North Shore Music Theatre, the acclaimed in-the-round regional theatre in Beverly, MA, has announced its all-musical 2002 2003 season, beginning May 14 with the resident premiere of Ragtime.
The season also features both an American musical theatre premiere and a New England premiere, Dracula: A Chamber Musical (which was previously reported by Playbill On Line) and I Sent a Letter To My Love, respectively. Joining those works are the Kander and Ebb blockbuster Chicago; the movie-turned-musical, Footloose; the beloved tale of The Wizard of Oz; and the holiday classic A Christmas Carol.
The epic American musical Ragtime, which features a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and a book by Terrence McNally, opens the season and plays May 14-June 2. Directed by Stafford Arima (associate director of the Broadway staging and national tour) and choreographed by Candace Jennings, Ragtime is based on E.L. Doctorow's novel that is set in turn-of-the-century America. The melodic score features such tunes as "Wheels of a Dream" and "Back to Before."
Footloose debuts at the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) June 11. A stage adaptation of the hit 1984 film, the musical features such crowd-pleasers as "Holdin' Out for a Hero," "Let's Hear it for the Boy," "Almost Paradise" and the title tune and will be directed and choreographed by Barry Ivan.
Following Footloose is a chance to follow the yellow brick road when one of the most beloved movie musicals comes to life onstage in a new version of The Wizard of Oz (July 16-Aug. 11). Written by John Kane — with a score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg — the NSMT production will include such special effects as a tornado sweeping Dorothy out of Kansas and the Wicked Witch of the West flying overhead. The cast boasts George Dvorsky as the Tin Man and David Coffee as the Cowardly Lion. Tony-nominated Love! Valour! Compassion! star Stephen Bogardus will headline the next production, the New England premiere of I Sent a Letter to My Love in September. Bogardus, who was most recently on Broadway in James Joyce's The Dead, will appear in the Melissa Manchester musical from Sept. 3 through Sept. 22. The romantic musical by Grammy winner Manchester and dramatist Jeffrey Sweet is based on a novel by Bernice Rubens and concerns a brother and sister who unwittingly write lonely-heart love letters to each other. Directed by Patricia Birch, the musical co-stars Diana Canova, the "Soap" actress who appeared in the Roundabout Theatre's revival of Company, and Cass Morgan, who starred on Broadway in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
The American premiere of Dracula: A Chamber Musical takes the NSMT stage Oct. 1-20. Richard Ouzounian's Gothic thriller is based on Bram Stoker's classic tale and features music and orchestrations Marek Norman and direction by Barry Ivan. Dracula premiered at Canada's Stratford Festival in 1999, where it played six months to standing-room-only crowds.
Kander and Ebb's Chicago, their Tony-winning tale of "murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery — all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts" is set to light up the North Shore stage Oct. 29-Nov. 17 in a production directed and choreographed by Barry Ivan. The hit musical, which is still dazzling crowds at Broadway's Shubert Theatre, features such showstoppers as "All That Jazz," "Razzle Dazzle" and "Cell Block Tango."
The NSMT's 14th annual production of A Christmas Carol is set to close the season Dec. 14-23. Based on the Charles Dickens classic, the adaptation by Jon Kimbell, David James and David Zoffoli will be directed and choreographed by Greg Ganakas. The production also features a cast of 30 accompanied by the Christmas Carol orchestra.
The North Shore Music Theatre is located on Dunham Road in Beverly, MA. Tickets for musicals are priced at $24 to $62 and may purchased by calling (978) 232-7200. Visit the theatre's website at www.nsmt.org.
North Shore Music Theatre season at a glance:
Ragtime: May 14-June 2
Footloose: June 11-June 30
The Wizard of Oz: July 16-Aug. 11
I Sent a Letter to My Love: Sept. 3-Sept. 22
Dracula: A Chamber Musical: Oct. 1-Oct. 20
Chicago: Oct. 29-Nov. 17
A Christmas Carol: Dec. 14-23