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TIN PAN ALLEY RAG’s Michael Therriault in Toronto Star

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG begins its final week of performances tomorrow. The limited engagement concludes on Sunday, September 6th at The Laura Pels Theatre.

The Toronto Star

August 29, 2009  

Click here to view a video with the stars of THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG.

Small actor in big demand

Nothing’s diminutive about Michael Therriault, who is charming audiences as Irving Berlin

By Richard Ouzounian

NEW YORK–If you think the same actor couldn’t play Tommy Douglas, Gollum and Irving Berlin, then you haven’t met Michael Therriault.

The 35-year-old Acadian shape-shifter, who has lit up stages and screens across Canada, is charming Manhattan with his performance as Berlin, the iconic songwriter of numbers like “White Christmas” and “God Bless America” in a show called The Tin Pan Alley Rag, which is running at the Roundabout Theatre until Sept. 6.

Canadian director Stafford Arima, who staged Therriault’s latest show and has just been announced as the director of next season’s Stratford production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris, puts his finger on what has made this diminutive artist so in demand: “The great thing about Michael is that he has got such a thirst for discovering the truth about a character. He brings a wonderful collaborative spirit to the room, as well as that unique Canadian modesty, which is so endearing.”

But sitting down with Therriault for a post-theatre supper after a recent performance, he blushingly admits that it’s not modesty he radiates in rehearsals at all. “It’s fear. Sheer terror. I’m crazy about rehearsing, but I always worry that I’m doing something wrong.”

And that’s after a 15-year career that has seen him appear in New York, London and Stratford to rave reviews and audience acclaim.

But the gentle Therriault doesn’t feel those things really matter. “I can’t judge my experience in a show by whether or not the critics or the crowds liked it. I judge it by how much fun it was to do and how much I learned. That’s what’s important to me.”

In a business where actors run around frantically lobbying for roles, Therriault has just quietly gone about his business his own way and the A-list roles have flooded in his direction.

He was only a few years out of Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Program when he caught the eye of Richard Monette and wound up portraying the villainous Mordred in Camelot on Stratford’s Festival stage.

Over the next seven seasons, he played everything from Ariel in The Tempest opposite William Hutt to Motel in Fiddler on the Roof beside Brent Carver. He later played the same role with Harvey Fierstein on Broadway, and the gravel-voiced he-diva told the Star that, “Michael’s got energy and commitment and talent to spare. If he could only come up with a name Americans could spell, he’d be a big star down here.”

But stardom hasn’t been the major motivator for Therriault. “If I’m working on a project with heart and people connect with it, then you’ve got something great there.”

He certainly feels that way about The Tin Pan Alley Rag, but before arriving there, he had a lot of wildly mixed experiences.

Everyone agreed that his shy, sly accountant, Leo Bloom, was the best thing in the Toronto production of The Producers. It earned him a Dora Award but the show failed – and that made him unhappy.

The same thing happened again with The Lord of the Rings, where Therriault’s surrealistic portrait of Gollum was the only thing that many people enjoyed about that misbegotten behemoth. “It doesn’t make it any better if they like you and don’t like the show,” he says.

Therriault was one of the few people to travel with Rings from Toronto to London, and while he hoped that “we’d all get a chance to make things better,” he finally admits that “in the end, they kind of meld together in my mind: a long rehearsal, a long technical process and a show that kept constantly changing.”

There was one major difference in London, where Therriault got “a fantastic entrance that terrified the hell out of me,” making his initial appearance head down, suspended 15 metres in the air on wires, as he slowly slithered into view.

“It never stopped scaring me, not all through the run,” he now admits. “The technician up in the fly gallery with me was so funny. He knew how scared I was so every day, he’d read the newspaper to find something he could discuss with me while I was hanging there.”

But that didn’t work, either, so Therriault had to take things into his own hands. “My family bought me this giant joke book, so every night I’d learn a couple of jokes and scream them out at the top of my voice while I was upside down. They were the worst jokes. You know, `Your momma’s so fat that…’ kind of jokes. It’s kind of surreal now that I think of it.”

But there has been a lot of that off-the-wall quality in his career. When asked to audition for the CBC-TV miniseries on the life of Tommy Douglas, Therriault “didn’t even know who he was.”

But after some research, he found he had another source of stress. “I had never played a real person before, and I knew there were so many Tommy Douglas fans out there that I didn’t want to disappoint.”

