cynic to take a real leap of faith.
Based on the hit 1992 comedy of the same name starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger, LEAP OF FAITH features an inspirational, roof-raising score by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Disney's The Little Mermaid) who was inspired by the sounds of gospel, country and American roots music. Lyrics are by Grammy Award winner Glenn Slater and the book was written by Leap of Faith film writer Janus Cercone and Tony Award winner Warren Leight.
Matt Tatone makes his MMT debut as the charismatic preacher and alleged healer Jonas Nightengale. Tatone was recently seen in the Rose Red and Snow White at the Sidekick Theatre and the rock musical Philly the Musical. He also performs as an improv comedian at Twin Cities comedy clubs.
Emily Jansen stars as Marla McGowan, the town sheriff ready to bust Jonas. Jansen recently appeared in Gypsy with Theater Latté Da. She makes her MMT debut before appearing in The Drowsy Chaperone with Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts.
Returning to the MMT stage, Jill Iverson is Sam Nightengale, Jonas' younger sister torn between love for her brother and financial security. Iverson's role as Carrie in MMT's Carrie The Musical earned her a Best Actress in a Musical award from Lavender Magazine in 2013. She has also appeared in productions with Theater Latté Da, Artistry and Lyric Arts.
Andrew Hey stars as Jake, Marla's son and beacon of hope for the town. This marks Hey's debut with MMT. He has appeared at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Mary Poppins, Hello Dolly and The Little Mermaid, and the Ordway Theatre Center's production of The Pirates of Penzance.
LEAP OF FAITH also stars Sonya Nolen-Moon as Ida Mae Sturdevant, the lead singer of the Angels of Mercy, Brandon A. Jackson as Ida Mae's son Isaiah, and Brianna Graham as Ida Mae's daughter Ornella. Rounding out the cast as the Angels of Mercy are Sarah Adams, Alana LaBissoniere, Christian LaBissoniere, Adam Rousar, Grand Ruckheim, Carl Swanson and Aly Westberg.
Additional Angels of Mercy will be performed by members of the Twin Cities Gospel Community Choir, a community-based, multi-cultural choir that won the prestigious amateur talent contest at the Minnesota State Fair in 1990, thrilling audiences ever since.
LEAP OF FAITH features choreography by Emily Madigan, set design by Darren Hensel, lighting design by Grant Merges, audio design by Abe Gabor, costume design by Clara Cavins Wolford and prop design by Jane Ryan. The stage manager will be Miranda Shunkwiler.
Hennepin Theatre Trust, owner of the historic Orpheum, State, Pantages and New Century Theatres, is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to arts-inspired community cultural development. The Trust is located in the WeDo MPLS Cultural District. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org and WeDoMpls.org.
Minneapolis Musical Theatre has been dedicated to providing the community with access to high-quality, affordable works of musical theatre never before, or very rarely, seen by Twin Cities' audiences for over 20 years. MMT has produced more than 50 productions, including over 25 area premieres. Since 2012, Minneapolis Musical Theatre has partnered with Hennepin Theatre Trust to produce work at the Trust's New Century Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on the street level of City Center. Visit aboutmmt.org.