Casting has been announced for the Paper Mill Playhouse’s upcoming production of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, which will begin previews September 26 prior to an official opening October 6 at the New Jersey venue.
Directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Denis Jones, with orchestrations by Larry Blank and David Libby and music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the new musical will continue through October 27.
The principal cast features Ruby Rakos, who starred in Chasing Rainbows at the Flatrock Playhouse and Goodspeed, as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, Tony nominee Max von Essen (An American in Paris, Falsettos national tour) as Frank Gumm, Olivier winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes ‘Round) as Ma Lawlor/Kay Koverman, Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods, Boardwalk Empire) as Louis B. Mayer, Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting) as Mickey Rooney, and Colin Hanlon (Modern Family, Benny & Joon) as Roger Edens.
Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Grace Brown, Lamont Brown, Joe Cassidy, Clara Cox, Tessa Grady, Sophie Knapp, Molly Lyons, Kimberly Immanuel, Christina Maxwell, Kevin B. McGlynn, Allsun O’Malley, Samantha Joy Pearlman, Drew Redington, Joshua J. Schwartz, Parker Slaybaugh, Sean Thompson, Violet Tinnirello, and Kathy Voytko.
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz has a book by Marc Acito, musical adaptation and additional music by David Libby, and conception and additional lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento. The musical, which chronicles Judy Garland’s early career from vaudeville baby to MGM teen star, is also the story of love between a father and daughter. The production features such songs as “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” and “Everybody Sing.”
The production will also have scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Matt Kraus, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and makeup design by Dena Olivieri. John Fricke serves as creative consultant. The production stage manager is Bonnie Panson. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
In a statement Casamento said, “Chasing Rainbows is about how, against all odds, the teenage Frances Gumm became the legendary Judy Garland, and it’s a story I’ve wanted to tell as a musical for years, since first reading a Garland biography.”
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