Showbiz Chicago Photo Spotlight: Drury Lane’s SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER In Rehearsal
Drury Lane Theatre announces complete casting for disco musical Saturday Night Fever, rewritten for the Drury Lane stage, featuring music and lyrics by The Bee Gees, based on the smash-hit Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn, and adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks. This North American version was written by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti and is helmed by Tony-nominated director and choreographer Dan Knechtges. Saturday Night Fever runs January 19 – March 19, 2017 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. The Press Opening is Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. A portion of the opening night tickets sales will be donated to ArtReach, a nonprofit providing access to the arts to underserved communities in the Chicago area.
Leading this brand new version is Jeff-nominated actor Adrian Aguilar as Brooklyn teen Tony Manero. Dancing alongside Aguilar as Manero’s love interest, Stephanie Mangano, is Erica Stephan. The principal cast also includes Landree Fleming (Annette), Nick Cosgrove (Bobby C.), Joe Capstick (Joey), Will Lidke (Gus) and Brandon Springman (Double J) with Adaezè Kelley (Candy), Jhardon DiShon Milton (Monty), Allyson Graves (Pauline), Skyler Adams (Frank Manero Jr.), Marya Grandy (Flo Manero), Olivia Renteria (Linda Manero) and Bret Tuomi (Frank Manero/Fusco). The ensemble includes Tony Carter, Courtney Cerny, Brian M. Duncan, Michael Samarie George, Ron King, Amanda Newman, Martín Ortíz Tápia, Adrienne Storrs, Monica Thomas and Aaron Umsted.
Photo Credit: Brett Beiner
Saturday Night Fever is directed and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Dan Knechtges with musical direction by Roberta Duchak. The creative team also includes Kevin Depinet (scenic design), Rachel Laritz (costume design), Ryan O’Gara (lighting design), Ray Nardelli (sound design), Penny Lane Studios (wig and hair design), Neil Massey (stunt coordinator), Courtney Cerny (associate choreographer) and Sammi Grant (dialect coach). Lucia Lombardi is the Production Stage Manager.
“We mounted an unprecedented search for the perfect actor to play Tony. In keeping with our commitment to put the nation’s very best artists on our stage, we held auditions for this demanding role all across the country, including in Chicago, New York, and for the first time, in Los Angeles and Houston. Out of the many talented artists we saw, no one came close to Chicago’s unparalleled Adrian Aguilar as Tony,” says Kyle DeSantis, President of Drury Lane Productions.
Based on the 1977 hit film, Saturday Night Fever follows Tony Manero in his attempt to escape his troubles by spending weekends at the local disco. Watch Tony win the admiration of the crowd, as well as his heartthrob Stephanie Mangano, as he burns up the dance floor with his electric moves. This new production features favorite Bee Gees songs from the movie such as “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and “Jive Talkin’.”
About the Artists
DAN KNECHTGES (Director & Choreographer) is a Tony Nominated director and choreographer working in theater, opera, concert dance, television, film and music videos. Dan’s Broadway credits include Lysistrata Jones (Direction & Choreography), Xanadu (directed by Chris 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 Rachel Dratch), Clinton the musical (starring Kerry Butler & Judy Gold), 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. He has many regional and international credits as well. 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. He has also taught acting and dance at numerous institutions and often does master classes all over the country. Dan holds a BFA in musical theatre from Otterbein College in Westerville, OH and hails from Cleveland, OH. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and – The Stage Directors & Choreographers Society.
ADRIAN AGUILAR (Tony) has been a part of the musical theater scene in Chicago for the last 8 years. He has played lead roles and ensemble parts at Drury Lane, Marriott Lincolnshire, Paramount, American Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare, Route 66, and Porchlight Music Theatre. In 2014, Adrian and his family spent a brief stint in NY while Adrian was in the original cast of Rocky on Broadway in the Winter Garden Theatre. He is one of only 3 men to ever play the title character of Rocky Balboa on Broadway.
ERICA STEPHAN (Stephanie) was recently seen here at Drury Lane as Irene Roth in Crazy for You and Judy Haynes in White Christmas. Other recent Chicago credits include: Wonderful Town at the Goodman Theatre, Nice Work If You Can Get It (Billie Bendix) at Theatre at the Center, The Little Mermaid at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Les Misérables (Cosette) and Tommy at the Paramount Theatre. Other credits include Les Misérables (Eponine), A Chorus Line (Maggie), and Seussical (Gertrude McFuzz) at Timber Lake Playhouse. She is a graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.