Fortunately, he likely pleased most of them, including Douglas’s daughter, Shirley, who contacted Therriault to tell him how pleased she was with his work.

Click here to read the full article.

Roundabout’s The Tin Pan Alley Rag in Wall St. Journal

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG is playing at the Laura Pels Theatre through September 6, 2009.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

July 15, 2009

Life & Style

THE ENTERTAINERS

By Gwen Orel

The new musical “Tin Pan Alley Rag,” imagines a meeting in 1915 that could have taken place between African-American composer Scott Joplin and Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin. The show, written by Mark Saltzman, opened at the Laura Pels Theater at the Roundabout in New York City this week.

Irving Berlin, born Israel Baline, could not read music. Scott Joplin, son of a slave, had a college education. They shared respect, as well as sorrow–both men had lost their wives. But where Berlin was a genius of music and of marketing, Joplin was only one of music, says Mr. Saltzman, whose first professional job on Broadway was as an audition pianist.

The show, which has had previous regional productions, has been reworked for New York as “a naturalistic musical,” says director Stafford Arima. Every song comes from a “real” situation: a “plugger” (a songwriter pitching a song), Berlin playing, Joplin describing his opera. “Tin Pan Alley Rag” includes Berlin hits like “I Love a Piano” and Joplin standards including “The Entertainer.”

It also contains music from “Treemonisha,” Joplin’s ragtime opera. The opera’s story features the title character, a determined young woman, standing up to forces who keep former slaves in ignorance.

To read the entire article, click here.

 

THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG in the NY Times

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG is currently playing at the Laura Pels Theatre and opens officially on Tuesday, July 14th.

The New York Times 

Arts & Leisure 

July 5, 2009

When Scott Met Irving … or Didn’t

By MARK BLANKENSHIP

IT’S one of Mark Saltzman’s favorite moments in his play with music, “The Tin Pan Alley Rag,” and he won’t even take the credit. Near the end of the show, which imagines a meeting between the composers Scott Joplin and Irving Berlin, Joplin responds to a painful memory by playing “Bethena,” a ragtime waltz he wrote in 1905. And when he plays, nothing else happens. There are no words, no dances, no set changes. There’s just the sound of a classic piece of American music.

“The Tin Pan Alley Rag” is in previews at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theater (it opens July 14), and for Mr. Saltzman, who’s been a fan of Joplin’s ragtime for more than 30 years, the wordless scene is a risk that pays off. “It’s kind of rare in the theater for it all to boil down to a piece of music,” Mr. Saltzman said. (That music is played live by offstage pianists while actors sit at pianos, hands obscured.) “You wonder if people are going to be fidgety, or if they’re going to say, ‘We didn’t pay for a piano concert.’ ”

“I’m so happy when I see that the audience is listening to this music as intently as if they’re listening to dialogue,” he said. “I feel some kind of personal triumph about that.”

Yet despite the “Bethena” moment, “The Tin Pan Alley Rag” is not a jukebox musical (or Victrola musical) of hits from pre-Depression America. Mr. Saltzman and the director, Stafford Arima, have created a show about the lives, work and aesthetics of two influential songwriters without relying heavily on their songs.

Joplin’s and Berlin’s tunes do figure throughout the production, but they are often subservient to the plot. Joplin (Michael Boatman) might play a section of his “Maple Leaf Rag,” but it underscores a scene about his past. The ensemble might sing “I Love a Piano,” an early chestnut from Berlin (Michael Therriault), but the number is interspersed with dialogue.

Mr. Arima, who is best known for directing splashy musicals like “Altar Boyz” and (coincidentally) “Ragtime,” said he likes using the music this way. “Our instincts in the musical theater are about buttoning the numbers or extending them,” he said. “By avoiding that musical comedy feel, we allow the audience to focus on the story instead of the greatest hits. I want them to discover who these men were and not just wait for the next song they know.”

Strangers to the history of American music can learn from the show. Mr. Saltzman may have invented the relationship between his lead characters, but he includes facts about their troubled personal lives and their enormous influence on the nascent pop-music business, which was often boosted by sheet-music sales of a Joplin rag or a Berlin hit. 

Mr. Arima said he feels that highlighting the composers’ lives could instill new appreciation for their music. “If all you know of someone is that they were perfect and they wrote perfect music, then they’re untouchable,” he said.

