Espinosa and Felciano to Star in Reprise! Flora, the Red Menace

By Andrew Gans
27 Feb 2008

Eden Espinosa and Manoel Felciano
Eden Espinosa and Manoel Felciano

Eden Espinosa — whose Broadway credits include the title role in Brooklyn and Elphaba in Wicked — will star in the Reprise! Broadway's Best upcoming staging of Kander and Ebb's Flora, the Red Menace.

Directed by Philip Himberg with choreography by Christopher Pilafian, Espinosa will portray Flora with Sweeney Todd Tony nominee Manoel Felciano as Harry. The limited engagement will run May 6-18 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse; opening night is May 7.

Flora, the Red Menace features music by John Kander and lyrics by the late Fred Ebb. George Abbott penned the book (with Robert Russell) and directed the original 1965 Broadway production, which starred Liza Minnelli, who won a Tony Award for her Broadway debut. The Vineyard Theatre presented a revised version in 1987 with a book by David Thompson; the Reprise! mounting will utilize the Thompson book.

Flora, according to press notes, "is set in 1935, the year that President Franklin Roosevelt started the New Deal to help pull the country out of the depth of the Depression. Flora, an optimistic and headstrong young woman, is looking to make her way in New York as a fashion designer when she finds herself falling for the shy Harry, a WPA artist who convinces her to join the Communist party. In this version, this story is being performed as a play within a play – with nine actors playing twenty-five parts - in the famous Federal Theatre Project, which was part of the WPA.

"After landing a dream job (paying $30 a week) at Garrett and Mellick's, an important fashion company in New York, Flora finds that the demands of the Communist party become too much to handle, especially when it begins to interfere with her romance with Harry and her new job. As Flora's involvement with the party progresses, she realizes she must choose between her love for Harry and her own personal beliefs."



Eden Espinosa made her Broadway debut covering the roles of Elphaba and Nessarose in Stephen Schwartz's Wicked. She eventually assumed the role of Elphaba on Broadway and also opened the sit-down production of Wicked in Los Angeles. Espinosa also played the role of Brooklyn — a part she created at the Denver Civic Theatre — in the musical of the same name at the Schoenfeld Theatre, and she made her solo concert debut at New York's Town Hall. The actress began singing at the age of three, performing at the age of five and recording at the age of ten.

Manoel Felciano has been seen on Broadway in Sweeney Todd, Brooklyn, Jesus Christ Superstar and Cabaret as well as in the national tours of Saturday Night Fever and Whistle Down the Wind. His Off-Broadway credits include Shockheaded Peter and Much Ado About Nothing. Felciano received a 2006 Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Last season, he starred in the title role of the Reprise! production of Sunday in the Park with George.

The UCLA Freud Playhouse is located in Macgowan Hall. Tickets for Reprise! productions are available by calling (310) 825-2101. For more information visit www.reprise.org.