See Who's Joining Patrick Page, Steven Boyer, and Mary Testa in Return to the Forbidden Planet Benefit Concert

Benefits and Galas   See Who's Joining Patrick Page, Steven Boyer, and Mary Testa in Return to the Forbidden Planet Benefit Concert
Original New York cast member Gabriel Barre will direct Red Bull Theater’s one-night-only benefit concert.
Patrick Page Marc J. Franklin

Casting is complete for Red Bull Theater’s one-night-only benefit concert of Return to the Forbidden Planet, the 1989 jukebox musical that reimagined The Tempest as a sci-fi space adventure, October 21 at 7:30 PM at Symphony Space.

The cast, as previously reported, will be led by Steven Boyer (Hand to God), Kim Exum (The Book of Mormon), Mary Testa (Oklahoma!), Jo Lampert (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire), and Patrick Page (Hadestown).

Kevin R. Free
Kevin R. Free

Newly announced for the evening are Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde), Kevin R. Free (Dave), and Amy Spanger (Matilda), with cameo appearances by Bryan Batt, Emily Bergl, Arnie Burton, Veanne Cox, Paige Davis, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Ann Harada, Chad Kimball, Crista Moore, Sarah Rice, Derek Smith, Emily Swallow, Marc Vietor, Jeffrey Eugene Johnson, Ben Jones, Charlotte Maltby, and Salisha Thomas.

Making special video appearances will be five-time Tony nominee Dana Ivey, celebrity astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and two-time Drama Desk winner Michael Urie.

Using rock songs from the 1950s and ’60s, including “Great Balls of Fire,” “Shake Rattle and Roll,” “The Monster Mash,” and “Good Vibrations,” Return to the Forbidden Planet won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical of the 1989–1990 season, beating out Miss Saigon. A New York production premiered at the Variety Arts Theater Off-Broadway in 1991 to a less favorable response.

The Red Bull Theater benefit concert marks the first time Return to the Forbidden Planet has been mounted in New York since the original production closed in 1992. Gabriel Barre, an original cast member in the 1991-1992 Off-Broadway run, will direct the concert staging.

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Return to Forbidden Planet will feature Greg Pliska leading a five-piece band (Matt Deitchman on guitar, Jessie Nelson on drums, Pearl Rhein on bass, and Jenny Horn on sax) with choreography by Tracy Bersley, costume design by Heather Jackson, projection design by Joshua Thorson, sound design by Patrick LaChance, and lighting design by Paul Hudson. Casting is by Stuart Howard.

Bob McCormick serves as project consultant and Mary Ehlinger as script editor and music consultant. Chris Zaccardi is the stage manager, and Sean Patrick is the production manager.

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