Waterwell has announced complete casting for the Blueprint Specials, a collection of lost Frank Loesser musicals commissioned by the U.S. Army during World War II that are being revived as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. Joining Tony nominees Laura Osnes and Will Swenson will be Broadway regulars Quinn Mattfeld (The Cherry Orchard) and Jenny Florkowski (Wicked).
The show is presented in association with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and will be staged on the interior hangar deck of the museum—a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that served during World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. Performances will run January 6-11, 2017, directed by Tom Ridgely.
The principal cast will also feature Emily McAleesejergins (vocalist for the West Point Band), James Edward Becton (U.S. army veteran), and Waterwell ensemble members Hanna Cheek (The Pumpkin Pie Show) and Kevin Townley (The Talent Show).
Additional casting includes U.S. military veterans as well as active duty and reserve service members: Michael Acevedo, Brad Bong, Adrienne Brammer, Hugh Cha, Jennean Farmer, Sandra Lee, Kayonnia Rollins, Nelly Saviñon, Robert Soto, and Sade Thomas; as well as civilian artists Mark Banik, Kate Berman, Lyndsey Brown, Taylor Crousore, Ethan Hardy, Kurt Hellerich, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Rich Hollman, Dea Julien, Erica Page, Eddie Rodriguez, Kelsey Shaw, Mandy Striph, and Jennifer Joan Thompson.
“Our goal from the beginning for the Blueprints was to create a true civilian-military collaboration,” said director Ridgely in a press statement. “Artists in particular are well-positioned to bridge that divide, so what a thrill it will be to build a new community of veterans, active military, reservists, spouses and children alongside their new colleagues from Broadway and Off-Broadway. This isn’t just bringing arts to the military, it’s using the arts to bring military and civilian worlds together.”
Originally conceived in 1944-45 by the Special Services Division of the War Department, the Blueprint Specials were created by Tony, Oscar, and Pulitzer winner Loesser, along with writer Arnold M. Auerbach. Additional lyrics were contributed by Hy Zaret (Ballads for the Age of Science), and the dance numbers were composed by multiple Oscar nominee Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of Salesman, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). The original choreography for the Blueprint Specials, by José Limón, will be reconstructed by José Limón Dance Foundation artistic director Colin Connor and Limón Dance Company dancers.
The Blueprints, as they were called, were conceived as what Special Services described as “a novel and very practical service for soldiers who wish to put on good GI shows for GI audiences.” The Army packaged and distributed them as a complete script, score/orchestrations, scenic and costume drawings, along with instructions for how to put on the show.
“The fact that in the midst of the most widespread war in history the U.S. Army was bothering at all to commission Broadway-style musicals is astonishing,” said Waterwell artistic director Arian Moayed in an earlier statement. “The fact that they were created by artists of this caliber feels almost miraculous. These are documents of immense historical importance, and we couldn’t be more honored to be giving them their first staging since 1945, and their first ever for the American public.”
Don't miss Osnes at the 2017 BroadwayCon when the fan-favorite event returns January 27-29, 2017. More information below!