Empire State Building Rises in Empire, a New Musical, Sept. 19-26 in CT

News   Empire State Building Rises in Empire, a New Musical, Sept. 19-26 in CT
The rise and rise of the Empire State Building is the subject of Empire, a new musical getting its East Coast premiere Sept. 19-26 at Rich Forum in Stamford Center for the Arts in Connecticut.

The cast includes such Broadway and Off-Broadway names as Becca Ayers, Perry Ojeda, Evan Pappas, Lisa Datz and more.

SCA opens its 2004-2005 season with the musical by Caroline Sherman and Bobby Hull. The seven-performance regular run is preceded by three performances that serve as benefits for The Noel Foundation (Sept. 17-19). The first non-benefit show is 7:30 PM Sept. 19.

The musical "concerns the men and women who bravely embodied the American spirit during the dark days of the Great Depression by building what was then the tallest structure in the world, the Empire State Building," according to the announcement. "Written in the spirit of the old musicals of the '40s and the '50s with big dance numbers, memorable songs and colorful characters, Empire provides family-oriented fare suitable for audiences of all ages."


The show premiered at the 99-seat Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood, CA, in April 2003. That six-week production played to sold out audiences, solid reviews and award nominations. The production earned three Los Angeles Ovation Award nominations, including Best Musical, and won the award for Best Choreography.

Clayton Phillips, who helmed the West Coast run of Empire, returns for the Stamford staging. Sharing lyric, libretto and music credits, Caroline Sherman and Bobby Hull also wrote the original musicals Goodney's Ghost, Byzantium and a children's show, Diggy Hoffen Pepper Zee and The Colors of The Rainbow.

The company includes J.B. Adams, Mathias Anderson, Becca Ayers, Lisa Datz, Vincent D'Elia, Jennie Ford, Robert Jason Jackson, Jason Lacayo, Peter Leskowicz, Stephanie Lynge, Mark Moreau, Sandy Mulvihill, Perry Ojeda, Evan Pappas, Rodney Peck, Eddie Pendergraft, Randy Redd, Robbie Roby, Raymond Rodriguez, David Rogers and Robert Wersinger.

Michele Lynch choreographs. Designers are Lynn Bowling (costume), Kirk Bookman (lighting), Eric Norris (moving light programmer), Randall Parsons (scenic), Shannon Slaton (sound). Dominick Amendum wrote the orchestrations and is music supervisor.

Empire was written in the winter of 1999-2000. The first reading was held May 14, 2001 at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, produced by Jose Calleja's CCR Productions and Betty Vaughan at the Musical Theatre Guild. A second reading was held May 29, 2001 at the York Theatre in Manhattan, directed by Clayton Phillips, who has since helped develop the piece.

In April-May 2003, a full production of Empire was staged at the 99-seat Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood, CA, produced by The Rivet Gang, James Vukovich Productions and Shoestring Productions/Ronn Goswick.

George Moredock of Stamford Center for the Arts, along with Ken Gentry of NETworks, and Peter de Caprio, of the Noel Foundation, sponsored a staged reading at the SCA's Rich Forum on March 22, 2004, which led to this production.

The 750-seat Rich Forum is at 307 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT.

The regular performance schedule plays 7:30 PM Sept. 19, 8 PM Tuesday-Saturday and 2 PM Sept. 26.

Prices range $25-$45. For information, call Telecharge at (800) 233-3123.

For additional information call (203) 325-4466 or visit SCA website at www.onlyatsca.com.


The Noel Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to enrich the lives of individuals living with cancer. The performances of Empire benefiting The Noel Foundation begin 8 PM Sept. 17 and continue 8 PM Sept. 18 and 2 PM Sept. 19. Visit noelfoundation.net.

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