Hayley Anna Norris stars as the awkward, yet charming waitress Rose Fenny opposite Cory Jeacoma as Eddie Birdlace, the soldier who asks Rose out on a date to the "Dogfight" — the annual dance held on the eve of the marines' deployment, in which the young men strive to snag the ugliest date.
Amy Rogers, director of the BFA Musical Theater Program at Pace, directs the production, which plays through Oct. 9 at the University's Schaeberle Studio Theatre. The cast also features Jacob Pincus and Charles Franklin as Eddie's comrades, Bernstein and Boland, respectively, and Emily Rogers as Marcy, a prostitute hired to rig the "Dogfight" competition.
"We have access to these writers, and the first day of rehearsal [Benj, Justin and Peter] were here talking about it and explaining the process [of] the piece and all of its incarnations," director Rogers told Playbill.com. "That they will never get [with another property]. When [writers] walk in a room, [students think], 'Holy crap!' It's like their idols walk in the room, [but] when you sit down with them, they're human and they are artists as well, and the experience becomes collaborative. That's what you do this for."
The musical features a score by Pasek and Paul, 2013 Tony Award nominees for their work on Broadway's A Christmas Story, the Musical, and a book by Peter Duchan. Pasek and Paul, who (with book writer Duchan) visited the students on their first day of rehearsal, previously told Playbill.com, "It was such a joyous and surreal experience to attend Pace's first rehearsal. To watch a fresh set of young and talented actors bring this material to life for the first time since the wonderful production that Second Stage gave us... it's really inspiring. And it was an eye-opening experience to hear their questions about the show and get a glimpse into their interpretation of the piece. We couldn't be more excited."
Duchan added, "The student actors asked smart, detailed questions that made me even more excited to see their take on our freshman effort. I'm so excited for Dogfight's life post-Second Stage, and this production seems like a great start."
Rounding out the ensemble are William Bellamy Gibbs/Dogfight Date/Big Tony, Tony Clements as Fector/Hippie, Kevin Shotwell as Stevens/Waiter/Hippie, Christopher Nolan as Lounge Singer/Pete/Sergeant/Phill, Katy Rea as Mama/Peggy/Fectors Date/Hippie, Aury Krebs as Ruth Two Bears/Chippy/Librarian and Carly Grayson as Marcy's understudy.
Read the Playbill.com feature with Pasek and Paul about their collaboration and the Off-Broadway premiere of Dogfight.
Other members of the creative team at Pace include assistant director Katherine Wilkins, music director Joel Waggoner, choreographer Ryan Kasprzak, assistant choreographer David Grinrod, set designer Anne Bartek, costume designer Erin Schultz, lighting designer Graham Kindred, assistant lighting designer Sienna Gonzalez, sound designer David M. Lawson, production stage manager Connor Santos, assistant stage manager Jen McMahon, production assistant Michael Money, production manager Josh Bradford and stage management mentor Chris Zaccardi.
Performances are offered Oct. 2-4 at 8 PM, Oct. 5 at 2 PM and 8 PM, Oct. 6 at 1 PM and 7 PM and Oct. 8-9 at 8 PM.
Watch rehearsal footage from Dogfight at Pace: