Whistlin' Dixie: New Musical Atlanta Debuts at L.A's Geffen Playhouse Nov. 20 | Playbill

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News Whistlin' Dixie: New Musical Atlanta Debuts at L.A's Geffen Playhouse Nov. 20 Marcus Hummon and Adrian Pasdar's new musical Atlanta begins its world-premiere engagement at the Geffen Playhouse Nov. 20.
Merle Dandridge and Leonard Roberts in Atlanta. Photo by Michael Lamont

Geffen artistic director Randall Arney co-directs the work with creator Pasdar. The show will officially open Nov. 28 for a run slated through Jan. 6, 2008. Musical staging is by Kay Cole. Kevin Toney serves as musical director.

Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Hummon — who has penned hits for Dixie Chicks, Rascal Flatts, Wynonna, Tim McGraw and more — teams with actor, writer and director Pasdar ("Heroes," "Desperate Housewives") on the musical, which mixes select prose by William Shakespeare with original bluegrass music and country tunes. Hummon provides the music and co-wrote the book with Pasdar.

Set "toward the end of the Civil War, in the waning days of the Confederacy," reads a show description, "a young Yankee, Paul, assumes the persona of a Confederate soldier in order to keep alive behind enemy lines."

"At its heart, Atlanta is the story of a nation in search of itself, and I can't think of a more appropriate time than the current political landscape to retell this story in a way that's compelling, entertaining and utterly relevant," stated Pasdar in a release. "With such universal themes, we wanted to make the play more approachable and less like a traditional musical. The resulting show is a hybrid, more like a play with music."

The ensemble features "a cast of eight, a small chorus comprised of understudies and a band of five musicians." Ken Barnett (Wonderful Town) stars in the role of Paul opposite JoNell Kennedy (seen regionally in Intimate Apparel and at the Geffen in I Just Stopped By To See the Man) in the title role. Also featured are John Fleck ("Carnivale") as Colonel Medraut, Travis Johns ("The Closer") as Lieutenant Virgil, Leonard Roberts ("Heroes") as Hamlet, Merle Dandridge (Tarzan, Rent, Aida) as Cleo and Moe Daniels (The Lion King - L.A., Rent tour) as Puck.

The design team includes John Arnone (scenic), Debra McGuire (costume), Daniel Ionazzi (lighting), Brian Hsieh (sound) and Austin Switser (projection). Jill Gold serves as production stage manager with Amy Bristol Brownewell as assistant stage manager.

Tickets to Atlanta at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue in Los Angeles, CA, are available by calling (310) 208-5454. For more information visit GeffenPlayhouse.com.

Ken Barnett in the world-premiere of Atlanta at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont
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