Click here to read the full article:

 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/theater/05blan.html?_r=1&ref=theater

Click the links below for multimedia features:

Photo slideshow & Ragtime documents:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/07/05/theater/20090705_RAGTIME_SLIDESHOW_index.html

Tin Pan Alley historical background:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/07/05/theater/20090705_RAGTIME_GRAPHIC.html 

THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG in Daily News

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG is currently playing at the Laura Pels Theatre and opens officially on Tuesday, July 14th.   

Daily News

July 1, 2009

‘The Tin Pan Alley Rag’ is tale of Broadway titans Irving Berlin and Scott Joplin

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Years before he wrote “God Bless America” – an anthem that will be on frequent rotation during July 4 festivities – Irving Berlin was already a household name, thanks in large part to “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”

In 1911, more than a million copies of the sheet music for that happy hummable were sold, making Berlin even richer and more famous than he already was. He was 23.

“The Tin Pan Alley Rag,” an Off-Broadway play by Mark Saltzman, is set four years after “Alexander” debuted and puts Berlin face to face with another iconic composer, Scott Joplin, who’s known as the King of Ragtime.

The drama imagines a meeting between Berlin (Michael Therriault) and Joplin (Michael Boatman, of “Spin City”) in 1915, as Joplin was struggling to raise funds to produce his opera “Treemonisha.”

The composers had business agents in the same building in New York City, so the setup isn’t so far-fetched. The clash of the titans, however, was ripe for drama.

Here were two big egos, says Saltzman. And big differences. Joplin, the son of a former slave, was 19 years older and schooled at a conservatory. Berlin, a Russian immigrant, couldn’t read music.

 Click here to read the full article.

THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG IN THE BERGEN RECORD

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG is currently playing at the Laura Pels Theatre and opens officially on Tuesday, July 14th

The Bergen Record

June 21, 2009

 

http://www.northjersey.com/entertainment/48696932.html

 

A tribute to two music men

 

By ROBERT FELDBERG

“In his 20s, he was a mega pop star,” says Saltzman, author of the new musical “The Tin Pan Alley Rag.”

 

“He was like Prince; he had that kind of fame and wealth. That’s been a lost story.”

 

Saltzman’s show, now in previews for a July 14 opening at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre, is a joint biography of Berlin and Scott Joplin, featuring the music of both composers.

 

It’s Saltzman’s contention that Berlin’s great early popularity as a songwriter – well before he wrote “Annie Get Your Gun” and his other Broadway hits – was partly a result of very familiar marketing techniques.

 

This would be circa 1911, the year Berlin published his huge hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and the principal medium was not recordings but sheet music.

“All the rules of popular culture that we play by were invented then,” says Saltzman.

 

“It was a laboratory where things were invented.”

 

The pitch was for home entertainment, songs that could be enjoyed by the whole family without having to go out to a theater.

 

“The hardware you needed was an 88-note keyboard; the software was the sheet music,” says Saltzman, who began his career writing material for the Muppets and has written extensively for film and television in addition to theater.

 

Although not classic ragtime, Berlin’s lively compositions, which included “I Love a Piano” and “Play a Simple Melody,” were, in their way, a precursor to jazz.

Throughout his life, Berlin knew his market, becoming fabulously wealthy creating popular songs that caught the public’s fancy.

 

Joplin, the king of ragtime, had a different ambition, and his career had a different arc, from popularity to obscurity.

 

“He wanted to push forward,” says Saltzman. “He wanted to write an opera, symphonies.” (Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” was not performed in its entirety until 1970, more than a half-century after his death.)

 

Joplin (1867-1917) was a generation older than Berlin (1888-1989), but Saltzman notes that, despite the many contrasts in their lives, they also had things in common, including fame and personal tragedies.

 

At the core of the show (Saltzman prefers to call it a play with music, since the songs are performed as they would be in life rather than as expressions of the characters) is a fictional meeting between the two men.

 

Although there’s no record they ever crossed paths, Saltzman says it wouldn’t be surprising if they did.

 

“They had offices in New York that were near each other, and the music business was a fairly small world.”

 

He notes that the two men turned stereotypes on their heads.

 

Joplin, the black man, was a conservatory graduate, while Berlin, the white man, had no musical training and couldn’t even read music.

 

Says Saltzman: “He was just touched by the finger of God.”

