Jenn Colella, Matt McGrath, Bryce Pinkham and Blake Daniel Join Powerhouse Musicals

News   Jenn Colella, Matt McGrath, Bryce Pinkham and Blake Daniel Join Powerhouse Musicals
Complete casting has been announced for the New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's 2011 Powerhouse Theater presentations of the musicals The Nightingale, February House and Piece of My Heart.

Jenn Colella
Jenn Colella Photo by Ryan Jensen

As previously reported, The Nightingale, by Tony-winning Spring Awakening authors Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, will feature Tony Award winners Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cry-Baby) as Dowager Empress and Michael Cerveris (Sweeney Todd, Tommy) as the Emperor, as well as Michael Esper (American Idiot) as the Young Emperor.

Moisés Kaufman (33 Variations) will direct the July 8-10 presentations that will also feature Uzo Aduba (Coram Boy) as Fisherwoman, Celina Carvajal (Cats, 42nd Street, Dracula), Blake Daniel (Spring Awakening) as Lieutenant Eunuch, Andrew Durand (The Burnt Part Boys, Spring Awakening) as Emissary, Kimiko Glenn as Princess Ssu-ming, Kylie Liya Goldstein (Les Misérables) as Nightingale, Arielle Jacobs (In the Heights) as Feiyan, Michael Mastro (West Side Story, Mamma Mia!, Side Man) as Chief Eunuch and Matt McGrath (Cabaret, A Streetcar Named Desire) as Minister of State. Lon Hoyt is musical director.

Sater and Sheik's work is described as a "compelling contemporary musical rendering of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of a young emperor who finds his heart in the song of a small grey bird – and in the soul of a common servant girl - far beyond the walls of the Forbidden City."

The Gabriel Kahane-Seth Bockley musical February House, which will arrive Off-Broadway this season at the Public Theater, will be directed by Davis McCallum July 14-16. Danny Mefford will choreograph with music direction by Andy Boroson.

The cast includes David Costabile (Translations, Caroline, or Change) as George Davis, Cristin Milioti as Carson McCullers, David Abeles (The Pursuit of Persephone) as W. H. Auden, Andy Mientus (Shine, Spring Awakening) as Chester Kallman, Santino Fontana (The Importance of Being Earnest, A View from the Bridge) as Benjamin Britten, Ken Barnett (Wonderful Town) as Peter Pears, Bryce Pinkham (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Reeves McCullers, Emily Swallow (High Fidelity) as Erika Mann and Emily Young (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Gypsy Rose Lee. According to the Powerhouse, "Visionary and flamboyant editor George Davis transforms a dilapidated Brooklyn boardinghouse into a bohemian commune for the leading lights of 1940s New York, including novelist Carson McCullers, composer Benjamin Britten, poet W.H. Auden, and the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee. The luminaries of 7 Middagh Street form a tumultuous and remarkable makeshift family, and search for love, inspiration, and refuge from the looming war in Europe."

The Bert Berns musical Piece of My Heart, with a book by Daniel Goldfarb, Brett Berns and Cassandra Berns, will run July 29-31. Leigh Silverman will direct with choreography by Denis Jones and musical direction by Dave Keyes.

Set to appear are Tony Award nominee de'Adre Aziza (Passing Strange, Women on the Verge) as Candy, Kelli Barrett (Baby It’s You, The Royal Family) as Sloopy, Jenn Colella (Urban Cowboy, High Fidelity) as Jessie, Ned Eisenberg (Awake and Sing, The Green Bird) as Wazzel, Glenn Fleshler (Spring Awakening, Arcadia), Linda Hart (Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray) as Mom, Corey Antonio Hawkins (A Raisin in the Sun) as Hoagy, Manuel Herrera (West Side Story, Legally Blonde) as Carlos, Dominic Nolfi (Jersey Boys) as Young Wazzel, Jarrod Spector (Jersey Boys) as Bert, and ensemble members Rachel Stern, Teresa Gattison, Pilar Millhollen, Michael Millan and Christian Carter.

Here's how the work is billed: "In just seven years, from 1960 to 1967 when he died of a heart attack at age 38, Bert Berns wrote songs that would come to define the sound of an era including "Twist and Shout," "Piece Of My Heart," "Hang On Sloopy," "Cry To Me," "Cry Baby," as well as hundreds of others. In addition, he was the producer of "Under The Boardwalk," "Brown Eyed Girl," and dozens of others, collaborating with Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Isley Brothers, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, The Drifters, and Jimmy Page. A discovery and celebration of the most famous composer you’ve never heard of!"

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