David Aron Damane Will Ponder "Old Man River" in Goodspeed's Show Boat

News   David Aron Damane Will Ponder "Old Man River" in Goodspeed's Show Boat
David Aron Damane, whose Broadway credits include The Life and the revival of Big River, will play Joe in Goodspeed Musicals' new production of Show Boat.

David Aron Damane
David Aron Damane

Damane will play the stevedore who labors on the Cotton Blossom, cooing with his lady Queenie and ruminating about the indifference of "Old Man River" in the classic 1927 musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Damane's credits include Riverdance and the national tour of the musical The Color Purple.

(For the record, Quentin Earl Darrington was first announced to play Joe at Goodspeed Opera House, but left before rehearsals began.)

As previously announced, director Rob Ruggiero's cast, bowing July 1 in East Haddam, CT, includes Sarah Uriarte Berry as Magnolia, Ben Davis as Gaylord Ravenal, Lesli Margherita as Julie, Karen Murphy as Parthy, Lenny Wolpe and Capt. Andy, Andrea Frierson as Queenie, Danny Gardner as Frank, Jennifer Knox as Ellie and Maddie Berry as Kim.

Performances of the classic by composer Kern and lyricist-librettist Hammerstein (based on the novel by Edna Ferber) will continue to Sept. 11. Opening night is July 27. The famous story of showfolk who perform on a floating stage that docks in river towns along the Mississippi features the classic songs "You Are Love," "Make Believe," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine," "Why Do I Love You" and "Old Man River." The musical broke ground by introducing serious story elements — racism, miscegenation, spousal abandonment — into the genre of musical comedy. The work ambitiously covers about 40 years of American history, from 1890 to 1927.

Director Ruggiero recently staged High and Looped on Broadway, and previously staged 1776, Annie Get Your Gun and Camelot for Goodspeed. Noah Racey, the Broadway actor of Curtains and Never Gonna Dance, will choreograph.

Berry appeared in Broadway's The Light in the Piazza, Taboo, Beauty and the Beast and Les Misérables; Davis' Broadway credits include A Little Night Music, Les Misérables, La Bohème and Thoroughly Modern Millie; Darrington was Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the 2009 revival of Ragtime; Margherita is an Olivier Award winner for Zorro in London; Wolpe starred in Broadway's Wicked and The Drowsy Chaperone; Frierson's Broadway credits include Marie Christine and The Lion King; Murphy is a Broadway veteran of 42nd Street, A Little Night Music and 9 to 5.

The ensemble will include Paule Aboite, Elizabeth Berg, Elise Kinnon, Denise Lute, A'Lisa Miles and Mollie Vogt-Welch, with Kyle E. Baird, Robert Hannon Davis, Robert Lance Mooney, Rob Richardson, Greg Roderick, Jet Thompson, David Toombs, Richard Waits and Nicholas Ward. The swings will be Adam Fenton Goddu and Christiana Rodi.

The creative team includes Michael Schweikardt (scenic designer), Amy Clark (costume designer), John Lasiter (lighting designer), Jay Hilton (sound designer), Michael O'Flaherty (music director), F. Wade Russo (assistant music director), Dan DeLange (orchestrations). Show Boat is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.

Show Boat was first staged on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Dec. 27, 1927, and ran for 572 performances. It was produced by Florenz Ziegfeld and starred Norma Terris as Magnolia. (Goodspeed's second stage in Chester, CT, is named after Terris.) The show was remounted at the Casino Theatre on May 19, 1932, and ran for 180 performances. In 1946, a revival of Show Boat played the Ziegfeld Theatre for 418 performances; this script/score is the official and most-licensed version of the property.

Show Boat played 73 performances at Broadway’s Uris Theatre in 1983. A revised version of the musical, directed by Harold Prince, played the Gershwin Theatre starting in 1994. It played 947 performances and starred Elaine Stritch, Rebecca Luker and John McMartin, and spawned a national tour.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at (860) 873-8668 or at www.goodspeed.org.

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