 

E-mail: feldberg@northjersey.com 

 

 

THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG MUSICAL BEGINS PREVIEWS TONIGHT

Previews begin tonight, Friday June 12th!

 

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY

presents

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag

Written by Mark Saltzman

Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin

Directed by Stafford Arima

 

WITH

Randy Aaron, Michael Boatman, Derrick Cobey, Jenny Fellner, Rosena M. Hill, James Judy, Mark Ledbetter, Michael McCormick, Erick Pinnick, Tia Speros, Michael Therriault, Idara Victor

 

The official opening is Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

 

Off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre

 

Roundabout Theatre Company’s (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) New York premiere production of The Tin Pan Alley Rag begins previews tonight Friday, June 12th at 7:30 PM.  The Tin Pan Alley Rag is written by Mark Saltzman, with Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin, directed by Stafford Arima. The cast includes Randy Aaron, Michael Boatman, Derrick Cobey, Jenny Fellner, Rosena M. Hill, James Judy, Mark Ledbetter, Michael McCormick, Erick Pinnick, Tia Speros, Michael Therriault, Idara Victor.

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag will open officially on Tuesday, July 14th  at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).  This is a limited engagement through Sunday, September 6th.

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag features choreography by Liza Gennaro and musical direction by Michael Patrick Walker.  The design team includes: Beowulf Boritt (Sets), Jess Goldstein (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lights), Walter Trarbach (Sound).

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag tells the story of an imagined meeting of two of America’s greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin (Boatman) and songwriter Irving Berlin (Therriault).  Joplin was a musical prodigy, born the son of a slave, who received a conservatory education and slowly rose to acclaim.  Berlin was a Russian Jewish immigrant who couldn’t read music, yet catapulted to stardom at the age of 23.  Both men changed the landscape of music forever with their contributions to the first American musical genre, ragtime. Beneath Joplin and Berlin’s toe-tapping, syncopated rhythms lay fascinating stories of fame, love and loss.   In The Tin Pan Alley Rag, these tales come to vivid life and two great icons realize they have more in common than they ever suspected. 

 

The Roundabout Theatre Company production is presented in association with Rodger Hess Productions, Inc.

 

TICKET INFORMATION:

Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office (111 West 46 Street).  Ticket prices range from $75.00-$85.00. 

 

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

The Tin Pan Alley Rag plays Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. 

 

www.roundabouttheatre.org

### 

 

 

ROUNDABOUT ANNOUNCES FULL CAST FOR TIN PAN ALLEY RAG

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY 

Announces the full company for the New York Premiere of

 

THE TIN PAN ALLEY RAG

Written by Mark Saltzman

Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin

Directed by Stafford Arima

 

With

Randy Aaron, Michael Boatman, Derrick Cobey, Jenny Fellner, Rosena M. Hill,

 James Judy, Mark Ledbetter, Michael McCormick, Erick Pinnick, Tia Speros,

Michael Therriault, Idara Victor

 

Performances will begin Friday, June 12th and the official opening will be Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag is the first musical production in Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre

at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre

 

 

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) is pleased to announce the full cast for the New York premiere of the new musical The Tin Pan Alley Rag, written by Mark Saltzman, with Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin, directed by Stafford Arima.

 

The cast includes Randy Aaron, Michael Boatman, Derrick Cobey, Jenny Fellner, Rosena M. Hill, James Judy, Mark Ledbetter, Michael McCormick, Erick Pinnick, Tia Speros, Michael Therriault, Idara Victor.

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag will begin performances on Friday, June 12th and open officially on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).  This production marks the first time a musical has been presented in this theatrical space.

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag will feature choreography by Liza Gennaro and musical direction by Michael Patrick Walker.  The design team includes: Beowulf Boritt (Sets), Jess Goldstein (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lights), Walter Trarbach (Sound).

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag tells the story of an imagined meeting of two of America’s greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin (Boatman) and songwriter Irving Berlin (Therriault).  Joplin was a musical prodigy, born the son of a slave, who received a conservatory education and slowly rose to acclaim.  Berlin was a Russian Jewish immigrant who couldn’t read music, yet catapulted to stardom at the age of 23.  Both men changed the landscape of music forever with their contributions to the first American musical genre, ragtime. Beneath Joplin and Berlin’s toe-tapping, syncopated rhythms lay fascinating stories of fame, love and loss.   In The Tin Pan Alley Rag, these tales come to vivid life and two great icons realize they have more in common than they ever suspected. 

