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Beach, Hoty & Lewis To Lead Music Circus Season

Casting for the 60th Music Circus season is nearing completion. After auditioning performers in New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California Musical Theatre Artistic Director Glenn Casale is finalizing The Acting Company for the seven-show season at the Wells Fargo Pavilion. The company is expected to include Broadway veterans, including Tony Award nominees, television comedians, up-and-coming young actors and plenty of returning Music Circus favorites. Complete cast lists are available online at and are subject to change.

Music Circus was founded in Sacramento in 1951 as the first professional musical theatre in the round west of the Mississippi. Until 2002, its first-class summer stock productions were presented under an open-air canvas tent, the last of its kind in the country. In 2003, the company introduced the Wells Fargo Pavilion, a new enclosed performance space that maintains the traditional theatre-in-the-round configurations with improved audience comfort. Music Circus operates under a contract with Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional actors and stage managers in the United States, and the majority of the principal and ensemble cast have extensive Broadway and national tour credits.

California Musical Theatre, which presents Broadway Sacramento at the Community Center Theater as well as Music Circus, is a non-profit organization, serving the community through the presentation of quality theatre productions and innovative education programs. The company also operates the two-year-old Cosmopolitan Cabaret at 1000 K Street.

The 2010 Music Circus season will open Friday, July 9, with an extended 13-performance run of Monty Python's "Spamalot" starring Tony Award-winner Gary Beach as King Arthur. Beach, who appeared at the Wells Fargo Pavilion last summer as Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls," was nominated for Tony Awards for his performances on Broadway in "Beauty and the Beast," "La Cage aux Folles" and "The Producers" for which he won a supporting actor award. The Music Circus production of "Spamalot" is the first production by an American regional theatre as well as being an in-the-round premiere of the Tony Award-winning best musical. Cast as Sir Lancelot is Mika Duncan, a veteran of the Broadway and Las Vegas productions of the show. Steven Strafford, another Las Vegas veteran, will play Prince Herbert. Lesli Margherita, who received an Olivier Award for her performance in London's West End production of "Zorro," will play the mysterious Lady of the Lake. Music Circus favorite John Scherer ("1776" and "Hairspray") returns as Sir Robin. Ron Bohmer, who recently starred on Broadway as Father in the revival of "Ragtime" will play Sir Galahad. The cast will also include Andy Taylor as Patsy and Ron Wisniski as Sir Bedevere, the first of his four productions this summer. The cast is rounded out by an ensemble of Miki Berg, Kurt Domoney, Michael Dotson, Alexa Glover, Jeff Kuhr, Ian Liberto, Nikki Della Penta, Aaron Pomeroy, Lisa Rohinsky, Vanessa Sonon, Merrill West and John B. Williford. The production will be directed by California Musical Theatre Artistic Director Glenn Casale with Billy Sprague choreographing. Dennis Castellano will be the musical director. Good seats are still available for this premiere production.

