The New Brunswick troupe announced Sept. 2 that Tony Award nominee Nancy Opel will be among cast members of the 35th season GSP opener, to be directed by John Rando (Urinetown, The Dinner Party) for a run Sept. 30-Nov. 2. Opening is Oct. 10.
With a book and lyrics by DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), and music and lyrics by Bon Jovi founding member and keyboardist David Bryan, this musical romp offers a timely "green" message set in New Jersey.
The cast also includes newcomer Nick Cordero, seen in his native Canada in roles such as Jamie in The Last Five Years and Che in Evita as Melvin Ferd the Third, who transforms into New Jersey's first superhero — The Toxic Avenger; Tony Award nominee Opel (Broadway's Urinetown, Fiddler on the Roof) as Mayor of Tromaville, the fictitious New Jersey toxic township; Audra Blaser (seen in the television series "Suburban Girl" and "Lovebites") as Sarah, the blind librarian — Melvin's love interest; David Josefsberg (Broadway's The Wedding Singer and Grease) and Demond Green (The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse, Midsummer Night's Dream at Paper Mill Playhouse and McCarter Theatre), playing a number of roles.
According to GSP, "Tromaville is one exit you don't want to take off the New Jersey Turnpike — but Melvin Ferd the Third is determined to change all that. Tossed into a big vat of radioactive goo, he is transformed into The Toxic Avenger — New Jersey's own superhero — righting wrongs, beating bullies and seducing his ladylove, Sarah the blind librarian. The Toxic Avenger takes the terrific characters from the 1980s cult classic film by Lloyd Kaufman and creates a smart, clever and extremely entertaining new rock musical and love story."
(At La Jolla Playhouse in California, Bryan and DiPietro's Memphis has been in previews recently toward a Sept. 3 opening). The award-winning team of Broadway designers for The Toxic Avenger includes musical director-orchestrator Christopher Jahnke (Aida musical director, orchestrations for Cry Baby and Legally Blonde), choreographer Wendy Seyb Walmartopia, Trey Parker's Cannibal the Musical); scenic designer Beowulf Boritt (Falsettos at George Street Playhouse, Broadway's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and lighting designer Ken Posner (Hairspray, Grease). Plainfield, NJ native John Dods (Beauty and the Beast and Young Frankenstein) will design "the prosthetics that will facilitate the transformation of Melvin Ferd the Third into The Toxic Avenger."
For information, call the Playhouse box office (732) 246-7717, or purchase online at www.GSPonline.org.
George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, "in the heart of New Brunswick's dining and entertainment district."