The world premiere of Joy The Musical begins its run via New Jersey's George Street Playhouse December 10. The production will continue through December 30 at The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater in The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. Opening night is December 16.
Mean Girls' Erika Henningsen is starring in the title role, self-made millionaire inventor Joy Mangano. Based on Mangano's memoir Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life, the musical features a book by producer Ken Davenport and music and lyrics by AnnMarie Milazzo. Casey Hushion is directing, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse.
Also starring are Vicki Lewis (NewsRadio) as Toots, Stephen De Rosa (Mr. Saturday Night) as Rudy, and Trent Saunders (Hadestown) as Tony. The ensemble includes Sami Bray, Badia Farha, Pomme Koch, Gaelen Gilliand, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Olivia Jones, John Hickok, Ashleigh Marie Arnold, Brian Shepard, Dana Costello, Kristen Faith Oei, Alanna Saunders, Ryan Duncan, Anthony Wayne, and Justin Gregory Lopez, with swings Bronwyn Tarboton and Michal Kolaczkowski rounding out the company.
The project sees Davenport and Milazzo stepping into new career areas. Davenport is a Tony-winning Broadway producer, noted for his work on the 2017 revival of Once On This Island, The Play That Goes Wrong, and Groundhog Day. He previously co-wrote (with The Grundleshotz) the book to 2018's short-lived Gettin' the Band Back Together. Milazzo is best known as a vocal arranger and orchestrator, including on Davenport-produced projects Spring Awakening, Once On This Island, and the recently opened A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical.
Joy features scenic design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Tina McCartney, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, and hair and wig design by Liz Printz. Orchestrations are by John Clancy, with Andy Einhorn serving as music supervisor and providing arrangements. Rick Edinger is music director, and Melissa Chacón is production stage manager.
The world premiere is produced in association with Davenport and Sandi Moran.