Max von Essen to Star in Legrand's Cherbourg for Two River Theater

News   Max von Essen to Star in Legrand's Cherbourg for Two River Theater Max von Essen, who recently completed a run in the Paper Mill Playhouse's acclaimed production of The Baker's Wife, will star in another French-set tale this fall.
Max von Essen as the Emcee in the Music Circus production of Cabaret
Max von Essen as the Emcee in the Music Circus production of Cabaret Photo by Charr Crail

The ever-in-demand actor told Playbill.com that he has been cast in a new production of Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which will play the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ, beginning Sept. 22. Umbrellas is adapted from the 1964 Jacques Demy film that starred Catherine Deneuve and featured a score by Amour's Michel Legrand. The stage version was originally presented by the Public Theater in 1979; the upcoming production features an English stage adaptation by Sheldon Harnick in association with Charles Burr.

"It's an amazing film," von Essen told Playbill.com, "and it will really be a challenge to properly translate to the stage. It just seems like such a beautiful piece that could really be gorgeous onstage." Von Essen will play Guy in the Cherbourg company, which will also feature Maureen Silliman; additional casting will be announced shortly. Jonathan Fox directs.

Umbrellas of Cherbourg, according to the Two River website, concerns "two star-crossed young lovers — Genevieve, a shop assistant and Guy, a garage mechanic — [who] are torn apart when Guy is drafted into military service. Love and innocence are put to the test in the face of societal and economic pressures, until a painful decision irrevocably changes everything."

Max von Essen recently appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his Off-Broadway credits include The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was also part of the all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden.

Von Essen is currently in rehearsals to play the Emcee in the Sacramento Music Circus' production of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret, which runs Aug. 9-14. The Two River Theater Company is located in Red Bank, NJ at 21 Bridge Avenue. For tickets call (732) 345-1400; visit www.trtc.org for more information.

Max von Essen as the Emcee in the Music Circus production of <i>Cabaret</i>, which begins performances Aug. 9
Max von Essen as the Emcee in the Music Circus production of Cabaret, which begins performances Aug. 9 Photo by Charr Crail
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