 

The score for The Tin Pan Alley Rag includes such classic songs as Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano”, “Play a Simple Melody”, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” & “The Entertainer”, among others.

 

The Roundabout Theatre Company production is presented in association with Rodger Hess Productions, Inc.

 

The Tin Pan Alley Rag was most recently seen in January 2006, at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, FL.

 

Roundabout is pleased to welcome Michael Boatman back to their stages following his role in 2003’s Master Harold…and the Boys, Jenny Fellner who starred in Pal Joey last fall and Michael McCormick who was featured in the Tony Award winning production of The Pajama Game.

 

 

TICKET INFORMATION:

Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office (111 West 46 Street).  Ticket prices range from $75.00-$85.00.  The Tin Pan Alley Rag will play a limited engagement through Sunday, September 6th.

 

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

The Tin Pan Alley Rag will play Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.  

 

 

BIOGRAPHIES:

RANDY AARON (Willie, Buddy, Joseph, Porter).  Randy Aaron’s credits include Bway: Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance (Testednarone) CryBaby (ensemble Depree u/s).  National Tours: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Judah).  Regional: The Princess and the Black Eyed Pea (Smythley/Dance Captain), Dreamgirls (Ensemble/Dance Captain), Junie B. Jones (Sheldon Potts and friends), A Chorus Line (Richie), Avenue X (Milton), Memphis (Ensemble) and the GLAAD award winning play Auntie Mayhem (Dennis).  Workshops include: Tin Pan Alley Rag with the Roundabout Theatre Company. Readings include: Party Come Here and Close to the Sun.  Randy is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. 

 

MICHAEL BOATMAN (Scott Joplin).  Michael Boatman’s career has spanned television, feature films an  the theater. In 1996 he was cast as “Carter” in the ABC comedy, “Spin City”. He was nominated for several awards including the GLAAD award for Best Supporting Actor and the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. That same year he was also cast as Stanley Babson in the long-running HBO original series, ARLI$$, for which he was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. His first television role was as the mordant mortician Samuel Becket, on the ABC Vietnam drama, “China Beach”. Numerous guest appearances include “Law and Order”, “Hannah Montana”, “Law and Order S.V.U.”, “The Game”, and “Criminal Minds”. He has appeared in feature films like Hamburger Hill, The Glass Shield and Woman Thou Art Loosed, as well as in the upcoming Queen of Media, My Father’s Will, and The Three Chris’s.  His Broadway debut was in the 2003 Roundabout Theater revival of Master Harold…and the boys, in the role of Willie. He is also an author. His comedy thriller, The Revenant Road, was published in January 2009. His short fiction was collected in, God Laughs When You Die: Mean Little Stories from the Wrong Side of the Tracks. He is the married father of four children and lives in New York.

 

DERRICK COBEY (Rev. Alexander, Johnny, Williams, Ned, Driver).  National Tours of Rent and Forever Swing (replacement for Michael Bublé ).  Off Broadway: Gilbert and Sullivan Canon (City Center). Regional Credits include Ragtime (Papermill Playhouse), Abysinnia, Jesus Christ Superstar (Northshore), Abysinnia (Goodspeed Opera House), Buddy Holly Story  (Westchester Broadway), Cinderella’s Prince/ Wolf in Into the Woods, Second Witch in Macbeth, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors (Great Lakes Theater Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival), Derrick has appeared in seven productions at Sacramento Music Circus (including Footloose, Damn Yankees, and Oklahoma), Side Show (Cleveland Playhouse), Pacific Overtures (Arden Theater), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Actors’ Playhouse)  Jim in Big River (Virginia Music Theater), Hud in Hair (Hangar Theater). Agwe in Once on This Island, A Little Night Music (Connecticut Repertory Theater).

 

JENNY FELLNER (Dorothy Goetz).  Broadway: Pal Joey (Linda English), Mamma Mia (Sophie). 1st National Tour: All Shook Up (Natalie/Ed). Off Broadway: Judith Anderson in The Devil’s Disciple for the Irish Repertory Theatre; Crossing Brooklyn and Marcy in the Galaxy, both for The Transport Group. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse – Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), TOTS/KC Starlight/Wolftrap – Les Miserables (Eponine), Bay St. Theatre – The Boyfriend (Dulcie) directed by Julie Andrews, NSMT – The Three Musketeers (Constance), The O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference and NY Stage & Film – notes to MariAnne (MariAnne), Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre and The 5th Ave. Theatre – Princesses (Miranda). Other NY: “Go the Distance” part of the American Songbook Series at Jazz at Lincoln Center, concert honoring David Zippel at Merkin Concert Hall. TV: “Law & Order: SVU”.

