The day after Christmas held the best present of all for me … a sweet blessing of old friends, teachers and students of the late and great Hal Hudson reuniting to celebrate his amazing and generous gift of theatre education. Sallie Hedrick and Mary Holt Fickes organized this little holiday treat trimmed with videos and photos ... and I must admit – it warmed my heart (in this cold mess) to see the gang back together! Many of the attendees are currently residing in NYC and LA with very successful careers in the arts, but had carved out the time while in town to pay tribute to Hal and his legacy. Even Hal’s sister and her children were able to join us from Charlotte and they brought several priceless memoirs to enjoy. Many thanks to the Fickes, Freeman and Dollar families - plus Sallie, Julie, Dallas and Cynthia for making this the perfect way to close out a NCT season!
The STAS reunion on Dec 26 was a special event. I wasn’t even a part of STAS, and I could feel the love in that room. I got a peek into the lives of about forty fabulous young adults and the man (Hal Hudson) who shaped their lives when they were youngsters in the theatre training program at NCT. I felt honored to be amongst them and learn a bit about what they’re up to now. These 20- and 30-somethings are dynamic creatures with very bright futures. They are the theatre audience, the board members, the conservatory parents of tomorrow. I felt like I was standing on the razor-sharp edge of a sliver of time. They were all looking back, reminiscing about the fabulous cocoon from which they had emerged. I could see forward into what they were becoming. I’ve seen the future, and I think we’re in very good hands!
~Joan Caviness, NCT Director, Fund & Audience Development
A few pictures from the evening:
The organizers - Sallie Hedrick and Mary Holt Fickes
Bring It On Casey is currently working as Assistant Director on the reading of Bring It On: The Musical, an original musical based on the 2000 comedy Bring It On. The creative team includes an array of talented individuals drawn from the top ranks of the Broadway theatre world. Andy Blankenbuehler(Tony Award-winning choreographer for In The Heights) will direct and choreograph. Jeff Whitty (Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Avenue Q) will write the book. Bring It On: The Musical will feature music by Lin-Manuel Miranda(Tony Award winner for In the Heights) and Tom Kitt(Tony Award winner for Next to Normal), and lyrics by Amanda Green(High Fidelity). Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire(In The Heights, Wicked) will serve as orchestrator, arranger and music supervisor.
Anyone Can Whistle In the spring, Casey is thrilled to be working as Associate Director of Stephen Sondheimand Arthur Laurents' Anyone Can Whistle, the final City Center Encores! production of the 2009-2010 season. Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) will direct and Sutton Foster (Shrek, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie) will star in the show.
National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Festival of New Musicals A member of NAMT, NC Theatre is thrilled to have two of its staff members serving on different committees – Casey is on the Festival of New Musicals Committee and Lisa Grele Barrie, President & CEO, is on the Finance Committee.
NAMTis a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Their mission is to advance musical theatre by nurturing the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals. It is comprised of 145 members, located throughout 31 states and abroad, who are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world. In 1989, The Festival of New Musicals was created to provide NAMT members with a forum to celebrate the new musicals that were being produced around the country. Held every fall over two days in New York City, the Festival showcases a select group of new musicals before an audience of NAMT members and industry professionals, with the experience and resources to move the work forward. Among the musicals launched by NAMT's annual festival are Thoroughly Modern Millie, Children of Eden, Honk!, The Drowsy Chaperone, Songs for a New World, I Love You Because, Striking 12, Vanities, in addition to helping over 225 writers and 330 musicals.
NAMT’s Festival Committee is comprised of 15 of the top new musical developers from across the NAMT membership. Charged with evaluating over 130 shows to find the eight best shows for the annual Festival of New Musicals, the committee takes on the task to help define the future of musical theatre and help the shows selected receive major exposure on the national scene.
“I am honored to have been asked to join the National Alliance of Musical Theatre's 2010 Festival Committee. It is an especially thrilling opportunity for NCT as we head towards presenting our first new work this fall, The Black Suits,” says Casey.
The Black Suits Written by Joe Iconis and Robert Maddock, The Black Suits is arock musical that follows a group of Long Island teens in their struggle to make something of their band and of themselves. As they perform to escape, the music can't drown out what is imminent, and they face decisions that will shape the rest of their lives.
