New Musical AT FIRST SIGHT Receives World Premiere at The Mountain Playhouse

The Mountain Playhouse will conclude its 78th season with a rare opportunity for audiences to see the very first performances of a new musical. At First Sight will be presented October 3 - 15. The music and lyrics are by BranDon Lambert. The book was written by Gary Jaffe and BranDon Lambert. The production is directed by Guy Stroman.

In this charming story about finding love at any age, an elderly divorcee and her granddaughter decide to play matchmaker for each other. The granddaughter (played by Justine Magnusson) uses a dating app (swipe left or right) to find a suitor for her grandmother (played by Suzanne Ishee). Grandma uses more traditional search methods. Scenes including fierce board game contests, reluctant attendance at an opera and a disastrous rowboat adventure unfold as the two seek happiness and love for themselves and each other.

Brandon Lambert is a proud member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Deemed "the Harvard of musical theatre" by The New York Times, the purpose of the workshop is to encourage new composers and librettists through training and recognition of achievements. Earlier this summer, Brandon was awarded the Jerry Harrington Award by the workshop. Previous recipients of this award include the Tony Award-winning writer of Avenue Q and the Grammy and Oscar-winning composers of Frozen. https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/bmi-foundation-announces-winners-of-2017-musical-theatre-awards

The Company and Creative Team

Suzanne Ishee (playing Pat, the grandmother) appeared earlier this season in The Church Basement Ladies in the Last Potluck Supper and Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. She is an Emmy and Drama Desk Award-winning producer, actor and playwright. Her Broadway credits include Phantom of the Opera (as Carlotta NY/Toronto), Showboat, La Cage aux Folles, and Mame. She has toured in Jerry's Girls and Wizard of Oz. She appeared in New York City Opera's The Merry Widow. She has been a soloist with symphonies and in concert series throughout North America. Her playwriting credits include Searching for Spinoza, America's Singing Sweethearts, Jack and Jill.

Justine Magnusson is returning to the Mountain Playhouse to originate the role of the granddaughter, Morgan. Last season, she played the role of Honey Bubbalowe in Too Many Cooks. Her New York credits include Searching for Romeo (original cast) at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. She was in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind. Regionally, she appeared in The Wizard of Oz (Westchester Broadway Theatre). Justine originated the lead role in the world premiere of Home Street Home, a new musical by Avenue Q writer Jeff Marx, at Z Space theatre in San Francisco. She has also worked with Urinetown writers Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann on their new musical, ZM, at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in CT. Justine is a Theatre Arts teacher and Acting coach at the Cappiello studio in NYC. She is the writer and director of a new short film, She Was There, currently in production. She has a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Quinn Patrick Shannon (playing Morgan's potential date, Tad) is returning for his fifth production at the Mountain Playhouse. Previous Mountain Playhouse credits include Forever Plaid, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Funny Money. He most recently appeared as the title role in Pittsburgh Musical Theater's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also appeared in Guys and Dolls for the Pittsburgh Public, Plaid Tidings, The 39 Steps and The Toxic Avenger for the Pittsburgh CLO, as well as Young Frankenstein and Grease for PMT.

Larry Tobias (playing a widower, Frank, who is Pat's potential date) is returning to the theater for his 11th season. Earlier this season, he appeared as the Pastor in The Church Basement Ladies in the Last Potluck Supper and as Saunders in Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. He directed the third show of the season, Moon Over the Brewery. Highlights among the more than 25 shows in that time have been Social Security, I Love You You're Perfect, Now Change, Too Many Cooks, Cottonpatch Gospel, Smoke on the Mountain, The Foreigner, Keep on the Sunny Side, Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story, Ring of Fire (actor and director, two years in a row) and Twelfth Night. He has written and recorded an award-winning score for Life Is Funny a film shot at the theater (directed by Guy Stroman, written, produced and starring Jeffrey Correia). This past spring, he appeared in The Tempest as King Alonso at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and is the front man and lead singer for The Grand Tour, featuring the music of the late, great, King of Country Music, George Jones.

