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Jennifer Simard and Christopher Sieber Star in St. Louis Muny Annie Beginning July 18

The St. Louis Muny summer production of the Tony-winning musical Annie, starring the previously reported Tony nominees Jennifer Simard (Disaster!; Hello, Dolly!) and Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical, Spamalot) as Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks, respectively, begins performances July 18.

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Jon Rua Marc J. Franklin

Directed by John Tartaglia and choreographed by Jessica Hartman with music direction by Colin Welford, the limited engagement is scheduled through July 25 at the outdoor venue.

Simard and Sieber are joined by Peyton Ella as Annie, Britney Coleman as Grace Farrell, Holly Ann Butler as Lily, Jon Rua as Rooster, John Scherer as FDR, Madeline Domain as Tessie, Amanda Willingham as July, Samantha Iken as Pepper, Trenay LaBelle as Duffy, Ana McAlister as Molly, and Ella Grace Roberts as Kate.

Rounding out the ensemble are Akilah Ayanna, Rhaamell Burke-Missouri, Berklea Going, Mark Myars, Patrick Blindauer, Maya Bowles, Julie Hanson, Michael Hoey, Abigail Isom, Madison Johnson, Zachary Daniel Jones, Rich Pisarkiewicz, Whit Reichert, Rochelle Scudder, Josh Walden, and Rebecca Young with the Muny Kid and Teen ensembles.

The production also has scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by Nathan W. Scheuer, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Rob Denton, and wig design by Kelley Jordan, with production stage manager Larry Smiglewski.

Read: JENNIFER CODY, ANN HARADA, ELLEN HARVEY, MORE WILL JOIN BETH LEAVEL IN ST. LOUIS MUNY GYPSY

Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

“This show remains one of the most beloved musicals ever,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “This incredible company will bring it to thrilling life on our grand Muny stage.”

Visit Muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.

Sieber also played Daddy Warbucks in Paper Mill’s Annie; check out photos below:

Both Simard and Sieber have been special guest performers on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are now on sale for Playbill’s Broadway on the Rhône River 2 cruise April 7–14, 2019, featuring Melissa Errico, Rebecca Luker, Marc Kudisch, and Seth Rudetsky, and Broadway in Bordeaux With Michael Feinstein September 1–9, 2019, with other celebrity guests to be announced! Call Playbill Travel for tickets at 866-455-6789 or visit PlaybillTravel.com.

(Updated July 18, 2018)

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 15

1856 Birthday of prolific producer Charles Frohman who, often in collaboration with his brothers Daniel and Gustave, produces dozens of Broadway shows including Sherlock Holmes, The Czarina, Pasteur, The Texas Nightingale, and Zander the Great. In one busy stretch, September and October 1902, he opens 12 plays on Broadway.

1905 Birthday of lyricist and librettist Dorothy Fields, daughter of vaudeville star Lew Fields of Weber & Fields. Among her numerous credits over six decades from the 1920s to the 1970s: Blackbirds of 1928, Let’s Face It! (book), Annie Get Your Gun (book), Redhead (book and lyrics), Sweet Charity (lyrics), and Seesaw (lyrics). She is nominated for three Tony Awards and wins one, for her work on Redhead.

1937 Though it has been moribund for several years, Vaudeville is officially declared dead today, as Variety merges its “vaudeville” and “nite clubs” sections for the first time ever. The entertainment newspaper explains that “the vaudeville department has lately been particularly difficult to fill up.”

1949 Irving Berlin tries to recreate the success of Annie Get Your Gun by reassembling the creative team for a musical about the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty. Despite direction by Moss Hart and choreography by Jerome Robbins, Miss Liberty runs a disappointing 308 performances, but produces a modest hit tune in “Let’s Take an Old-Fashioned Walk.”

1979 Future Tony Award winner Laura Benanti is born in New York. Her Broadway appearances include a Tony-winning performance as Louise in the 2008 revival of Gypsy, the original productions of the musicals The Wedding Singer and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and revivals of Into the Woods and She Loves Me.

1981 News stories around the world state that businessman and sometimes-theatrical producer Claus Von Bulow has been accused of attempting to murder his wife. Reads the Variety headline about the incident: “Von Bulow, B’way Angel, Accused of Attempting to Murder His Wife.” Von Bulow was a major investor in the Broadway productions of Deathtrap and Wings. Almost a decade later, Jeremy Irons wins an Academy Award for his portrayal of Von Bulow in Barbet Schroeder’s film based on the case, titled Reversal of Fortune.

