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Pioneer Theatre Company to Stage Musical Comedy COWGIRLS

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the musical comedy Cowgirls March 25 through April 9, 2016, conceived by Mary Murfitt, book by Betsy Howie, music and lyrics by Mary Murfitt.

Jo has twenty-four hours to save Hiram Hall, her father's once famous country western saloon. She thinks she has booked a country music trio that is sure to save the day, but there's been a little misunderstanding: can the classical Coghill Trio turn themselves into the country Cowgirl Trio in time to put on a rip-roaring show that will save Hiram Hall from foreclosure?

This all Equity cast includes Leenya Rideout, Angela Chatelain Avila, Lindsay Zaroogian, Jessica Bradish, Karis Danish and Ashlie Roberson, all of whom will play their own instruments during the performance.

LEENYA RIDEOUT plays the role of the owner of Hiram Hall, Jo Carlson. Rideout has starred in such Broadway shows as War Horse, Cyrano de Bergerac with Kevin Kline, the 2006 revival of Company and the 1998 revival original cast of Cabaret. Off Broadway she has been seen inCowgirls, Yiddle with a Fiddle and Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show. Regionally, she has appeared at Casa Mana, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Capital Rep and The Hangar. Her film credits include Mona Lisa Smile and Loser. On television she has appeared onGreat Performances (PBS) and Nashville Star. This is her PTC debut.

ANGELA CHATELAIN AVILA plays the role of the most repressed, inflexible member of the Coghill Trio, Mary Lou. She returns to PTC after appearing in The Rocky Horror Show (2014), Sweet Charity, Elf­­-The Musical and as a Silly Girl in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Avila has also performed with several theatre companies in Utah.

LINDSAY ZAROOGIAN plays Rita, the well-meaning, if somewhat confused organizer of the summer tour of the Coghill Trio. Her New York credits include The Fairy in Thicket and Thistle'sWhat's Your Wish? at Fringe al Fresco and at the Access Theater. I Love You Because at Who Turned Out the Lights and Rivers Current at Woven Productions in association with New York Theatre Workshop. This is her PTC debut.

JESSICA BRADISH plays Lee the third member of the Coghill Trio. Bradish's recent regional credits include Pump Boys and Dinettes at Alhambra Theatre, Boeing Boeing at The Old Creamery Theatre, The Buddy Holly Story and 9-5 at Arizona Broadway Theatre and A Christmas Carol at Nebraska Theatre Caravan. This is her PTC debut.

KARIS DANISH plays Mickey a waitress at Hiram Hall. Danish's New York credits include the Off Broadway premier of Hit-Lit by Robert Wuhl, The Gold in the 2015 NYMF. Other credits include the world premiere of Tale of Two Cities (Dir. Warren Carlyle), Doubt (dir. Anne Kauffman);Smash at the Asolo Repertory Theater; White at Gulfshore Playhouse. This is her PTC debut.

ASHLIE ROBERSON plays the sincere and big-hearted Mo. Recent credits include the national tour of Titanic. Regionally, Roberson has performed in South Pacific (Nellie), Ring of Fire (June Carter), Smoke On The Mountain (Denise), and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Prudie). This is her PTC debut.

PTC Artistic Director KAREN AZENBERG directs this production, after directing and choreographing It Happened One Christmas, The Rocky Horror Show and Fiddler on the Roof this season. Originally from New York, her work there includes Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Blocks(a collaboration with Jonathan Larson), Prom Queens Unchained, and choreography for Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle (Roundabout). Other credits include National Tours of Carousel andBrigadoon, Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Regional Theatre Premiere at Geva), West Side Story (over 15 productions; Drama-logue Award for Outstanding Choreography) and others.

Guest artist MARY EHLINGER will be the musical director. Ehlinger has music directed and performed in many regional theaters across the country including Broadway and Off Broadway - where she was the musical arranger and originated the role of "Rita" in Cowgirls. She is Resident Music Director for The Fireside Theatre and a co-founder of Play-by-Play Theatre (both in WI) and is a frequent performer at Mountain Playhouse in PA. As a composer, Mary's songs have been featured in numerous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades, Broadway's Tony Award Event Stars in the Alley, at Carnegie Hall with the NY Pops, and on the recently released album The Hope Of Christmas with Ann Hampton Calloway.

