A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC to Open Ensemble Theatre Company's 2013-14 Season, 12/5

Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara announces its 2013-14 Season in its new home, the New Vic, beginning with the hit Broadway musical A Little Night Music, inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film "Smiles of a Summer Night. Directed by Ensemble Executive Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, A Little Night Music features one of Stephen Sondheim's best-known songs, "Send in the Clowns." A star-studded cast featuring Piper Laurie, Stephanie Zimbalist and Patrick Cassidy will christen the stage at the New Vic.

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's beloved musical is a warmly humorous and, at times, farcical story of romantic attachments, detachments, and mis-matchings. The New York Times calls A Little Night Music "sophisticated and enchanting." A Little Night Music will commence performances on December 5 and run through December 22. Opening night is Saturday, December 7, 2013.

Infused throughout with the flavor of a waltz, the musical takes place in turn-of-the-century Sweden, where the acclaimed actress Desirée Armfeldt lights up the stage and dazzles men's hearts. When both her former lover and her current paramour - and their wives - show up for a weekend at her mother's country estate, romance and passion are in the air.

"A Little Night Music is Stephen Sondheim at his best, a perfect combination of gorgeous music and astoundingly clever lyrics," said Fox, who directs the production. "I've been wanting to produce the show for a very long time. I'm thrilled that we will open our new space with this musical brought to life by a wonderfully talented cast and design team."

A Little Night Music is one of Mr. Sondheim's most beloved musicals. He is well known for composing music and writing lyrics for hit musicals such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. Before gaining fame as both composer and lyricist, he wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy. Wheeler and Sondheim also collaborated on Sweeney Todd.

Piper Laurie will star in the role of the wise and sardonic Madame Armfeldt. An award-winning stage, screen and television actress, she is best known for her work in the films The Hustler, Carrie, and Children of a Lesser God, all of which brought her Academy Award nominations, and in the television series "Twin Peaks," for which she received a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Catherine Martell.

The multi-talented Stephanie Zimbalist will play the beautiful Desiree Armfeldt. Perhaps best known for her starring role in the 1980's television hit, "Remington Steele" with Pierce Brosnan, Ms. Zimbalist has appeared in numerous television movies and in guest appearances on countless television programs. Her theatrical career spans three decades with appearances at such prestigious theatres as Mark Taper Forum, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Guthrie Theater and South Coast Rep. Ms. Zimbalist has performed with ETC in A Lion in Winter, Tea at Five, The Memory of Water.

Patrick Cassidy, who will play the role of Fredrik Egerman, has a long and distinguished career in musical theatre, including starring roles in Broadway productions of The Pirates of Penzance and Annie Get Your Gun. He received critical acclaimed in the off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins at Playwrights Horizons. In 1993, Mr. Cassidy starred as Bobby opposite Carol Burnett in a Los Angeles production of Sondheim's musical Company. He has performed with his mother, Shirley Jones, and appeared in two films directed by ETC board member Glenn Jordan.

Local Santa Barbara musician David Potter will serve as musical director. Previous productions at ETC include The Fantasticks and Gunmetal Blues. Mr. Potter has conducted, musically directed and played in over 232 musical productions. He was musical director for Jesus Christ Superstar starring Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson at the Concord Pavilion. Having worked extensively throughout southern California and the east coast, he has garnered numerous awards and critical praise for his musical endeavors. Mr. Potter attended California Institute of the Arts and Music Academy of the West, where he accompanied for Martial Singher.

Carly Bracco, who plays the virtuous Anne Egerman, was last seen in Santa Barbara as Luisa in ETC's The Fantasticks. Her most recent credit is the national tour of Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan. In spring 2011, she appeared at the Lobero Theatre in Pazzazz! and since has performed in Loving Repeating and Disney's Live Pre-Show at the El Capitan Theatre for the movie Tangled. She is a recent graduate of UCLA from the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program receiving her BA in Theater with an emphasis in Musical Theater.

The role of Anne's stepson Henrik Egerman is played by Max Miller, who was most recently was seen in Chicago at The Hollywood Bowl. New York City credits include Carousel at Lincoln Center, Juno, HMS Pinafore, and Music in the Air, where he got to yodel fight against Kristen Chenoweth. His latest venture is providing voices for animation and can now be heard as the voice of Shirleen in his new series of shorts Truth Tellin' With Shirleen Bittersnatch.

JorDan Miller plays Desiree's buffoonish lover Count Carl-Magnus. He performed the role of "Mr. Lindquist" in 2010 at Lyric Opera San Diego, where he also appeared as "Billy" in Anything Goes and "Giuseppi" in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. He was most recently seen in San Diego at the Cygnet Theatre in their repertory productions of The Importance of Being Earnest as "Algernon" and Tom Stoppard's Travesties as "Henry Carr."

Heather Ayers plays the Count's long-suffering wife, Charlotte. She has appeared on Broadway in Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Trevor Nunn's A Little Night Music. She has been seen Off~Broadway in several Encores! productions, and has performed at Yale Rep, The Old Globe, Kansas City Rep, Barrington Stage, and Cincinnati Playhouse.

Misty Cotton plays the earthy servant Petra. She appeared on Broadway and in national tours of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opposite Donny Osmond. Her off-Broadway work includes Marvelous Wonderettes, and she has performed at South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Laguna Playhouse, and Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Area actors include Ventura-based Michael Byrne in the role of Frid. He most recently played the role of Gremio in Kiss Me Kate at the Cabrillo Music Theatre. Deborah Bertling, who has been seen in numerous Santa Barbara productions, including most recently Carrie The Musical, Spring Awakening, Next To Normal, and My Fair Lady at The Granada, plays Desiree's maid, Malla. She has also performed with Opera Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara County residents Erika Cummings and Erika Foreman will alternate in the role of wise-beyond-her-years 13-year old Fredrika.

Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre is Santa Barbara's leading professional, resident theatre company. Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. The new season will be the first in the New Vic, their newly renovated theater 300-seat performing arts venue.

ETC's 2013-14 season continues with Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire, running February 6 through 23, 2014; Metamorphoses, based on the myths of Ovid and adapted by Mary Zimmerman, running March 27 through April 13, 2014; Red by John Logan, running May 15 through June 1, 2014; and Looped, written by Matthew Lombardo and starring Marsha Mason, running July 10 through 27, 2014.

Performances for A Little Night Music run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 pm, with a special Saturday 4:00 pm matinee performance on June 15, 2013. Subscription tickets to Ensemble's 2013-14 Season are still available. Youth tickets are available for age 29 and under for only $20.00 each. Single tickets are available through the Ensemble Theatre Box Office at (805) 965-5400, or online at www.etcsb.org. For group sales information, call 805-965-5400.

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