25 Jun AMFS TA South Pacific Casting Announcement
Aspen, CO (May 30, 2019) – The Aspen Music Festival and School (Alan Fletcher, President and CEO) and Theatre Aspen (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director) today announced principal casting for the organizations’ first ever collaboration of a one-night-only concert production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical South Pacific on Monday, July 22 at 7:30 pm in the Benedict Music Tent.
Leading the company, the principal roles for this production include some of Broadway’s brightest, including Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominee and Theatre World Award winner Christy Altomare (Nellie Forbush), Tony Award®, Drama Desk Award, and Drama League Award nominee and Obie Award winner Will Swenson (Emile de Becque), New York actress and singer Leanne Cabrera (Liat), Outer Critics Circle Award winner Ann Harada (Bloody Mary), from Broadway’s Wicked and most recently seen on FOX’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Ryan McCartan (Joseph Cable), and fresh from Spongebob Squarepants Brian Ray Norris (Luther Billis).
As previously announced, this special concert production will be helmed by Tony Award nominee Lonny Price along with conductor, Drama Desk Award winner, Mary-Mitchell Campbell who will lead a 55-piece orchestra, chorus of Aspen Opera Center singers and principal cast members, who take the stage together to bring this timeless story to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific is an iconic American work, set on an island paradise with two parallel love stories navigating the dangers of prejudice and war. Premiering on Broadway in 1949, the musical was an instant success and ran for 1,929 performances, winning ten Tony Awards, including Best Score.
This concert adaptation captures the uproarious yet tender nature of the musical and focuses on the beloved score that made South Pacific unforgettable. Enduring songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “There is Nothing Like a Dame” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”
Tickets are priced at $50 and $95. A limited number of $500 tickets include premier seating and a post-event cast party are also available. Tickets can be purchased at the AMFS Box Office, now open at Harris Concert Hall, by calling 970-925-9042, Monday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, or online at www.aspenmusicfestival.com
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Christy Altomare (Nellie Forbush) just concluded her two-year run starring as Anya/Anastasia in Anastasia on Broadway. Her performance of Anya garnered Ms. Altomare a Theatre World Award as well as a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for best actress in a musical. Christy made her Broadway debut as Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden Theatre. She was also seen Off-Broadway in MCC’s revival of Carrie the Musical in the role of Sue Snell at the Lucille Lortel theater and can be heard on the original cast recording. She played Wendla Bergman in the First National Broadway Tour of Spring Awakening. Regional credits include Jerusha Abbott in Daddy Long Legs (John Caird/Paul Gordon). Ms. Altomare is a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a BFA in musical theater. She is also a songwriter/recording artist who is currently working on a number of projects. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @ChristyAltomare.
Will Swenson (Emile de Becque). Broadway: Waitress, Disaster!, Les Miserables, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, (Drama League Award nomination), Hair (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Drama League nominations), 110 in the Shade, Lestat, Brooklyn!. Off Broadway: Nantucket Sleighride, Jerry Springer: The Opera (Obie Award), Murder Ballad, Rock of Ages, Little Miss Sunshine, Adrift in Macao, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Pericles. Tours and other: Miss Saigon, We Will Rock You, Camelot (NY Philharmonic), …Superman!, Pirates of Penzance, A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Royal Family of Broadway. Film: The Kitchen, The Greatest Showman, This is Where I Leave You, and The Switch. Television: “Law & Order” (SVU & CSI), “The Good Wife,” “No Tomorrow,” and the new CBS series “The Code.” Will’s most impressive performance to date is the role of husband in his marriage to global superpower Audra McDonald. With his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting, he has somehow convinced her of his adequacy, and plans on continuing in the role for the rest of his life.
Leanne Cabrera (Liat) is happy to be on Bali Hai with The Aspen Music Festival and School and Theatre Aspen. New York credits include Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature at the Signature Theatre; with Pan Asian Rep: The Emperor’s Nightingale, No-No Boy, A Dream of Red Pavilions); and with the Leviathan Lab: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like It. Regional: The Fantasticks, The King and I, Jewtopia, South Pacific. www.leannecabrera.com
Ann Harada (Bloody Mary) originated the role of Christmas Eve in Avenue Q both on Broadway and in the West End. Other Broadway: Cinderella, 9 to 5, M Butterfly, Seussical, Les Miserables. Select Off-Broadway: Pacific Overtures (Classic Stage Company), Stuffed (Women’s Project Theater), Brooklynite (Vineyard Theatre) and Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Regionally: Holiday Inn (Paper Mill Playhouse), New World (Bucks County Playhouse) 42nd Street and Mamma Mia! (MUNY). Film: Youth in Oregon, Sisters, Admission, Hope Springs. Television: “Gotham,” “Blue Bloods,” “Younger,” “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” “Search Party,” “Good Wife,” “SMASH,” “30 Rock,” “House of Cards,” “Master of None.”
