kokandy-productions-9601With the debut of their all-musical 2014 season, Kokandy Productions announces itself as Chicago’s newest non-Equity musical theater company, dedicated to producing high-stakes musical theater pieces that authentically mine the emotional truth of the human experience and explore complex, challenging themes.

“We believe in the power of musical theater,” states Executive Producer Scot Kokandy, “and our goal is to exceed audience expectations, both with our production values and the material we choose to present. More than just great voices singing great songs – we want to take strong emotional risks, tell complex stories, and truly earn every second of our audience’s investment.”

Kokandy’s premiere all-musical season kicks off with the Marvin Hamlisch/Craig Carnelia/John Guare noir SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS running January 11 – February 2, 2014 at Theater Wit. Directed by John D. Glover with music direction by Aaron Benham and choreography by Steven Spanopoulos, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS features Brian Rooney (J.J. Hunsecker), David Schlumpf (Sidney), Victoria Blade (Susan), Nathan Gardner (Dallas), and Christina Hall (Rita), supported by an ensemble of 13 actor-singer-dancers.

Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASSINS rounds out the season, running June 14 – July 20, 2014 at Theater Wit, with direction by Rachel Edwards Harvith and choreography by Mike Ford. The cast will include last season’s star performers Jim DeSelm and Allison Hendrix (THE LAST FIVE YEARS).

“Our 2014 season addresses some pretty hard questions,” states Kokandy. “Both shows center around issues of self-identity and the negative lengths people are willing to go to feel validated. Obsession with fame and celebrity isn’t a modern product of reality shows and YouTube, it’s been true a long time, and the season asks our performers and audience to really explore that.”

In addition to the mainstage lineup, Kokandy will expand their commitment to support the growth of local musical theater artists with the presentation of their off-night New Musical Staged Reading Series. The series debuts with Michael Potsic’s Icarus-inspired FLIGHT (running concurrent with SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS), followed by Ethan Deppe’s exploration of modern relationships, PERPETUAL POSSIBILITY (running concurrent with ASSASSINS).

Kokandy Productions is also pleased to announce the appointments of John D. Glover and Allison Hendrix as the company’s first-ever Associate Artistic Directors. “John and Allison share a strong artistic vision and appreciation for the potential of musical theater,” states Kokandy. “Their passion is inspiring to everyone in the company, and we’re confident that their influence will be a major factor in our continued growth and success.”

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago’s non-Equity musical theater community.

The company’s artistic staff is comprised of Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer), Jonathan Goldthwaite (Production Coordinator), John D. Glover (Associate Artistic Director), and Allison Hendrix (Associate Artistic Director).

MORE INFORMATION AT: http://www.kokandyproductions.com

About Kokandy Productions’ Staff

John D. Glover (Associate Artistic Director) made his Kokandy debut as Director of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL and most recently directed their production of THE LAST FIVE YEARS. Former Managing Director of the Theater Company of Purdue University, John is also a freelance director whose credits include PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES for Purdue Theater Company (Northern Indiana Excellence in Theater Foundation winner Best Direction Of A Musical), and FLOYD COLLINS for Towle Theater (NIETF winner Best Direction Of A Musical). In 1996, John received the NIETF Award for Lifetime Achievement in Regional Theater.

Jonathan Goldthwaite (Production Coordinator) holds a BA in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago, and is the former Artistic Director of the Dallas- based company Rusty Pegasus Productions, where he directed SPRING AWAKENING and THE UMBRELLA PLAY.

Allison Hendrix (Associate Artistic Director) made her Kokandy debut as Music Director for THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, and was most recently seen as Cathy in Kokandy’s THE LAST FIVE YEARS where she also served as Co-Music Director. Other credits include Music Director for Piven Theatre Workshop’s CITIES OF LIGHT, and Bailiwick’s ZANNA DON’T, Associate Music Director/Conductor for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble’s FLOYD COLLINS, and Vocal Director for Towle Theatre’s FLOYD COLLINS (NIETF Winner Best Vocal Direction).

Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer) holds a BS from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MBA from Purdue University. In addition to his work with Kokandy Productions, Scot co- produced GOOD BOYS AND TRUE with the Towle Theater, THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS THE MUSICAL at 4th Street Theater in Chesterton, and was one of the People of Godspell who produced GODSPELL on Broadway.

Important Info and Dates SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

Press Opening: January 10, 2014 Preview: January 10, 2014 Run dates: January 11 – February 2, 2014 Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Avenue

ASSASSINS Press Opening: June 14, 2014

Preview: June 13th Regular Run: June 14 – July 20, 2014 Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Avenue