Toxic Avenger, the Rock Musical, Begins in NJ; Broadway's Opel Stars

News   Toxic Avenger, the Rock Musical, Begins in NJ; Broadway's Opel Stars
 
Following the summer California bow of their musical, Memphis, at the La Jolla Playhouse, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan now look east to the Oct. 1 first preview of their other musical, The Toxic Avenger.

George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, is producing the sci-fi musical comedy inspired by the cult classic film. Tony Award nominee Nancy Opel is among cast members of the George Street's 35th season opener, directed by John Rando (Urinetown, The Dinner Party). Opening is Oct. 10. Performances play to Nov. 2.

With a book and lyrics by DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), and music and lyrics by Bon Jovi founding member and keyboardist David Bryan, this musical romp offers a timely "green" message set in New Jersey.

According to GSP, "Tromaville is one exit you don't want to take off the New Jersey Turnpike — but Melvin Ferd the Third is determined to change all that. Tossed into a big vat of radioactive goo, he is transformed into The Toxic Avenger — New Jersey's own superhero — righting wrongs, beating bullies and seducing his ladylove, Sarah the blind librarian. The Toxic Avenger takes the terrific characters from the 1980s cult classic film by Lloyd Kaufman and creates a smart, clever and extremely entertaining new rock musical and love story."

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The cast also includes newcomer Nick Cordero, seen in his native Canada in roles such as Jamie in The Last Five Years and Che in Evita as Melvin Ferd the Third, who transforms into New Jersey's first superhero — The Toxic Avenger; Tony Award nominee Opel (Broadway's Urinetown, Fiddler on the Roof) as Mayor of Tromaville, the fictitious New Jersey toxic township; Audra Blaser (seen in the television series "Suburban Girl" and "Lovebites") as Sarah, the blind librarian — Melvin's love interest; David Josefsberg (Broadway's The Wedding Singer and Grease) and Demond Green (The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse, Midsummer Night's Dream at Paper Mill Playhouse and McCarter Theatre), playing a number of roles. The creative team for The Toxic Avenger includes musical director-orchestrator Christopher Jahnke (Aida musical director, orchestrations for Cry Baby and Legally Blonde), choreographer Wendy Seyb (Walmartopia, Trey Parker's Cannibal the Musical), scenic designer Beowulf Boritt (Falsettos at George Street Playhouse, Broadway's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), lighting designer Ken Posner (Hairspray, Grease) and costume designer David C. Woolard (a Tony nominee for The Rocky Horror Show and The Who's Tommy).

Plainfield, NJ native John Dods (Beauty and the Beast and Young Frankenstein) will design "the prosthetics that will facilitate the transformation of Melvin Ferd the Third into The Toxic Avenger."

For information, call the Playhouse box office (732) 246-7717, or purchase online at www.GSPonline.org.

George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, "in the heart of New Brunswick's dining and entertainment district."

Nancy Opel and Nick Cordero in the George Street Playhouse production of <i>The Toxic Avenger</i>
Nancy Opel and Nick Cordero in the George Street Playhouse production of The Toxic Avenger Photo by T. Charles Erickson
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