American Theater Company (ATC)'s production of the quirky show, with music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and book and lyrics by Greg Kotis, is directed by artistic director PJ Paparelli.
The cast, playing yeast cells singing in the primordial goo, features Joseph Foronda (Jan the Elder), Andrew Keltz (Jan the Second), Melanie Brezill (Jan the Sweet), Sandie Rosa (Jan the Sly), Barbara Robertson (Jan the Unnamed), Phil Ridarelli (Jan the Wise), Wendi Weber (Jan the Famished), Bernie Balbot (Jan the Wretched/Young), Govind Kumar (Chorus), Trista Smith (Chorus), Bethany Thomas (Chorus), Bil Ingraham (Chorus), Robert Gerdisch (Chorus), Briana de Giulio (Chorus) and Stephanie Kim (New One). Musical direction is by Mark Elliott.
Opening is Sept. 23. Performances will play to Oct. 18 at the American Theater Company's home at 1909 W Byron Street, Chicago.
Yeast Nation is billed as "the strangest story ever to be musicalized" (this from the Urinetown creators). The setting is "The Primordial Soup. 3,000,458,000 B.C." According to production notes, "The world's first family, a colony of salt-eating yeasts, float in the brine of the primordial soup under the rule of a tyrannical baritone. When resources deplete and fear pervades, the faith of a single-celled dreamer starts an evolutionary chain reaction that changes the course of existence forever."
The designers are Walt Spangler (set designer), Paul Spadone (costumes), Jesse Klug (lighting designer), Lindsay Jones (sound designers), DJ Reed (props). Katie Klemme is stage manager. Choreography is by Tommy Rapley. Mark Hollmann (music and lyrics) won the Tony Award, the National Broadway Theatre Award, and the Obie Award for his music and lyrics to Urinetown the Musical, which itself won the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama League Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. His other shows as composer/lyricist include The Man in the White Suit (New York Stage and Film), The Girl, the Grouch, and the Goat (University of Kansas Summer Theatre), Alchemist the Musical (Seattle Fringe Festival), Jack the Chipper (Greenview Arts Center, Chicago), Kabooooom! (University Theater, University of Chicago), and the children’s musicals I Think I Can and Deal with It! (both at Berkshire Theatre Festival) and Fare for All at the Mount Vernon Hotel. He co-wrote and acted in The Rack, Theater of Funny, The Mercy Ripper, LBJFKKK, Love Me and All Eight Die as a founding member of Cardiff Giant Theater Company in Chicago.
Greg Kotis (book and lyrics) wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics for Urinetown, for which he won an Obie Award and two Tony Awards. As a member of the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, he co-wrote and performed in six original comedies including LBJFKKK, Love Me, All Eight Die, Rancho Obscuoro, Aftertaste and Dreamy. Other plays include Jobey and Katherine, Eat the Taste, Pig Farm and The Truth About Santa (An Apocalyptic Holiday Tale).
For more information, visit www.atcweb.org.