1982 Nathan Lane makes his Broadway debut opposite George C. Scott in a revival of Noël Coward‘s Present Laughter. Also in the cast are future stars Christine Lahti, Kate Burton, and Dana Ivey.

1998 Trevor Nunn‘s staging of Henrik Ibsen‘s An Enemy of the People begins at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre. The Royal National Theatre production starring Ian McKellen tells the story of a Norwegian doctor’s attempt to expose a scandal in which the local baths are dangerously contaminated. The production’s script is a new version by Christopher Hampton.

2010 Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert on Broadway begins a limited 15-performance run at the Neil Simon Theatre. The evening highlights songs from Connick, Jr.’s album “Your Songs,” including “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Close to You,” “Who Can I Turn To?,” and “Smile.”

2012 Celeste Holm, a theatre and film actor who, through a small but select collection of indelible mid-20th century stage and cinema performances, achieved the somewhat legendary status in show business circles, dies at age 95. Perhaps best known for creating the role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Holm appeared in over twenty Broadway productions including performances as Anna in The King and I, Mame in Mame, Evalina in Bloomer Girl, and Anna Christopherson in Anna Christie.

2015 The Encores! Off-Center staging of Andrew Lippa‘s The Wild Party, starring Sutton Foster and Steven Pasquale, begins performances at New York City Center. Lippa revises his musical for the occasion, including adding a new song for the character of Queenie (played by Foster), called “A Happy Ending.”

Today’s Birthdays: Joan Roberts 1918. Joanna Merlin 1931. Ken Kercheval 1935.

Watch Sutton Foster sing “A Happy Ending” in The Wild Party:

Watch Highlights From This Summer’s The Music Man Starring Mara Davi

Broadway favorite Mara Davi (Dames at Sea, Smash) opened July 12 in The LEXington Theatre Company’s production of The Music Man at the Lexington Opera House in Lexington, Kentucky.

Take a look at highlights from the production in the video above.

The mounting of Meredith Willson’s 1957 classic stars Davi as Marian Paroo and Edward Watts as Professor Harold Hill. Aaron Gaines plays Hill’s nemesis, Charlie Cowell. And Marcellus Washburn is played by Justin Robertson, also known as Theatrical Illustrator “Squigs.”

The company also features local actors, as well as college students from around the country, including Paul Thomas (Mayor Shinn), Karyn Czar (Eulalie Shinn), Melissa Rae Wilkeson (Mrs. Paroo), Laura Guley (Zaneeta Shinn), Trevor McChristian (Tommy Djilas), Owen Scott (Winthrop), and Taylor Riordan (Amaryllis.)

Directed by Mark Madama, the production features choreography by Mara Newbery Greer and a 27-piece orchestra conducted by Brock Terry.

The production features lighting design by Tanya Harper, costume design by Joseph D. Sibley, sound design by Marcus Ross.

Joel Grey-Helmed Yiddish Fiddler Extends Off-Broadway

The American premiere of the Yiddish-language adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof, which began performances July 4 in an all-new production from National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, has been extended an additional week. Helmed by Oscar and Tony winner Joel Grey, performances will now continue through September 2 in the Edmond J. Safra Theatre at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Raquel Nobile, Rosie Jo Neddy, Rachel Zatcoff, Stephanie Lynne Mason and Samantha Hahn in Fiddler on the Roof
Raquel Nobile, Rosie Jo Neddy, Rachel Zatcoff, Stephanie Lynne Mason and Samantha Hahn in Fiddler on the Roof

Read: WHY YOU NEED TO HEAR FIDDLER ON THE ROOF IN YIDDISH

Fiddler is presented in Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles. The production, which marks the first time the Yiddish version of the musical has been staged since its world premiere in Israel more than 50 years ago, stars Jackie Hoffman, Steven Skybell, and Mary Illes in the roles of Yente, Tevye, and Golde, respectively.

NYTF’s Fiddler will officially open July 15.

“Given the extraordinary response [so far], the cast and creative team were excited to continue performances for an additional week to further share Fiddler on the Roof’s messages of survival and hope,” says NYTF Chief Executive Officer Christopher Massimine.

