Raśl Esparza and Brooke Shields Take a Leap of Faith in Los Angeles, Starting Sept. 11

By Andrew Gans
11 Sep 2010

Brooke Shields and Raśl Esparza
Brooke Shields and Raśl Esparza
Photo by Craig Schwartz

The world premiere of the new musical Leap of Faith — co-starring four-time Tony nominee Raúl Esparza and Golden Globe Award nominee Brooke Shields — begins performances Sept. 11 at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.

Directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, the production will officially open Oct. 3; performances will continue through Oct. 24.

Esparza plays Reverend Jonas Nightengale, the consummate flim-flam man, and Shields is Marva, the small-town woman and single mother who challenges everything he believes in. Kendra Kassebaum plays the role of Sam, the Reverend's sister and sidekick.

Principals also include  Nicholas Barasch, Jarrod Emick, Kecia Lewis-Evans and Leslie Odom, Jr.



The ensemble comprises Brad Anderson, Bradley Benjamin, Tom Berklund, Christopher Bones, Krystal Joy Brown, Ta'Rea Campbell, Eric L. Christian, Michelle Duffy, Harvey Evans, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Jennie Ford, Bob Gaynor, Angela Grovey, Shannon Lewis, Michael X. Martin, Maurice Murphy, Anise E. Ritchie, Darcie Roberts, Bryce Ryness, Ariel Shepley, C.E. Smith, Alex Michael Stoll, Dennis Stowe, Katherine Tokarz, Brandon Wardell, Karl Warden, Natalie Willes and Charlie Williams.

Leap of Faith features a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, a book by Janus Cercone with Glenn Slater and lyrics by Slater.

"When his traveling ministry breaks down in a small Kansas town," press notes state, "part-time reverend and full-time con artist (Esparza) quickly pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival. The sheriff is determined to stop Jonas from separating the townspeople from their money, but Jonas' real challenge arises when he meets a pretty waitress (Shields) and her son, whose love forces an ultimate cynic to take a real leap of faith."

The new musical is based on the motion picture "Leap of Faith" produced by Paramount Pictures Corporation and written by Janus Cercone.

The musical is the first production in Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre’s 2010-2011 season at the Los Angeles County Music Center.

For further information visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Leap.