Ryan McCartan (Joseph Cable) made his Broadway debut in 2018 as Fiyero in Wicked. Ryan premiered Off-Broadway in the lead role of JD in Heathers The Musical at the New World Stages. New York critics reported: Ryan “smolders nicely as J.D.” (Time Out) describing him as “devilishly good” (The Wrap) and with “plenty of charisma” (NBC-NY). Ryan was thrilled to be a part of Fox Television’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as the lead role of Brad Majors, directed by Kenny Ortega. Young audiences know Ryan as recurring character, Diggie, the love interest to Maddie, on The Disney Channel’s “Liv & Maddie.” Additional television credits include “Freakish,” “Royal Pains,” “Midnight TX,” “Monday Mornings,” “Last Man Standing” and “The Middle.” Ryan’s music is available on iTunes and most music outlets.
Brian Ray Norris (Luther Billis) is a New York based actor and most recently originated the role of Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants the Broadway Musical. Brian is thrilled to reprising the role of Billis in Aspen. South Pacific is a favorite with themes still relevant today. Brian has performed across the country and abroad and has been seen on television (“Law & Order: SVU”) and film (Landing Up). Other favorite roles include Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice, Lord John Middleton in Sense & Sensibility, Mr. Bumble in Oliver, Chef Lois in The Little Mermaid, Jean-Michel in Cinderella, and Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd.
Lonny Price (Director). On Broadway, Lonny directed Sunset Boulevard, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, 110 in the Shade, ‘Master Harold’… and the Boys, Sally Marr and Her Escorts (co-written with Joan Rivers and Erin Sanders), Urban Cowboy, and A Class Act (Tony Award nominated book co-written with Linda Kline). West End credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, as well as Man of La Mancha, Carousel, Sunset Boulevard, and Sweeney Todd, all for the English National Opera. Film and television credits include his live capture of the New York Philharmonic’s Sweeney Todd and Company. He also directed the stage and filmed versions of his tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert! (Emmy Award). Other Philharmonic collaborations include the “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast of Camelot, Candide, Sweeney Todd (Emmy Award), and Sondheim’s Passion (Emmy Award). Additional television credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill for HBO, Hal Prince: The Director’s Life for PBS, as well as episodes of “2 Broke Girls,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “The Jack and Triumph Show.” For his first feature, ‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys, he received a Best Director Award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. His documentary, Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened premiered at the New York Film Festival and was named one of The New York Times’ Top 10 Films of 2016.
Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Music Director) is a conductor, music director, orchestrator, composer and arranger who crosses genres easily between classical, pop, and Broadway styles of music. She has served as the Music Director for many Broadway shows including: Mean Girls, The Prom, My Love Letter to Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth, Tuck Everlasting, Finding Neverland, Big Fish, The Addams Family, Company, and Sweeney Todd. She also music directed Stephen Sondheim’s last musical Road Show at the Public Theater. She won a Drama Desk for Best Orchestrations for the 2006 revival of Company starring Raul Esparza and was nominated for Best Orchestrations for her work on the Off-Broadway productions of Allegro and Hello Again. She has a very active concert career and performs frequently with Kristin Chenoweth, Gavin Creel, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti and Raul Esparza. In her pop career she has worked with Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, John Legend, Amy Grant, Kelly Clarkson, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, and Josh Groban in concerts. She has conducted the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati symphony, the Dallas symphony, the Nashville Symphony, and many other symphonies around the United States. She is passionate about arts education and poverty reduction. She is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of ASTEP- Artists Striving To End Poverty (www.asteponline.org) which recruits and trains high level artists to work with kids in extreme situations to teach them health education and life skills through the arts. She is a regular volunteer with ASTEP programs in the US, Africa and India. She is from North Carolina and has taught on the faculties of Juilliard, NYU, and Boston College.
South Pacific: In Concert. Set in an island paradise during World War II, two parallel love stories are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war. Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with a mature French planter, Emile. Nellie learns that the mother of his children was an island native and, unable to turn her back on the prejudices with which she was raised, refuses Emile’s proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, the strapping Lt. Joe Cable denies himself the fulfillment of a future with an innocent Tonkinese girl with whom he’s fallen in love out of the same fears that haunt Nellie. When Emile is recruited to accompany Joe on a dangerous mission that claims Joe’s life, Nellie realizes that life is too short not to seize her own chance for happiness, thus confronting and conquering her prejudices. Credits: music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Tales of the South Pacific” by James Michener. This concert adaptation was created by David Ives for the Carnegie Hall benefit concert of South Pacific in 2006.
The Aspen Music Festival and School is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 400 musical events during its eight-week summer season in Aspen. The organization draws top classical musicians from around the world to this Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education. Many events are free, and seating on the David Karetsky Music Lawn and in the Music Garden is always free. Nearly 700 music students from 40 U.S. states and 34 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with 200 renowned artist-faculty members. Students represent the field’s best young talent; many have already begun their professional careers.
Since 1983, Theatre Aspen has been rekindling a sense of discovery in audiences who live in and visit the Roaring Fork Valley by producing big theatre in a small space with intimate storytelling. Each season at Theatre Aspen promises to bring world-class theatre dramatically closer, with innovative and imaginative productions of both plays and musicals, complemented by an assortment of community events including late-night cabarets, educational programs and performances, collaborations with other Aspen arts organizations, and new works presentations. Theatre Aspen also boasts an impressive summer Apprentice program, one of the largest in the country, devoted to training the next generation of theatrical artists and administrators. To learn more about Theatre Aspen visit TheatreAspen.org or by phone at 970.925.9313.
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