REVIEWED BY: MELODY UDELL It truly must’ve been a “fickle finger of fate” that brought…
If Her Friends Could See Her Now! Tiffany Topol is SWEET CHARITY at Writers’ Theatre
Writers’ Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M.
Lipuma and Artistic Director Michael Halberstam announce the Writers’ Theatre production of Sweet Charity, book by Neil Simon with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam with musical direction by Doug Peck and choreography by Jessica Redish. The production runs January 22 – March 31, 2013 at Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, IL.
How many times can a girl make the same mistakes? Charity Valentine’s problems aren’t unique—a dead end job, a string of dates with identically flawed men and a knack for making the wrong choices. Of course, in her case the job is as a dance hall “hostess” and her dates all seem to end with her being pushed into the lake— but that won’t shake her belief that great things lie just ahead. And perhaps they do…
Artistic Director Michael Halberstam gives Charity reasons to sing and dance on the gritty streets of New York, and Musical Director Doug Peck re-imagines the score for a live jazz combo.
“Having now fully invested in the musical as part of the Writers’ Theatre conversation it makes sense that we should deepen our respect for the form with a foray into this most thrilling of genres—the dance musical. Along with the city’s foremost music director Doug Peck and rising local choreographer Jessica Redish, we have assembled a talent-packed cast of actor-singer-dancers (or triple threats as they are known in the business) to bring Simon, Coleman and Fields’ musical to life,” says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “We are particularly thrilled to be showcasing the remarkable appeal of Tiffany Topol who, already highly respected by her colleagues in Chicago, is about to introduce herself to our audiences in a mighty special way. Writers’ Theatre is about to bring its own intimate brand of theatrical sizzle to Glencoe.”
The cast includes: Tiffany Topol (Charity), Jarrod Zimmerman (Oscar/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Vittorio/Ensemble), Ericka Mac (Helene/Ensemble), Karen Burthwright (Nickie/Ensemble), James Earl Jones II (Daddy Brubeck/Herman/Ensemble), Katie Spelman (Rosie/Ensemble), Emily Ariel Rogers (Ursula/Ensemble), Adam Estes (Ensemble), Travis Porchia (Ensemble) and Liam Quealy (Ensemble).
The creative team includes: Collette Pollard (Scenic Designer), David Hyman Costume Designer), John Culbert (Lighting Designer), Joshua Horvath (Sound Designer), Nick Heggestad, (Properties Designer), Eva Breneman (Dialect Coach), Tom Vendafreddo (Piano/Conductor), David Castellanos (Production Stage Manager) and Michael Holtzman, (Assistant Director).
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Michael Halberstam (Director, Artistic Director)is the co-founder of Writers’Theatre. He has directed over 30productions for the company including NotAbout Heroes (starring Nicholas Pennell),Private Lives, Look Back In Anger, Candida,The Father, Crime and Punishment,Benefactors, Seagull, The Duchess of Malfi,Othello, The Savannah Disputation, theworld premiere musical A Minister’s Wife,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,She Loves Me, The Real Thing and Hamlet.Halberstam has appeared in numerousWriters’ Theatre productions includingRichard II (title role), Loot and Misalliance.Previously, he spent two years at TheStratford Festival in Ontario and performedin Timon Of Athens, The Knight of theBurning Pestle (title role), Much Ado AboutNothing and As You Like It. Halberstam’sother Chicago acting credentials includeproductions with Wisdom Bridge, CourtTheatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.Elsewhere he directed The Gamester(Northlight Theatre), A Man For All Seasons(Peninsula Players Theatre), Hamlet(Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Candida(Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York),Ten Little Indians (Drury Lane OakbrookTerrace), a highly acclaimed revival ofCrime and Punishment, which Writers’Theatre produced off-Broadway at 59E59Theatres in New York City, EnchantedApril and State of the Union (MilwaukeeRepertory Theater). In 2011 he directed AMinister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater.His forays into opera have included TheRape Of Lucretia (Chicago Opera Theater),Francesca De Ramini featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and Le Freyshutz, a Berlioz adaptation of the Weber opera conducted by Christoph Eschenbach in its North American Premiere (Ravinia Festival). He spent two and a half years teaching Shakespeare at The Theatre School at DePaul University and has received awards for excellence in theater management and/or artistic achievement from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts, The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival and most recently, the 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award.
