Broadway-Bound Ace Musical Takes Wing in VA; Noll, Scott, Skinner, Paice, Stanek, Lacey Star

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03 Sep 2008

<I>Ace</I> star Dalton Harrod
Ace star Dalton Harrod
Joan Marcus
Wings aloft, Ace, the Broadway-aimed musical about a boy's flight through his own family history, opens Sept. 3 following previews from Aug. 27 at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.

A flock of divas is helping to keep the production airborne. Broadway's Jill Paice (Curtains), Emily Skinner (The Full Monty, Side Show), Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde) and Florence Lacey (Hello, Dolly!, The Grand Tour) are featured in the Signature production of the musical drama by Richard Oberacker (music) with book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker.

Signature's artistic director Eric Schaeffer directs Ace, seen in separate earlier regional stagings. Choreography is by Karma Camp.

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"Set just after WWII, Ace is an epic story of a young boy's search to come to terms with his past and unlock his future," according to Signature. "A tale of triumph, humor, and heart as seen through a child's eyes, Ace magically explores the heroic lives and unforeseen legacies of the men and women of America's Greatest Generation."



Dalton Harrod, 11, plays the role of Danny. Paice (recently of London's Gone with the Wind) plays Danny's mother Elizabeth. The character of Ace will be played by Matthew Scott of Broadway's Jersey Boys and A Catered Affair. Danny's foster parents are played by Skinner, of and Signature's Witches of Eastwick, and Duke Lafoon from the original production of Ace. Broadway regular and Witches of Eastwick star Noll is Ruth and Jim Stanek of Broadway's Lestat and Little Woman is John Robert. The social worker Mrs. Crandall is played by Lacey, of Signature's Saving Aimee. Danny's friend Emily is played by Angelina Kelly.

Performing in the ensemble are Richard Barth, William Beech, George Dvorsky, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Jason Reiff, Danny Rothman, Elizabeth Share, and Gabrielle Stravelli.

The production features scenic design by Walt Spangler, costume design by Robert Perdziola, lighting design by Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz, projection design by Michael Clark, arrangements and orchestrations Greg Anthony and musical direction by David Kreppel. The production stage manager is Kerry Epstein.

Ace was originally produced by The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Ace was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in 2005. This production of Ace is presented in association with Tom Smedes and Nancy Nagel Gibbs. Broadway dates have not been announced.

Richard Oberacker (composer, co-lyricist, co-librettist) is currently the conductor for Cirque Du Soleil's KA in Las Vegas. He also served as original conductor and orchestrator for Cirque's Dralion. As a composer and co-author, his musicals include The Gospel According to Fishman (Signature Theatre), Journey to the West (New York Musical Theater Festival), Don't Make Me Pull This Show Over: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Parenting (Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati April of 2009), Dracula - The Game of Love (Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music), A Little Theater (Aurelia Theater) and In That Valley (National Alliance for Musical Theater Festival). Upcoming is a new commission for Signature Theatre: The Sandman.

Robert Taylor (co-lyricist, co-librettist) began writing poetry and lyrics around the same time he picked up the violin at the age of eight. His love of music, languages, literature, and birds, has led him to a lifetime of study and travel. A graduate of Holland's Royal Conservatory, Union College, the University of Bonn, and Princeton, he has taught foreign languages and ornithology in New York, English and music in China, served as Music Critic for the Albany Times Union, founded and directed several non-profits, worked as a freelance musician and writer in Manhattan, and a translator in Europe and Asia. As lyricist and co-author, his other musicals include Journey to the West (New York Musical Theater Festival), Don't Make Me Pull This Show Over: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Parenting (2008 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati April of 2009), and The Sandman (a new commission for Signature Theatre).

Ace will play in Signature's MAX Theatre until Sept. 28. Tickets, ranging in price from $49 to $86 each, are available at Ticketmaster at (703) 573-7328 or visiting www.signature-theatre.org.