Road Trip! Finn & Lapine's Little Miss Sunshine Musical Begins World-Premiere Run in CA

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15 Feb 2011

Hunter Foster
Hunter Foster

William Finn and James Lapine's new musical comedy Little Miss Sunshine, featuring Broadway's Hunter Foster, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Malcolm Gets and Tony Award winner Dick Latessa, begins a world-premiere run Feb. 15 at La Jolla Playhouse in California.

The musical based on the hit film of the same name plays to March 27, under the direction of Lapine, in the LJP's Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla, CA. 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 (play by Georgi James) might realize a dream of winning a beauty pageant.

Opening night is March 4. The cast features 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 includes Bradley Dean, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Eliseo Roman, Andrew Samonsky, Sally Wilfert and Zakiya Young; and the Pageant Girls include local actresses Felicity Bryant, Sophia Delange, Kishka Grantz and Madi Rae DiPietro.

Georgi James

In the musical, according to La Jolla notes, "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."

Georgi James, who play beauty-pageant hopeful Olive, appeared in the Broadway productions of Billy Elliot and A Tale of Two Cities, the Off-Broadway production of Orphans' Home Cycle, and various workshops, including Driver's Education.



The creative team includes David Korins (scenic designer); Jennifer Caprio (costume designer); Ken Billington (lighting designer); Dan Moses Schreier (sound designer); Christopher Gatelli (musical staging); Vadim Feichtner (music director/conductor); Michael Starobin (orchestrator); and William Aronson (music arranger).

For more information, call (858) 550-1010 or visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.