Underscore Theatre’s Chicago Premiere of “TONYA AND NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA” Continues Through December 30, 2016 at Theater Wit

Underscore Theatre Company, in association with Harborside Films, is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of TONYA AND NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA, a dark musical comedy based on the infamous 1990’s Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan “knee whack” ice skating scandal. With book and lyrics by Elizabeth Searle, music by Michael Teoli, direction and choreography by Jon Martinez and musical direction by Aaron Benham, TONYA AND NANCY will play November 26 – December 30, 2016 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.theaterwit.org, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150.

TONYA AND NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA features 2016 Jeff Award-winning actresses Amanda Horvath (Murder Ballad) and Courtney Mack (Heathers: The Musical) in the title roles of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, respectively. The cast also includes Justin Adair, Caleb Baze, Vasily Deris, Tyler Symonè, Veronica Garza, Graham Hawley, Genevieve Perrino and Mari Uchida.

The Olympics, 1994. Then, as now, America is obsessed with celebrity scandals and the intense amount of pressure put on young athletes by society’s “go for the gold at all costs” attitude. Tonya Harding, raised as “trailer trash,” has hardly had the chance to dream past her father’s pickup truck. Her advantage? Pure strength, athleticism and a passionate determination to escape her past. Nancy Kerrigan, on the other hand, has it all – a supportive family, an affluent background, beauty and effortless grace. Enter Tonya’s no-account boyfriend Jeff Gillooly, who has a plan to “help” Tonya win. The nation is watching as Jeff’s goons go after Nancy. What will happen when each skater has only three and a half minutes to be perfect?

Underscore Theatre’s Chicago premiere production follows workshop productions at American Repertory Theater and the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The production team includes: Jimmy Jagos (scenic design), Virginia Varland (costume designer), Maya Fein (lighting design), Robert Hornbostel (sound design), Adrian Abel Azevedo (associate director) and Joseph Kuchey (associate choreographer), Mike Sanow (technical director), David Trudeau (master electrician) Michael Starcher (stage manager) and Beth Weinstock (asst. stage manager).




Elizabeth Searle (Book & Lyrics) first wrote about ‘Tonya & Nancy’ in her novella Celebrities in Disgrace, which the New York Times Book Review called ‘a miniature masterpiece.’ She is the author of four books of fiction: My Body To You, Celebrities in Disgrace, A Four-Sided Bed and most recently Girl Held in Home. She created both the concept and libretto for both Tonya & Nancy: The Opera and Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera. The one-act Tonya & Nancy opera, with music by Abigail Al-Doory Cross, has been performed in Boston and at Opera Vista in Houston, TX, where it was chosen as one of the top three new operas of the year. It was produced in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2010 and in 2014, with Previews ‘on ice.’ Elizabeth’s novel A Four-Sided Bed is now in development as a feature film, and a short film of Elizabeth’s Celebrities in Disgrace has screened at festivals around the country. Elizabeth’s one-act play Stolen Girl Song has been performed in ME and MA. Elizabeth’s theater works have been featured in stories on Good Morning America, CBS, CNN, NPR, the AP and more. She teaches fiction and scriptwriting at Stonecoast MFA and lives in MA with her husband and son.

Michael Teoli (Music) is an award-winning Film and Theatre Composer based in Los Angeles. Before graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he worked on Howard Shore’s Music Team for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Since then, he has scored or worked on the music for over 60 films. His score to the feature 41 won Best Original Soundtrack at the Director’s Chair Film Festival in Staten Island, NY. Teoli has composed three full-length musicals: Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, CarnEvil and The Werewolves of Hollywood Boulevard. Michael provided music direction, arrangements and additional music for Doomsday Cabaret and Exorcistic: A Rock Musical Parody, each winning Best Musical at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2012 and 2013. respectively. After an overwhelmingly positive response to his score for the play Absolutely Filthy, (which won Top Of Fringe/Best Overall at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival and the 2014 New York Fringe Festival respectively), Michael released his first album, Absolutely Filthy Trax. Michael will be arranging and music directing Skulduggery: A Musical Prequel to Hamlet at Sacred Fools Theater for their upcoming season.

Jon Martinez (Director/Choreographer) works regularly as a director, choreographer and teacher in Chicago and regionally. Choreography credits include: Rock of Ages (Timberlake Playhouse); Rocky Horror Picture Show Live!, Pr0ne: A Hardcore, Amateur Musical, The Guide to Being Single, Borderlands, Haymarket (Underscore Theatre); The Midwest premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s 13, CATS, Oliver (Gallery 37/Storefront Theater). Jon also directed the Theater On The Lake remount of Bailiwick Chicago’s Murder Ballad. He has served as assistant/associate director/choreographer on Xanadu (American Theater Company); Carrie, Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago); Story of a Story (Underscore Theater); Faustus, The Musical (New York Film Academy – Reading). He recently choreographed his first ballet, Le Apache, which premiered at The Harris Theater in Chicago. He was a performer in the 2012 U.S. Tour of Paris Opera Ballet’s Boléro and works with International Dance Challenge and Dance America/Dance Olympus competitions regionally. A Chicago native, Jon holds a BA in Musical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago.

Aaron Benham (Music Director) is a music director, conductor, arranger, and composer. Credits include: Xanadu (American Theater Company); Side Show, Putting it Together (Porchlight); Melancholy Play (Piven); The Wild Party (Jeff Award), Carrie (Bailiwick Chicago); revues of Styne, Porter, The Andrews Sisters (Jeff Award), Hamlisch, Patsy Cline (Theo Ubique); also work with Brown Paper Box, Chicago Cabaret Project, Kokandy Productions, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, The New Colony, Second City, Timberlake Playhouse, Timeline, Writers Theatre. He is a teaching artist with Chicago Academy for the Arts, Chicago Opera Theater, Harper College, Northwestern and Roosevelt. BFA Emerson College.

Paul T. Boghosian/Harborside Films (Producer) is the founder and CEO of HarborSide Films (Boston, MA) and has over 30 years of experience producing award-winning theatricals, public affairs programming, and feature films. Notable theatre credits include the 2008 New Repertory Theater production of According To Tip (IRNE award winner for Best New Play in New England). In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Mr. Boghosian is also active as the president of the English Speaking Union Boston Branch, serves on the Board of Directors of the BoSox Club and is past president and currently a board member of the Columbia Alumni Association of Boston. Mr. Boghosian earned an MBA from Columbia University and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Northeastern University

About Underscore Theatre Company

Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced 44 new musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago’s home for new musicals.