PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Only Make Believe..." Behind the Scenes at Asolo Rep's Show Boat with Marissa McGowan and Nicholas Ward

By Matthew Blank
05 Dec 2013

Marissa McGowan (A Little Night Music) is currently starring as Magnolia in Asolo Rep's winter staging of Show Boat. She teamed up with castmate Nicholas Ward to offer an exclusive look backstage at the popular Florida venue.



"Hello Playbill! It's Marissa McGowan and Nicholas Ward coming to you from the Asolo Repertory Theatre in beautiful Sarasota, Florida," said leading lady McGowan. "We are having a blast working on Show Boat down here and wanted to share a two-show day with you! So hop on board the Show Boat and enjoy some of our backstage foolishness. Hope you enjoy! xo"

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"Foolishness"... as Nicholas would say.
Photo by Marissa McGowan and Nicholas Ward



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Directed by Rob Ruggiero, the cast of Show Boat includes Joel Blum (Show Boat, Steel Pier) as Captain Andy Hawks, Ben Davis (A Little Night Music, Les Misérables) as Gaylord Ravenal, Michael James Leslie (Hair, The Wiz) as Joe and Marissa McGowan (A Little Night Music, Bonnie & Clyde) as Magnolia.

The cast also features Elisa Van Duyne, Denis Lambert, Dorothy Stanley, Daniella Dalli, David Sattler, Dereck Seay, E. Faye Butler, Bruce Sabath, Dan Kennett, Griffeth Whitehurst, Lilly Mae Stewart, Katie Weidmaier, Denise Lute, Jeff M. Smith, Nicholas Ward, Brigid Kegel and Brittany Proia. The ensemble includes Daniel Belnavis, Troy Jackson, Candace Culcleasure and Johnathan Shepherd.

Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, Show Boat has music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

The production will continue performances through Dec. 29.

"Show Boat will take audiences aboard Captain Andy Hawks' Cotton Blossom, a 19th-century riverboat that travels from town to town on the Mississippi River with a troupe of performers," press notes state. "The musical chronicles these performers' lives during a crucially transformative period in U.S. history, spanning 1887 to 1927, from the dawn of the Progressive Era to the eve of the Great Depression. Show Boat explores many poignant topics, including racial diversity in marriage and economic hardships, that still challenge the world today."

"Show Boat encompasses all that is extraordinary, complex and dynamic about the American family and is the perfect introduction to Asolo Rep's thrilling 2013-2014 season and the second year of the American Character Project. Ever since its Broadway premiere in 1927 completely revolutionized the form of the American musical, the show's themes, characters and music have resonated deeply with audiences from all walks of life. It is the first modern American musical, and we are delighted to continue its dazzling, timeless voyage here in Sarasota,” Michael Donald Edwards, producing artistic director of Asolo Repertory Theatre, said in an earlier statement.

The musical launches the second year of Asolo Rep's five-year American Character Project, which examines the different aspects of the country, including history, culture and politics. The second year of the project will concentrate on family, in both traditional and unconventional forms.

This re-imagined version of Show Boat was mounted in 2011 at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, directed by Rob Ruggiero and choreographed by Noah Racey, who lead Asolo Rep's production, along with musical director Wade Russo.

The production also has set design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Amy Clark, lighting design by John Lasiter and sound design by Kevin Kennedy. 

For tickets and more information, call (941) 351-8000 or visit asolorep.org.