The cast of Fiddler also includes Kirk Geritano as Avram; Samantha Hahn as Bielke; Cameron Johnson as Fyedka; Daniel Kahn as Perchik; Ben Liebert as Motel; Stephanie Lynne Mason as Hodel; Rosie Jo Neddy as Chava; Raquel Nobile as Shprintze; Bruce Sabath as Lazar Wolf; Jodi Snyder as Fruma-Sarah; Lauren Jeanne Thomas as The Fiddler; Bobby Underwood as The Constable; Michael Yashinsky as Mordcha; and Rachel Zatcoff as Tzeitel.

Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish is based on the Tevye the Dairyman vignettes by Sholem Aleichem and is translated by Shraga Friedman. Tony-winning Fiddler lyricist Sheldon Harnick and producer and director Harold Prince have been consulting with NYTF on the production.

The creative team also features Tony-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt, Tony-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, choreographer Staś Kmieć, Tony-nominated sound designer Dan Moses Schreier, and Tony-winning lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski. Casting is by Jamibeth Margolis, C.S.A, and Zalmen Mlotek is NYTF’s artistic director.

Completing the cast of Fiddler are Jennifer Babiak, Joanne Borts, Josh Dunn, Michael Einav, Evan Mayer, Nick Raynor, Kayleen Seidl, Adam Shapiro, and James Monroe Stevko.

Fiddler on the Roof has music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein.

For tickets, visit NYTF.org or call (866) 811-4111.

Michael Friedman and The Civilians’ Gone Missing Returns to the New York Stage at Encores! Off-Center

New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center season continues July 11 and 12 with Gone Missing, presented in honor of the late composer and Off-Center Artistic Director Michael Friedman.

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Susan Blackwell Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Ken Rus Schmoll directs the production of the show, which musicalizes a series of interviews conducted by New York City theatre troupe The Civilians regarding objects people had lost in their lives and how they coped. The piece, written and originally directed by Civilians Founding Artistic Director Steve Cosson, features a score by Friedman.

The two-night engagement stars John Behlmann, Susan Blackwell, Aysan Celik, Deborah S. Craig, Taylor Mac, and David Ryan Smith. Karla Garcia choreographs; Chris Fenwick serves as music director.

At 6:30 PM—one hour before curtain at both performances—theatregoers will have the opportunity to catch members of The Civilians and New York City Center artists-in-residence as they present investigative theatre pieces exploring the legacy of the musical as part of the Lobby Project.

Friedman died September 9, 2017, at the age of 41 following complications due to HIV/AIDS. “We wanted to celebrate the profound vision of our friend and colleague Michael Friedman, who is sorely missed,” said Anne Kauffman, co-artistic director of Encores! Off-Center alongside Jeanine Tesori. “We’re certain that Michael’s voice will continue to break open what musical theatre can be and inspire audiences and artists for decades to come.”

Read: MICHAEL FRIEDMAN’S LOVED ONES, COLLABORATORS, FANS, CELEBRATE THE COMPOSER THROUGH ‘RADICAL INCLUSION’

Hit Magic Show Six Impossible Things to Return to NYC

Joshua Jay’s immersive close-up magic show Six Impossible Things, currently playing a sold-out run at Wildrence, will return to the intimate performance space for a limited engagement this fall. The show plays to an audience of 20, which moves through several rooms where a new mystery unfolds.

In Six Impossible Things, directed by Luke Jermay, Jay performs magic inches from the faces of spectators. Performances are currently scheduled through July 28, and will resume October 25–December 15. Wildrence is located behind the Blue Door at 59 Canal Street.

“I have been creating Six Impossible Things for the past three years, it is truly a passion project,” says Jay. “Rather than make a show that is big and flashy for many people, we have gone in the opposite direction and made our experience intimate, for only 20 people at a time. With each show, every audience member gets to have that special moment, that story they can tell their friends about, that time that they experience magic up close. I am so excited by the audience’s reaction to our unique show and am thrilled that we get to return this fall for more impossible things.”

The artwork throughout the space is created by Serge Block.

Tickets can be purchased at SixImpossibleThingsShow.com.

Roger Bart, Ali Stroker, More Complete Cast for Hollywood Bowl Annie

Casting is now complete for the star-studded Hollywood Bowl staging of the Tony-winning musical Annie.

Ana Gasteyer and Megan Hilty
Ana Gasteyer and Megan Hilty

Newly announced for the weekend presentations are Tony winner Roger Bart as Daniel Rooster Hannigan, Kaylin Hedges as Annie, Ali Stroker as Star-to-Be, Amir Talai as Bert Healy, Marlow Barkley as Kate, Amadi Chapata as Pepper, Noe Lynds as July, Rae Martinez as Tessie, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja as Molly, and Olivia Zenetzis as Duffy.

