Raul Esparza and Sherie Rene Scott Took Part in Reading of Revised Version of Little Miss Sunshine
By Andrew Gans
La Jolla Playhouse presented a private reading of William Finn and James Lapine's new musical comedy Little Miss Sunshine earlier this month, according to The New York Times.
The reading featured a script that had been revised following the spring engagement of the musical at the Playhouse.
Lapine again directed. The reading cast, according to the New York daily, featured Tony Award nominees Raul Esparza (Speed-the-Plow, Taboo, Company) and Sherie Rene Scott (Aida, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).
The musical based on the hit film of the same name played March 4-27, under the direction of Lapine, in the LJP's Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla, CA. Previews began Feb. 15.
Finn penned music and lyrics, and Lapine wrote the libretto. Their previous collaborations include A New Brain, Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which, like the "Little Miss Sunshine" film, are populated by quirky, funny-sad characters yearning to make sense of a challenging world. In the plot, a dysfunctional family takes a road trip so that a young daughter might realize a dream of winning a beauty pageant.
The La Jolla Playhouse cast featured Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors) as "Richard Hoover," Malcolm Gets ("Caroline in the City," A New Brain, Amour) as "Frank Ginsberg," Georgi James (Billy Elliot) as "Olive Hoover," Dick Latessa (Hairspray) as "Grandpa," Jennifer Laura Thompson (Urinetown, Wicked) as "Sheryl Hoover" and Taylor Trensch (Spring Awakening) as "Dwayne Hoover." The ensemble included Bradley Dean, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Eliseo Roman, Andrew Samonsky, Sally Wilfert and Zakiya Young; and the Pageant Girls included local actresses Felicity Bryant, Sophia Delange, Kishka Grantz and Madi Rae DiPietro.
In the musical, according to La Jolla, "The Hoover family has seen better days. Richard, the father, is a floundering motivational speaker, Grandpa's been kicked out of his retirement home, and Uncle Frank's been dumped by his boyfriend. Moody teenager Dwayne has taken a vow of silence and overextended mom Sheryl can do little more than slap on a smile. But when the youngest Hoover — umm, energetic, Olive — enters a regional pre-teen beauty pageant, the family thinks their luck could change and embarks on a cross-country trek chasing the coveted title of Little Miss Sunshine."
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