Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Kimiko Glenn Will Star in New Musical Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
By Kenneth Jones
Veterans of director Des McAnuff's international and Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar will punctuate the rockin', other-worldly production of his new musical Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, lit ablaze with the music of The Flaming Lips.
La Jolla Playhouse announced the cast and creative team for the world-premiere staging featuring a story by The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and former Playhouse director McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar). Music and lyrics are by The Flaming Lips. McAnuff directs.
The LJP run will be Nov. 6-Dec. 16 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla, CA.
The cast features many returning Playhouse performers, including Kimiko Glenn (The Nightingale) as Yoshimi, and several Jesus Christ Superstar alumni, including Tony Award nominee Tom Hewitt (Zhivago, The Rocky Horror Show, Dracula, The Musical and Pilate in JCS) as Dr. Peterson, Paul Nolan (Jesus in JCS) as Ben and JCS ensemble members Mary Antonini, Laurin Padolina, Jaz Sealey, Jason Sermonia and Julius Sermonia. Returning to the Playhouse are Pearl Sun (The Seven) as Mrs. Yasukawa and Albert Guerzon (The Wiz).
Seven resident actors performing include ensemble members Richard Bulda, LaMae Caparas and Jonny Wexler; swings Chelsea Diggs-Smith (The Nightingale) and Christopher Cortex; and two UC San Diego M.F.A. students: Katie McGehee and Jack Mikesell.
Additional cast members are Nik Walker as Booker, John Haggerty as Mr. Yasukawa, and ensemble members Michael Balderrama, Emmanuel Brown, Ian Paget, Vasthy Mompoint, Catherine Ricafort, Vanden Thurgood and Jesse Wildman.
"Yoshimi is a young Japanese artist facing the battle of her life: the battle for her life," according to LJP notes. "Adrift from her family and lover, Yoshimi journeys alone into a fantastical robot-world where she wages a war with fate. Her will to survive must be powerful enough to master the evil forces that threaten to destroy her." The musical is "inspired by the psychedelic music of Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips," integrating music from several albums ("Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," "The Soft Bulletin," "At War with the Mystics"). Expect a "poignant, humanistic story about the triumph of love and optimism over the mystery of our own mortality...[a] stunning, multi-media experience that offers an allegory of our modern battle for progressive thought and individuality in the face of blind acceptance and conformity."
The creative team includes Ron Melrose (musical supervisor); Bradley Rapier (choreographer); Robert Brill (scenic designer); Paul Tazewell (costume designer); Michael Walton (lighting designer); Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound designer); Sean Nieuwenhuis (projection designer); Basil Twist (puppet designer); Steve Rankin (fight director); and Gabriel Greene (dramaturg).
Tickets to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots are available online at LaJollaPlayhouse.org or by calling the Playhouse Box Office at (858) 550-1010.
The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. The followingPlayhouse productions have moved to Broadway: Memphis, Jersey Boys, Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations and Bonnie & Clyde.
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