The season continues July 20 with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" starring Max Von Essen as Joseph and Jennifer Paz as The Narrator. Von Essen was last seen in Sacramento starring in the national tour of "Xanadu" but is more familiar to Northern California audiences for his leading roles at Music Circus in "Sweeney Todd," "Cabaret" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." His Broadway credits include "Les Misérables," "Dance of the Vampires" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." Jennifer Paz starred as Kim in the first national tour of "Miss Saigon" and as Cosette and Eponine on Broadway in "Les Misérables." The cast also includes Paul Ainsley, the original Herod from Broadway's "Superstar," as Jacob and Potiphar, and David Engel, who was Bobby Child in "Crazy for You" under the tent, as a rocking King of Egypt. Other cast members include Paul Aguirre, Alan Bennett, Bradley Benjamin, Sara Edwards, Lain Gray, Naomi Hubert, Karen Hyland, Megan Jimenez, Michael McGurk, Amanda Paulson, Ethan Le Phong, Mahri Relin, Peyton Royal, Jeff Skowron, Savannah Smith, Shannon Lea Smith, Shannon Stoeke, Jonathan Stahl and Lisaun Whittingham. The production will also feature a choir of over 50 local children. "Joseph" will be directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford who directed last summer's production of "Cats." Craig Barna will be the musical director. Tickets for "Joseph" are half price for children 4 to 11.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's "OKLAHOMA!" will open on July 27 with Jeremiah James reprising his role as Curly from the first national tour of the Cameron Macintosh revival. James also performed the role of Billy Bigelow in the West End revival of "Carousel." Playing opposite him as Laurey will be Brandi Burkhardt who starred in the Broadway production of "A Tale of Two Cities" and appeared in "Mamma Mia!" as Sophie. The production will be directed by longtime Music Circus director Marcia Milgrom Dodge, received her first Tony nomination this year for the revival of "Ragtime." Milgrom Dodge directed last summer's production of "Guys and Dolls." Bob Richard will choreograph and Michael Rice will be musical director. Broadway actors Heather Jane Rolff ("Shrek"), Michael Jablonski ("Cry-Baby") and Kevin Earley ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") will play Ado Annie, Will Parker and villain Jud Fry, respectively. Amir Talai, a familiar face from dozens of television guest appearances and movie roles, will play the peddler Ali Hakim. Broadway veteran Kay Walbye ("Urinetown," "Titanic" and "The Secret Garden") will play Aunt Eller and Ron Wisniski will be Pop Carnes. The ensemble cast includes Kim Arnett, Kurt Domoney, Michael Dotson, Alexa Glover, Kolina Janneck, Jeff Kuhr, Ian Liberto, Nikki Della Penta, Aaron Pomeroy, Patrick Pulkrabek, Lisa Rohinsky, Vanessa Sonon, Merrill West, John Williford and Jeffrey Christopher Todd (who just completed a three-month run in "My Way" at The Cosmopolitan Cabaret). Amanda Peet, a leading dancer with The Sacramento Ballet, will be dream Laurey.

The Music Circus premiere of "DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS" (August 3-8) will star Burke Moses as Lawrence Jameson, Timothy Gulan as Freddy Benson and Jessica Rush as Christine Colgate. Moses created the role of Gaston in the original Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast." Other Broadway roles include Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls" and Fred/Petruchio in "Kiss Me, Kate." Gulan returns to the role of Freddy that he performed in the national tour. Rush previously played the role of Christine Colgate in the Philadelphia production. John Scherer, following up from "Spamalot" earlier in the season, will be Andre Thibault and Cynthia Ferrer (national tours of "Singing in the Rain" and "Happy Days") will be Muriel Eubanks. Amy Bodnar, who played Laurey in "Oklahoma!" on Broadway, will play Oklahoma oil princess Jolene Oakes in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." The cast also includes Alan Bennett, Naomi Hubert, Karen Hyland, Megan Jimenez, Luke Lazzaro, Michael McGurk, Ralph Meitzler, Amanda Paulson, Mahri Relin, Peyton Royal, Shannon Lea Smith, Jonathan Stahl, Shannon Stoeke and Lisaun Whittingham. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" will be directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford and the musical direction will be by Darren Cohen.

Two favorites of the Music Circus audience will lead the cast of "FUNNY GIRL" August 10-15: Vicki Lewis will play Fanny Brice, and Brad Little will be Nicky Arnstein. Lewis' previous Music Circus roles include the Baker's Wife last summer in "Into the Woods" and Mama Rose in 2008's "Gypsy." She is best known for her role in the television comedy "Newsradio" as well as Broadway performances in "Chicago" and "Damn Yankees." Brad Little is well known for his performances in the title role of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" including two stops with the national tour in Sacramento. At the Wells Fargo Pavilion, he's been seen in the lead in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and as Javert in "Les Misérables." Alix Korey, a veteran of the Broadway stage, will play Mrs. Brice. Korey's famed career includes playing Minnie Fay opposite Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly!," Mama Morton in "Chicago" as well as roles in "Pirates of Penzance" and "All Shook Up." Mrs. Strakosh will be played by Helen Geller, whose most recent tent role was as Gen. Cartwright in "Guys and Dolls" last summer. Michael Paternostro, a veteran of five Broadway shows, most recently "A Chorus Line" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," will play Eddie Ryan. Ron Wisniski will play Florenz Ziegfeld, and local actor Jennie Scott will play Mrs. Meeker. The ensemble will include Deanna Aguinaga, Kim Arnett, Kurt Domoney, Michael Dotson, Lisa Ferris, Alexa Glover, Kolina Janneck, Jeff Kuhr, Ian Liberto, Nikki Della Penta, Aaron Pomeroy, Lisa Rohnisky, Jeffrey Christopher Todd, Merrill West, John Williford and J.D. Daw, who returns to Sacramento for the first time after his 11-month run as Jinx in "Forever Plaid" at The Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Glenn Casale will direct "Funny Girl," Bob Richard will choreograph and Dennis Castellano will be the musical director.

