Krieger-Russell Musical Up in the Air, with Bahorek, Abramovitz and White, Begins Feb. 7

News   Krieger-Russell Musical Up in the Air, with Bahorek, Abramovitz and White, Begins Feb. 7
The new Henry Krieger-Bill Russell musical Up in the Air: The Story of Boonah, the Tree-Climbing Frog begins its world-premiere engagement at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 7.
Donna Lynne Champlin
Donna Lynne Champlin

The family-friendly musical is part of the Kennedy Center's JAPAN! culture + hyperculture Festival. Also part of the Center's Performances for Young Audiences Series, Up in the Air will play the Family Theater through Feb. 10. Amon Miyamoto, who directed and choreographed the 2004 revival of Pacific Overtures at Studio 54, directs. It was also Miyamoto's idea to adapt Mizukami Tsutomu's well-known Japanese tale into a musical.

The cast of mostly Broadway veterans boasts Jill Abramovitz (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me) as Mrs. Sparrow, Stanley Bahorek (Spelling Bee) as Boonah, Donna Lynne Champlin (Sweeney Todd) as Boonah's Mother, Jonathan Hammond (The Light in the Piazza, national tour) as Rat and Mr. Sparrow, Deborah Lew (Beauty and the Beast) as Sujata and Thrush, David McDonald (Mamma Mia! ) as Shirke, Lillias White (Tony winner for The Life) as Snake, and Michael Leon Wooley ("Dreamgirls" film) as Bullfrog and Owl.

Up in the Air, according to the Kennedy Center website, is described as such: "Who's green, gutsy, and able to scale to the highest branch? Why, it's Boonah, the tree-climbing frog! One fateful day, Boonah is overlooking his pond when he discovers the leaves hide the home of a hungry hawk. While waiting for his chance to escape, he observes the creatures brought back to the nest. In the process, Boonah learns we are all part of a grand and wonderful design — we live, and die, so that the cycle of life may continue."

The creative team also includes Aaron Fischer (musical direction), Sam Davis (orchestrations), Darren Lee (choreography), Neil Patel (sets), Don Holder (lighting), Angela Wendt (costumes), Haruka Fujii (percussion), Alan Muraoka (assistant director) and Jason Daunter (stage manager).

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