Beth Leavel, Chris Peluso, and More to Perform at SPARK

Beth Leavel, Chris Peluso, and More to Perform at SPARK

Pittsburgh CLO is pleased to welcome several special guests, artists and performers as part of the SPARK festival, March 26-April 8, 2018. Tony Award® winner Beth Leavel will star in SPARK's feature workshop, THE DOUBLE-THREAT TRIO; West End star Chris Peluso is set to be featured as part of THE PERFECT MATE writing residency; Broadway's David Zippel will serve as SPARK's Guest Mentor; and the Q Brothers will make their Pittsburgh debut with Q GENTS as part of the SPARK Late Night Series at the CLO Cabaret! SPARK Premier Passes are now available online at

Pittsburgh CLO is committed to supporting emerging and established writers, composers and lyricists through providing the resources necessary for their work to achieve the next step. Upon arrival in Pittsburgh, SPARK teams will be provided with dedicated rehearsal space, a crew of veteran directors and music directors, professional stage managers and production assistants, dramaturgs and a cast of talented artists. Equally, if not more importantly, their experience will offer a supportive community of artists, multiple public performances and talkback sessions with audiences. By providing valuable time and tools, Pittsburgh CLO will take part in helping to secure the future of the musical theater canon with the creation of exciting new work.

"You can spend countless days, months, years writing a musical. But the moment you get in a room with actors and hear it out loud, you learn everything you didn't know about the piece. This is what makes programs like SPARK so special. And necessary." - THE PERFECT MATE Co-creator, David Rossmer

Beth Leavel returns to Pittsburgh CLO to star as "Millicent" in the SPARK workshop production of THE DOUBLE-THREAT TRIO after appearing in the CLO Summer Season productions of Into the Woods, A Little Night Music and The Pajama Game. She received the Tony Award®, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and LA Drama Critics Award for her performance as the title character in The Drowsy Chaperone. Other Broadway: Bandstand, Florence Greenberg in Baby, It's You (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), Elf, Mamma Mia!, Young Frankenstein, 42nd Street (Revival), Crazy For You, The Civil War,Showboat and 42nd Street. Ms. Leavel starred as Dee Dee Allen in the World Premiere of The Prom at Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE, which is set to open on Broadway in the fall of 2018.

Pittsburgh native Chris Peluso is set to appear as "The PerfectMate" in SPARK's private reading of THE PERFECT MATE. As a North Allegheny High School student, he won the 2001 Gene Kelly Award for Best Actor and went on to appear in the Pittsburgh CLO production of A Musical Christmas Carol. He later made his Broadway debut in Mamma Mia! and went on to tremendous success on Broadway and in the West End. His Broadway credits include Beautiful, Assassins and more. Most recently, Mr. Peluso starred in the West End productions of Miss Saigon, Showboat and The Woman in White.

Award-winning lyricist and director David Zippel will join the festival as a SPARK Mentor to offer rehearsal feedback, lead post-show discussions and more. His lyrics for the Broadway production of City of Angels won him the Tony Award®. In addition, he has received two Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Award® nominations and three Golden Globe Award nominations. His songs appear on over 25 million CDs around the world, and have been recorded by many great singers including Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Mel Tormé, Ricky Martin, Cleo Laine, Barbara Cook and Nancy LaMott.

Chicago hip-hop sensations, the Q Brothers will bring their unique and exciting brand of performance to Pittsburgh for the first time as part of the SPARK festival Late Night Series. Best known for The New York Times Critics' Pick, Othello: The Remix, brothers JQ and GQ, along with their deejay Jackson Doran, will storm the CLO Cabaret stage on Friday, April 6 with Q GENTS. Q GENTS is the Q Brothers' two-man hip-hop version of William Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. Over 20 characters are played by two actors who never leave the stage in this 75-minute wild ride!

SPARK Premier Passes are now available online at

Pittsburgh CLO gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following major SPARK donors through the Next Generation Campaign, including: Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Dan and Debby Booker, EQT Foundation, Joe and Kathy Guyaux, Pittsburgh CLO Guild, Eden Hall Foundation, Sandy and Bill Lambert, MSA Charitable Foundation, Ron and Patricia Violi, Bob and Janet McCartney, Mark and Diane Minnaugh, The Benter Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Blenko, Jr., Michael J. Brunner, Tony and Linda Bucci, Stephen and Helen Hanna Casey, George and Ada Davidson, Kim and Curt Fleming, Peoples Natural Gas, Dominic and Charlene Petrelli, Eric Schaffer and Michele Gray-Schaffer.

Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi

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