Directed and choreographed by Village artistic director Steve Tomkins, the Joisey-set show by composer Stephen Weiner and lyricist-librettist Susan DiLallo will play Village Theatre's two locations — the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah, WA (March 14–April 22) and the Everett Performing Arts Center in Everett, WA (April 27–May 13).
The cast includes Christian Duhamel, Krystle Armstrong, Dane Stokinger, Bobbi Kotula, Carolyn Magoon, Eric Polani Jensen, Nick DeSantis, Matt Shimkus, Art Anderson, Charissa Bertels, Kristin Culp, Nicole Boote, Aaron Finley Shanna Marie Palmer, Logan Benedict, Jess Smith and Austin Farwell.
According to the Village, "Take the pop spirit of Grease, add the sly wit of Little Shop of Horrors, and a healthy helping of 'Joisey' style, and you get the hilarious Once Upon a Time in New Jersey. Eight years in the making, this new musical farce is about 1950s New Jersey, mobsters, love, and mistaken identities. It follows shy sandwich slinger Vinnie (Christian Duhamel) who loves counter girl Angie (Krystle Armstrong). Angie loves tough guy Rocco (Dane Stokinger). And Rocco's on the run from the mob. When Vinnie agrees to swap lives with Rocco for a week, he gets a chance at Angie...and much more than he bargained for."
Steve Tomkins, artistic director for Village Theatre, stated, "We're thrilled to have the unique opportunity to work with the talented team of Weiner and DiLallo and to give our audiences a chance to see a truly exceptional original new work."
Creators Weiner and DiLallo first met at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York, the major training ground for new writing voices. Weiner always had an interest in music, learning to play piano by ear at three and writing his first musical at six, but it was BMI that served as his launching pad, and from there he worked on musicals including Spitting Image, a musical version of "Lost in America" in which his score won an ASCAP Bernice Cohen Award, and the Obie Award-winning newyorkers, which received the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Off-Broadway musical. DiLallo's background was originally in journalism and advertising, but after attending BMI, DiLallo went on to write and/or contribute to such musicals as Off-Broadway's Pinocchio (winner of the 2003 Hangar Theatre KIDDSTUFF New Play Competition Award), That's Life (Outer Critics Circle nominee) and This Week in the Suburbs.
In 1998 Weiner and DiLallo finally decided to create a new musical together.
In 2003 DiLallo snagged two prestigious awards to support the development of Once Upon a Time in New Jersey: the 2003 Kleban Award and a Richard Rodgers Award, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Once Upon a Time in New Jersey premiered at the Marriott Theatre in the Chicago area, July 5-Sept. 10, 2006.
Village Theatre's production has a creative team that includes musical direction by R.J. Tancioco, scenic design by Bill Forrester, lighting design by Greg Sullivan and costume design by Harmony Arnold.
For more information, visit www.villagetheatre.org.
Based in Issaquah, WA, Village Theatre is a leading producer of musical theatre in the Pacific Northwest. What began in 1979 as the vision of a small group of dedicated theatre artists has grown into one of the region's best-attended Equity theatres, with over 17,000 subscribers to the current season and 165,000 projected total attendance, performances on seven stages in the Puget Sound area, youth education programs serving over 53,000 young people, families, and schools annually, and a nationally recognized program that has enabled the development of over 55 new musicals.
Serving a still-growing, ever more diverse community, Village Theatre is also the resident performing and management company at the Everett Performing Arts Center (since 1998).