Zhivago Musical — with Hernandez, Burrows, Strober and Hewitt — Opens in CA, May 24

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24 May 2006

Matt Bogart and Jessica Burrow in <I>Zhivago</I>.
Matt Bogart and Jessica Burrow in Zhivago.
Kevin Berne
The world premiere staging of Zhivago, a musical adaptation of the Russia-set love story, opens at La Jolla Playhouse May 24 with Ivan Hernandez, Jessica Burrows, Rena Strober and Tom Hewitt starring.

La Jolla artistic director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, 700 Sundays) stages the work which began previews May 10 for a run at the California company's Mandell Weiss Theatre through June 25. Seen last season in a Page To Stage developmental workshop, Zhivago now graduates to full production.

Based on the famous 1958 Nobel Prize-winning novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, Zhivago is set against the backdrop of the snowy country before and after the Russian Revolution. The work follows the story of a surgeon-poet and his muse Lara. It was adapted for the 1965 film starring Omar Shariff as the title character and Julie Christie as his muse.

The new work combines the talents of bookwriter Michael Weller (Moonchildren, Loose Ends), composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden) and lyricists Michael Korie (Doll - Ravinia Festival) and Amy Powers (Lizzie Borden). Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) handles choreography while Eric Stern (Once Upon a Mattress) is music director. Kelly Devine serves as associate choreographer.

Hernandez (The Most Happy Fella, The Mambo Kings) stars as the title character opposite Hewitt (Dracula, The Rocky Horror Show) with original cast members Strober (Les Miserables, My Life with Albertine) as his wife Tonya and Burrows (The Ten Commandments, La Boheme) as his love Lara.



Also featured in the cast are Dominic Bogart, Matt Bogart, Sandy Campbell, Edward Conery, Ryan Drummond, Mark Emerson, David C. Foster, Jason Heil, Melissa Hoff, Mackenzie Holmes, Christopher Kale Jones, Rebecca Kaasa, Melina Kalomas, David McDonald, Spencer Moses, Eduardo Placer, Graham Rowat, Maureen Silliman, Tina Stafford, Nick Ullett, Bibi Valderrama, and Melissa Van Der Schyff.

Jason Danieley (The Full Monty, Candide) was previously announced to star in the work, but left the La Jolla Playhouse world premiere staging due to health reasons, according to a company spokesperson. Bogart replaced him in the cast.

The design team features Heidi Ettinger (scenic), David Woolard (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting) and Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound). Steve Rankin handles fight choreography, Ursula Meyer is the dialect coach and Allison Horsley provides dramaturgy.

Tickets to Zhivago at La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla, CA are on sale at the box office or by phone at (858) 550-1010. For more information, visit www.lajollaplayhouse.com.