Utah Rep Announces Cast for Utah Premiere of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, Nov. 25-Dec. 10

Utah Rep Announces Cast for Utah Premiere of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, Nov. 25-Dec. 10Utah Repertory Theater Company is excited to announce the cast and creative team for the final show in its fifth season, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. The first-in-state premiere staging of this award-winning musical runs Nov. 25-Dec. 10, 2017 in the Eccles Regent Street Black Box Theater.

Based on the best-selling novel, and developed by the Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning creative team of Jason Robert Brown ("The Last Five Years," "Parade," "Honeymoon in Vegas") and Marsha Norman ("'night, Mother," "The Color Purple," "The Secret Garden"), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, with its soaring score and a heartbreaking story, is a touching and powerful piece of American theater.

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY will be the premiere musical production in downtown Salt Lake City's 250-seat Eccles Regent Street Black Box Theater.

The company's objective is to produce award-winning dramas and musicals that Utah audiences may not have had the chance to see previously, including regional/state premieres and stagings of neglected classics. Utah Rep has been extremely gratified by the warm reception it has received from enthusiastic audiences.

Utah Rep has been hailed as "the area's only successfully company that shuns safe, family-friendly shows, offering a respite from the status quo, kids-only selections that predominate this highly conservative state" (BroadwayWorld). Previous regional premiere productions include "August: Osage County," "Bonnie & Clyde," "[title of show]," "Bare," "Ordinary Days," "Heathers" and "The Other Place."

Johnny Hebda and Chase Ramsey direct. Hebda, Utah Rep Artistic Director, has helmed for the company "Bare," "Carrie," "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Side Show." Ramsey, whose Utah Rep directing credits include "What the Bellhop Saw" and "Love Letters," is a Contract Director for the Walt Disney Company and TV viewers will recognize him for his work on Sundance TV's "Now the Discussion" and Visit California's popular "Dream Eater" series.

"I think theatergoers will be amazed by the talent we have in the show and will be moved by the beautiful score," Hebda said. "I believe our Utah audiences especially will relate to the themes explored."

"This production will show the community that Utah Rep is among the elite, if they don't already feel that way," said Ramsey. "But I guess I feel there is nothing to prove at this point. I think we are just lucky to do such a wonderful project and [to work with] a brilliant score. Our goal is to share some amazing new work with a starving audience. And I can't wait."

Playing the lead role of Francesca Johnson is popular local actress Erin Royall Carlson, who just completed playing Millie in the Hale Centre Theatre West Valley production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." For Utah Rep she played lead roles in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "The Last 5 Years." Other credits include Cassie, "A Chorus Line" (Egyptian Theatre); Fantine, "Les Miz" (Hale Centre Theatre West Valley); Eva Peron, "Evita" (Egyptian Theatre and Rodgers Memorial Theatre); and Velma Kelly, "Chicago" (Dark Horse Theatre).

Opposite Carlson is Kevin Goertzen in the role of Robert Kincaid. Utah audiences will know Goertzen for his performances as File, "110 in the Shade" (Hale Center Theater Orem); Enjolras, "Les Miz" (Tuacahn); Sir Percival Blakeney, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (Hale Centre Theatre West Valley); Adam Pontipee, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (Sundance Summer Theatre); and Curly, "Oklahoma!" (BYU).

"I have been obsessed with this show for two years and wondered if I would ever have a chance to play this role," Carlson said. "I have the added bonus of having my dear friend Jeanne McGuire music direct, and a cast and orchestra one can only dream of. Thanks to Utah Rep for continuing its desire to mount shows that are not performed often in this area, and for its commitment to keep the integrity of live music for each musical."

Music Director is Jeanne McGuire, who previously wielded the baton for Utah Rep's "Ordinary Days," along with assisting with vocal coaching and accompanying other company productions. As an owner of the Audition Advantage studio, she is a highly sought after voice teacher with numerous music direction directions.

"I am grateful for to Utah Rep who still uses live accompaniment instead of recorded tracks for its shows," McGuire said.

The story of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY revolves around Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy. She looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair. When ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions, what happens in those four days may very well alter the course of Francesca's life.

New York Magazine called the musical "smart, powerful and rapturous. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is a very serious musical indeed, with a gorgeous score. It is also one of the few recent Broadway shows to take up the challenge laid down by the great midcentury works of Rodgers and Hammerstein and their cohort." Of four nominations, the original production was honored with two Tony Award wins.

The other cast members are Josh Richardson, playing the role of Richard "Bud" Johnson; Amanda van Orden, Marian; Nic Thomas, Michael; Rilee Crump, Carolyn; Elizabeth Hansen, Marge; Gary Pimentel, Charlie; and Karli Rose Lowry and Ardon Smith, ensemble members.

"We have brilliant actors and musicians," said Ramsey. "This is a big piece and a special show in a new and beautiful black box theater."

Creative team members include Assistant Director JayC Stoddard; Stage Manager Annie Brantley; Assistant Stage Manager Lindsay Marriott; Lighting Designer David DeCarlos; Sound Designer James Hansen; Costume Designer Michael Nielsen; Props Master Sherri Holcombe; Set Design Chase Ramsey and JC Carter; and Set Construction JC Carter.

For more information, including performance dates and ticket availability, visit utahrep.org.

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