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New Musical Adaptation, A MINISTER'S WIFE, Plays San Jose Rep, Now thru July 14

The poignant and provocative new musical, A Minister's Wife, makes its West Coast premiere at San Jose Rep today, June 20 - July 14, 2013. Based on George Bernard Shaw's well-known play Candida, this musical soars with its emotive and dazzling score by the award-winning composer of Adding Machine, Joshua Schmidt, and its beautiful lyrics by Jan Levy Tranen. The smart script by Austin Pendleton, a Tony-nominated director, actor and playwright, and graceful directing by the originator and award-winning director, Michael Halberstam, shape this musical into an adventurous evening of theatre. The Wall Street Journal says, "This is the most important new musical since The Light in the Piazza ... to say that you mustn't miss it is to grossly understate the case."

"I was first made aware of this new show several years ago through my good friend Austin Pendleton, who had just starting working on the book. He told me to keep an eye on it, and I did through its very successful world premiere at Writer's Theater, and its subsequent run in New York at The Lincoln Center Theatre," said Rick Lombardo, San Jose Rep's Artistic Director. From the beginning, the development of this show has been brilliantly helmed by Michael Halberstam, so I'm especially pleased that he's joining us and bringing his knowledgeable and sure hand to this entirely new staging of this remarkable new musical."

The story immediately whisks us away to well-mannered Victorian London at the turn of the 19th century, where charismatic Reverend James Morell is eager to spread his Christian and Socialist beliefs to his admiring flock. Morell believes his family life is solid and that he's happily married to the vivacious and strong-willed Candida. But when she returns home from the country with a young poet who wants to rescue her from what he presumes to be a rather dull life, a love triangle explodes. Filled with lush 19th century ballads and striking lyrics that heighten the emotional impact, this exquisite musical examines the timeless notions of love, marriage, and what a woman really desires from a man.

CAST

Sharon Rietkerk (CANDIDA) is making her San Jose Rep debut. Ms. Rietkerk was most recently seen as Belle Poitrine in Little Me with 42nd Street Moon. Her work with other Bay Area companies includes TheatreWorks, Center Repertory Theater, San Francisco Opera Guild, Berkeley Playhouse and Diablo Theater Company in such shows as The Sound of Music (Maria), My Fair Lady (Eliza), The Drowsy Chaperone (Janet), The Secret Garden (Rose, BATCC Award nomination) and Rumors (Cassie). Ms. Rietkerk has performed in concert with Tony-winner Faith Prince, the Grammy-nominated Bay Brass, South Coast Symphony and Bear Valley Festival Orchestra. Ms. Rietkerk is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine theater program.

Christopher Vettel (THE REVEREND JAMES MAVOR MORELL) is delighted to be making his first appearance at San Jose Rep. A native New Yorker, Mr. Vettel is no stranger to the theatre, concert and operatic stages. He has performed in 46 states and nine other countries. His credits include the 30th Anniversary National Tour of Annie (Bert Healy) and the 2nd National Tour of Sunset Boulevard (Cliff, Joe u/s) with Petula Clark. His regional credits include Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Santa Claus), State Fair at Stages St. Louis (Abel) and 1776 at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (Lee). Off-Broadway, Mr. Vettel has performed in Cactus Flower, Wanda's World and Flight of the Lawnchair Man. He has appeared with the Opera Company of Boston, Opera Cleveland and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the final concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Tim Homsley (EUGENE MARCHBANKS) is a new resident to the Bay Area and is honored to be performing in his first San Jose Rep production. Other Bay Area productions include Sunny Malone in Xanadu, Melchior in Spring Awakening, Mr. Boxer/Pip/Snuff Box in A Christmas Carol (Center REPertory Company), Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Contra Costa Musical Theatre), Miss Texas in Pageant the Musical (Robbie Huddleston Productions) and Man 1 in Show Me Yours (New Musical Theater of San Francisco). Other professional theatre work includes Puppeteer in The Pirates of Penzance, Chorus in Willful (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Oregon Cabaret Theater). Tim received his BFA in theatre performance from Southern Oregon University.