Scenic design is by guest artist JAMES NOONE. Noone's New York City credits include Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company and numerous others. Broadway productions include Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Jekyll and Hyde, Class Act, The Persians, Judgment at Nuremberg, Night Must Fall, The Sunshine Boys, The Gin Game, A Bronx Tale and Come Back Little Sheba. His work in opera has been seen at Glimmerglass, NYC Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and others. For television he designed Sweeney Todd, Candide, Passion, Camelot, Stephen Sondheim's 80th Birthday Concert for PBS, Company, seen in select movie theaters and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill for HBO.

Costume design is by GREGORY GALE. Gale's Broadway credits include Cyrano de Bergerac with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner (Tony Award Nomination Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination) also seen on PBS Great Performances; Arcadia; Rock of Ages (Tony Award Nomination). The Wedding Singer (Drama Desk Nomination), Urinetown! (Lucille Lortel Nomination); Band in Berlin. His Off Broadway credits include The Voysey Inheritance (Lucille Lortel Award), The Milliner (Lucille Lortel Nomination); Rock of Ages (New World Stages); Urinetown!; The Third Story (Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination); The Tribute Artist (Primary Stages); Bunnicula (Theatre Works); Now. Here. This. (Vineyard); US Tours: Rock of Ages; The Wedding Singer; Urinetown; Oh, Figaro! (National Theatre of the Deaf); The Comedy of Errors (Acting Company).

Lighting design is by KIRK BOOKMAN. Bookman's New York credits include Charles Busch's The Tribute Artist, The Divine Sister. Off-Broadway: What Then at the Ohio Theater, The Cook at Intar Theatre 53, Recent Tragic Events at Playwrights Horizons (starring Heather Graham). Broadway (National Actors Theatre): The Sunshine Boys (Jack Klugman and Tony Randall), The Gin Game (Julie Harris and Charles Durning), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Right You Are. Irish Repertory Company: Playboy of the Western World, Eclipsed, The Importance of Being Earnest and Major Barbara. Other New York: Mondo Drama, Havana is Waiting, Force Continuum (Atlantic Theater Company), My One Good Nerve (starring Ruby Dee), The Green Heart at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Shawl, Rude Entertainment, The Book of Liz (David and Amy Sedaris), Les MIZrahi (Isaac Mizrahi), Hope is the Thing with Feathers, As Thousands Cheer and June Moon. Regionally, Mr. Bookman has designed at such notable theaters as Goodspeed Opera House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Pittsburgh Public Theater, Repertory Theatre of St Louis and Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. Sound design is by resident designer JOSHUA C. HIGHT.

MARY MURFITT is the creator and composer/lyricist of Cowgirls. She originated the role of Mary Lou in the Off-Broadway production and has appeared in productions in numerous regional theaters, including The Old Globe, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Tennessee Repertory, Capital Repertory (NY), Caldwell Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, and Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati. Cowgirls was nominated for Best Off-Broadway Musical by the Outer Critics' Circle and Ms. Murfitt was honored for her work by the New York Drama League. Murfitt is also a co-author (with Debra Monk, Mark Hardwick, and Mike Craver) and original cast member of the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Oil City Symphony. Oil City Symphony received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway musical and Murfitt received a Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award, and Joseph Jefferson Award citation for her work as an actor in Oil City. In addition, she has directed numerous productions of Oil City Symphony and Cowgirls, including: Danny's Skylight Cabaret (NYC); The Cape Playhouse (MA); The Ogunquit Playhouse (ME); Hippodrome State Theatre; Florida Studio Theatre; Caldwell Theatre (FL); and Mountain Playhouse (PA). Murfitt is also the lyricist and librettist of the musical Petticoat Rules: The Jackson Hole Revue, which ran for two consecutive summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her musical Orphan Train has received readings at the Laguna Playhouse in California as well as the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. Murfitt (a native Kansan) is very proud to have been nominated for induction into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas. The original cast recording of Cowgirls is distributed by Fynsworth Alley and Murfitt's songs are published by Hal Leonard Publishing in five separate folios: Cowgirls Vocal Selections; The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology, Volume 3 for both Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano/Belter; Belter's Book of Comedy Songs; and Musical Theatre Anthology for Teens.

BETSY HOWIE (Book) is a playwright, novelist and actress. In addition to co-authoring Cowgirls (Carbonell Award Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination), she created the role of Mo. Her new play, Big Stella was workshopped at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Other New York productions include Yours, Truly and The Bridal Fit. Her novels includeSnow (Harcourt Brace, '98), Welcome Back to the Circus Hotel, Hollywood Divecchio!, and Family Solitaire. As an actress, she has performed throughout New York, in regional theatres around the country, and in numerous television commercials. She is a graduate of NYU and attended Interlochen Arts Academy.

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