Doug Peck (Musical Director & Re-Orchestrations)is thrilled to return toWriters’ Theatre after music directing Oh Coward! He is the winner of five Joseph Jefferson Awards (Porgy and Bess, Caroline, or Change, Carousel, Fiorello!, Man of La Mancha) and two After Dark Awards (Guys and Dolls, Hello, Again). Other favorite projects include Dreamgirls, Shenandoah, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, James Joyce’s The Dead, A Catered Affair, Hair, Grey Gardens, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Raisin, Animal Crackers, and Mary Zimmerman’s acclaimed production of Candide. His work has been heard in Chicago at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, TimeLine Theatre Company, Paramount Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, Porchlight Theatre, Ravinia Festival and the Chicago Humanities Festival, as well as Boston’s Huntington Theatre, D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre, New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre, Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory Theatre and Door County’s Peninsula Players. Peck can be heard on the recordings Bright Young People: The Songs of Noël Coward, Foiled Again Live and Loving, Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein. For the Chicago Humanities Festival, he and Rob Lindley have presented Assassins and Follies in concert, as well as A Night at the Oscars, a chronological survey of every single song that won the Academy Award. A proud Northwestern University graduate, Peck also trained at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Peck is a creative partner with the Goodman Theatre, an artistic associate with Porchlight Theatre, and a faculty member of the National High School Institute of the Arts. Upcoming projects include Pal Joey at Porchlight, Disney’s The Jungle Book for the Goodman, In the Heights at Paramount, and Disney’s Mary Poppins at Marriott.
Jessica Redish (Choreographer)is pleased to return to Writers’ Theatre where she choreographed She Loves Me. Redish is the Founding Artistic Director of The Music Theatre Company in Highland Park where she directed and choreographed Pippin (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination – Choreography), Merrily We Roll Along, Erika’s Wall and The 9/11 Report. Other Chicago area credits include choreographing RENT directed by David Cromer (American Theater Company/About Face Theatre) and Seussical (First Stage in Milwaukee). New York credits include Movement Direction for the off-Broadway production of Adding Machine directed by Mr. Cromer, as well as directing and choreographing various new musicals at the New York Music Theatre Festival and NYFringe. Redish served as a guest artist at Roosevelt University, Hollins University, Perry Mansfield and Northwestern University, her alma mater. Upcoming projects include choreographing Pinkalicious (First Stage) and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company). Redish is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Karen Burthwright (Nickie/Ensemble) makes her Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Alice in Computerland (Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences), Ragtime (Jeff Award for Best Musical), Hot Mikado and Aida (Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook). Broadway credit Jesus Christ Superstar. Regional/Canada/First National Tours include Brenda in Smokey Joe’s Café (Florida Studio Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (La Jolla Playhouse), Featured Vocalist in Dirty Dancing (Toronto Company & US First National Tour), Hairspray (Toronto Company & US First National Tour), Lisa in Mamma Mia! (Toronto Company & US First National Tour),The Rocky Horror Show (Canadian Stage/Manitoba Theatre Centre), Sheila in Hair (Canadian Stage), Dreamgirls (Stage West Calgary), Featured Vocalist in California Dreaming (Stage West Mississauga), Woman 2 in Away Home (Afro Canadian Playwright’s Festival) and Petal in Nutmeg Princess (Young People’s Theatre). Film/TV credits include The New Superman Man of Steel (2013), Journey to Freedom and Blues Brothers 2000.
Adam Estes (Ensemble) returns to Writers’ Theatre where he previously appeared as an understudy in A Minister’s Wife. Other credits include performances with Goodman Theatre, The Paramount, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Peninsula Players, In Tandem Theatre, Lake Dillon Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theater, Skylight Music Theatre, Florentine Opera and The Fireside Theatre.