These actors join the previously announced Ana Gasteyer as Miss Hannigan, David Alan Grier as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis, Lea Salonga as Grace Farrell, and Steven Weber as Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Performances are scheduled for July 27–29 at the outdoor venue. The production will be helmed by Tony-nominated director Michael Arden, who directed Salonga in this season’s currently-running, Tony-winning Broadway revival of Once On This Island.

The creative team also includes conductor Todd Ellison and choreographer Eamon Foley.

Read: MICHAEL ARDEN WILL DIRECT ANNIE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL

This new production will mark the 90th birthday of the show’s composer, Charles Strouse, who wrote the hit show along with lyricist Martin Charnin and bookwriter Thomas Meehan. Since its Broadway debut in 1977, Annie has been revived twice on Broadway (in 1997 and 2014), spawned numerous national tours, and been adapted into three films (in 1982, 1999, and 2014).

For more information and tickets, visit HollywoodBowl.com.

6 Shows Not to Miss at the This Year’s New York Musical Festival

Now in its 15th year, the New York Musical Festival welcomes a new crop of productions, concerts, readings, and events to champion new work in American musical theatre. This year, the festival committee was even more selective about its programming, presenting only 12 full productions as opposed to last year’s nearly 30. While that means it’s easier to catch the festival’s full offerings than ever before, it can be tough to cram it all in if it’s not your job—and NYMF is a festival for average theatre fans and industry professionals alike. NYMF has also re-prioritized the showcase of unknown voices with big potential both onstage and in the writers’ room.

Click here for tickets and information.

Here are the six shows you should pay extra attention to from NYMF 2018:

Interstate
Week 1: July 9–15
Book and lyrics by Kit Yan and Melissa Li; music by Melissa Li
This musical combines pop-rock and poetry in a tale about two Asian-American performers who take their activist act, known as Queer Malady, on the road. When their work inspires transgender vlogger Henry, the misunderstood teen goes on a journey to meet his musical heroes in person. Think of it as a classic road trip story through a queer, Asian lens.

Pedro Pan
Week 1: July 10–14
Book by Rebecca Aparicio; music and lyrics by Stephen Anthony Elkins
Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Rent’s original Angel) makes a return to the New York stage as the father of young Pedro. Based on true events, the Latin-flavored musical by the husband-and-wife team tells the story of a young boy sent to the U.S. to escape the dangers of Cuba and his survival of extreme culture shock and a dream of reuniting with his family. Expect groove-worthy tunes and a meaningful family story.

Thicket & Thistle’s What’s Your Wish?
Week 2: July 16–21
Book by Thicket & Thistle; music and lyrics by Kyle Acheson, Sam De Roest, and Corley Pillsbury
Consider this NYMF’s dose of fantasy. Told by a cast of wildly talented actor-musicians, What’s Your Wish? follows two friends and a test of the strength of their relationship after being sucked into a storybook. Think of it as a more daring musical Pagemaster.

Emojiland
Week 2: July 17–22
Book, music, and lyrics by Keith Harrison and Laura Nicole Harrison
Another married couple writing team presents this zany musical comedy about 12 emojis whose existence is threatened by a software update. Offbeat—in a good way—and entertaining, you’ll love the realness of the relationship between Female Police Officer and Female Construction Worker, the catchy songs, and the relatable crisis of an unknown future. (And there’s Lesli Margherita, too 😉 )

The Gunfighter Meets His Match
Week 4: July 30–August 4
Book, music, and lyrics by Abbye Payne; choreography by Glitter Kitty Productions
This musical marks the dramatic and romantic offering of the bunch. Inspired by the short stories of Louis L’Amour, the story chronicles a gunfighter’s battle for his truest love. Accompanied by elaborate, lyrical choreography, this show is for those looking to be swept up in emotion.

Sonata 1962
Week 4: August 1–5
Book and lyrics by Patricia Loughrey; music and lyrics by Thomas Hodges
It’s 1962 and Laura falls in love while in her freshman year of school—with a woman. In a time when homosexuality was viewed as a health threat and a crime, the story examines how far Laura’s mother will go to protect her daughter when her fate is the consequence of the times in which she lives. With a robust score rooted in classical music, Sonata asks timely questions of love and identity.