 

ROSENA M. HILL (Monesha, Miss Esther Lee, Librarian).  Rosena M. Hill was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida.  She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Ms. Hill is an accomplished versatile singing actress.  As a concert soloist, Rosena has performed at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, Co-starring with Sutton Foster and Aaron Lazar; Teatro di Massimo symphony orchestra in Palermo, Sicily ; Teatro di Lirico symphony orchestra and chorus in Cagliari, Sardegna, under the baton of Maestro Robert Purvis ;   Memphis Symphony orchestra and The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  She has performed in 7 Broadway shows.  The Color Purple as one of the Church Lady”s;  “Lady of the Lake” in Monty Python’s Spamalot;  “Mrs. Stillman” in Imaginary Friends;  “Ellen” in Oklahoma 2002 revival;  the  Amanzi soloist in Riverdance on Broadway;  “Ophelia” in Marie Christine and “Sarah’s Friend” in Ragtime.   Ms. Hill also performed the role of “Sarah” on the 1st National tour of Ragtime.  Regional credits include “Women 1” in And the World Goes Round at Pittsburgh Public Theater, “Aldonza” in Man Of La Mancha at White Plains Performing Arts Center, “Pam” in Baby at Papermill Playhouse, “Michelle” in Dreamgirls at San Jose Repertory Theatre, Sacramento’s California Musical Theatre , Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and North Carolina Theater,  “Dominique du Monaco” in Lucky Stiff at the York theatre, “Smart women soloist” in Imaginary Friends at the Globe Theatre; Cinderella, Chess, Gypsy, Kiss Me Kate, and La Cage aux Folles  with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera,  “Meg” in Ballad of Baby Doe with the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, “Armelia” in Aint’ Misbehavin at Playhouse on the Green, Brief History of White Music at Hanna Theater Cabaret , “Sophie” in 1001 Nights at George Street Playhouse, “Winnie Mandela” in Mandela at Crossroads, Carmen and La Boheme with the Sarasota Opera .  Internationally Rosena has performed in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, and Hungary as a featured soloist with Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers & Band. Ms. Hill has just released her debut solo CD “If You Believe”.

 

JAMES JUDY (Jimmy Kelly, Alfred Ernst, John Stark, Turkey Plugger).  Broadway: Into the Woods; The Scarlet Pimpernel; A Christmas Carol the Musical. Off- Broadway: La Boheme – NYSF; Fiorello – City Center Encores; 1,2,3,4,5 and The Gig – Manhattan Theatre Club; Catch Me If I Fall – Promenade Theatre. National Tours: Deaf West’s Big River and South Pacific. Regional: Winesburg, Ohio – Kansas City Repertory; Ace – Old Globe Theatre, St. Louis Repertory and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Our Town, 1776, Inherit The Wind, Madwom of Chaillot – Williamstown Theatre Festival; Evita, Les Miserables and Enchanted April at the Pioneer Memorial Theatre; Bye Bye Birdie and Jeckyll and Hyde – Sacramento Music Circus; Finian’s Rainbow, The Gig and Half ‘a Sixpence – Goodspeed Opera House.

 

MARK LEDBETTER (Mooney Mulligan, Thaddeus, Hopeful Songwriter, Lizzie Plugger).  New York and touring credits include Robert Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone (First National), Phil Davis in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (San Francisco, Detroit and St. Paul companies), the Policeman in Mary Poppins (Broadway), Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie (First National), Willie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Of Thee I Sing (City Center Encores!), Being Audrey, Requiem for William and Our Town (Transport Group).  Favorite regional credits include Leo Hubbard in Regina (Kennedy Center); Cosmo in Singin’ In The Rain (NSMT); Riff in West Side Story (Pioneer Theatre Company); Romance, Romance and Miss Saigon (Paper Mill Playhouse).  Film/TV: It Runs In The Family, The Producers, “The Job,” “South Pacific at Carnegie Hall.”  Graduate of Northwestern University. www.markledbetter.com

 

