The Music Circus season will kick off with the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music, playing July 5-13. The family favorite will be followed by Gypsy (July 15-20), Sweeney Todd (July 22-27), Swing! (July 29-Aug. 3), My Fair Lady (Aug. 5-10), Evita (Aug. 12-17) and Hairspray (Aug. 19-28). Sound of Music and Hairspray will both offer 12 performances; each of the other musicals will be performed eight times each.
As previously reported, Cristin Mortenson (national tour of Phantom of the Opera) and George Dvorsky (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Passion) will head the cast of The Sound of Music as, respectively, Maria and Captain von Trapp with Tony Award nominee Meg Bussert as Mother Abbess, Elizabeth Ward Land as Elsa Schraeder, Dick Decareau as Max and Paige Silvester as Liesl. Newcomers to the cast include Natalie Ross as Sister Berthe, Christine Rowan as Sister Maragaretta, Joël René as Sister Sophia, Susan Denaker as Frau Schmidt, Ed Brazo as Franz, Stephen Crandall as Herr Zeller, Roger McDonald as Elberfeld/Von Schreiber, Tristan Rumery as Rolf Gruber, Cameron Dayton as Friedrich, Carly Speno as Louisa, Alex Greenlee as Kurt, Joelle Jacoby as Brigitta, Michelina Hanlon as Marta and Camy Rae Wilson as Gretl. The production of the family favorite will be directed by California Musical Theatre artistic director Scott Eckern and choreographed by Bob Richard. Paul Allen will be the musical director.
Vicki Lewis, who was seen in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees and was a regular on "Newsradio" and "Three Sisters," will play Mama Rose in the Music Circus' production of Gypsy. Paul Binotto, whose credits include the original cast of Dreamgirls and the New York City Opera productions of Sweeney Todd and Candide, will play the put-upon Herbie with Sweet Charity's Alexis Carra as Louise, the wallflower-turned-world-famous stripper, Kelly D. Felthous as June and Josh Walden as Tulsa. Newcomers to the company include Leslie Becker as Tessie Tura and Miss Cratchitt, Pia C. Glenn as Mazeppa, Mia Price as Electra, Heather McDonald as Baby June and Julia Adams as Baby Louise with Tristan Bonds, Gabriele Lewis and Jake Randle as the Newsboys. Marcia Milgrom Dodge will direct the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical, which will feature choreography by Bob Richard and musical direction by Michael Rice.
Mark Jacoby, who played Judge Turpin in the John Doyle actor-musician revival of Sweeney Todd, will now take on the title role in that Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler tale of revenge. Jacoby's Mrs. Lovett will be Mary Gordon Murray, who received a Tony nomination for her performance in Little Me. Max von Essen, most recently seen in Jerry Springer — The Opera, will play Anthony Hope with Carolann M. Sanita as Johanna and Michael G. Hawkins as Judge Turpin. Recently added to the cast are Heather Lee as the Beggar Woman, Roland Rusinek as The Beadle, August Emerson as Tobias Rigg and Kevin McMahon as Pirelli. Glenn Casale will direct and choreograph the production with musical direction by Dennis Castellano.
Directed and choreographed by Dana Solimando, the cast of Swing! will boast members of the Broadway and national touring companies of that Tony-nominated musical as well as professional ballroom dance competitors. The cast of four singers and 12 dancers will include Kirby Ward; Stacia Fernandez (Broadway cast); Julie Tolivar and Maceo Oliver and dancers Mark Stuart Eckstein (U.S. and Japanese tours); Beverly Durand (original Broadway cast); Paul J. Romero Jr.; Sarah Marie Jenkins (U.S. and Japanese tours); Vin Daniel; Adealani Malia; Mike Jagger; Evita Arce; Christopher Beroiz; Desirée Duarte (original Broadway cast); Carlos Sierra-Lopez; and Lori Barber. Musical director is Daryl Archibald. Kate Baldwin, the Broadway actress most recently seen in the Huntington/Williamstown productions of She Loves Me, will play Eliza Doolittle in the Music Circus staging of My Fair Lady. Baldwin's Henry Higgins will be Richard B. Watson. The duo will be joined onstage by Ron Wisniski as Col. Pickering, J.B. Adams as Alfred P. Doolittle and Dan Callaway as Freddy. Newly cast are Melinda Tanner as Mrs. Higgins, Annie O'Sullivan as Mrs. Pearce and Roger McDonald as Kaparthy. Marcia Milgrom Dodge will direct, Josh Walden will choreograph, and Michael Rice will be the musical director.
Saved's Julia Murney, whose Broadway credits include Wicked and Lennon, will play the title role in the Music Circus production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. Eric Kunze, seen in the national tour of Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, will play Che with Scott Blanks as Peron. Philip Michael Baskerville and Kari Yancy have just joined the cast as, respectively, Magaldi and Peron's Mistress. Glenn Casale will direct the Tony-winning musical with choreography by John MacInnis and musical direction by Dennis Castellano.
Another Tony-winning musical, Hairspray, will close the season. Paul Vogt, who played Edna Turnblad on Broadway, in Las Vegas and Boston, will play the same role for Music Circus audiences. He will be joined by Joline Mujica as Tracy Turnblad, John Scherer as Corny Collins and A Chorus Line's Tyler Hanes as teen heartthrob Link Larkin. The cast will also now include Halle Morse as Little Inez, Haley Podschun as Penny Pingleton, Stacey Scotte as Prudy Pingleton, Ron Wisniski as Harriman F. Spritzer, Wilkie Ferguson as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Dick Decareau as Wilbur Turnblad and Heather White as Amber Von Tussle. Gary John La Rosa will direct Hairspray with choreography by Bob Richard and musical direction by Darren Cohen.
The Music Circus season is presented by California Musical Theatre under the direction of Executive Producer Richard Lewis and Artistic Director Scott Eckern.
Single tickets, priced $41-$53, for the 2008 Music Circus season are on sale at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H Street, or by phone at (916) 557-1999. Tickets can also be ordered by visiting www.SacramentoMusicCircus.com or Tickets.com. Seven-show subscriptions are available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office.