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Wednesday, 14 October 2009 10:35

Cast Announced for Cirque Du Soleil's Banana Shpeel

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CAST ANNOUNCED FOR NEW CIRQUE DU SOLEIL PRODUCTION
BANANA SHPEEL
STARS FROM BROADWAY’S JERSEY BOYS AND WICKED
JOIN INTERNATIONAL COMEDIC AND DANCE TALENT

Tickets on Sale Now for Performances at The Beacon Theatre
From February 4 through April 30, 2010
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New York, October 8, 2009 – Stars from Broadway’s Jersey Boys and Wicked will join the distinctive cast of comedic and dance talent in the brand new theatrical production, Banana Shpeel, presented by Cirque du Soleil and MSG Entertainment. Banana Shpeel will perform at The Beacon Theatre for a limited engagement from February 4 through April 30, 2010. Tickets are available now for all performances at www.cirquedusoleil.com or www.beacontheatre.com.

Michael Longoria, who starred as Frankie Valli in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, will portray Emmett, an innocent and romantic young actor, while Annaleigh Ashford, who starred as Glinda in Wicked on Broadway and in Chicago, portrays his love interest Katie, and Remo Airaldi, a prolific resident company member of Boston’s acclaimed American Repertory Theater, portrays Schmelky, a cruel and irritable theater producer. Joining them is an international crew of comedic actors: Claudio Carneiro (Brazil), Daniel Passer (U.S.), Patrick de Valette (France), Gordon White (Canada), and Wayne Wilson (U.S.). In keeping with Cirque du Soleil’s unique and diverse performers, global talents showcased in Banana Shpeel include Russian hand balancer Dmitry Bulkin, Vietnamese juggler Tuan Le, Spanish foot juggler Vanessa Alvarez, and the American sister-brother tap dance duo, Joseph and Josette Wiggan. Completing the cast is a talented ensemble comprised of 10 “triple threats”: singer-actor-dancers Robyn Baltzer, Alex Ellis, Adrienne Jean Fisher, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Luke Hawkins, Kathleen Hennessey, Adrienne Reid, Anthony J. Russo, Melissa Schott, and Steven T. Williams.

The Band
Under the direction of Band Leader Robert Cookman, the Banana Shpeel original score is performed live on stage by Roland Barber (trombone), Bobby Brennan (bass), James Campagnola (multi-instrumental), Iohann Laliberté (drums), Jean-François Ouellet (saxophone), Peter Sachon (cello) and Scott Steen (trumpet).

The Show
Banana Shpeel is a roller-coaster mix of styles that blends comedy with tap, hip hop, eccentric dance and slapstick, all linked by a narrative that ignites a succession of wacky adventures. This is not circus, or a musical or a variety show, or even vaudeville. It is Banana Shpeel!


Propelled by crazy humor and intense choreography, Banana Shpeel plunges us into the world of Schmelky, who dangles fame and fortune in front of Emmett, who has come to audition for him. Emmett soon finds himself trapped in a flamboyant, anarchic world where Schmelky sows terror and reigns supreme. Emmett falls in love with the beautiful Katie and meets a bunch of absurd characters, including the strange Banana Man. But who is this mysterious Banana Man and how can Emmett escape the clutches of Schmelky and his henchmen?

The Creative Team
The Banana Shpeel Creative Team includes: Artistic Guides Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil Founder) and Gilles Ste-Croix; Writer and Director David Shiner; Director of Creation Serge Roy; Composer and Musical Director Jean-François Côté; Comic Act Designer Stefan Haves; Choreographer Jared Grimes; Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux; Set Designer and Props Co-Designer Patricia Ruel; Props Co-Designer Jasmine Catudal; Lighting Designer Bruno Rafie; Sound Designer Harvey Robitaille; and Make-up Designer Eleni Uranis.

Banana Shpeel Writer and Director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.

Performance Schedule
Banana Shpeel will perform for a limited engagement from February 4 through April 30, 2010 at The Beacon Theatre.

Tuesdays          8pm
Wednesdays    2pm & 8pm
Thursdays         8pm
Fridays             8pm
Saturdays         4pm & 8pm
Sundays           3pm & 7pm


Ticket Information
Tickets are available now for performances from February 4 through April 30, 2010. Tickets range from $45 to $120 with a limited number of premium tickets available for all performances. To purchase tickets, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com or www.beacontheatre.com.

Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009. From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has more than 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including 1,000 performing artists.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to almost 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents. In 2009, Cirque will present 20 shows simultaneously throughout the world. Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.

MSG Entertainment
MSG Entertainment (MSGE), the live entertainment arm of Cablevision Systems Corporations, is a worldwide entertainment company recognized for its signature combination of event production and entertainment marketing. In addition to the nearly 700 entertainment concerts and events that take place each year at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre, MSGE has an exclusive co-booking agreement with Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center/Wang Theatre. MSG Entertainment’s live events include The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which includes the national arena tour and the theatrical tour and has played to more than 43 different cities across North America. Additionally, MSGE has an ongoing partnership with Cirque du Soleil to create new content and productions for its venues. Wintuk, which premiered in 2007, was built exclusively for The Theater at Madison Square Garden and runs every holiday season. More than six million people attend MSG Entertainment branded events annually including concerts, special events, and family attractions. For information about The Beacon Theatre, visit www.beacontheatre.com.