Guy Stroman (Director) has directed acclaimed productions of The Glass Menagerie and Driving Miss Daisy, both starring Sandy Duncan; The King and I, starring Lou Diamond Phillips (Best Production - Ft. Worth Star Telegram); Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at Cleveland Playhouse; a series of special performances for the Theatre Guild starring Lynn Redgrave, Jean Stapleton and Joy Behar; Man of La Mancha (voted "Audience Favorite" - California Musical Theatre); Steel Magnolias and Always, Patsy Cline, starring Sally Struthers: 1776 (Best Director - Dallas-Ft. Worth Theatre Critics Forum); a wide range of plays, including Art, The Lion in Winter, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Loot (Top Ten Production - Pittsburgh Post Gazette), Boeing, Boeing, Chapter Two, The 39 Steps for the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret; and musicals, including Mame, Oliver! and Keep on the Sunny Side, the story of the A.P. Carter family.

Guy originated the role of Frankie in Forever Plaid in New York, London's West End and Los Angeles, where he won best acting awards from the LA Drama Critics and Drama-Logue. He began his directing career by directing and choreographing many long-running productions of this show around the country including the openings of brand new theatres in Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Schenectady. Guy has directed the world premieres of Free Fall, written by and again starring Miss Duncan, at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Sugar Down, Billie Hoak Off-Broadway in New York, You Might as Well Live, a play with music about Dorothy Parker for the NY Musical Theatre Festival, one-act play festivals in New York at the Cherry Lane Theatre and for Naked Angels/Playwrights Horizons, and the a capella spoof Minimum Wage for the NY Fringe Festival.

BranDon Lambert (Music, Lyrics and Book) is currently performing at the theater in Murder for Two. In previous seasons, he appeared in Too Many Cooks, Forever Plaid and The Hound of the Baskervilles. He performed on the National Tour of Murder for Two and regionally at the Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Flat Rock Playhouse. He's written five TYA (Theater for Young Audiences) musicals for Gretna Theatre, and won an Anna Sosenko Grant for musical theatre writing. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Gary Jaffe (Book) Gary is making his professional debut as a musical theater writer at the Mountain Playhouse. A native of Austin, TX, Gary is a Brooklyn-based writer/director of film and theatre. His theatre work has appeared on stages around NYC, including a workshop production of his play Song to the Moon and numerous short plays. His full-length play Diaspora was chosen as a finalist in the Jewish Plays Project 2015 National Playwriting Contest. He has penned the scripts for two produced short films, Desert Walk and Sunset, which premiered at the prestigious Palm Springs International ShortFest and is now making the festival circuit rounds.

Opening Night will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 4. Following the 7 p.m. performance, all audience members are invited to meet the cast and crew at the Opening Night Party. Appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available. The party is being sponsored by WTAJ-TV.

About the Mountain Playhouse

From its humble roots as a restored 1805 gristmill rebuilt on the current site in 1939, generations of local audiences, visitors to the area and school children have come to rely on the Mountain Playhouse for quality entertainment and a rich cultural experience. The Mountain Playhouse, easily accessible from Route 30 in Jennerstown, is nestled in a picturesque lakeside setting and hosts an audience of 25,000 each season. It is one of many key stops for visitors to the Laurel Highlands.

The Mountain Playhouse became a nonprofit in 1998, in order to ensure its longevity. The theater is handicapped-accessible and has an art gallery/lobby in which local artists' works are featured in a new exhibit opening for each production. Members of Actors' Equity Association perform in all productions as they have since the theater's first year. One of only eight resident summer stock theaters remaining in the national Council of Resident Stock Theatres (CORST), the Mountain Playhouse is the oldest professional resident summer theater in Pennsylvania. The two-week periods in which the resident company performs one show while rehearsing the next is the hallmark of traditional summer stock. Currently, the theater is open May to October and the season includes performances for schools, musicals, comedies, and dramas.

The Mountain Playhouse thanks its 2017 Sponsors for their support:
107.1 WHJB, Cam-Ron, Cool 101.7 Forever Broadcasting, Daily American, Green Gables and Huddleson Court, RJ Hedges and Associates, Somerset Trust, Trib Total Media, Tribune Democrat, W. Jeffrey Carey and Associates, WJAC and WTAJ.

Ticket and information:
FlexPasses, Mini-Subscriptions, Tickets and Gift Certificates are available online at www.mountainplayhouse.org or by calling the Box Office at 814-629-9220 ext. 100. Group rate information can be obtained by calling 814-629-9220 x105.

Curtain Times:
Evenings: 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Matinees: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 3 p.m. Sunday

 

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