Composer Joe Iconis is a graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the ArtsGraduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He is a recipient of the 2006 Jonathan LarsonAward, the 2007 Ed Kleban Award and a Backstage Bistro Award. His innovative rock style has brought forth several shows and he is one of the most talented, promising and provocative artists of this next generation.
Kudos to the creative team and cast for our final production of the 2009 season, West Side Story! Byron Woods of Independent Weekly listed "The Best in Live Local Theatre in 2009" and chose NC Theatre's West Side Story in the following categories:
Best Musical Direction: Edward G. Robinson
Best Direction: Joshua Bergasse
Best Lead Performances: Catherine Cheng Jones (Maria) and Josh Young (Tony)
Best Supporting Performances: Freddy Ramirez (Bernardo) and Leo Ash Evens (Riff)
North Carolina Theatre was also recognized last night by Midtown Magazine at Midtown & Bar 115. They held their 2nd Annual Diamond Awards there and we received the "Best Place to See a Show" Award - thanks to everyone at Midtown for this special honor!
While we are still in the final stages of casting The Full Monty, I couldn't resist to give you a peek at who some of the MONTYs are and some of our other cast members. We are so excited about this production (running February 27-March 7) and are proud of the cast we have assembled to date.
Starring two-time Emmy Award winning actress Sally Struthers as "Jeannette" and Raleigh's own Ira David Wood III as "Harold"!
Sally Struthers Ira David Wood III
Jarrod Emick AKA "Jerry"
You may recognize him from our recent production of Yeston & Kopit's Phantom - he was Philippe. On Broadway, Jarrod has been in Ring of Fire, The Boy From Oz, The Rocky Horror Show, The Full Monty, Damn Yankees (1994 Tony Award winner) and Miss Saigon. He was also in the National Tours of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.
Kingsley Leggs AKA "Horse"
Kingsley performed on the NC Theatre stage as "James Thunder Early" in our production of Dreamgirls. On Broadway, he performed in The Color Purple and Miss Saigon and was in the National Tours of Miss Saigon, Ragtime, It Aint Nothing But The Blues and Forbidden Hollywood.
Joe Coots AKA "Dave"
Joe played 'Dave' in the National Tour and regional productions of The Full Monty - most recently starring Elaine Stritch. He has also been in the productions Crazy For You!, Annie Get Your Gun, Jesus Christ Superstar, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and Joseph...Dreamcoat.
Angie Schworer AKA "Vicki" (Harold's wife)
Angie has been in the Broadway productions of Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Sunset Boulevard, Crazy For You, The Will Rogers Follies and Encores! Tenderloin.
Julie Reiber AKA "Georgie" (Dave's wife)
On Broadway, Julie was the "Elphaba" standby in the smash-hit Wicked and also appeared in All Shook Up and Bklyn. She also played in the National Tours of Rent, Bklyn and Jekyll & Hyde.
Thomas Cannizzaro AKA "Ethan"
Thomas appeared in Monty Python's Spamalot and Cabaret on Broadway and in the National Tours of Cabaret, Grease and The Velveteen Rabbit.
Jennifer Shrader AKA "Pam" (Jerry's ex-wife)
Pam recently appeared on the NCT stage in Miss Saigon as 'Ellen.' Her Broadway credits include Beauty and the Beast and Swing. She was in the National Tours of Beauty and the Beast, Sunset Boulevard, Annie and Joseph...Dreamcoat.
John Carroll AKA "Buddy Keno Walsh"
He has appeared in Broadway Bares and in the National Tours of A Chorus Line, Chicago, Movin' Out and Fosse.
Stephen Schellhardt AKA "Malcolm"
Stephen was in the National Tours of Altar Boyz and in several regional productions including Fiddler on the Roof, Little Women, The Full Monty, Les Miserables and several others.
Other cast members include:
Mary Adamek, Phillip Burgess, Jonathan Elliott Coarsey, Trey Fitts, Vinny Genna, Ken Griggs, Anne Karner, Jeremy Mills, Cessalee Stovall and Tracy J. Wholf.
North Carolina Theatre works to strengthen the cultural vitality of the region and cultivate musical theatre appreciation by producing outstanding professional Broadway musicals and developing the next generation of artists through youth training, performance and outreach programs.
NC Theatre blends regional performers with Broadway and national stars to create consistently high-quality productions. NC Theatre also makes important contributions to the economic development of the Triangle while providing employment for local and regional performers, musicians, technicians and staff. With NC Theatre, Broadway is here to stay!