The cast of twelve features Clifton Oliver, Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Jonas Cohen, Stephanie Umoh, Danielle Erin Rhodes, Elise Kinnon, Jordy Lievers, Matthew K. Tatus, Ian Jordan Subsara, Joel Pellini, Jeffrey Johnson II, and Michael Reno.
It’s 1948, and post-war America is booming. President Harry Truman has integrated the armed forces. Jackie Robinson has smashed pro baseball’s color barrier. And Joe Louis is the World Heavyweight Champ. Joey, an ambitious young African-American entertainer, enters Mike’s looking for a job. And Ted, the jazz-loving pianist in the Chicago nightclub, has a feeling he’s going to shake things up. And shake them up he does. Joey’s heart belongs to nobody. But more than a few try to corral his affections, including Vera, a rich white socialite, and Linda, an African-American working girl. And when Joey finally realizes his dream, he begins to realize just how steep is the cost.
“The Rep is honored to have Peter Schneider and a distinguished team of creative artists here to explore a new approach to this classic musical,” enthused Robert Hupp. “Original and newly re-envisioned musicals are an increasing part of The Rep’s artistic identity and Pal Joey is a fitting lead off to our theater’s 38th season, which also includes the premiere of the new Duncan Sheik-Nell Benjamin musical, Because of Winn Dixie under the direction of John Tartaglia.”
“There could be no better place than Little Rock to explore issues of morality, race, and class through this great work,” stated director Peter Schneider. “The city has long had a powerful and resonant place in the racial history of our country. We are thrilled to be collaborating on this exciting new version with Bob Hupp and The Rep whose adventurous track record is one with the goals of our creative team.”
Although rethought and re-imagined, this Pal Joey remains a show about desire - for sex, money, power, success, and even love. But this time around those passions are filtered through the dreams of a talented, charismatic black entertainer who is determined to barge his way into a white world despite the limitations it tries to impose on him.This production has been enhanced with other memorable songs from the Rodgers and Hart catalog, such as “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Sing for Your Supper,” and “Glad To Be Unhappy,” intermingled with gems from the original 1940 show like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” and “I Could Write a Book.” Also included is the song “What is a Man?” Pal Joey answers that question in the most provocative and unexpected of ways, exploding on stage with timeless jazz favorites, stunning tap dance numbers, and plenty of sparkle.
Founded in 1976, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state’s largest non-profit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT D), the company has produced more than 300 productions including 40 world premieres on its 385-seat MainStage and 99-seat black box SecondStage located in its historic building in downtown Little Rock. Robert Hupp, Producing Artistic Director, leads a resident staff of designers, technicians, and administrators in the creation of eight to ten productions for an annual audience in excess of 70,000 for MainStage productions, educational programming, and touring. The Rep employs guest artists from across the country to produce works, created, rehearsed, and built in downtown Little Rock, ranging from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premieres to the classics of dramatic literature.
Peter Schneider (Director).David Rhymer’s Mata Hari in 8 Bullets, My Life with Men...and Other Animals, starring Maria Cassi (Italy, Romania, NY), Marc Blitzstein’s Regina with Lauren Flanigan, Glen Roven’s Norman’s Ark, Patricia Cotter’s The Breakup Note Book, Beth Malone’s So Far, World Premiere Sister Act, the Musical, West End, London. Broadway: Produced The Lion King (Tony Award), Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Off Broadway / Regional: The Marvelous Wonderettes. Film: Produced the award-winning documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty, about Disney Animation from 1984 – 1994.
Patrick Pacheco (Book) is a New York-based arts journalist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, InStyle, and other periodicals. His blog “Play by Play” is published on Artinfo.com and he is a regular contributor to the TV programs, NY1’s “Onstage” and PBS’s Theater Talk. He wrote the 2009 Disney documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty and is the co-author, with Maria Cassi, of the play, My Life with Men…and Other Animals.
Michael Reno (Music Supervision & Arrangements) has worked in musical theater as a producer, composer, music director, arranger, and orchestrator. He is the composer and lyricist of several musicals and musical revues which have been performed across the U.S. and Canada. He composed the film score for North Cross Jordan, as well as the television productions “Time On Their Hands” and “Coming to America.” Other TV projects include the Hallmark annual Christmas movie “Twice Upon a Christmas,” the Miss America Pageant, and various projects for NBC. He composed the unofficial anthem for the city of San Francisco in the 70s and 80s, “San Francisco Bye-Bye.” His work as a music director has been seen internationally at venues which include Montreal's Place des Artes, the Vienna Concert House, the Shanghai Center Theatre, New York's Madison Square Garden, L.A.'s Universal Amphitheatre, the White House, and many major hotels in Las Vegas.
Dan Knechtges (Choreography). Lysistrata Jones (Direction & Choreography), Xanadu (directed by Christopher Ashley, Tony nomination, Drama Desk nomination), Sondheim on Sondheim (directed by James Lapine), 110 in The Shade (starring Audra McDonald), and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (directed by James Lapine). Dan also choreographed the Off Broadway incarnation of The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee at Second Stage, which earned him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination. Off Broadway credits include directing the play Tail! Spin! (starring Mo Rocca and Rachel Dratch) for the 2012 Fringe Festival, Merrily We Roll Along for Encores! at City Center (directed by James Lapine), Vanities at Second Stage, and directing and choreographing Lysistrata Jones for the Transport Group. Other credits include Der Schuh Das Manitu (Berlin, Germany), Guys & Dolls (Great Lakes Theatre Festival), The Nightingale (LaJolla Playhouse), Vanities (Theatreworks Palo Alto), Give It Up! (Dallas Theatre Center), Girl In The Frame (Goodspeed), Boys From Syracuse (Centerstage Baltimore), Godspell (Papermill Playhouse). Dan’s choreography can be seen in the Todd Solondz's movie Palindromes, Dark Horse, “White Collar” on USA Network, the 2011 TV Land Awards with Liza Minnelli, and in Fatboy Slim's music video "It's a Wonderful Night," which reached #1 in the U.K.
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