Casting Complete for DEAR EDWINA, 12/11 - 2/15; Ephie Aardema Leads

Casting Complete for DEAR EDWINA, 12/11 - 2/15; Ephie Aardema Leads

Producer Daryl Roth has announced that casting has been completed for the return engagement of last season's Drama Desk nominated musical comedy for all ages, DEAR EDWINA. The show will return to the DR2 Kids Theatre (103 E. 15th St., NYC) for the holiday season and beyond, with a run extending from December 11 through February 15.

From Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, the team that created the critically acclaimed Junie B. Jones: The Musical, comes DEAR EDWINA, a bright, cheery and fast paced show about Edwina Spoonapple and her pals who put on their own shows in Edwina's garage. Timothy McDonald, founder of family entertainment company iTheatrics and director of last season's production of DEAR EDWINA, will again direct.

Ephie Aardema will appear in DEAR EDWINA's title role. Others in the cast include Serena Brook, Richard Cerato, Tina Diaz, Jessica Kaufman, Nicholas Park, Liam Quealy, and, Doug Thompson (returning from last season, to reprise the role of Billy). Musical direction is by Joe Kinosian, with choreography by Steven G. Kennedy. Court Watson is scenic designer, lighting design is by Kathryn Furst, and costume design is by Theresa Squire. Production Manager will be Ricardo Taylor, and Julie DeRossi is Production Stage Manager.

In the classic tradition of "Let's put on a show," DEAR EDWINA's plucky heroine, Edwina Spoonapple, decides that she and her pals will do just that. Edwina's special talent is giving advice, and she would do almost anything to be a part of the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival. When a talent scout visits her hometown of Paw Paw, Michigan, Edwina - assisted by a host of quirky friends and neighbors - enthusiastically sings out her musical advice in hopes of finding her own special place in the spotlight. Together Edwina and company tackle a plethora of problems, in numbers about everything from birthday party etiquette to the proper way to set a table ("salad fork, fork, plate, knife, spoon"). This smart and sassy "show within a show," with whip-smart lyrics and instantly hummable tunes, includes such hilarious and endearing songs as "Put It in the Piggy," "Frankenguest," and "Hola Lola," offering clever advice on kid-troubling issues running the gamut from what to do when offered icky food to how to deal with a truly annoying brother. But the most precious lesson of all involves learning to survive disappointment. This is a tough one for Edwina, but she comes through in the end with a glowing assessment of her individuality, summed up in the affirmative anthem, "Sing Your Own Song."

Wrote the Associated Press's Michael Kuchwara, "There may not be a more ingratiating little show in town - tuneful, sweetly funny, and chockfull of good advice you can take home after the curtain comes down." Show Business Weekly declared DEAR EDWNA to be "a children's classic that ranks among the top tiers of modern musical theatre. ... complete with great performances, a heartwarming story and addictive songs, Dear Edwina is brilliant." Influential trend forecaster Big Blue Dot Trend Update predicted, "With Variety putting Dear Edwina in a class with You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, this show is on its way to becoming a family entertainment staple."

Author Marcy Heisler and composer Zina Goldrich were nominated for 2009 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lyrics and Music for DEAR EDWINA. Their Junie B. Jones enjoyed three highly successful off-Broadway runs under the auspices of Theatreworks USA, earning two Lucille Lortel Award nominations. Marcy and Zina, who have been collaborating since 1993, are honored to be the recipients of this year's Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting, and they are past recipients of ASCAP's Richard Rodgers New Horizons Theatre Award. As performers, Marcy and Zina have toured domestically and internationally, presenting their music at some of the finest venues, including Carnegie Hall, Canada's "Juste Pour Rire" comedy festival and the Kennedy Center. November 2009 marks the release of Marcy AND Zina: The Album on Yellow Sound Label, and their Songbooks Volumes 1 and 2 are available from Hal Leonard. Marcy and Zina have a number of new theatrical projects in the works, including an adaptation of the tale of Snow White and Rose Red and a musical version of FREAKIN' FABULOUS, based on the bestselling book by author and stylemaker Clinton Kelly of TLC's What Not To Wear. For more information about Marcy and Zina, please visit www.marcyandzina.com.

Producer Daryl Roth says, "It's my wish that by introducing young audiences to creative, imaginative, high quality musical theatre entertainment we will build audiences for the future. For some young people, this is their first experience in a theatre and we want it to be warm, welcoming, memorable... and fun."

Marcy Heisler notes, "People think this show is about teaching kids. But it's turned out to be a celebration of everything kids teach us. This show is so close to my heart, and I can't tell you what it means to be able to share it once again with my NYC neighbors. I'm honored that so many kids wrote ‘Edwina' letters asking for advice after the show, and I'm thrilled that it sparked so many conversations between parents and their kids about family, friendship, and all kinds of things. The fact that Zina and I get to participate in that conversation personally is a huge gift."

Zina Goldrich adds, "Not only is it a 'family' show, it is a family production. We could not have asked for a more loving, talented team to put this show on its feet. We look forward to this latest Edwina adventure, and collaborating with Daryl Roth on many more adventures to come."

Daryl Roth is proud to hold the singular distinction of producing six Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Tracy Letts' August: Osage County; David Auburn's Proof; Margaret Edson's Wit; Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive; Edward Albee's Three Tall Women; and Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics. Other award winning Broadway productions include: Bea Arthur on Broadway; Caroline, or Change; A Catered Affair; Coram Boy; Curtains; Inherit the Wind; Irena's Vow; Mary Stuart; Medea; Salome; The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; Thurgood; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; and The Year of Magical Thinking. Current Productions include: Love, Loss and What I Wore; Fela!; A Little Night Music.

Timothy McDonald, CEO of the New York City-based family entertainment company iTheatrics, recently directed sold-out performances of The Phantom Tollbooth at The Kennedy Center. He has been the playwright of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (premiering at Goodspeed Musicals in December 2008), and is currently developing a stage version of James and the Giant Peach. Timothy worked with Marcyand Zina to adapt DEAR EDWINA into an educational title for student performers, available through Music Theatre International Education.

DR2 Kids Theatre has presented such delightful family shows as The Funkey Monkeys, A Dolphin Up a Tree, Moey Live: P is for Party, Custard the Dragon, and Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Sensation.

Tickets for DEAR EDWINA are priced at $39 and are available at DearEdwina.com or by calling Telecharge at 212.239.6200. Tickets may also be purchased at the DR2 box office, 103 East 15th Street, NYC. For group sales, call 212.375.1110 x4. This production is 60 minutes long.  The production runs Dec. 11. 2009 - Feb. 15, 2010, Fridays: 7 PM; Saturdays: 11 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM; and Sundays: 11 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM.

Additional Performances Scheduled During School Vacations. Visit www.DearEdwina.com for special school holiday performance schedule.


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