By Kenneth Jones
10 Sep 2009
Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps and executive director Stephen Eich announced on Sept. 10 that they will present the musical — by special arrangement with American Pop Anthology and Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, in association with Universal Music Group — Nov. 6-Dec. 13.
The new musical is written by Colin Escott (Broadway-bound Million Dollar Quartet) and Floyd Mutrux (Broadway-bound Million Dollar Quartet and the award-winning film "American Hot Wax"). Earlier in 2008, American Pop Anthology presented an Equity developmental run of Baby It's You! at The Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood, where it played a sold-out run, but was not open to reviewers. The limited run was a partnership with L.A.'s BEST — Better Educated Students For Tomorrow, to help fundraise for the after-school enrichment program. Proceeds from each ticket helped to support visual and performing arts programs for 28,000 low-income elementary school kids.
Directed by Mutrux, Baby It's You! "is about the passion and determination of New Jersey housewife Florence Greenberg, who in the early 1960s, discovered The Shirelles and built one of the most successful independent record companies with African-American songwriter Luther Dixon," according to production notes. "At the dawn of the Civil Rights era, Florence and Luther became partners in more ways than one. …Baby It's You! is the intriguing story of how classic records like 'Baby, It's You,' 'Soldier Boy,' 'He's So Fine,' 'Dedicated to the One I Love,' 'Tonight's the Night,' 'Twist and Shout,' and many others came to be made, and is the story of one woman's triumph in a male-dominated world."
Opening night will be Nov. 13 at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Avenue, in Pasadena, CA.
Casting will be announced at a later date.
Joining the creative team this fall with Escott and Mutrux are Birgitte Mutrux (choreography), Richard Perry (music director), Tony Award nominee Anna Louizos (set design), Lizz Wolf (costume design), Tony winner Howell Binkley (lighting design), Martin Carrillo (sound design), Jason H. Thompson (projection design), Carol Doran (wig and hair design), Adam Irizarry (co-musical director), Caitlin Moon (assistant director), Michael Donovan (casting), Jolie Baretta Keyser (original casting), and Ronn Goswick (production stage manager).
Baby It's You!, which is the final production of the 2009 Pasadena Playhouse season, will replace the previously announced production of Laughing Matters by Iris Rainer Dart, Mike Stoller and Artie Butler.
"I am very pleased that our theatre will be involved in the next step of development for Baby It's You!," stated Epps. "This fascinating story of one woman's personal and professional journey is the perfect way to end our cross season celebration of Women on our stage. It promises to be not just a great history lesson about an unknown hero in the development of American popular music, but also a hugely entertaining evening of well-known songs, which have great emotional resonance. I look forward to working with all of the creative staff as the show evolves into the completely satisfying evening of theatrical and musical delights that I know it can be."
The musical is presented by Pasadena Playhouse, by special arrangement with American Pop Anthology and Warner Bros. Theatricals, in association with Universal Music Group. Floyd Mutrux, Jonathan Sanger, Jerry Katell and Joan Stein produce on behalf of American Pop Anthology.
For ticket information, call the Pasadena Playhouse at (626) 356-7529 or by visit www.Pasadenaplayhouse.org. Group Sales (15 or more) are available by calling (626) 737-2851.