MICHAEL MCCORMICK (Teddy Snyder).  Broadway: Curtains, recent revival of The Pajama Game, Kiss Me, Kate (1st Gangster), 1776 (John Adams), Sam Mendes’ Gypsy, Kiss of the Spider Woman (also at the Ahmanson), Marie Christine and La Bête. Off-Broadway: A Man of No Importance (Lincoln Center), The Prince and the Pauper, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Bouef (Primary Stages), Mafia on Prozac (EST), Scapin and Arturo Ui (CSC), In a Pig’s Valise (Second Stage), The Regard of Flight (with Bill Irwin), Charlotte Sweet, Tomfoolery and Coming Attractions (Playwrights Horizons). National Tours: The Producers (Franz Liebkind), Les Misérables (Thenardier). Concert:  Les Misérables (Thenardier) at the Hollywood Bowl.  Television: the three “Law & Orders”, “Cosby”, “My Favorite Broadway”, “Candide” Concert. Film: The Producers, A Couch in New York, A Very Serious Person. Member of AEA since Broadway debut in Oliver, 1964.

 

ERICK PINNICK (Mr. Peyton, Plugger, Havana MC, Gitlo).  Erick Pinnick is excited to be a part of The Tin Pan Alley Rag. He has appeared on Broadway as Mr. Smythe in A Christmas Carol and has toured nationally with Sunset Boulevard starring Petula Clark. He has played Curtis in Dreamgirls several times including in the Barrymore nominated production of Dreamgirls at the Prince Theatre. Mr. Pinnick appeared as Charlie in Warrior (NYMF), Adrian in Smokey Joe’s Café (John Engeman Theatre) and Ulysses in Paint Your Wagon (Pioneer Theatre). Favorite roles include Daniel in Once on this Island (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Tin Man in The Wiz (Hangar Theatre), Jake in Side Show (Gorilla Theatre), Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour), Eugene in Yellowman (Open Stage) and Valentin in Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Ritz Theatre). Other credits include Swinging on a Star (Goodspeed Opera House), and productions of Baby and Follies (Papermill Playhouse). Mr. Pinnick is a graduate of James Madison University and proud member of Actors Equity Association.

  

TIA SPEROS (Sophie, Wedding Singer, Kate, Ida).  Most recent: Tin Pan Alley Rag workshop Off-Broadway: The Taffetas (original cast album), The Cocoanuts;  Regional: Caroline, or Change (Rose) The Studio Theatre, DC; Guys and Dolls (Adelaide) at the Long Wharf Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Missouri Rep.; Footloose (Ethel) Sacramento Music Circus;  George M! (Agnes) Goodspeed; Company (Amy) Huntington Theater Co.; The Wizard of Oz (Wicked Witch), On the Town (Hildy) North Shore Music Theater, Lucky Stiff (Helen Hayes nomination), Lend Me A Tenor, and Marry Me A Little at the Olney Theater Harvey (Myrtle Mae) Cincinnati Playhouse, among others.  Film and TV: Believe (Independent Short), “Out of the Box” (The Disney Channel).

 

MICHAEL THERRIAULT (Irving Berlin). Gollum in both the London West End and Toronto productions of Lord Of The Rings (Dora Award- Best Actor in a Musical, What’s On Stage Awards Nomination- Best Supporting Actor in A Musical); Leo Bloom in the Toronto production of The Producers (Dora Award- Best Actor in a Musical) , Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway); over 20 productions with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival including: Yock in Quiet in the Land; the title role in Shakespeare’s Henry VI Trilogy; Aguecheek in Twelfth Night; Lord Alfred Douglas in Oscar Remembered; Konstantin in The Seagull; Silvius in As You Like It; Ariel in The Tempest;  Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Drugger in The Alchemist; and Mordred in Camelot. Other credits include George in Jitters (Manitoba Theatre Centre); Charlie in Mary’s Wedding (Magnus Theatre); and Billy Bishop in Billy Bishop Goes to War (Theatre Orangeville). Michael played political leader Tommy Douglas in the television mini-series “Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story” (Seoul Drama Award- Best Actor; Accolade Award- Best Actor; Gemini Award Nomination- Best Actor; ACTRA Award Nomination-Best Actor); and Harry Vincent in the Mini Series “The Englishman’s Boy”. He is currently the voice of the upcoming animated series “Scaredy Squirrel” for YTV.