LANDREE FLEMING (Annette) returns to Drury Lane Theatre where previous credits include: Spelling Bee and Charlotte’s Web. She was most recently seen as Kira in Xanadu (American Theater Company). Additionally she’s worked with Paramount Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Marriott Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Circle Theatre and Adventure Stage Chicago. TV credits: Chicago PD. She’s a member of comedy group Off Off Broadway and co-hosts the podcasts Deep Dish and You Simply Must. She’s represented by Gray Talent.
NICK COSGROVE (Bobby C.) makes his Drury Lane Theatre debut. Broadway: Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli) at The August Wilson Theatre. National Tour: Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli – 1st & 2nd National Tours). Chicago Credits: Mamma Mia at The Paramount Theatre and Snapshots at The Northlight Theatre. New York Readings/Workshops: A Bronx Tale (Calogero), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Neil Sedaka). BFA Acting/Music Theatre: Carnegie Mellon University. Proud AEA member.
JOE CAPSTICK (Joey) is returning to Drury Lane Theatre where he was last seen as Custus in Crazy For You. Other Chicago credits include: the ensembles of South Pacific and Guys & Dolls (Light Opera Works), the ensemble of The Producers (Mercury Theatre Chicago), and as Jon Snow/Dance Captain in Thrones! The Musical Parody produced by Baby Wants Candy (Apollo Theatre). Regional credits include Mike in “A Chorus Line” and the Emcee in “Cabaret” (Timber Lake Playhouse). Joe is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
WILL LIDKE (Gus) Makes his Drury Lane debut in Saturday Night Fever. Other Chicago credits include understudying for Ride the Cyclone, Tug of War: Foreign Fire (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Mercury Theater) & Bat Boy (Griffin Theater). Will holds a BFA in acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and is represented by the at Shirley Hamilton Inc.
BRANDON SPRINGMAN (Double J) returns to Drury Lane. Chicago credits: Billy Elliot, Peter and the Starcatcher, Singin’ in the Rain, Sound of Music, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Drury Lane Theatre) Singin’ in the Rain, How to Succeed…, Man of La Mancha, and Pirates of Penzance, (Marriott Theatre) Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) Far from Heaven (Porchlight Music Theatre) Regional: Brigadoon (Sacramento Music Circus). Brandon has a B.F.A in musical theatre from the Chicago College for the Performing Arts.
ADAEZÈ KELLEY (Candy, Ensemble) make her debut with Drury Lane Theatre. Recent/Favorite credits include: Mimi in RENT with Paramount Theatre; Velma in Chicago with Flamingo The Arusha in Japan; and Donna Summer in Macarthur Park at the Went Concert Hall. Following her studies at AMDA LA as a musical theatre major, she began her extensive international travels as a performer. Adaezè is also an avid yogi and wellness consultant, a multiple business owner and is currently pursuing her degree in psychology at Loyola University.
JHARDON DISHON MILTON (Monty, Ensemble) returns to Drury Lane. A Houston, TX native, Jhardon holds a BFA in music theatre from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Chicago credits include: Jeff Nominated Men of Soul and At Last: A Tribute to Etta James (Black Ensemble), La Cage aux Folles (Marriott), Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane), and coming up Cabaret at Theatre at the Center. Regional credits include: Seymour in the Inaugural production of Little Shop of Horrors at Tantrum Theatre Ohio.
ALLYSON GRAVES (Pauline, Ensemble, U/S Stephanie) returns to Drury Lane, where she was last seen in White Christmas. Other Chicago credits include: Billy Elliot, Hello Dolly!, Singin’ in the Rain (Drury Lane Oakbrook); The Little Mermaid, Mamma Mia, West Side Story, Hairspray, Oklahoma, Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre); The Little Mermaid, Roadshow (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Legally Blonde (Big Noise Theatre Company); The Pajama Game (Music Theatre Company); and 42nd Street (TATC).
SKYLER ADAMS (Frank Jr., Ensemble) returns to Drury Lane! Television: Chicago PD; National Tours: Pippin (Lewis/Pippin u/s). Drury Lane: Next to Normal (Henry), Les Misérables (Marius); Mercury Theatre: The Bardy Bunch (Keith Partridge); MTWichita: Catch Me If You Can (Frank Jr.), Big Fish (Will), Legally Blonde (Emmett); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre: World Premiere of The Adventures of Pinocchio (Pinocchio); Lyric Opera of Chicago: Oklahoma! Paramount Theatre: Hair (Claude), Grease (Danny), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel); Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma: Altar Boyz (Matthew), and Riverside Theatre: Funny Thing…Forum).