James Earl Jones II (Daddy Brubeck/Herman)makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. James recently finished Will You Stand Up? – educating people about mental wellness (Erasing the Distance) and a workshop of Now and Then a Hero (Light Opera Works). His work has garnered Black Theatre Alliance Awards and Black Excellence Awards. Credits include Dreamgirls, The Full Monty (Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire), Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting (Lookingglass), Porgy & Bess (Court, Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera), The Wiz (Joseph Jefferson nomination, Theater at the Center), Aida, Spamalot, Ragtime (Drury Lane Oakbrook), A Civil War Christmas (Northlight), Annie Get Your Gun (Ravinia Festival), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Broadway in Chicago and Mason Street Warehouse), Dessa Rose (Appletree), Aspects of Love (Jedlicka Performing Arts Co.), IPagliacci (Intimate Opera Co.), On the Town (New Classic Singers), The Gondoliers, Patience (Hyde Park Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co.), H.M.S. Pinafore (Savoy Aires Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co.) and Pirates of Penzance (Elgin Chorale and Symphony). His voice is heard on various commercials.
Ericka Mac (Helene/Ensemble) makes her Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Ellie in Showboat (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Rita in White Christmas, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, Sheila in A Chorus Line, Cha Cha in Grease, Poopsie in The Pajama Game (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), Erato in Xanadu, Helene in Sweet Charity, Lucy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Consuelo in West Side Story (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, nine roles in Jolson & Company (including Ruby Keeler and Mae West),Demeter in Cats, Lady in Green in Singin’ in the Rain, Morales in A Chorus Line (Theatre at the Center), Cat in the world premiere of The Adventures of Pinocchio, Bird Girl in Seussical the Musical (Chicago Shakespeare), Singer in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rosemont Theater), Velma Kelly in Chicago and Kay Mostyn in Murder on the Nile (Peninsula Players). She is currently recording her singer/songwriter debut CD of original songs.
Jeff Parker (Vittorio/Ensemble) makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. Recent credits include 1776 (Asolo Repertory; directed by Frank Galati), Mary Zimmerman’s Candide, Calixto Bieito’s Camino Real (Goodman) and As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare). Chicago credits include Turn of the Century directed by Tommy Tune, Bounce directed by Harold Prince, The Beard of Avon, The Visit, Floyd Collins, The House of Martin Guerre (Goodman), The Brother/Sister Plays directed by Tina Landau (Joseph Jefferson Award-Best Ensemble), Venus (Steppenwolf), Cymbeline, The Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare), Nine (Joseph Jefferson Nomination-Best Actor in a Musical, Porchlight Music Theatre), Before My Eyes, View of the Dome, Bluff (Victory Gardens) and Indian Ink (Apple Tree Theatre). Regional/Off Broadway credits include Candide (Huntington Theatre Company), My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory Theatre), Boy Gets Girl (Manhattan Theatre Club), Winesburg, Ohio (Kansas City Rep.) and The American in Me (Magic Theatre).Television and film credits include Prison Break (Fox) and Early Edition (CBS). Parker received a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Southern California.
Travis Porchia (Ensemble)makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook–Jeff Nomination), The Petrified Forest (Strawdog Theater Company), Pippin (Boho Theater), Meet John Doe (Porchlight Music Theatre)and Footloose! (Theater At The Center). Regionally credits include Peninsula Players’ production of Chicago (Door County, WI). TV credits include “Boulevard”–AT&T Uverse (commercial) and “Where You At?” (music video). Film credits include “Dhoom 3: Back InAction” (Feature) and “Dr. Liebenstein”(Independent).
Liam Quealy (Ensemble) makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago area credits include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Chicago Shakespeare), Pirates of Penzance (Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire), Annie, Mark in A Chorus Line, Judah, Joseph U/Sin Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and My Fair Lady (Paramount Theatre). National Tour: Sasha, Fyedka U/S in Fiddler on the Roof. Off Broadway: Bobby in Dear Edwina. Liam is an Eagle Scout.
Emily Ariel Rogers (Ursula/ Ensemble) makes her Writers ‘Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Dance Captain/Ensemble in Camelot, Jean in Brigadoon (Light Opera Works), Pippin (The Music Theatre Company), The Christmas Show (The Little Theatre on the Square), Apache Dancer in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Paramount Theatre) and Victoria in Cats (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre). As a choreographer, Rogers’ work was most recently seen in Time After Time: The Songs of Jule Styne (Theo Ubique).