Liz Baltes (MISS PROSERPINE "PROSSY" GARNETT) is delighted to make her San Jose Rep debut and return to a role she originated at Writers' Theatre (Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actress) and debuted at Lincoln Center Theater. A current resident of New York, she made her Broadway debut last year in One Man, Two Guvnors. Other favorite credits include the Hair tour (Mom/Buddhadalirama); Oliver! tour; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Seussical the Musical; I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Closer Than Ever.

Jarrod Zimmerman (THE REVEREND ALEXANDER "LEXY" MILL) is thrilled to make his San Jose Rep debut. He recently finished a production of Sweet Charity as Oscar at Writers' Theatre in Chicago, directed by Michael Halberstam, and 1776 as Edward Rutledge at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida. His other regional credits include A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks), Gypsy (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Merrily We Roll Along (The Music Theatre Company), The Music Man, Little Women (Marriott Theatre), The Spitfire Grill (Provision Theater), Big! The Musical, Proof, The Mousetrap, Little Women and Arsenic and Old Lace (Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre). Mr. Zimmerman's television credits include Boss (Starz). He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

ARTISTIC COLLABORATORS

Michael Halberstam (DIRECTOR) is the artistic director and co-founder of Writers' Theatre, in Glencoe, Illinois, where he has directed more than 30 productions including Private Lives, Crime and Punishment, Seagull, The Real Thing, Hamlet, and the world premiere of A Minister's Wife. Elsewhere he directed The Gamester (Northlight Theatre), A Man For All Seasons (Peninsula Players Theatre), Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Candida (Jean Cocteau Repertory), Ten Little Indians (Drury Lane Theatre), a highly-acclaimed revival of Crime and Punishment, which Writers' Theatre produced off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, Enchanted April and State of the Union (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). Mr. Halberstam has also directed The Rape of Lucretia (Chicago Opera Theater), Francesca da Rimini and Le Freyshutz featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He received awards from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts and The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival, The 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award and the 2013 Artistic Achievement Award from the League of Chicago Theatres.

Dolores Duran-Cefalu (MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR/PIANO) was music director/keyboardist for Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, The Marvelous Wonderettes, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at San Jose Rep. She just finished playing The Book of Mormon shows (San Francisco and national tour) and was musical director for Stuck Elevator at American Conservatory Theater (ACT) San Francisco. Recently, Ms. Duran-Cefalu music directed Some Enchanted Evening at Broadway By The Bay, and will be their musical director for Guys and Dolls this fall. Last spring she played keyboards for the Mamma Mia! national tour. She has played in numerous touring shows in San Francisco, including Shrek, Wicked, and In the Heights. Ms. Duran-Cefalu has two Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominations for All Shook Up (Center REPertory Company) and Spring Awakening and is also music director at California's Great America. She has two original holiday shows, enjoys being a soccer mom, and studies animation on the side.

Collette Pollard (SCENIC DESIGNER) originally from San Jose, now based out of Chicago, is thrilled to make her San Jose Rep debut. Recent Chicago credits include Sweet Charity (Writers' Theatre), The Happiest Song Plays Last (Goodman Theatre), Head of Passes (Steppenwolf Theatre), Death & Harry Houdini (The House Theatre of Chicago) and The Front Page (Timeline Theatre, Joseph Jefferson Award). Regional credits include Good People, The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (ALLIANCE THEATRE, Atlanta, Suzi Bass Award Nomination), The Donkey Show, Death & Harry Houdini, The Nutcracker (Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County), A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown Theatre Festival) Harriet Jacobs and The Glass Menagerie (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). International credits include Joan D'arc (Co-production Goodman Theatre and Linz09, Linz, Austria) and Maria Stewart (Linz09, Linz, Austria). Ms. Pollard received the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award in 2010.

Brandin Barón (COSTUME DESIGNER) previously designed Legacy of Light, Splitting Infinity, and This Wonderful Life for San Jose Repertory Theatre. His regional highlights include Wild with Happy (Theatreworks); La Bête (Asolo Repertory Theatre); Cloud Tectonics, Dogeaters, Sweet Bird of Youth and Our Town (La Jolla Playhouse); Imaginary Invalid, Uncle Vanya, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and The Illusion (San Diego Repertory Theatre); Dogeaters (NY Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater); The Buddy Holly Story (Apollo Theater, Chicago); The Tempest, Endgame, Comedy of Errors, Love's Labours Lost, and Honk! (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); Jesus in India, American Hwangap, Monkey Room, and K of D (Magic Theatre) and Private Jokes, Public Places (Aurora Theatre). Mr. Barón is an Associate Professor of Design at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