MARYA GRANDY (Flo, Ensemble) most recently played Smitty in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at The Marriott, where she also appeared in Sister Act, On the Town (Jeff Nomination) and 9 to 5. Other Chicago productions: The Secret Garden (Court Theatre), Madame Thenardier in Les Misérables (Paramount Theatre), the title role in Juno (TimeLine Theatre), and A Grand Night for Singing (Mercury Theater—Jeff Nomination). Broadway and New York productions: the 2012 Off-Broadway revival of Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever, Les Misérables (2006 Revival), Damn Yankees, Bells Are Ringing (City Center Encores!), The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Drama Desk Nomination), and The Water Coolers (co-author). Marya has performed regionally in Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl (World Premiere, directed by David H. Bell), Pump Boys & Dinettes, Follies, Take Flight, Gypsy, Beehive, Smokey Joe’s Café, The Honky Tonk Angels, Working, and The Water Coolers (Jeff Nomination). Television/film credits: “Rescue Me”, “Conviction”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “Denis Leary’s Merry F***ing Christmas”, and “Love Streams”. Recordings include the Original Cast Recording of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Manhattan Transfer’s Bodies and Souls, and Superwoman, by her own band, Five Floor Monica. B.A: Yale University.
OLIVIA RENTERIA (Linda, Ensemble, U/S Pauline) returns to Drury Lane where she was last seen in Beaches, A New Musical. Previous credits include: The Bardy Bunch at The Mercury Theatre, Brigadoon at The Goodman Theatre, Cats and The Who’s Tommy at The Paramount Theatre. Olivia has studied at The Chicago Academy for the Arts (best high school in the world), Ruth Page Center for the Arts and attended Point Park University.
BRET TUOMI (Frank, Fusco, Ensemble) returns to the Drury Lane stage. He last appeared here as Mr. Braithwaite in Billy Elliot and before that as Lt. Schrank in West Side Story. Other Chicago area credits include: Henry V and Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Iceman Cometh and A Christmas Carol at The Goodman, The Odd Couple at Theatre at the Center, and most recently The Bardy Bunch at The Mercury Theatre. He has also appeared on Broadway and the first national tour of Rock of Ages.
TONY CARTER (Salesman, Ensemble, U/S Double J, Gus) makes his Drury Lane debut with this production. In the Chicago area he has been seen in Nice Work If You Can Get It (Theatre at the Center), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (First Folio Theatre), Guys & Dolls (Light Opera Works), 35MM (Circle Theatre), High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre Project), and We Gotta Bingo (Chicago Theatre Works). Outside Chicago he has worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Cabaret Theatre, PCPA: Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Utah Festival Opera, California Theatre Center, and the Pickleville Playhouse. Favorite roles include Rocky (Rocky Horror), Don Lockwood: (Singin’ in the Rain), and Mercutio (Romeo & Juliet)
COURTNEY CERNY (Ensemble, U/S Maria, Dance Captain) returns to Drury Lane. Regional credits include: Crazy For You, Hazel, White Christmas, West Side Story and Billy Elliot at Drury Lane, Brigadoon at The Goodman, In The Heights, Mary Poppins and Oklahoma at The Paramount, Hello Dolly, Footloose, Annie Get Your Gun, and A Fireside Christmas at The Fireside Theatre, and The Music Man at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.
BRIAN M. DUNCAN (Pete, Ensemble) returns to Drury Lane. Chicago credits include: Hazel (Ensemble) at Drury Lane. Cats (Corricopat), 42nd Street (Ensemble), The Music Man (ensemble), A Chorus Line (Frank), and Joseph…Dreamcoat (Asher) at The Paramount Theatre. 42nd Street (Ensemble), Big Fish (Don Price), A Christmas Carol (Young Marley) and All Shook Up (Ensemble) at Theatre at the Center. Brian is also the jazz and senior competition director at Dance Images in Tinley Park. Brian holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Rockford University.
MICHAEL SAMARIE GEORGE (Shirley, Ensemble) is from Los Angeles, CA and just recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago. Her recent productions include: Mamma Mia at the Muny and she will join Drury Lane again for Chicago later this year.
