Robert Torti, Brandi Burkhardt, Marisa Jaret Winokur Will Be Sleepless in Seattle in CA Reading

News   Robert Torti, Brandi Burkhardt, Marisa Jaret Winokur Will Be Sleepless in Seattle in CA Reading
Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical, based on the hit romantic-comedy film, will be tested in a Sept. 19 California reading as part of Pasadena Playhouse's Hothouse in the Playhouse series. This developmental step of the project will feature Tony Award nominee Robert Torti as widower Sam, with Brandi Burkhardt as lovesick reporter Annie.

Brandi Burkhardt
Brandi Burkhardt

As previously reported, Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA, will give Sleepless in Seattle its mainstage world premiere starting in June 2012. Joel Zwick will direct the reading and the full production. Casting for the fall Hothouse reading does not necessarily reflect future casting.

Separated by a continent, Annie (originated by Meg Ryan) hears the story of Sam (originated by Tom Hanks) while listening to a radio call-in show. She travels to meet him — at the top of the Empire State Building. Their matchmaker is Sam's son, Jonah, to be played in the reading by Christopher Bones. The reading will also feature Hairspray Best Actress Tony winner Marisa Jaret Winokur as Becky, a co-worker/pal of Annie's, originated by Rosie O'Donnell.

Torti is 1987 Tony Award nominee as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for playing Greaseball in Starlight Express. Burkhardt was Lucie Manette in the Broadway musical A Tale of Two Cities and was a replacement Sophie in Mamma Mia! on Broadway.

Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical has a book by Jeff Arch, who co-wrote the screenplay for the 1993 motion picture. Arch shared an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay, co-written with Nora Ephron and David Ward. The show's music and lyrics are by Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson.

The Hothouse reading will also include Lindsey Alley (Irene, Dr. Marica Fieldstone, Shoshanna, Woman in Pea Coat); Michael Andrew Baker as Walter; Brian Beacock (Security Screener, Eric, Dr. Marcia Feildstone Singer, Wyatt, Operator #3, Maitre'D, Waiter); Darrin Glesser (Dennis, Dr. Marcia Fieldstone Singer, Keith, Gay Guy, Operator #2, Woman Who Is Not A Woman); Rebecca Ann Johnson (Betsy, Dr. Marcia Fieldstone Singer, Sex Kitten, Victoria); Janice Lynde (Eleanor, Jewish Mother, Deborah Kerr, Woman in Ski Jacket); Kristofer McNeeley (Greg, Operator #4); Jane Noseworthy (Maggie, Suzy, Dr. Marcia Fieldstone Singer, Mormon Wife); Barry Pearl (Minister, Cliff, Operator #1, Cary Grant, Ernie); and Jay Brian Winnick as Rob. The Pasadena Playhouse, in association with David Shor, will present Sleepless in Seattle's full production June 12-July 15, 2012.

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Hothouse at the Playhouse was started in 2005 and since then has grown into an artistic home where playwrights utilize the resources and support of The Pasadena Playhouse. Each Hothouse at The Playhouse project "is tailored to the playwrights needs so that it aids the writer to grow in whatever way he or she needs," according to Playhouse mission notes. "Many plays that started out as Hothouse at The Playhouse readings have since gone on to the Mainstage at The Playhouse as well as other regional theaters, the West End, and Broadway. Sister Act, the musical, which is currently playing on Broadway and was nominated for multiple Tony Awards started as a staged reading in Hothouse at The Playhouse."

Previous artists at Hothouse at The Playhouse include writers Suzan-Lori Parks, Alan Menken, Matthew Lombardo, Charles Randolph-Wright, Carol Burnett, among others.

"The goal of Hothouse is to get local artists to continue to develop new and exciting work. Talk backs with audience, actors, writers, directors are encouraged and receptions following readings including wine and cheese, or when appropriate for the play beer and peanuts, are also a signature of the series.

"The Hothouse at the Playhouse caters to artists in the living laboratory of [Pasadena Playhouse's] Carrie Hamilton Theater. Hothouse at The Playhouse also houses the development of reinvention of classic works. These readings are free and by invitation only."

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