Darien Crago to Star in BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS at WBT, 8/13-9/20
Westchester Broadway Theatre to present BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS, conceived and developed by Lynnette Barkley and Christopher McGovern, with book/musical arrangements/original songs by Christopher McGovern. Directed and choreographed by Jeremy Benton, with musical direction by Jose Simbulan, the show runs August 13 - September 20, 2015, starring Darien Crago as Ginger Rogers.
Backwards In High Heels is a toe-tapping, swirling, gliding account of Ginger Rogers' ambitious public and private life. The Musical takes its title from a quote from a 1982 "Frank & Ernest" cartoon about Fred Astaire and Rogers: "Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did -- backwards and in high heels."
Ginger's career began when she won a Charleston contest in her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, at age 15. Three years later, she made her Broadway debut and quickly became a star. Ginger was discovered by Hollywood and danced into America's hearts in a string of 1930s films, partnered with Fred Astaire. Her fame culminated in winning an Oscar for her title role in "Kitty Foyle". Along the way, she had tempestuous relationships with producers, co-stars and many husbands-but none rivaled the importance of her relationship with her mother.
A celebration of that charming dame who could dance before she could walk, Backwards in High Heels was conceived and developed in 2007 by Lynette Barkley and Christopher McGovern. The book, musical arrangements and original songs are by McGovern (Lizzie Borden, A Visit to Roswell and many other original songs and musicals.) The show features vintage movie musical numbers like 'Fascinatin' Rhythm,' 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,' 'Embraceable You,' and 'A Fine Romance,' as well as original songs to showcase the major events in Ginger Roger's life.
The musical debuted in 2007 at the Florida Stage in West Palm Beach. The show broke box office records in its World Premiere production and has had numerous heralded performances around the country.
We are thrilled to bring this new hit to the WBT stage! Jeremy Benton, who starred in our productions of Singin' In The Rain and White Christmas, will direct and choreograph the show. The Assistant Choreographer is Amy Van Norstrand. The Musical Director is Jose Simbulan.
Our production stars Darien Crago as Ginger Rogers, and Jeremy Benton as Fred Astaire. Featured, are Avital Asuleen, Erika Amato, Matt Gibson, Sebastian Goldberg, Ryan Steer, Amy Van Norstrand and Jacob Ben Widmar.
Set Design is by Steve Loftus, Lighting Design is by Andrew Gmoser, Sound Design is by Jonathan Hatton, Costume Design is by Heidi Giarlo. The Production Stage Manager is Victor Lukas, Properties are by Grumpy Props. As with all our productions, Lisa Tiso is the Associate Producer.
Darien Crago (Ginger) is truly honored to be portraying this beloved woman. Most recently, she played Peggy in 42nd Street beside Ms. Karen Ziemba (The Lex), participated in a workshop of Top Hat (dir/choreo Chris Gattelli), and was in an Irving Berlin tribute with Randy Skinner (92Y). Earlier this year, she performed in two City Center Encores! productions: Lady, Be Good! (tap dancing alongside Tommy Tune) and Paint Your Wagon (featured pas-de-deux). Nat'l Tour: White Christmas. Regional Highlights: World Premiere of Holiday Inn (Goodspeed, Muny), Randy Skinner's Dames at Sea, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Paper Mill).
Jeremy Benton (Fred Astaire /Director/ Choreographer/) Previously on the WBT Stage as Phil Davis in White Christmas and as Don Lockwood in Singin' In The Rain. Recent apperances as Bert in Mary Poppins at the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, as Bob Hope in Cagney The Musical - Off Broadway at The York Theatre, in Bless You All! Off-Broadway, playing the "Fred Astaire" track, The national tour of Anything Goes, where he played opposite Rachel York in both the roles of Billy Crocker and Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. On Broadway: the revival of 42ND Street, performing the role of Billy Lawlor opposite Shirley Jones. Kenneth Gibson in Lyric Theatre's Call Me Madam opposite Beth Leavel. And the world premiere of Backwards In High Heels as Fred Astaire / Associate Choreographer at Florida Stage
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