Members of the New York cast - along with the original creative team - will make their way to Sacramento for the Music Circus premiere of "The Marvelous Wonderettes" August 17-23. This cotton-candy colored pop musical features hits of the '50s and '60s set at a High School prom in 1958 and a 10-year class reunion. The musical foursome at the center of the group will be played by Lindsey Mendez as Betty Jean, Lowe Taylor as Cindy Lou, Misty Cotton as Missy and Bets Malone as Suzy (don't you love the names!). Malone, is a member of the original cast of "The Marvelous Wonderettes" but is familiar to Sacramentans as Martha Jefferson from "1776" and Hodel in "Fiddler on the Roof." Cotton, whose New York credits includes "Miss Saigon" returns to Music Circus where she was The Narrator in "Joseph ..." and Philia in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Mendez returns to the tent for the first time since the premiere of "Footloose." Her Broadway credits includes playing Jan in the revival of "Grease." Roger Bean, the creator of the show, will direct in collaboration with original choreographer and musical director, Janet Miller and Michael Borth, respectively.

The season will close August 24-29 with "42ND STREET." Three-time Tony Award-nominee Dee Hoty will make her Music Circus debut as Dorothy Brock. Hoty, who has nine Broadway shows to her credit, was nominated for her leading roles in "The Will Rogers Follies," "The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public" and "Footloose." Patrick Ryan Sullivan who received rave reviews for his performance on Broadway as Julian Marsh (author Mark Bramble said "I have never seen a better Julian Marsh") returns to the role at Music Circus. Sullivan's other Broadway credits include "Beauty and the Beast" and "Titanic." Melissa Lone, who loyal Music Circus patrons will remember from our Ensemble a few years ago, returns as Peggy Sawyer, the small-town girl who gets her big-city break. Lone's Broadway credits include "A Chorus Line" and "Mary Poppins." Susan Cella, a veteran of five Broadway shows who most recently toured as Golde opposite both Topol and Harvey Fierstein in "Fiddler on the Roof," will make her Tent debut as Maggie Jones. The other principal roles will be played by Zachary S. Berger as Billy Lawlor, James Patterson as Bert Barry, Kim Arnett as Anytime Annie, Gordon Goodman (Cindrella's Prince in "Into the Woods" last summer) as Pat Denning and Lew Lloyd as Abner Dillon. Ron Wisniski will play a variety of character roles. The tap-dancing ensemble includes Deanna Aguinaga, Elliott Bradley, Adam Brozowski, Jordan Grubbs, Alexa Glover, Kolina Janneck, Sara Jenkins, Ian Liberto, Colby Q. Lindeman, Lisa Rohinsky, Matthew Schneider and Merrill West. "42nd Street" will be directed by Tony-nominated actor Charley Repole. Having directed from Broadway to the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall, Repole will be working for the first time at Music Circus. He will collaborate with choreographer Michael Lichtefeld (also a Music Circus first-timer) and musical director Craig Barna. Lichtefeld has choreographed six productions on Broadway including the original productions of "The Secret Garden" and "Little Women."

Single tickets for the 2010 Music Circus season are now on sale at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H Street or by phone at (916) 557-1999. Tickets can also be ordered online at or at Tickets are $41 - $53. Seven-show subscriptions are still available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office. For discounts for groups of 12 or more, call (916) 557-1198.

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