David Lee Cuthbert (LIGHTING DESIGNER) returns to San Jose Rep, having just designed lighting, media, and scenery for The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Mr. Cuthbert has designed lighting, media, and/or scenery on numerous plays at San Jose Rep including, but not limited to, Next to Normal, The Death of the Novel, God of Carnage, Love in American Times, Legacy of Light, Spring Awakening, Secret Order, As You Like It, The Dresser, Groundswell, and The Kite Runner, for which he received a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. Mr. Cuthbert lit Billy Crystal's Tony Award- winning 700 Sundays on Broadway and its international tours and his work has also been seen at Opera San Jose, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Intiman Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, American Repertory Theater, and Arizona Theatre Company. He is the theater arts department chair and a professor of design at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Steve Schoenbeck (SOUND DESIGNER) is happy to be designing at San Jose Rep where his sound designs include (but are not limited to) Disconnect, Freud's Last Session, The Understudy, Spring Awakening, The Dresser, Secret Order, Groundswell, The Foreigner, The Immigrant, Enchanted April, and Humpty Dumpty. Mr. Schoenbeck's sound designs have also been heard in productions with TheatreWorks, American Conservatory Theater, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Stage Company, Culture Clash, and Edinburgh's Assembly Theatre amongst others. He's also designed sound for short films, animation, and mixed numerous musicals. Currently, Mr. Schoenbeck is the resident sound designer and sound supervisor at San Jose Rep.

Rick Lombardo (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is in his fifth season as Artistic Director at San Jose Rep where his productions include The Death of the Novel, God of Carnage, A Christmas Carol (2011 and 2012), Spring Awakening, Love in American Times, The Dresser, Black Pearl Sings!, The Weir, and As You Like It. He was previously the artistic director for 13 years at the award-winning New Repertory Theatre in Greater Boston and in 2009 was awarded the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence from the Boston Theater Critics Association for his work. His more than 30 productions there included award-winning productions of The Clean House, Sweeney Todd, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ragtime, and Waiting for Godot. His production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob enjoyed an extended run off-Broadway. His work has also been seen at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, New York City's Town Hall, Opera Boston, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, The Actors Shakespeare Project, Porthouse Theater, and The Berkshire Theatre Festival, among others. Mr. Lombardo was co-director of the theatre program at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center, and founding artistic director of the off-Broadway Stillwater Theatre Company in New York. He's an Executive Board member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and lives in San Jose with his wife, actress Rachel Harker, and daughter.

Nick Nichols (MANAGING DIRECTOR) has worked in professional theatre for more than 30 years. He joined San Jose Rep in 2003 as director of production then was appointed Managing Director in November, 2006. Prior to San Jose Rep, Mr. Nichols served as production manager for Ballet San Jose, worked in the same capacity during the inaugural season of Symphony Silicon Valley, and was technical director for American Musical Theatre of San Jose for 11 years. Mr. Nichols taught theatre management and design at Santa Clara University; San Jose State University; and the University of California, Santa Cruz; and he ran his own theatre design and consulting business, retaining clients spanning from NASA/Ames to Princess Cruises, Univision, and numerous museums. Mr. Nichols holds a BA in theatre from Santa Clara University, an MFA from Temple University, and has done post-graduate work in arts administration at Golden Gate University. He is past-chair of the San Jose Arts and Cultural Roundtable; is a member of the Local Plan Advancement Team for the City of San Jose's Cultural Vision Plan; serves on the 1stACT Silicon Valley Catalyst Team; is vice-chair of the Downtown Parking Board; and chair of Rota-Arts, a committee of the Rotary Club of San Jose.

About San Jose Rep

San Jose Rep is the flagship theatre of San Jose and the only fully professional, non-profit theatre company in the South Bay, presenting seven main-stage productions each year. Now in its 32nd year as a major contributor to the South Bay's cultural community, San Jose Rep's mission is to engage, entertain, and inspire people. San Jose Rep produces innovative theatrical performances that offer fresh perspectives into the human condition, educational programs that promote lifelong learning, and outreach initiatives that benefit our diverse community. For more information, visit www.SJRep.com.


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