Eric Rosen, the Rep's new artistic director, who wrote book and lyrics for Winesburg, Ohio, directs the musical based on Sherwood Anderson's novel about "the hopes, dreams and inner desires of the residents of a small Midwestern town," as the Rep puts it.
The music (and additional lyrics) by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman "is based on a century-old American folk style that is steeped in the land and the people of the Midwest and evokes memories of earlier and simpler times."
The show was conceived by and developed in collaboration with Jessica Thebus.
Winesburg, Ohio had a successful run in Chicago, where it was created, and received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play. A subsequent production in Philadelphia won the Barrymore Award for Best Musical.
Opening night at the Rep's Spencer Theatre will be March 20. Performances continue to April 5. According to production notes, "When the story begins, it is early in the 20th century and 18-year-old George Willard is full of dreams of living in the big city. When his youthful hopes are dashed, George looks anew at the citizens of Winesburg and discovers their closeted yearnings and passions."
The cast of Winesburg, Ohio includes Nancy Anderson (Broadway's Wonderful Town) as Alice Hindman; Lesley Bevan (of the show's world premiere for About Face/Steppenwolf Theatre and the Arden Theatre production in Philadelphia) as Kate Swift; Leslie Dennison (of Broadway's City of Angels) as Elizabeth Willard; Seth Golay (the Rep's A Christmas Carol, The Pirates of Penzance and The Front Page) as Seth Richmond; Gary Holcombe (the Rep's in The Drawer Boy) as Wing Biddlebaum; Gary Neal Johnson (an artistic associate at the Rep who has appeared in many productions) as Tom Willard; James Judy (Broadway's Into the Woods) as The Writer; Jessalyn Kincaid (making her Rep debut) as Young Elizabeth; resident actress Ashlee LaPine (Our Town at Coterie Theatre) as Helen White; Geoff Packard (an understudy in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera and the national tour of Wicked) as George Willard; Chicago actor Jeff Parker as Rev. Curtis Hartman, a role he created for the original Steppenwolf Theatre Arts Exchange production and the full-length version for About Face Theatre; Bruce Roach (the Rep's A Christmas Carol and To Kill a Mockingbird) as Joe Welling; John-Michael Zuerlein (making his Rep debut) as Enoch.
The musicians are Ryan Fisher (guitar I), Aaron Fry (guitar II), Michalis Koutsoupides (conductor/piano), Rick Willoughby (bass) and Michael Winer (violin). All but Fisher, who is from Chicago, are Kansas City performers.
The creative team for Winesburg, Ohio is Molly Jessup (music director), Jack Magaw (set designer), Janice Pytel (costume designer), David Lander (lighting designer), Joshua Horvath (sound designer) and Jennifer Martin (choreographer).
The Spencer Theatre is in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus, just east of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.
For more information call the Rep box office at (816) 235-2700 or visit www.kcrep.org.