From Costume Fittings, Birthdays and Baseball Games, an Exclusive Backstage Look at New Musical October Sky

Photos   From Costume Fittings, Birthdays and Baseball Games, an Exclusive Backstage Look at New Musical October Sky
 
The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, and Universal Stage Productions present the official opening of the world premiere of October Sky Aug. 26, following previews that began Aug. 19. The show is a musical adaptation of the 1999 film with Jake Gyllenhaal about boys, rockets and big dreams. Joan Hess gives us a backstage look at the musical.

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From the producers who brought Wicked, Billy Elliot and Bring It On to Broadway, the new musical runs through Oct. 11.

The cast features Broadway actors David Hess (Sweeney Todd, Annie Get Your Gun) as John Hickam and Susan Moniz (Grease) as Elsie Hickam. Video: Step inside the rehearsal room for October Sky and hear songs from the show on Playbill.com

Based on the film, as well as the book "Rocket Boys" by Homer H. Hickam, Jr., October Sky is written by Aaron Thielen, with music and lyrics by Michael Mahler. It follows a teenage boy living in a small, coal-mining town and his determination to not end up like the generations before him. With his friends, they build homemade rockets and release them, along with their dreams and aspirations, into the sky.

Jeff Award winner Rachel Rockwell directs and choreographs a cast that is led by Nate Lewellyn as Homer Hickam (Godspell at The Marriott Theatre) along with Johanna McKenzie Miller as Miss Riley (The Marriott Theatre’s On the Town), Alex Weisman as Quentin (The History Boys at TimeLine Theatre), Ben Barker as O’Dell (Les Misérables at Paramount Theatre) and Patrick Rooney as Roy Lee (Les Misérables at Paramount Theatre).

The cast also features Jameson Cooper, Neil Friedman, Terry Hamilton, Derek Hasenstab, David Lively, Liam Quealy, Caleb Baze, Dara Cameron, J Michael Finley, Jess Grider, Joan Hess, James Earl Jones II, Patrick Lane, Eliza Palasz, Jonny Stein, Betsy Stewart and Elizabeth Telford.

"This is a story set in a town that lives and dies by the coal mine, with real struggles and real triumphs,” Rockwell said in an earlier press statement. “These boys were intrigued by something that most people in America had no experience with and somewhat feared – rockets going into space. We want to make audiences feel like they are part of this community as they experience this volatile time in small town America. It is a really inspirational story.”

The production features set design by Tom Ryan, costume design by Theresa Ham, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Bob Gilmartin, properties design by Mealah Heidenreich, dialect coaching by Jill Walmsley Zager, musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood and orchestrations by David Siegel.

To reserve tickets, call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at (847) 634-0200 or go to TicketMaster. Visit MarriottTheatre for more information.

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