BLUES IN THE NIGHT, WILL HEAT UP MILWAUKEE REP’S STACKNER CABARET THIS FALL
The universal language of the blues speaks eloquently in this scorching, Tony-nominated musical! The twenty-six hot, torchy numbers that tell the sweet, sexy and sorrowful stories of four colorful inhabitants of a 1930s Chicago saloon, will leave audiences energized, inspired and ready to wail. This dynamite revue features blues classics from Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bessie Smith and many more, packed into a larger-than-life score that’ll bring down the house! The play was conceived and originally directed by Sheldon Epps with original Vocal Arrangements and Musical Direction by Chapman Roberts and Orchestrations and Additional Vocal Arrangements by Sy Johnson. The show will be directed by Megan O’Brien, who returns to The Rep after having directed The Bomb-itty of Errors during the 2010/11 Season, and will feature a group of talented actor/singer/musicians: Carl Clemons-Hopkins (The Man/Tenor Sax/Bass), Zonya Love (The Lady), Halle Morse (The Girl/Percussion/Washboard) and Lili Thomas(The Woman/Trumpet/Trombone). Associate Artist Dan Kazemi is the Music Director for this production and will provide piano and clarinet accompaniment. Patrick Morrow, a frequent Rep collaborator, also joins the cast in the orchestra and will be playing drums, percussion, guitar and bass. Blues in the Night runs in the Stackner Cabaret from October 19 – December 23, and opens Sunday, October 21.
“Blues in the Night is a great celebration of singers and dancers kicking back and doing what they do at their very best,” says Artistic Director Mark Clements. “Our take on the piece – utilizing actor/singer/musicians as the cast – will hopefully prove original and innovative. This will definitely be one of those shows where we lift the roof off the Stackner Cabaret!”
“One of the most exciting things about this cast is that they are so multi-talented,” added Director Megan O’Brien. “They are great singers and actors and they also play instruments – but above all, they are storytellers. They are able to accurately portray the stories of the blues music in the show while giving the stories new life. I’m looking forward to the rehearsal process and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table!”
Blues in the Night was originally staged at the Off-Broadway Playhouse 46 by Sheldon Epps and Gregory Hines (under the supervision of Norman René). The show ran March 26 to May 11, 1980 for 51 performances. Blues in the Night later reopened on Broadway at the Rialto Theatre on June 2, 1982 and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Carl Clemons-Hopkins (The Man/Tenor Sax/Bass), will be making his Rep debut; regional credits include the world premiere of Eclectic Society and My Way at Walnut Street Theatre; Pericles (Georgia Shakespeare) and Avenue X, Rent and Little Shop of Horrors (11th Hour Theatre Company), among others; Zonya Love (The Lady), just returning from Lyon, France, where she performed as a solo gospel artist for the Absolute Gospel Festival, is also making her Rep debut; credits include Celie in The Color Purple and the first national tour of Avenue Q as the understudy for Gary Coleman, Dessa in This One Girl’s Story, Hattie in Kiss Me Kate and Lucy Van Pelt in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Halle Morse (The Girl/Percussion/Washboard), making her Rep debut, comes directly from the Broadway company of Mamma Mia!where she performed the role of Lisa for three years; other credits include Rent(Pioneer Theatre Company), Hairspray (Sacramento Music Circus) and Hello, Dolly!(North Carolina Theatre), among others; Lili Thomas (The Woman/Trumpet/Trombone), is happy to return to The Rep after appearing in Cabaretin the 2010/11 Season; regional favorites include Mimi in Rent, Fastrada in Pippin, Marcy Park in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Gigi in Miss Saigon and Tuptim in The King and I; New York credits include Reefer Madness, Sounds of Plaid, Radiant Baby and Metropolis, the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Garden of Light (Disney Millennium Symphonies) with the New York Philharmonic; Dan Kazemi (Musical Director/Piano/Clarinet – see bio below) and Patrick Morrow(Drums/Percussion/Guitar/Bass)
The Creative Team for Blues in the Night includes: Dan Kazemi (Musical Director), a Rep Associate Artist, is a Philadelphia-based composer, actor, music director and educator, and was Musical Director for The Rep’s recent productions of Assassins, Always . . . Patsy Cline, Next to Normal and Cabaret; he most recently orchestrated and musically directed the world premiere musical, Tulipomania, at the Arden Theatre Company and musically directed Tick, Tick . . . Boom!, Austentations, The PhillyRocks! concerts, The World Goes Round (Barrymore nomination), Reefer Madness, Little Shop of Horrors, Rooms and The Great American Trailer Park Musical for 11th Hour Theatre Company; Kazemi is also the composer of a new musical, The Tapioca Miracle (thetapiocamiracle.com
Sheldon Epps, (Playwright), Artistic Director of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse, conceived and directed the Duke Ellington musical Play On! which received three Tony Award nominations and was produced at Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where it received four Jefferson Awards including Best Musical. He also conceived and directed the highly acclaimed musical revue Blues in the Night. The Broadway production was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Musical of the Year, and the London production, which he also directed, was nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards and ran for over a year on the West End. Mr. Epps was a co-founder and the Associate Artistic Director of the Off-Broadway theater The Production Company. He has directed plays and musicals for many of the country’s major theaters including the Guthrie, the Old Globe Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Crossroads Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Arizona Theatre Company, Goodspeed Opera House, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Walnut Street Theatre, George Street Playhouse and Asolo State Theatre. For television he has directed episodes of Frasier, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Joey, Veronica’s Closet, Evening Shade and Sister, Sister. He is currently a member of the executive board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Mr. Epps is a two-time recipient of the Theatre Communications Group/Pew Charitable Trust National Theatre Artists Residency Grant, which supported his four-year tenure at the Old Globe Theatre as Associate Artistic Director. Mr. Epps was pleased to join the Pasadena Playhouse as Artistic Director in 1997. His directing credits there include As Bees in Honey Drown, Blue, Play On!,Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Old Settler, The Real Thing, On Borrowed Time, Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, Blues in the Night, andPurlie, a co-production with the Goodman Theatre. He directed the world premiere ofBlue at Arena Stage Theatre, which was also produced Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre. Following its record-breaking engagement in Pasadena, Bluebegan a national tour co-produced by the Pasadena Playhouse.
Megan Nicole O’Brien, (Director), returns to The Rep after directing The Bomb-itty of Errors in the 2010/11 Season. Other credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (11th Hour Theatre Company/Theatre Horizon); Reefer Madness and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (11th Hour/Montgomery Theater, Barrymore Nomination); Rooms, Avenue X (Barrymore Nomination), The Bomb-itty of Errors (Barrymore Nomination) and Tick, Tick . . . Boom, (11th Hour); John & Jen (Act II Playhouse); High Fidelityand Adding Machine: A Musical (University of the Arts) and The Irish . . . and How They Got That Way (Walnut Street Theatre).
Tickets for Blues in the Night start at $35.00. Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2012/13 productions are now on sale and can be purchased online 24/7 at www.MilwaukeeRep.com, through The Rep’s Ticket Office by calling414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling Patron Relations Manager Christine Yundem at 414-290-5340.
To learn more about The Rep or its productions, please visitwww.MilwaukeeRep.com.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
- · Audio-Description Performance – On Sunday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. there will be an Audio-Described Performance for patrons who are blind or have low vision.