The Music Theatre Company Presents at Ravinia Festival OSCAR & RICHARD & JOE: An Evening About Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro

3723_Show_PageThe Music Theatre Company joins forces with The Ravinia Festival for a special one night engagement of OSCAR & RICHARD & JOE: An Evening About Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro on Saturday, January 31 at 8:30 pm at Ravinia Festivals Bennett Gordon Hall, 200 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park, IL. Tickets for OSCAR & RICHARD & JOE are $10 and available by calling the Ravinia Festival Box Office at (847) 266- 5100 or visiting www.ravinia.org.  

After the immense popularity of Oklahoma! and Carousel, legendary duo Rodgers & Hammerstein created a revolutionary new musical, Allegro. The show sharply divided critics, but Stephen Sondheim, who served as a production assistant on the original production for $25 a week, found much to admire. With music by Richard Rodgers, and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein IIAllegro tells the story of Joseph Taylor, Jr., a young doctor who takes a lucrative hospital job in the big city of Chicago but finds himself longing for the simpler, more personal practice he left back home.

Conceived and directed by TMTC Founding Artistic Director Jessica Beth Redish and written by Scotty ArnoldOSCAR & RICHARD & JOE will explore the context of Allegro through theatrical footnotes on its history and legacy – and showcase key moments and songs from this rarely produced gem.

OSCAR & RICHARD & JOE features Kate Loprest (Wicked, Broadway In Chicago; Anyone Can Whistle, Ravinia Festival), Michael Weber (Gypsy and Annie Get Your Gun, Ravinia Festival), Matthew Keffer (The Wild Party, Bailiwick Chicago), Sarah Larson (Passion, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre), Chris Logan (A Kurt Weill Cabaret, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) and Patrick Martin (Merrily We Roll Along, The Music Theatre Company).  Additional casting to be announced.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, II (Book, Music and Lyrics, AllegroAfter long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer, 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre. OKLAHOMA!, he first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, blending Rodgers’ sophisticated style of musical comedy (which he had perfected in a twenty-five year partnership with lyricist Lorenz Hart) with Hammerstein’s innovations in operetta (conceived in collaboration with such composers as Sigmund Romberg, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml and Jerome Kern.) OKLAHOMA! was followed by CAROUSEL (1945), ALLEGRO (1947), SOUTH PACIFIC (1949), THE KING AND I (1951), ME AND JULIET (1953), PIPE DREAM (1955), FLOWER DRUM SONG (1958) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1959). The team also wrote one movie musical, STATE FAIR (1945; adapted to the stage, 1995), and one for television, CINDERELLA (1957). Collectively, their musicals have garnered dozens of awards including: Pulitzer Prizes; Tonys, Oscars, Emmys and Grammys; and Drama Desk, Drama Critics’ Circle, Outer Critics’ Circle, Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. 

Jessica Beth Redish (Conceiver/Director, Oscar & Richard & Joe) is the Founding Artistic Director of The Music Theatre Company where she directed and choreographed the company’s productions of PIPPIN (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination – Choreography), Merrily We Roll Along (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination – Midsize Musical), Erikas Wall, The 9/11 Report, Saudade: dreams and longing and choreographed The Pajama Game and Mill Girls. Chicago area choreography credits include: Sweet Charity and She Loves Me (Writers Theatre), RENT  at American Theater Company/About Face Theatre (dir. David Cromer), Season on The Line at The House Theatre of Chicago and various productions for First Stage in Milwaukee. NY Credits include: Movement Direction for the Off-Broadway production of Adding Machine (dir. David Cromer) and choreography for The Act at 54 Below. Recent national television work includes choreography for the PBS Special featuring the a cappella group “Gentleman’s Rule.” As Founding Artistic Director of The Music Theatre Company, Jessica has commissioned works by a variety of authors, including Billy Corgan, Josh Schmidt, David Simpatico and Michael Mahler. Jessica is an alumna of Northwestern University and a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.  

Scotty Arnolds (Playwright, Oscar & Richard & Joe) other works include Tereshkova (part of The Music Theatre Company’s 48-Hour Musicals: Encore! and Autokorrekt), The Distant Land of My Father (San Jose Stage: Margaret Wingrove, Dir.), The Veterans Wife (Colony Theatre: Scott Guy, Dir.), Lost & Found (NYU: Susanna Gellert, Dir.), The Wondeful Visit (NYU: Daniel Goldstein, dir.), Mortality Play (Joe’s Pub: West Hyler, dir.; Yale Institute for Musical Theatre: Mark Brokaw, dir.), and That Time We Found a Sasquatch in the Woods. (Musical Theatre Factory, Finger Lakes’ “The Pitch”). He has been an artist in residence at CAP 21, New York Stage and Film, and Space on Ryder Farm. He studied at the Academy for New Musical Theater in North Hollywood and attended the Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program at NYU.

