Act II producing artistic director Bud Martin directs this "uplifting story of women's evolving roles and lives, captured through popular songs of the 20th century — songs about dreams found, love lost, men, women and work, as they go from co-dependence to independence." Opening is May 8.
Respect has a script by Dr. Dorothy Marcic, who drew on her book "Respect: Women and Popular Music." The original version of the show began in 1999 as a series of one-woman presentations and then developed into a full-scale musical theatre piece, presented for the first time in 2004. Respect has been performed in Florida and Chicago.
The score includes such songs as "Someone To Watch Over Me," "I Will Survive" and "Hero." "The women of Respect will remind viewers of their sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, friends, and selves," according to Act II.
The cast features Danielle G. Herbert (A Year With Frog and Toad and Caroline, or Change at Arden Theatre), Lois Sach Binder (Menopause: The Musical at Society Hill Playhouse), Jennifer Lorae (Muny's Fiddler on the Roof) and Cheryl Williams (Hedda Gabler at Mauckingbird Theatre).
Author Marcic will attend the first two preview performances of Respect on May 5 and 6, and will participate in the post-show talkbacks. Collin Maier is music director of Act II Playhouse's production, and Carmela Guiteras Mayo is choreographer. The production team also includes costume designer Maggie Baker, lighting designer James Leitner and sound designer Mark Valenzuela.
"When I first heard about Respect and did some research on the history of the show and its productions, I was amazed at how well it draws new audiences for the presenting theatres," artistic director Martin said. "It seems to make a connection to women that few shows do. What impresses me about the play itself is the actual journey the characters take, and their 'arc,' as we call it, in coming into their own as proud women."
For more information, visit www.act2.org or call the Act II box office at (215) 654-0200.
The final dress rehearsal of Respect will be open to the public on May 3 at 7 PM. Suggested donation is $10, and all contributions will be donated to the Women's Center of Montgomery County, a community-based organization whose primary focus is on eliminating domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
Act II Playhouse, celebrating 10 years of professional theatre in the Philadelphia suburb of Ambler, PA, "is committed to creating world-class theatre in a 130-seat venue whose intimacy draws audiences and actors into dynamic interrelation." Act II produces new, classic, and contemporary plays and musicals under the direction of Bud Martin (producing artistic director) and Harriet Power (associate artistic director).