Canadian Favorite 2 Pianos 4 Hands Gets Three North American Engagements January-April 2006

News   Canadian Favorite 2 Pianos 4 Hands Gets Three North American Engagements January-April 2006 The Canadian-created hit play with music, 2 Pianos 4 Hands, will be seen anew in three North American engagements featuring American actor-pianists Tom Frey and Richard Carsey in early 2006.

The Marquis Entertainment production is presented in partnership with Laguna Playhouse in Laguna, CA (where it runs Jan. 3-Feb. 5), Globe Theatre in Regina, Saskatchewan (March 15-April 1) and Gilmore International Keyboard Festival at the Civic Theatre in Kalamazoo, MI (April 25-30).

Tom Frey plays Ted and has performed the show more than 300 times in various productions starting as an understudy for the first U.S. tour in 1999. Richard Carsey plays Richard. He's performed the show more than 100 times in various productions since 2003. Frey and Carsey performed the show together at Actors Theatre of Louisville and Hartford Stage.

Their characters were named for the show's co-authors, musician-actor-writers Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, who were the first to perform the roles. Dora Mavor Moore Award-winner Steve Lucas is the production's set and lighting designer.

2 Pianos 4 Hands "is the riotous tale of two boys in Canada sharing the same goal: concert pianist stardom," according to Marquis Entertainment, which handles licensing (and sometime produces) this title (and other shows). "They work fervently towards their dream amidst pushy parents, eccentric teachers, hours of repetitive practice, stage fright, the agony of competitions and the dream of greatness. As they mature, they become more aware of the gap between the very good and the great — and come to the humbling realization that greatness may be out of reach."

A cross between a specialty act and a play, 2 Pianos 4 Hands is recognized as one of the major titles to come out of resident Canadian theatre in the past 25 years — along with such properties as Billy Bishop Goes to War and The Drawer Boy. Richard Greenblatt directs the production, which he co-created with Ted Dykstra. The Canadian artists performed the show around the world, including Off-Broadway, London and Tokyo.

The idea for 2 Pianos 4 Hands originated at the Tarragon Theatre Spring Arts Fair in Toronto in 1994. Later that year the authors formed Talking Fingers, a company that workshopped a full-length version of the show at the Tarragon. The resident profession Tarragon subsequently programmed the show as part of its 1995-96 season, where it earned rave reviews, played a sold-out run, received the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production and the prestigious Chalmers Award. Tarragon Theatre toured the production nationally from May 1996 to September 1997.

In the fall of 1997, 2 Pianos 4 Hands was presented Off Broadway at The Promenade Theatre by David and Ed Mirvish, Ben Sprecher and William P. Miller. The production was acclaimed, and ran for six months before transferring to the Kennedy Center in Washington.

It has since played to sold-out houses at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, at the Comedy Theatre in the West End of London. In the fall of 2003 Greenblatt and Dykstra reunited to perform in the Toronto revival of the production at the Elgin Theatre. It played to sold-out houses and garnered love letters from critics. In spring 2004 they played to acclaim in Tokyo, Japan.

For more information about the early 2006 presentations, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com, globetheatrelive.com and www.gilmore.org.

Marquis is exploring 2006 engagements of the Frey-Carsey production of 2 Pianos 4 Hands.

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Richard Greenblatt was born in Montreal and started taking piano lessons with Dorothy Morton at the age of seven. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. Since his return to Canada in 1975, he has been acting, directing, writing and composing music for theatre, radio, television and film across the country and abroad. He has played leading roles in regional theatres (The Fool in King Lear, the title role in Spinoza, among many others) and in Toronto (George in Possible Worlds, Creon in Antigone, Sam Baum in Adam Baum and the Jew Movie). Greenblatt's one-person show entitled Letters from Lehrer, featuring the work of song satirist Tom Lehrer, will be mounted in January 2006 at CanStage.

Ted Dykstra has received Dora Mavor Moore nominations as an actor, director, writer, producer and composer, and was awarded Doras for Fire (Acting) and 2 Pianos 4 Hands (producing) as well as a Chalmers Award for writing (2P4H). He has also directed productions of 2P4H across the U.S., as well as in Australia and Hong Kong. He has played leading roles on every major stage in Canada, including three years of lead roles at the Shaw Festival and three years of leading roles at the Stratford Festival. Some of his roles include the title roles in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hamlet and Amadeus, Cousin Kevin in The Who’s Tommy (Dora nomination), Daffyd Llewellen in A Chorus of Disapproval (Dora Nomination), Bottom in Midsummer Night's Dream, and Ariel in The Tempest. He is a founding member of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre.

Greenblatt and Dykstra have performed 2 Pianos 4 Hands together over 750 times, including six months at The Promenade in New York City, 10 weeks on the West End in London, and three weeks in Tokyo.

Richard Carsey (playing "Richard") enjoys a varied career as conductor, pianist and actor. He is currently principal conductor of Milwaukee's Skylight Opera Theatre, where he was formerly artistic director for eight seasons. Acting credits include Master Class and Dirty Blonde (Chamber Theater), Tomfoolery and School for Wives (Milwaukee Rep), Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Artie in House of Blue Leaves (Milwaukee B&B). Conducting credits include Richard Wargo's opera Ballymore (world premiere and PBS broadcast), Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Mark Adamo's Little Women, Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls, Christmas Schooner (also orchestrator), The Mikado (PBS broadcast), and over 40 other titles at Skylight.

Tom Frey (playing "Ted") was associate director of the Hippodrome Theater (Gainesville, FL). Other credits include multiple roles in Claudia Shear's Dirty Blonde at the Cleveland Playhouse and the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, where he served as musical director; Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes at the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee; Billy Bishop in Billy Bishop Goes to War; Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; Fred in Christmas Carol; and Weissmann in The Puppet Master of Lodz. He studied piano at Western Michigan University and graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Actor Training Program.

Marquis Entertainment Inc. currently represents the authors of 2 Pianos 4 Hands and Mom's the Word and its sequel, Hockey Mom Hockey Dad, Sibs, Anne & Gilbert and A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.

Visit www.marquisent.ca. or www.2pianos4hands.com.

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