Umbrellas of Cherbourg — with Vampire's von Essen — Begins Previews Sept. 22

News   Umbrellas of Cherbourg — with Vampire's von Essen — Begins Previews Sept. 22 The Two River Theater Company's production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg — co-starring Max von Essen and Heather Spore — will begin performances at the New Jersey theatre Sept. 22.
Max von Essen
Max von Essen Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Von Essen plays Guy with Spore as Genevieve, and the cast also includes Maureen Silliman as Madame Emery, Ken Krugman as Cassard, Patti Perkins as Aunt Elise and Robyn Payne as Madeleine with Jonathan C. Kaplan, Joshua Furr, Steven Stein Grainger, Brett Rigby, Kate Sortino and Sara DeLaney. The limited engagement — directed by Jonathan Fox — will officially open Sept. 24 and will play through Oct. 16.

Umbrellas is adapted from the 1964 Jacques Demy film that starred Catherine Deneuve and featured a score by Amour's Michel Legrand. The stage version was originally presented by the Public Theater in 1979; the upcoming production — with music by Legrand and French lyrics by Demy — features an English stage adaptation by Sheldon Harnick in association with Charles Burr.

In a recent statement, director Fox said, "We’re very honored to present the first stage version of this beautiful musical in 25 years. I can’t think of a more exciting way to open the premiere season in our new facility."

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, according to production notes, "is a passionate sung-through tale of two star-crossed lovers — Genevieve (Spore), a shop girl and Guy (von Essen), an auto mechanic — whose love is put to the test when Guy is drafted into military service."

The creative team also includes Ginger Thatcher (choreography), Nathan Hurwitz (music direction), Neil Prince (set design), Moira Shaughnessy (costume design), Aaron Black (lighting design) and Zach Williamson (sound design). Max von Essen, who will be part of the Kennedy Center's upcoming production of Mame, recently appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow and in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Baker's Wife. On Broadway the actor has been seen in Dance of the Vampires, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables; his Off-Broadway credits include The Fantasticks and John & Paul. Von Essen's regional credits are numerous and include Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was also part of the all-star benefit concert of Children of Eden.

Umbrellas will play Wednesday through Saturdays at 8 PM with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 PM. Two River Theater Company is located at 21 Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, NJ. Tickets, priced $32-$48, are available by calling (732) 345-1400 or by visiting www.trtc.org.