RON KING (Chester, Ensemble, U/S Monty) makes his Drury Lane debut with Saturday Night Fever. He is a recent transplant from Savannah, GA who studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Previous credits include: Mamma Mia (Paramount); Bat Boy (Griffin); Rent (Theo Ubique); Schoolhouse Rock Live (Emerald City); and Ragtime (Milwaukee Repertory).
AMANDA NEWMAN (Ensemble, U/S Connie) makes her debut with Drury Lane Theatre. Amanda has worked as a dancer with companies including From the Hip Dance Project, Tikvah Co. of Artists, and Rasa Dance Chicago, and also as a choreographer and dance teacher all around Chicago. Credits include: Letters From Home, a touring duet of 1940’s tap dance and song, The Boy From Oz, (Pride Films and Plays); Mack and Mabel (Porchlight Music Theatre); Carnival (Lost Note Theatre); A Chorus Line (Paramount Theatre); The Love of the Nightingale (Red Tape Theatre). BA Musical Theater, Columbia College Chicago.
MARTÍN ORTÍZ TÁPIA (Gabriel, Cesar, Ensemble) is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. He is a former Giordano Dance Chicago dancer and was named “the Swiss Army knife of Chicago dancer” by Dance Magazine. He makes his Drury Lane debut with Saturday Night Fever.
ADRIENNE STORRS (Maria, Ensemble, U/S Annette, Candy) returns to Drury Lane Theatre after making her debut as Annette replacement in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. She recently was Associate Choreographer for Timeline Theatre’s A Disappearing Number, and dance captain for the new musical Helldrivers of Daytona, at the Royal George Theatre. Other credits include: West Side Story (Paramount Theatre), Anything Goes and CATS (Marriott Theatre), Elf: The Musical (NATL Tour and TUTS Houston), and Chicago (Welk Theatre San Diego).
MONICA THOMAS (Connie, Ensemble, U/S Linda) is a dancer, actor, and choreographer. She recently appeared in: Bye Bye Birdie at Drury; Oklahoma! at the Paramount Theatre; and Dorian with House Theatre. She danced as a company member with dance companies Winifred Haun and Dancers, Mordine & Company, and Striding Lion Performance Group. Her dance film works have appeared in film festivals nationally and internationally. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in dance and music theater.
AARON UMSTED (Jay, Ensemble, U/S Tony, Frank Jr., Gabriel, Cesar) is back at Drury Lane after appearing in Crazy for You and Hazel. Other Chicago and regional credits include: Paramount Theatre, Arena Stage in Washington DC, Music Theatre of Wichita, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Arvada, and Stages St. Louis. He has also toured in the first national companies of A Chorus Line, Disney’s Mary Poppins, and the Tony Award winning revival of Anything Goes. Aaron received a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Oklahoma and is currently teaching and choreographing for the Chicago Academy for the Arts.
Season and Subscription Information
Drury Lane Theatre’s 2017-2018 season will open with Chicago – the first professional Chicagoland production of the hit musical in 30 years. The season continues with the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game featuring Chicago theatre legends John Reeger and Paula Scrofano, followed by the powerhouse musical tribute to the 1980s Rock of Ages. For the holiday season Drury Lane will stage beloved tap classic 42nd Street and then close its 17-18 season with the iconic Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The 2017/2018 season runs March 30, 2017 through March 25, 2018 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.
Subscriptions for the 2017 – 2018 Season are priced from $144.60 to $175.80. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit DruryLaneTheatre.com.
The performance schedule for all productions is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit DruryLaneTheatre.com.
About Drury Lane Theatre
Under the leadership of President Kyle DeSantis and Artistic Director William Osetek, Drury Lane Theatre is a major force in the Chicagoland theatre scene, presenting world-class productions in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading actors, artists, writers and directors. Over the past 30 years, Drury Lane has staged more than 2,000 productions and has been nominated for more than 350 Joseph Jefferson Awards. Drury Lane is committed to breathing new life into beloved classics and introducing audiences to exciting new works.
Throughout its 30-year history, Drury Lane has employed more than 7,500 actors and 10,000 musicians, designers and crewmembers to entertain upwards of nine million audience members. Originally founded by Anthony DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre remains a family-run organization known for producing breathtaking Broadway classics, top-rated musicals, bold new works, hilarious comedies and unforgettable concert events.