Rockin' the Hate, Broadway-Aimed White Noise Opens in Chicago; Douglas Sills Stars

News   Rockin' the Hate, Broadway-Aimed White Noise Opens in Chicago; Douglas Sills Stars White Noise, the new rock musical about a controversial band with a taste for white-supremacy content, opens April 9 in Chicago following previews from April 1. The world-premiere staging is directed and choreographed by Broadway's Sergio Trujillo.

MacKenzie Mauzy and company
MacKenzie Mauzy and company Photo by Carol Rosegg

A limited eight-week run continues to June 5 at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted Street. Douglas Sills, the Tony Award-nominated star of Broadway's The Scarlet Pimpernel, plays the role of the record producer, Max.

According to the producers, including Whoopi Goldberg, the Broadway-aimed White Noise "pulls back the curtain at a major record label where a top-selling producer stirs up an explosive cocktail of shock and spin with a splash of controversy to package talented artists into blockbuster stars. Steadily baited by the lure of mainstream fame and power, two diametrically opposed groups — White Noise, an irresistible pop band that churns out catchy tunes of coded rhetoric, and Bloodbrothas, the hip-hop-turned-gangsta rap duo — meet at the top of the charts and collide with consequence."

The "White Noise" band includes MacKenzie Mauzy (Next to Normal, Cry-Baby, "Guiding Light") as Eva, Emily Padgett (Rock of Ages, Grease, Legally Blonde) as Eden, Patrick Murney (The Abingdon Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival) as Duke and Eric Morris (Mamma Mia!, Coram Boy) as Jake. The "Bloodbrothas" rap duo is played by Wallace Smith (American Idiot, Hair, The Lion King) as Dion and Rodney Hicks (The Scottsboro Boys, Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Tyler. Also featured are Luba Mason (How to Succeed…, Chicago) as Laurel and Michael Buchanan (Cry-Baby, Urinetown at the Mercury Theatre) as Teal Waters. The cast of 21 also includes Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kelli Eileen LaValle, Tess Soltau, Ashley Adamek, Erin McGrath, John Arthur Greene and Constantine Rousouli.

White Noise features a book by Matte O'Brien and music and lyrics by Robert Morris, Steven Morris and Joe Shane. White Noise was originally conceived by Ryan J. Davis with a story and characters by Joe Drymala.

The musicians featured in White Noise include Jesse Vargas (musical director, keyboard), Matt Hinkley (keyboard), Hannah Ford (drums), Ben Mason (bass) and Mike O’Meara (guitarist). Trujillo choreographed Broadway's Next to Normal, Memphis, Jersey Boys and The Addams Family.

The show is inspired by real 21st-century characters — a pair of blue-eyed blonde girls known as the white supremacist duo Prussian Blue.

"They're a jumping-off point," Trujillo told Playbill magazine. "Our show is about 'What if?' What if you had these beautiful and angelic-looking girls who write music for the white separatist movement, and someone begins to write coded lyrics for them? And what if the American public started buying their recordings? That's the essence of the show."

The creative team includes set designer Robert Brill, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Jason Lyons, sound designer Garth Helm and multi-media designer Raj Kapoor.

Producer Goldberg said in an earlier statement, "White Noise smacks you in a challenging, emotional and entertaining way. The producing team looks forward to bring this unflinchingly honest new production to Chicago where audiences are sophisticated, aware and open to a musical that will certainly remind them of today's headlines and might awaken a new awareness of current social issues."

White Noise is produced by Holly Way, Jay Strommen, Jimmy Mack, Deborah Taylor, Chris Bensinger, Tom Leonardis and Whoopi Goldberg.

White Noise had an early developmental production in the 2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival, and then was fully re-developed and went on to a critically acclaimed and sold-out engagement at New Orleans' Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in July 2009.

For tickets, call (312) 988-9000, or visit TicketMaster.com or www.whitenoisetickets.com.

For more information, visit www.whitenoisebroadway.com.

Patrick Murney, MacKenzie Mauzy, Emily Padgett and Eric Morris
Patrick Murney, MacKenzie Mauzy, Emily Padgett and Eric Morris Photo by Carol Rosegg
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