The mammoth 102-floor office tower in midtown Manhattan was built in the middle of the Great Depression, opened in 1931 and held the title of tallest building in New York until the opening of the twin-towered World Trade Center in 1973. The Empire State Building regained its "tallest" title after the WTC was destroyed by terrorists in 2001, and yielded it again to the One World Trade Center "Freedom Tower" in 2012.
The "new original musical about the dreamers and doers who bravely embodied the American Spirit during the Great Depression by building the tallest structure in the world" has book, music and lyrics by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull. It is directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, with musical direction by Sariva Goetx. Sherman and Hull wrote the musicals Goodney's Ghost, Byzantium and a children's show Diggy Hoffen Pepper Zee and The Colors of The Rainbow.
The limited run is scheduled through Feb. 14. No Broadway theatre, dates, casting or timeline have been announced.
Production notes describe the show thus: "When the roaring '20s collapsed into the reeling '30s, industrialists, laborers and their families mortgaged all that was safe and reasonable for the dream of leaving their mark on New York City—and the world. With big dance numbers, pop-driven melodies, and captivating spectacle, Empire puts a contemporary spin on the classic romantic musicals of the '40s and '50s. Empire is a celebration of the American spirit."
The cast of Empire features Michael Baxter, Chassey Bennett, Tommy Bracco, Ricky Bulda, Juan Caballer, Caitlyn Calfas, Kevin Earley, Fatima El-Bashir, Tory Freeth, Stephanie Gibson, Joe Hart, Charlotte Maltby, Tony Sheldon, Michael McCormick, Katharine McDonough, Gabriel Navarro, Rachel Osting, Caleb Shaw, Cooper Stanton, Michael Starr, Christine Tucker, Rodrigo Varandas, Josh Walden and Justin Michael Wilcox. Scenic and projection design are by David Gallo, with lighting design by Jared Sayeg, sound design by Phil Allen, costume design by Leon Wiebers, flying sequences choreographed by Paul Rubin, co-projection design by Brad Peterson, hair/make-up/wig design by Rick Geyer and props design by Terry Hanrahan. Casting is by Julia Flores, and the production stage manager is Jill Gold.
The producing team is listed as Marquee Ventures, Sue Vaccaro, The Rivet Gang, Lynne Walder, Jeff Davis, Katy Kinney Harris, J. Joanna Jung, William & Wynona Lazario/Jeff & Alice Badeaux, Michael & Gabrielle Palitz, Sidcat Strategies, JFA Entertainment, Dr, Dale Archer and Howard Alah-Reiken.
Tickets, which range $20-$70, can be purchased at La Mirada Theatre’s website, Lamiradatheatre.com, or by calling the La Mirada Theatre Box Office at (562) 944- 9801 or (714) 994-6310.
In development since at least 1999, the show was seen in Los Angeles (2003) and Stamford, CT (2004). A private industry workshop of the property was presented in April 2008 starring Karen Ziemba, Matt Cavenaugh and Michael McCormick.
The show had a further reading in September 2009 in New York, directed by Joey McKneely.