Katie Spelman (Rosie/Ensemble/Dance Captain) makes her Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Hair, A Chorus Line, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Grease (Paramount Theatre), The Adventures of Pinocchio (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Animal Crackers (Goodman), Fiddler on the Roof, The Drowsy Chaperone (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), The Boys From Syracuse, The Hot Mikado (Drury Lane Oakbrook), and Merrily We Roll Along and Erika’s Wall (The Music Theatre Company). As a choreographer, Spelman has worked with Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sideshow Theatre Company, The Inconvenience, The New Colony, The Music Theatre Company, Starkid, Maltz-Jupiter Theatre and Northwestern University. Spelman is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a proud member of Actors’ Equity, and a graduate of Northwestern University. Love to Mom and Dad.
Tiffany Topol (Charity) makes her Writers’ Theatre debut. Other credits include Eastland: A New Musical (Lookingglass), My One and Only, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Legally Blonde, White Christmas, How Can You Run With a shell on Your Back?, 42nd Street (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), Boys From Syracuse (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Cabaret (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), Hairspray (Cape Playhouse), A Chorus Line (Gateway Playhouse), I’ll Be Damned (Off-Broadway) and Xanadu (Broadway National Tour). She is proud to be a member of the Back Room Shakespeare Project.
Jarrod Zimmerman (Oscar/Ensemble)makes his Writers’ Theatre debut. Chicago credits include A Christmas Carol (Goodman), Shakespeare in the Parks: The Taming of the Shrew, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Gypsy (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Merrily We Roll Along (The Music Theatre Company), The Music Man, Little Women, Into the Woods (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), The Boys Are Coming Home (AMTP) and TheSpitfire Grill (Provision Theater). Regional credits include 1776 (Asolo Repertory Theatre), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (Peninsula Players), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Totem Pole Playhouse), Big! the musical, Proof, The Mousetrap, Little Women and Arsenic and Old Lace (Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre). Television credits include Boss (Starz). Zimmerman is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Performances are January 22, 2013– March 31, 2013. The press opening is on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 7:30pm. Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm; Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pm and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $35-$70 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.
Writers’ Theatre is thrilled to announce the expansion of their post-show discussions. Throughout the season they will be offering post-show discussions on select Wednesday evenings following the performance in our Tudor Court space. In the Books on Vernon space they will be offering post-show discussions every other Wednesday evening.
Post-show discussions provide a forum for audience members to ask questions of the artists in the production and gain new insight into the work.
Post-show discussions for Sweet Charity are every Wednesday evening following the performance: February 6, 13, 27; and Mar. 13, 20, 27.
Visit writerstheatre.org/enrichment for more information.
Follow Writers’ Theatre on Twitter (Twitter.com/WritersTheatre) and by 3:00pm, when available, Writers’ will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day’s performance at a discount. When available, Tweet Seats may be purchased only through the Writers’ Theatre website at writerstheatre.org.
Writers’ Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as Season Sponsor of its 2012/13 Season.
Northern Trust joins as the Corporate Sponsor Partner of Sweet Charity
Writers’ Theatre welcomes back Winnetka’s award-winning Restaurant Michael as Restaurant Partner and Event Sponsor.Writers’ Theatre patrons receive 10% off their guest check when they present their ticket stub when ordering. Just 10 minutes from the theater at 64 Green Bay Road, Restaurant Michael is the perfect fit for any dining occasion. Call 847-441-3100 to make your reservation.
For more information about Writers’ 2012/13 Season Restaurant Partners and offer restrictions visit writerstheatre.org/visitus.
ABOUT WRITERS’ THEATRE
Over the past twenty seasons, Writers’ Theatre has become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence. Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers’ Theatre has been deemed the “best drama company in the nation” by the Wall Street Journal and achieved twenty years of surplus operations. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers’ Theatre’s acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam’s world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent production of A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater; David Cromer’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional theater productions.
In July, 2011, Writers’ Theatre announced the hiring of the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principle Jeanne Gang, FAIA to design a new home for the Theatre in downtown Glencoe which will once again allow the Theatre to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility will resonate with and complement the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community and will add tremendous value to Chicagoland and the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.
You can find Writers’ Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers’ Theatre on Twitter at Twitter.com/WritersTheatre. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.