By Kenneth Jones
04 Dec 2008
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
Casting is complete and rehearsals have begun for the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre staging of the new show by Tony winner Bob Martin (book), Susan Birkenhead (lyrics) and three-time Tony winner Charles Strouse (music). Previews begin Jan. 21, 2009, toward a Feb. 6 opening.
The varied cast, under the direction of Tony nominee Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone), includes performers from stage and screen. Rachel Dratch of "Saturday Light Live" and George Wendt of "Cheers" and Hairspray, plus Tony Award winner Beth Leavel, the original drowsy chaperone herself, are among players. This project is not based on the film "The Night They Raided Minsky's," though Birkenhead and Strouse had long been developing that as a musical.
Performances in L.A. play to March 1, 2009.
Announced Dec. 4, the Minsky's cast features Christopher Fitzgerald (Billy Minsky), Katharine Leonard (Minsky's love interest Mary), Rachel Dratch, George Wendt, Tony winner Beth Leavel, Tony nominee John Cariani (Almost, Maine, Fiddler on the Roof), Gerry Vichi (The Drowsy Chaperone, Curtains), Kevin Cahoon (Chitty Bang Bang, Hedwig) and Paul Vogt. Ensemble members include Megan Nicole Arnoldy, Nathan Balser, Roxane Barlow, Jennifer Bowles, Kirsten Bracken, Jennifer Frankel, Linda Griffin, Blake Hammond, Philip Hoffman, Stacey Todd Holt, Marc Kessler, Sabra Lewis, Matt Loehr, Ariel Reid, Jeffrey Schecter, Angie Schworer, Sarrah Strimel, Charlie Sutton, Jennifer Werner and Patrick Wetzel.
Strouse is known for Bye Bye Birdie, Annie and Applause, and Birkenhead penned lyrics for Jelly's Last Jam and Triumph of Love.
Minsky's is Center Theatre Group's second collaboration with writer Bob Martin and director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw, who created The Drowsy Chaperone.
Presented by special arrangement with commercial producers Bob Boyett and Kevin McCollum, Minsky's will feature scenic design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Ken Billington, sound design by Acme Sound Partners and hair design by Josh Marquette.
The musical direction and vocal arrangements are by Phil Reno; orchestrations are by Doug Besterman; and arrangements are by Glen Kelly. The technical supervisor is Peter Fulbright, and the production stage manager is Karen Moore.
Tickets for Minsky's start at $20 and are available by calling (213) 628-2772 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.