World-Premiere Musical The Last Smoker in America Lights Up at CATCO Sept. 29 | Playbill

News World-Premiere Musical The Last Smoker in America Lights Up at CATCO Sept. 29
The Last Smoker in America, the New York-bound world-premiere musical by Tony Award nominee Bill Russell and Drama Desk nominee Peter Melnick, begins performances Sept. 29 in Ohio.

John Bolton
John Bolton

Andy Sandberg, one of the producers of the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair, helms the Columbus, OH, production of the musical that will run through Oct. 24 at CATCO (Contemporary American Theatre Company). Last Smoker is aiming for a future Off-Broadway run. No dates have been announced for the New York bow. The production was previously seen during the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The musical features book and lyrics by Russell (Side Show) and music by Melnick (Adrift in Macao). AC Ciulla is choreographer, musical supervision is by Fred Lassen and music direction is by Andrew Resnick.

The cast features Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q, The Glorious Ones), who appeared in previous incarnations of Last Smoker, reprising her performance as Phyllis. John Bolton (Curtains, Spamalot), who appeared in recent workshops of the musical, plays Ernie. Newly added to the cast are Katy Blake as Pam and Teddy Toye as Jimmy.

Last Smoker, according to producers, centers on "a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in a world where smoking has recently been outlawed. Pam, an English lit professor at a small college, is having an impossible time trying to quit smoking. Her husband Ernie dreams of being a rock star and relentlessly practices his electric guitar in the basement. Their teenage son Jimmy listens to so much rap music he’s convinced he’s black. Their nosy, anti-smoking zealot neighbor Phyllis lurks around trying to catch transgressors mid-puff. Will Pam kick the habit or fight for the right to light up as The Last Smoker in America?"

The creative team includes Charles Corcoran (set design), Jessica Shay (costume design), Jeff Croiter and Grant Yeager (lighting design), and Bart Fasbender and Dave Wallingford (sound design). For tickets phone (614) 469-0939 or visit CATCO. Performances will take place at the Riffe Center Studio One Theatre (77 High Street, Columbus, OH.)

Visit LastSmokerinAmerica.

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