Arena Stage will present the world premiere of the new musical Snow Child, based on Eowyn Ivey’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel, April 13–May 20 in the Kreeger Theater.
Featuring a book by John Strand, music by Bob Banghart and Georgia Stitt, and lyrics by Stitt, Snow Child is a co-production with Perseverance Theatre and will subsequently play two engagements in Alaska: Anchorage (May 25–27) and Juneau (June 9–10).
Artistic Director Molly Smith will direct a cast that includes Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys) as Jack, Tony nominee Christiane Noll (Ragtime) as Mabel, Fina Strazza (Matilda) as the snow child Faina, and Natalie Toro (A Tale of Two Cities) as Esther. D.C.-based actors Alex Alferov (Arena’s Fiddler on the Roof) and Dan Manning (Ragtime) will play Garrett and George, respectively.
Rounding out the company are ensemble members Dorothy James (59E59’s Made in China), and D.C.-based David Landstrom (Signature’s Jesus Christ Superstar) and Calvin McCullough (Olney Theatre Center’s Carmen).
Snow Child follows a couple rebuilding their lives in the Alaskan wilderness when they meet a magical and mysterious snow child who transforms them.
Smith spent more than 25 years in Alaska, including nearly two decades at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, which she founded and ran for 19 years.
“The unimaginable expanse of Alaska was my home for almost half my life, and our cabin in Southeast Alaska remains a retreat for me from the heady politics of Washington, D.C.,” said Smith in a statement. “When I first read the novel, I was struck by Eowyn Ivey’s ability to capture the wildness of Alaska—something I know our audiences will be eager to experience... A Power Play, Snow Child tackles the politics of Alaska at the turn of the century and the relationship of human beings to the environment.”
“Molly sent me Eowyn Ivey’s novel back in the fall of 2014, and before I even finished reading it I wrote her to say ‘Yes, count me in. I love this book,’” added Stitt. “The story was so evocative, so theatrical, and the humanity of the main character, Mabel, was palpable. I’ve been most excited to write such a complex female character, to explore the relationships between what we own and what we only inhabit, and to write American theater music that lives fully and dramatically on the five most traditional bluegrass instruments: fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo and upright bass.”
The creative team includes music supervisor and orchestrator Lynne Shankel, music director William Yanesh, associate music director Jose C. Simbulan, puppet director Eric Wright, set designer Todd Rosenthal, costume designer Joseph P. Salasovich, lighting designer Kimberly Purtell, sound designer Roc Lee, projection designer Shawn Duan, puppet designer Emily DeCola, dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, text director Anita Maynard-Losh, stage manager Susan R. White, and assistant stage manager Trevor A. Riley. Casting is by Victor Vazquez and Geoff Josselson, C.S.A