Photo Flash: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Presents BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents the Tony Award-winning musical The Bridges of Madison County, based on the 1992 bestselling novel by Robert James Waller about love both lost and found. Set amidst the cornfields of Iowa in 1965, this passionate musical follows the unexpected affair of a devoted Italian-born housewife and a roving National Geographic photographer set over four sensual, heart-stirring days. Brilliantly adapted by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Marsha Norman ('night Mother, The Secret Garden, The Color Purple) with music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (Parade), it captured the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical Score. The Bridges of Madison County, directed by TheatreWorks Artistic Director and founder Robert Kelley will be presented April 4 - 29, 2018 (opening night: April 7) at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. For tickets ($40-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
The Bridges of Madison County made its World Premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2013. The show opened on Broadway in 2014 starring Kelli O'Hara and Stephen Pasquale, and was praised by The New York Times for its "breathtaking sweep of feelings." The production was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2014, taking home the awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.
TheatreWorks has assembled an exciting cast for this production. Joan Hess makes her TheatreWorks debut as Francesca, the warm and sensuous Italian woman turned farmer's wife. She has performed on Broadway in many productions including Mamma Mia, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bells Are Ringing, Kiss Me Kate, and Crazy For You, and toured nationally in Sunset Boulevard, Crazy For You, 42nd Street, and Beehive. Hess has regionally performed at Arkansas Repertory Company, St. Louis Repertory, and Denver Center, among others, and has been seen on many television shows including HBO's "Flight of the Conchords." Also making his TheatreWorks debut is Rob Richardson as the handsome photographer Robert. He has been seen in several Broadway productions, including the 2013 revival of Jekyll & Hyde, and A Tale of Two Cities, as well as many Off-Broadway productions, including The Fantasticks. Richardson has toured in national productions such as Showboat, 1776, and Guys and Dolls, and has regionally performed throughout the country, at theatres including the Paper Mill Playhouse, and the Goodspeed Opera House.
Timothy Gulan returns to the TheatreWorks stage as Bud, Francesca's husband. He was last seen in the record-breaking hit TheatreWorks production of Jane Austen's EMMA as Mr. Knightley. He has performed on Broadway many times, including Sting's The Last Ship, The Lion King, The Frogs, Blood Brothers, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, as well as national tours of Les Misérables (25th Anniversary), South Pacific, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Some Like It Hot. His many television and film appearances include "Ice Age," "Boardwalk Empire," and "The Producers."
Matt Herrero makes his TheatreWorks mainstage debut as Michael, Bud and Francesca's son. He was last seen on the TheatreWorks stage as Young David in the readings of My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding at the 2017 New Works Festival, and was one of the co-creators of Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical, which was part of the 2016 TheatreWorks New Works Festival, and was honored as a finalist in the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Music Theater Conference in 2017. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, and Los Altos Stage Company. Also making her TheatreWorks mainstage debut is Jessia Hoffman as Carolyn, the daughter of Bud and Francesca. She is also a co-creator of Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical, and was also seen in the reading of The Man in the Ceiling at the 2016 New Works Festival as Lisi. Hoffman starred as Tracy Turnblad in the Stanford University production of Hairspray, and has performed with many theatrical groups at Stanford including the Asian American Theatre Project, and the Ramshead Theatrical Society. She currently serves as an improv coach for BATS Improv of San Francisco and at Aragon High School in San Mateo.
Maureen McVerry returns to TheatreWorks as Francesca's nosy neighbor Marge. She is familiar to TheatreWorks audiences for her roles in the World Premiere of Being Earnest, Learned Ladies of Park Ave, and Into the Woods. She has also appeared at American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, and Magic Theatre, among many others. Martin Rojas Dietrich will also be returning to TheatreWorks as Charlie, Marge's husband. He was last seen in the TheatreWorks production of Sweeney Todd. He has also regionally performed with 42nd Street Moon, San Jose Stage Company, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Playhouse, and Broadway By the Bay.
Christine Capsuto makes her TheatreWorks debut as Chiara, Francesca's sister. She has performed regionally with Woodminster Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Utah Festival Opera Company, San Jose Stage Company, Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, and San Jose Opera Theatre. Returning to the TheatreWorks stage is Courtney Stokes as Robert's former wife Marian. She was seen at TheatreWorks in The Secret Garden, Memphis, Snapshots, A Little Princess, A Little Night Music, Jane Eyre, and Into the Woods. An accomplished singer, she has also performed with The Orchestra Japan, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Sean Fenton returns to TheatreWorks as Paolo. He was last seen as the farmer Fred in the world premiere of The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga. Fenton has performed, directed, and musically directed for companies throughout California. He received a Theatre Bay Area award in 2014 for his performance in the Bay Area Children's Theatre world premiere of Min Kahng's Where the Mountain Meets the Moonand has also worked with Broadway By the Bay, Bus Barn Stage Company, and others.
Director Robert Kelley is TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's Founder and Artistic Director and has served as artistic head of the company since its inception in 1970. He has directed more than 170 TheatreWorks productions, including many world and regional premieres. In 2003 he was honored with the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) Paine Knickerbocker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2016 was awarded the Jerry Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award from the SFBATCC. He received SFBATCC Awards for Outstanding Direction for his productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures, Rags, Sweeney Todd, Another Midsummer Night, Sunday in the Park with George, Jane Eyre,and Caroline, or Change. He more recently directed the record-setting production of Jane Austen's EMMA, as well as The Country House, Fallen Angels, Sweeney Todd, Marry Me a Little, Cyrano, Outside Mullingar, Daddy Long Legs, Rags, and this season's Constellations and Around the World in 80 Days.
Marsha Norman (Book) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and co-chair of Playwriting at Juilliard. She won a Tony for The Secret Garden, and another nomination for The Color Purple. Her first play, Getting Out, received the John Gassner Playwriting Medallion, the Newsday Oppenheimer Award, and a citation from the American Critics Association. Other plays include The Laundromat, The Pool Hall, Loving Daniel Boone, Trudy Blue, and her newest play, Last Dance. Published collections of her works include Four Plays, Collected Works of Marsha Norman, Vol. 1, and a novel, The Fortune Teller. She has also worked extensively in television and film and has an upcoming play for the United Nations about trafficking and violence toward women.
Jason Robert Brown (Music & Lyrics) is a composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer - best known for his dazzling scores to musicals, including the recently revived The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, and the seminal Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score. He also contributed to Broadway's Honeymoon in Vegas, and 13. His orchestral adaptation of E.B. White's novel The Trumpet of the Swan premiered at the Kennedy Center with John Lithgow and the National Symphony Orchestra in 2008, and he created a chamber musical with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman called The Connector. Brown is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre, and is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, Marsha Norman's Last Dance, David Marshall Grant's Current Events, Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery, and the Irish Repertory Theater's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night. He was a Tony Award nominee for his contributions to the score of Urban Cowboy the Musical and contributed music to the hit Nickelodeon television series, "The Wonder Pets." Brown currently teaches musical theatre performance and composition at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and recently served as the musical supervisor and arranger for Prince of Broadway.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.
Photos by Kevin Berne.