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McCarter Theatre Presents TAKE FLIGHT 4/30-6/6

Take Flight, a new musical with music by Academy Award winner David Shire, lyrics by Tony Award winner Richard Maltby Jr. with a book by Tony Award winner John Weidman will have its American premiere on the Berlind stage of McCarter Theatre in Princeton, April 30 through June 6. (Press Opening: Thursday, May 13 at 7:30pm)

Directed by Tony Award nominee Sam Buntrock with musical staging by Lisa Shriver, the show blends fact and fiction to tell the interweaving stories of three pioneers of aeronautics: the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. As their dreams become reality, these aviators discover the real costs of their sky-high ambitions. With style and panache, this lush musical delves to the core of the American experience.

Over the past 18 months, McCarter has served as an artistic home for the collaborators to delve deeply into the structure and the storytelling of the musical. "I am thrilled that McCarter is able to launch this astounding and important new piece of American musical theater, giving you the opportunity to reflect anew on the soaring spirit of American ingenuity," said McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann. Take Flight had its world premiere in 2007 at Menier Chocolate Factory in London.

John Weidman (Book) has written the books for a wide variety of musicals, three in collaboration with Stephen Sondheim: Pacific Overtures, Assassins, and Road Show. In 1999, he co-created the Tony Award winning musical Contact with director/choreographer Susan Stroman, for which he is currently completing a screen adaptation for Miramax. His other credits include Happiness, score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Big, score by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire; and the new book, co-authored with Timothy Crouse, for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes. Since his children were pre-schoolers, Weidman has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children's Program. From 1999 to 2009, he served as President of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Richard Maltby, Jr. (Lyrics) Broadway: conceived and directed the only two musicals to win the Tony Award for Best Musical: Ain't Misbehavin' (Tony, NY Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards and Fosse (Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards). On Broadway he conceived and directed Ring of Fire, the Johnny Cash musical; The Story of My Life. With composer David Shire, Maltby was the director/lyricist of Baby (seven Tony nominations); lyricist of Big (1996 Tony nomination, Best Score); lyricist/conceiver of Take Flight (Menier Chocolate Factory, London, 2007). Off-Broadway with Shire, Maltby was director/lyricist of Starting Here, Starting Now (Grammy nomination) and Closer Than Ever (two Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score). With Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, Maltby was co-lyricist of the musical Miss Saigon (Evening Standard Award; Tony nomination: Best Score), and co-bookwriter/lyricist of The Pirate Queen. Maltby was also director/co-lyricist of the American version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (Tony Award for Star, Bernadette Peters). Further, Maltby wrote the screenplay to Miss Potter, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor (Christopher Award, best screenplay).

David Shire (Music) An Oscar and Grammy winner and multiple Tony and Emmy nominee, Shire has composed prolifically for the theater, films, television, and recordings. Broadway: Baby (Tony nominations, Best Original Score, Best Musical); Big (Tony nomination, Best Original Score). Off-Broadway: Starting Here, Starting Now (Grammy nomination); Closer Than Ever (Outer Critics Circle Awards, Best Score, Best Musical). Film scores include Norma Rae (Academy Award); The Conversation; All the President's Men; The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3; Zodiac; Saturday Night Fever (two Grammys). Numerous television scores have garnered five Emmy nominations. Songs recorded by Barbra Streisand, Maureen McGovern, Melissa Manchester, Jennifer Warnes, John Pizzarelli, Kiri Te Kanawa, Liz Callaway, Nancy LaMott, among many others. His song "With You I'm Born Again" was an international hit single for Billy Preston and Syreeta.

Sam Buntrock (Director) has directed God Collar (West End); the current European tour of The Rocky Horror Show; Sunday in the Park With George (Menier Chocolate Factory , West End, and Broadway; 5 Olivier Awards; 9 Tony nominations including Best Director); the first London revival of Assassins (New End); Get a Life and Help Yourself (both Edinburgh and UK tour); Betrayal (NT Studio); and the world premiere of Take Flight in London (Menier). As resident assistant director at the Donmar Warehouse: Juno and the Paycock; Three Days of Rain; Helpless; and The Real Thing (also West End and Broadway). He has worked as an animation director on numerous commercial and corporate projects, most recently the film Stuart: A Life Backwards for Neal Street Productions, HBO, and the BBC.


Tickets can be reserved by phone (609) 258-2787; toll-free at (888) 278-7932; online at; or at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office at 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.


Take Flight will play the Berlind Theatre of McCarter Theatre Center Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm; with Saturday matinee at 3pm and Sundays at 2pm. Additional performances will be held on Sunday, May 16 and Sunday, May 23 both at 7:30pm.


McCarter Theatre offers a variety of events in conjunction with the performance, as well as special services for patrons who have visual and audio impairments. (There is no additional charge for these services.) The dates for these programs and events are as follows:

Live at the Princeton Public Library: Thursday, April 15 at 7:30pm featuring the three collaborators

Dialogue on Drama: Sunday, May 9, immediately following the 2:00pm matinee featuring the three collaborators

Post-performance Discussions: Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 16 at 2:00pm.

Open Captioned Performance: Saturday, May 29 at 3:00pm

ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreted Performance: Saturday, June 5 at 3:00pm

Audio Described Performance: Sunday, June 6 at 2:00pm

McCarter is committed to making live theater available and affordable to all members of our community. To further this goal McCarter offers Public Rush and Pay-What-You Can tickets. Public Rush makes unsold tickets available for half-price on the day of the performance. Two Pay-What-You-Can performance will be offered for Take Flight on Tuesday, May 25 at 7:30pm and Tuesday, June 1 at 7:30pm. Tickets are subject to availability and must be purchased at the McCarter Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place, Princeton.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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