Matthew Keffer (Joe & Others) has appeared at The Music Theatre Company in The 48-Hour Musicals: Encore!The 48-Hour Musicals: Autokorrekt, and The 48-Hour Musicals: Forget Me (Not) and Lucky Stiff In Concert. Recent Chicago credits include The Wild Party (Bailiwick Chicago); Juno (TimeLine Theatre); CymbelineThe Rainmaker (First Folio Theatre); Aspects of Love (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre).

Sarah Larson (Ensemble) appeared as a dancer in Pretty Persephone by Billy Corgran in The 48-Hour Musicals: Encore! at The Music Theatre Company. Other Chicago credits include Patty Andrews in A Musical Tribute to the Andrews Sisters and The Mistress and Clara Understudy in Passion at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Favorite roles have included Marian Paroo in The Music Man and Karen Brown in Unnecessary Farce (Timber Lake Playhouse), Maria in The Sound of Music (Viterbo University) and Lula in Dutchman (Viterbo).

Chris Logan (Ensemble) was last seen at The Music Theatre Company in The Pajama GameThe 48-Hour Musicals: Autokorrekt, and working alongside Jessica Beth Redish as she developed Saudade: dreams and longing. Other credits include extensive work with Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, including A Kurt Weill Cabaret and Passion (Outstanding Musical, Non-Equity Jeff Award). He has also worked with The Marriott Theatre, The Paramount Theatre, BoHo Theatre and Bailiwick Chicago (upcoming). He is also currently music directing and choreographing Sherlock Holmes and The Case of the Christmas Goose (Raven Theatre) and will choreograph A Marvin Hamlisch Songbook (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) next summer. He was named one of the “Hot New Faces of Chicago Theatre, Class of 2012” by Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune.

Kate Loprest (Emily & Others) performed solo at The Music Theatre Company in concert and last appeared at Ravinia Festival after performing in Anyone Can Whistle in 2005. A native of Deerfield, IL, she made her professional debut at 15 as Young Vi in Apple Tree Theatre’s Violet and spent a year in the Chicago company of Wicked after graduating from The University of Michigan’s Musical Theatre program. Broadway: The Drowsy Chaperone, Xanadu, Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle), Wonderland, First Date (Allison, Original Broadway Cast). Other recent credits: Little House on the Prairie (Nellie Olson, 1st National Tour); Showboat (Washington National Opera) Ellie; Single Girls Guide (Emma, Capital Repertory). TV: Boardwalk Empire (Corrine); Running Wilde; All My Children. Kate recently originated the role of Lucy Grant in the world premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s new musical Bright Star at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.

Patrick Martin (Charlie & Others) is a Chicago-based actor and musician from Marietta, GA. Credits with The Music Theatre Company include: Merrily We Roll Along, Fugitive Songs In Concert, Lucky Stiff In Concert, and The 48 Hour Musicals: Encore! Other Chicago credits include: South Pacific (The Marriott Theatre), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Porchlight Music Theatre), and It’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (American Theater Company). Regional credits include: The Drowsy Chaperone and Promises, Promises (STAGES St. Louis). As a musician, Patrick performs regularly in a variety of settings including frequent appearances with Bethany Thomas at The Green Mill and other venues. Patrick is a proud graduate of the BFA Musical Theatre Program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Michael Weber (Richard Rodgers) created the role of Richard Clarke in The 9/11 Report, also conceived and directed by Jessica Beth Redish, at The Music Theatre Company. He was last seen on stage at Ravinia Festival where he was last seen as Charlie Davenport in Annie Get Your Gun and as Uncle Jocko/Mr. Goldstone in Gypsy (both starring Patti LuPone). Other acting credits include: The Sound of Music at Lyric Opera of Chicago, 42nd Street at The Paramount Theatre, Around the World in 80 Days at Cleveland Play House and The Winters Tale and Henry V at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Michael is the Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre where, most recently, he has directed Sweeney Todd, Bells Are Ringing and Pal Joey. The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, he has written and directed the past eight Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremonies. Michael is a Central Region Board Member of Actors’ Equity Association and proud to serve as a pledge host on PBS station WTTW.

The Music Theatre Company explores the musical in the interest of expanding the canon of musical theatre through fully-staged productions, commissions of new works and musical experiments.  For additional information, visit www.themusictheatrecompany.org.