Peil, Charles, Berry and Panaro Added to D.C. Sondheim Fest

News   Peil, Charles, Berry and Panaro Added to D.C. Sondheim Fest Additional casting has been announced for this summer's eagerly anticipated Stephen Sondheim Celebration at Washington's Kennedy Center. Recently added to the ever-growing list of actors participating in the six Sondheim musicals are Mary Beth Peil, Walter Charles, David Pittu, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Anastasia Barzee and Hugh Panaro.

Additional casting has been announced for this summer's eagerly anticipated Stephen Sondheim Celebration at Washington's Kennedy Center. Recently added to the ever-growing list of actors participating in the six Sondheim musicals are Mary Beth Peil, Walter Charles, David Pittu, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Anastasia Barzee and Hugh Panaro.

David Pittu (Harry), Kim Director (April) and Marc Vietor (David) are the latest additions to the cast of Company, Sondheim's tale of a confused bachelor named Bobby and his friendships with five married couples. Previously announced cast members include John Barrowman (Bobby), Christy Baron (Susan), Matt Bogart (Paul), Keira Naughton (Sarah), Lynn Redgrave (Joanne), Alice Ripley (Amy), Emily Skinner (Jenny), Marcy Harriell (Marta), Elizabeth Zins (Katherine) and Jerry Lanning (Larry).

New to the cast of A Little Night Music, Sondheim's 1973 Tony winning musical that features the classic tune "Send in the Clowns," are Sarah Uriarte Berry as Anne Egerman, Kristen Bell as Fredrika, Ilona Dulaski as Mrs. Nordstrom, Siobhan Kolker as Mrs. Anderson and Terri Allen as Mala. The remainder of the cast comprises Barbara Byrne (Madame Armfeldt), Natascia Diaz (Petra), Randy Graff (Charlotte), Danny Gurwin (Henrik) and Blair Brown (Desiree).

Anastasia Barzee, star of Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde and Miss Saigon, has been added to the company of Merrily We Roll Along, Sondheim's backwards tale with a score that boasts "Not a Day Goes By," "Good Thing Going" and "Our Time." Barzee will portray Beth opposite Raul Esparza's Charley, Miriam Shor's Mary, Emily Skinner's Gussie and Michael Hayden's Franklin.

Joining Judy Kuhn (Fosca) and Rebecca Luker (Clara) in the company of Passion, which will be directed by Eric Schaeffer, are Phillip Goodwin (Dr. Tambouri), Bob McDonald (Lombardi), Lawrence Redmond (Barri), Daniel Felton (Torasso), Michael Forrest (Rizzolli), Ty Hreben (Ludovic), Teresa Reid (Mother), Stephen Schmidt (Father) and Tracy Lynn Olivera (Mistress). This Sondheim musical about a physically unattractive woman's obsessive love for a soldier features a book by James Lapine. Sunday in the Park with George, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical based on the life and works of French impressionist George Seurat, has recently added Jason Gilbert (Franz), Tracy Lynn Olivera (Celeste I), Sherri Edelen (Celeste II), Michel Forrest (Boatman) and Bob McDonald (Louis) to its star-studded cast. Originally produced on Broadway with Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, the Kennedy Center production will also star Melissa Errico as Dot, Raul Esparza as George, Florence Lacey as Yvonne and Donna Migliaccio as the Nurse.

Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell (Sweeney) and Christine Baranski (Mrs. Lovett) head the company of Sweeney Todd, Sondheim's macabre epic about the "Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Joining Mitchell and Baranski in the revenge tale are Mary Beth Peil (Beggar Woman), Hugh Panaro (Anthony), Walter Charles (Judge Turpin), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Johanna), Mark Price (Tobias), Steve Goldstein (Pirelli) and Ray Friedeck (Beadle).

*

The Kennedy Center's summer Sondheim Celebration of six in repertory works by composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim sold more than $600,000 in tickets in its first day of single-ticket sales Feb. 11, a spokesperson confirmed.

Sondheim shows prompted $639,000 in sales, making it a single-day box office record at the Kennedy Center. Tiki Davies of the Kennedy Center told Playbill On-Line about $400,000 worth of tickets were sold in its second day, Feb. 12.

"We're delighted with the response," Davies said, adding that the sales were hot in-person, by phone and by web. The way tickets are selling for the May to-August fest, the nonprofit giant's festival will likely be completely sold out. About half the tickets are gone, Davies said. Subscribers, patrons and groups got first crack at seats to Sunday in the Park With George, Company, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd, Passion and A Little Night Music, prior to Feb. 11. Total sales so far, three months before the May 10 start of the fest, exceed $3 million. Sweeney Todd, starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski, is the biggest seller. It begins May 10.

The Associated Press reported that 25 percent of ticket sales so far were from theatregoers who live outside of Washington, DC, with 13 percent of sales from New York area audiences. Tickets were bought by people from 41 states and Australia, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

"They're not just buying one [show]," Davies said. "They're buying two or more."

That's exactly the goal of the series, Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser previously said. He wanted the Sondheim Celebration to be a kind of living exhibition that people could drink in, to get a sense of the shape and variety of one artist's career.

*

Eric Schaeffer serves as artistic director for the festival (he'll stage Passion and Sunday in the Park With George), Kay Cameron is musical director, Max Woodward is producer. Mark Brokaw directs A Little Night Music, Sean Mathias directs Company and Christopher Ashley directs Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along.

Single tickets range $20-$79. For information, call (202) 467 4600 or visit kennedy center.org/sondheim.

—By Andrew Gans and Kenneth Jones