Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, the new musical that traces the early part of Judy Garland’s career as an MGM child star, began performances September 26 at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.
Directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Denis Jones, Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz officially opens October 6 for a run through October 27. The musical has a book by Marc Acito, musical adaptation and additional music by David Libby, and conception and additional lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento.
Spanning the first 16 years of Garland’s career, Chasing Rainbows takes audiences from her vaudeville debut as Baby Gumm at age two-and-a-half, through her casting in The Wizard of Oz. The score is built from songs from Garland’s MGM catalog, including “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” and “Everybody Sing.”
The principal cast features Ruby Rakos, who starred in previous stagings of Chasing Rainbows at the Flatrock Playhouse and Goodspeed, as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, alongside 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.