The Off-Broadway favorite is set in a high school in a world where being gay is the norm. The musical only recently became a licensable regional property after a Broadway run of the show failed to materialize several seasons ago. A cast album on the PS Classics label preserves the bubble-gum pop satire's score.
Elisa Woodruff, an artistic associate at the Bailiwick Repertory, directs the production, which will feature Ira Spector, a newcomer to the Chicagoland area, as Zanna, with Erik Kaiko as Mike, J. Oliver Perry as Steve, Annie Fitch as Kate, Amber Coartney as Roberta, Jay Reynolds, Jr. as Tank, Jastine Dumlao as Candi and Stephane Duret as Arvin.
Bailiwick is the award-winning non-Equity Chicago troupe with a long history of promoting daring and innovative works (Parade, Dr. Sex, Jerry Springer — The Opera and the upcoming Bare).
Zanna, Don't! "takes the audience on a magical journey into Heartsville, USA, a world where everything is reversed — the captain of the chess team is the coolest guy in school, the quarter back for the football team can't seem to fit in, and homosexuality is the prevailing norm," according to Bailiwick. "The new school year at Heartsville High is off to a great start, but things go tragically wrong when the school's two closeted heterosexuals realize their feelings for each other. Knowing that their forbidden love will make them outcasts and freaks in the town they love so much, they turn to the school's magical matchmaker Zanna for help, and Zanna is forced to put his own happiness on the line to make the world safe for heterosexuals everywhere." The show boasts music styles ranging from disco to country to pop to rock and more. Writer Tim Acito is behind the new musical, The Women of Brewster Place, currently appearing at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta prior to a run at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
Zanna, Don't! will open Oct. 1, after previews. The musical director is Allison Hendrix, with choreography by D. Eric Woolweber, lighting by Craig Ogg, costumes by Alice Broughton, set by Courtney O'Neill and illusions by Ryan Lawrence. Meredith Barry is stage manager.
Tickets for Zanna, Don't! are available now by calling (773) 883-1090 or by visiting the Bailiwick Repertory website at www.bailiwick.org.
Starting Dec. 7, Bailiwick presents the Chicago premiere of Jon Hartmere, Jr. & Damon Intrabartolo's musical, Bare, directed by Bailiwick artistic director David Zak.