Performances in Chicago began April 20 with an official opening April 29. The musical was extended twice due to ticket demand.
Singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester headed the cast when the show opened. Chicagoland native Betsy Randle, who plays Amy Matthews on the Disney sitcom "Boy Meets World," now stars. The current company also features veteran Chicago actors Marilynn Bogetich (Lady), Vickie Daignault (Baroness), Rosalyn Rahn Kerins (Dame), Elizabeth Gelman (Contessa/Ruby), Laura Walls (Duchess) and Kate Young (Princess).
Hats, according to press notes, concerns "a 49.999-year-old woman, MaryAnne, who reluctantly faces the inevitable 50th birthday. In the production, MaryAnne warms up to her 50th once she meets several remarkable women who show her about fun and friendship after 50."
Hats! features direction and choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Written by Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Anthony Dodge, Hats! is based on the ideas of The Red Hat Society and boasts songs by Doug Besterman, Susan Birkenhead, Michele Brourman, Pat Bunch, Gretchen Cryer, Anthony Dodge, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Beth Falcone, David Friedman, Kathie Lee Gifford, Carol Hall, Henry Krieger, Stephen Lawrence, Melissa Manchester, Amanda McBroom, Pam Tillis and Sharon Vaughn.
The Red Hat Society, according to press notes, was created in 1998 when "Sue Ellen Cooper and a group of five friends, dressed in purple clothing and red hats met for afternoon tea. The word quickly spread, and over the past eight years, The Red Hat Society has become the fastest and largest growing women’s movement in the United States." In fact, the Society has formed more than 40,000 chapters around the world. The Royal George Theatre is located at 1641 North Halsted in Chicago, IL. Tickets are available by calling (312) 902-1500 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com. For more information visit www.hatsthemusical.com.