Broadway Gypsies Ready for Dragone Musical Carmen at La Jolla Playhouse

News   Broadway Gypsies Ready for Dragone Musical Carmen at La Jolla Playhouse The cast has been announced for the forthcoming world premiere musical version of Carmen, directed by Franco Dragone, at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Rehearsals have begun for the new stage adaptation of the classic tale, which will kick off the new season. Previews will begin June 5, and the show opens June 17 at the California company's Mandell Weiss Theatre for a run through July 22.

Based on Prosper Mérimée's novella, the new work follows the classic story told from the perspective of a soldier who falls for a beautiful gypsy seductress. The staging will include "Flamenco and original contemporary music."

The leads of Carmen and José will be played by Janien Valentine and Ryan Silverman. Both La Jolla newcomers, Valentine has previously been seen in Notre Dame De Paris and the national tour of Starlight Express, while Canadian actor Silverman has played in Most Happy Fella (New York City Opera) and the national tours of Mamma Mia! and West Side Story.

The ensemble — many who have played on Broadway and in national tours — also features Neal Benari (Fiddler on the Roof, Aida), Genson Blimline (Mask – the Musical, tour of A Chorus Line), dancer Noemi Del Rio, Maria Eberline (Wicked tour), Tony Falcon (In the Heights, Kismet), Jacqui Graziano (Wicked, Beauty and the Beast), Shannon Lewis (Sweet Charity, Fosse), Jorge Maldonado (Four Guys Named Jose, Señor Discretion Himself), Michelle Marmolejo (who has danced in the national and Japanese tours of Swing! as well as the Broadway production of The Mambo Kings), Caesar Samayoa (The Voysey Inheritance, Smashing), Marcos Santana (The Wiz - La Jolla, Evita tour), Carlos Sierra-Lopez (Swing!), Shelley Thomas (Brooklyn the Musical), Rocio Ponce (Noche de Soniquete, Arte y Diversion - Santa Monica Playhouse), Victor Wallace (Les Misérables tour) and Natalia Zisa (Aida, tour of West Side Story).

* John Ewbank pens the music with lyrics by AnnMarie Milazzo and a book by Sarah Miles. Doug Katsaros provides orchestrations. Milazzo handles vocal arrangements. Miles choreographs. Jeff Klitz serves as music director and arranger. Dramaturgy is by Jean-Claude Carriere.

Joining Dragone — veteran of Cirque du Soleil as well as the Las Vegas productions of Celine Dion's "A New Day..." and Le Rêve — on his first musical theatre venture will be designers Klara Zieglerova (scenic), Christopher Akerlind (lighting), Suzy Benzinger (costume) and François Bergeron (sound designer).

The production team also includes Phyllis Schray (production stage manager), Justin Mabardi (stage manager), Jenny Slattery (assistant stage manager), Terry Berliner (associate director) and Peter J. Davis (production manager).

The new season at La Jolla will also include Theatre de la Jeune Lune's co production The Deception (June 17-Aug. 19), Frank Galati's after the quake (July 24-Aug. 26), Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine (Sept. 11-Oct. 7), the Mark O'Donnell-Thomas Meehan-David Javerbaum-Adam Schlesinger musical Cry-Baby (Oct. 30-Dec. 16), Will Power's The Seven (Feb. 12-March 16, 2008) and a Page to Stage workshop production of the Mark Bennett-Jessica Hagedorn musical Most Wanted (Oct. 2-14).

Subscriptions for the 2007 season at La Jolla Playhouse, on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, CA, are currently on sale by calling (858) 550-1010. For more information on the company visit www.lajollaplayhouse.com.

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