Surflight Theatre Presents THE FIELDS OF AMBROSIA, September 7-25

Based on the 1970 film The Travelling Executioner  the time is 1918 and the place is rural Louisiana in the American deep South.

By: Aug. 26, 2022
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Surflight Theatre, New Jersey's "Broadway at the Beach," will present a new production of The Fields of Ambrosia this September.

Having enjoyed generally outstanding reviews from the George Street Playhouse's production of this show in 1993, and then a less than enthusiastic response on the West End, Producing Artistic Director Steve Steiner is thrilled to be revisiting this intriguing piece on the Surflight stage, again for an American audience. Mr. Steiner also happened to have performed in the 1993 production at George Street.

Based on the 1970 film The Travelling Executioner the time is 1918 and the place is rural Louisiana in the American deep South. Jonas is a former con-man and carnival hustler whose world is suddenly turned upside-down when he falls head-over-heels for the most alluring and beautiful woman he has ever met. The only problem is that he is currently employed by the State as its one and only executioner, and she is the prisoner who is destined to be his next 'client'. What follows is a poignant, funny and surprising musical love story unlike anything you have ever seen.

Elizabeth Lucas directs Surflight's Fields of Ambrosia having just directed her reimagined Chess currently running at Surflight through September 4th. Favorite stage directing credits of hers include Nine, Kiss Of The Spider Woman and the Marta Kauffman/David Crane/Michael Skloff-written Rapunzel. Lucas is currently launching the new company Free Range Humans, producing story-driven immersive entertainment, from site specific theatre to virtual reality. Paula Sloan will provide musical staging and choreography. Ms. Sloan serves as a resident Director Choreographer for Surflight Theatre and has Directed and/or Choreographed numerous National Tours, Regional and Casino productions. Most recently her work was seen at the Laguna Playhouse with Xanadu and at Surflight with American in Paris and The Addams Family. The creative team also includes Musical Direction by Nick Guerrero, Scenic Design Andy Walmsley, Costume Design by Kaitlynn Farnham, Sound Design by Ian Wehrle, and Lighting Design by Clifford Spulock.

Original show writers Martin Silvestri and Joel Higgins and original cast member Christine Andreas will be involved in the mounting of this production. .

Along with writing the Book and Lyrics, Joel Higgins starred in The Fields of Ambrosia when it premiered at The George Street Playhouse and its subsequent production at the Aldwych Theatre on London's West End. He also created the Lyrics, co-wrote the Music and Directed Johnny Guitar, The Musical at the Century Center Theater For the Performing Arts in New York, where it garnered 4 Drama Desk Award Nominations (including Best Lyrics and Music and Best Musical), 2 Drama League nominations (Including Best Musical), 2 Lucille Lortel nominations (including Best Musical) and won the Outer Critics Circle award as Best Off-Broadway Musical. As an actor, Joel has starred or co-starred in four prime-time Series (the long-running Silver Spoons on NBC, Salvage One on ABC, Best Of The West on ABC, Have Faith on ABC), a daytime Serial (Search For Tomorrow on CBS) as well as several made-for-television movies (Killing At Hell's Gate, Freshman Year, Threesome, Laura Lansing Slept Here, Rich Men, Single Women) and guest starred in numerous other Series including Home Improvement, Jag, Crossing Jordan, Ed, etc. On Broadway, He starred as Stone in City of Angels, Curly in the revival of Oklahoma, Ben Gant in Angel (Drama Desk nomination), Sebastian in Music Is and James in Shenandoah (Theater World Award). He was in the First National Tour of Grease, starred as George in the L. A. Music Center production of She Loves Me and in numerous regional, stock and touring productions including eight productions (Brigadoon, Showboat, Kiss Me Kate, The Music Man, Guys And Dolls, Three Coins In The Fountain, Damn Yankees and Side By Side By Sondheim) at the Muny Opera Of St. Louis as well as Harvey, The Foreigner, Cabaret, Same Time Next Year, Regrets Only, The Graduate, etc. in other venues around the country.

Joel and his partner-in-crime Composer Martin Silvestri have also written or co-written over two hundred commercial jingles and several T. V. theme songs.

Martin Silvestri is best known for his work as a composer, arranger and record producer. On Broadway, Mr. Silvestri has served as conductor, arranger, and supervisor for many companies; most notably, his successful and thorough 'face-lifting' of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's score for the original Broadway and subsequent productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A Grammy nominated arranger and record producer; he co-produced the Original Broadway Cast Recording on the Chrysalis label with Lloyd Weber and Rice. His first major work for the musical theater in collaboration w/Joel Higgins (lyricist), The Fields of Ambrosia, was given a critically acclaimed American debut at the George Street Playhouse in 1992. The overwhelming response to this "rhapsodic and reckless adventure" led to the controversial 1996 production at the Aldwych Theatre in London's West End starring his wife, Christine Andreas. The Original London Cast Recording was released on First Night Records.

The off-Broadway hit, Johnny Guitar, The Musical, which is based on the cult-Western film of ,the same name, had its premiere off-Broadway at the Century Center Theater in New York City and was honored with the 2004 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Johnny Guitar also received four Drama Desk nominations including Best Musical, Best Lyrics and Best Score. Johnny Guitar to date has had over 50 productions throughout the United States.

With Mr Higgins, Mr. Silvestri created music and lyrics for hundreds of television and radio commercials, clients such as Grant Tinker and Aaron Spelling have hired the team to compose themes and scores for numerous network television programs. Mr. Silvestri has composed and arranged for artists as diverse as Mel Torme, David Clayton Thomas, Luther Vandross, David Cassidy, Eydie Gorme and Patti Austin. In 2019 Mr. Silvestri was proud to have composed the film score for a new short feature film, April In Winter, written and directed by his daughter, Emilie Margaux Silvestri. The film was a finalist in the Wasserman Awards March 2020 and Mr. Silvestri was honored with the 'Best Score' Award.

Mr. Silvestri's professional collaboration with his wife, Ms. Andreas began 30 years ago. He has served as her arranger, musical director, and producer for her Award-Winning solo CDs ...most recently the orchestral production of PIAF - No Regrets recorded in 2019 in London at Angel Studios.

Surflight's cast of Fields includes familiar and new faces alike. Steve Steiner, Surflight's Producing Artistic Director, joins the cast as well as Sophia Swannel playing Gretchen. Ms. Swannell can be currently as Svetlana in Chess. Other cast members include Dan Beckmann as Jonas Candide, Danny Crowe, Jerrod Ganesh, Tim Steiner, Ricky Pope, Mike Brennan, Noah Lyon, Nick Somodi, Jack Lynch, Jacob Lill, Jamie Baio, Christa Steiner, Dwan Hayes, Giulia Marolda, Alison Nusbaum, Erinn Dearth, Bridget Gooley.