Tony Award-Winning Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! Will Be Filmed in NC

News   Tony Award-Winning Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! Will Be Filmed in NC
 
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!, ventriloquist Johnson's Tony Award-winning theatrical memoir tracing the history of his craft, and his place in it, will be filmed for future video release. Its coming two-performance engagement in Wilmington, NC, will be preserved.

Jay Johnson and
Jay Johnson and "Darwin." Photo by Carol Rosegg

The Two and Only! — featuring the former star of TV's "Soap" and a gaggle of puppets — won the 2007 Tony for Special Theatrical Event. It will play two performances (2 PM and 8 PM) on Sept. 15 at Thalian Hall in North Carolina. Visit thalianhall.org. Home video distribution and/or future broadcast information will be announced at a later date.

The performances at Thalian Hall are being staged for filming by director Bryan W. Simon and producer Marjorie A. Engesser for Montivagus Productions. Emmy Award winner Adam Alphin is the director of photography.

Director Simon said in a statement, "Filming Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! allows the opportunity to preserve the present-day artistry of ventriloquism." Simon will use eight cameras for the project "to capture all the nuances of what would otherwise go undetected on the Broadway stage."

Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! played 70 performances and 10 previews at the Hayes on Broadway in the fall of 2006, when Johnson was credited as the writer, sharing "conceiver" credit with Murphy Cross and Paul Kreppel. Cross and Kreppel shared director credit. Beowulf Boritt was the scenic designer.

Before its Broadway run, the show played regional engagements and an Off-Broadway run. Following Broadway, it returned to the road and made a brief return to Off-Broadway Jan. 8-10, 2010, at the Theatre at St. Peter's. As previously reported, in Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!, Johnson "deconstructs and demonstrates his lifelong obsession," aided by a "cast" that includes Bob, Amigo, Darwin, Long John La Feat, Nethernore — the Bird of Death, Spaulding, Arthur Drew, Jackie and Ga Ga and Squeaky.

Best known for playing the schizophrenic role of Chuck and Bob on the groundbreaking television comedy "Soap," Johnson is one of the world's most famous living ventriloquists, part of an ancient tradition, which is explored in the show. Johnson follows in the footsteps of such performers as Jules Vernon, Fred Russell (and Coster Joe), The Great Lester (and Frank Byron, Jr.), Edgar Bergen (and Charlie McCarthy) and Paul Winchell, "who have all helped to define ventriloquism as a bonafide modern art form."

For more information, visit thetwoandonly.com.

Jay Johnson and "Bob."
Jay Johnson and "Bob." Photo by Carol Rosegg
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