Jason Danieley, Hannah Elless, More Will Star in World Premiere of New Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty Musical Knoxville

Regional News   Jason Danieley, Hannah Elless, More Will Star in World Premiere of New Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty Musical Knoxville
Asolo Repertory Theatre will present the new musical, which features a book by Frank Galati.
Jason Danieley and Hannah Elless
Jason Danieley and Hannah Elless

Jason Danieley (The Visit, The Full Monty, Candide) and Hannah Elless (Bright Star) will play James and Mary in Asolo Repertory Theatre's world premiere of the new Frank Galati, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens musical Knoxville. Also directed by Galati, previews will begin at the Florida venue April 3 prior to an official opening April 10. Performances will continue through April 25.

The cast will also include Ellen Harvey as Aunt Hannah, Sarah Aili as Sally, Jack Casey as Rufus, Kate Chapman as Jessie, Barbara Marineau as Catherine, Ben Michael as Jay, William Parry as Joel, Nathan Salstone as Andrew, Joel Waggoner as Ralph, and Scott Wakefield as Man at the Scene/Father Jackson.

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Based on James Agee’s autobiographical Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, the story begins as Agee struggles to write his greatest novel—about the event that touched his young life, and the effect it had on his mother, his town, and his own future.

Galati adapted the book, with music by Flaherty and lyrics by Ahrens; the three previously collaborated on the 1998 Broadway musical Ragtime.

“Agee ‘writes’ the story as the audience experiences it,” says Galati. “Our musical begins in 1955 in the author’s workshop. He thinks, ‘Maybe by telling my story, I can find out who I am.’”

“I tried to create a very American sound that had elements of folk and country—popular parlor music of the period that would have been presented in a casual, intimate way,” adds Flaherty. “Actors often play instruments throughout the evening, supporting one another both musically and emotionally.”

The production will also have choreography by Josh Rhodes, scenic and costume design by Robert Perdziola, orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, and music supervision and music direction by Tom Murray.

Asolo Rep commissioned the project starting in 2018 and hosted a developmental workshop in June 2019.

Danieley has been a special guest performer on Playbill Travel’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are now on sale for Broadway in the Great Northwest, Playbill Travel’s first domestic cruise featuring Kate Baldwin, Tedd Firth, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Aaron Lazar, Beth Leavel, Gavin Lee, Kate Shindle and Ambassadors Lucie Arnaz, Ted Chapin, and Tommy Tune (April 26–May 4, 2020), and for Broadway on the Mediterranean (August 31–September 7, 2020), featuring Audra McDonald, Gavin Creel, Santino Fontana, Caissie Levy, John McDaniel, Lindsay Mendez, and Will Swenson and for Broadway on the Nile (December 27, 2020–January 7, 2021) with performers soon to be announced and Broadway on the Caribbean (February 15–22, 2021) featuring Jenn Colella, Corey Cott, Nikki M James, John McDaniel, Laura Osnes, and Faith Prince. To book a suite or stateroom, call Playbill Travel at 866-455-6789 or visit PlaybillTravel.com.

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