 

IDARA VICTOR (Freddie Alexander, Treemonisha, Hattie Mae).  Idara Victor most recently appeared this season in Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Happiness, helmed by Susan Stroman.  Other NY credits include the Carnegie Hall concert of “Show Boat”, the New York Philharmonic’s production of “Camelot”, and the Broadway revival of Les Misérables, where she understudied the role of ‘Cosette’ and was the first African-American to ever perform the role in the show’s 20-year history.  Regional: The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Freddie Joplin / Treemonisha – Carbonell nomination) at The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Aida (Aida) at Gateway Playhouse, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Charlaine) at North Shore Music Theatre, and The Sixties Project (Rose u/s, Ensemble) at the Goodspeed Opera House.  TV: “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “All My Children” (ABC), “Guiding Light” (CBS), “Starved” (FX Network).  Film: Not Just Yet, Watching TV w/ the Red Chinese.  She has a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.

 

 

MARK SALTZMAN (Author).  Mark Saltzman began his career in N.Y. with Jim Henson, writing for the Muppets. His Sesame Street sketches and songs (including Caribbean Amphibian) earned him seven Emmy Awards. But behind Kermit’s back, Mark was writing cabaret shows and musicals that played at The Ballroom, Soho Rep, 13th Street Theater, and the Village Gate, where he co-wrote the long-running revue A, My Name is Alice. For CBS television, Mark wrote Mrs. Santa Claus, the holiday musical starring Angela Lansbury with songs by Jerry Herman. For the movies, he wrote The Adventures of Milo and Otis and Three Ninjas Kick Back and has written screenplays for SONY, Universal, and Disney. His TV movie, The Red Sneakers, directed by and starring Gregory Hines, aired on Showtime in 2004 and was nominated for a Writers Guild Award. That was followed by “Third Man Out” a tv movie for the Here! Network that launched the Donald Strachey series. In 2007, Mark served as writer-producer of the Disney Channel tv show “Johnny and the Sprites” starring John Tartaglia.  Mark’s musical comedy, Romeo and Bernadette, played at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami and New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. His play, Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood, based on the 1933 visit of George Bernard Shaw to the MGM studio, premiered at the Laguna Playhouse in April 2003. His play, Clutter, had its world premier at the Colony Theater in Burbank on February 7 of 2004 and his most recent play, Set Up and Punch  opens May  2009 at L.A.’s  Blank Theater Company. Always a lover of vintage musical theater, Mark was honored in 2002 to adapt the Show Boat for a Hollywood Bowl performance featuring William Warfield.  Mark is a graduate of Cornell University and is proud of his ongoing role as a mentor in the National Young Playwrights Festival, produced every year in L.A. by the Blank Theatre Company.  He is also president of the Arnold Glassman Fund, a charitable foundation that provides grants for documentary film projects.

 

IRVING BERLIN (Music & Lyrics).  Born Israel Beilin in a Russian Jewish shtetl in 1888, he died as Irving Berlin in his adopted homeland of New York, New York, U.S.A. in 1989. Songwriter, performer, theatre owner, music publisher and soldier, he defined Jerome Kern’s famous maxim: “Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He IS American music.” Berlin wrote over 1200 songs, including “White Christmas,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Easter Parade,” “Always,” “Blue Skies,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “God Bless America.” He wrote the scores to more than a dozen Broadway musicals, including Annie Get Your Gun, and provided songs for dozens of Hollywood movie musicals. Since 2004, the new stage musical of his movie musical White Christmas has been staged in nearly fifty cities in the US, Canada and the UK, and its Broadway premiere earlier this season broke box office records.  An unabashed patriot, his love for, and generosity to, his country is legendary, and through several of his ongoing foundations, including The God Bless America Fund, he has donated millions of dollars in royalties to Army Emergency relief, the Boy and Girl Scouts and other organizations. Among his many awards and accolades were the Academy Award for “White Christmas,” a Congressional Gold Medal, a special Tony Award and posthumous commemoration on a U.S. postage stamp. 

 

SCOTT JOPLIN (Music & Lyrics).  Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime” music, was born near Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868. He moved with his family to Texarkana at the age of about seven.  Even at this early age, Joplin demonstrated his extraordinary talent for music. Encouraged by his parents, he was already proficient on the banjo, and was beginning to play the piano. By age eleven and under the tutelage of Julius Weiss, he was learning the finer points of harmony and style. As a teenager, he worked as a dance musician.  After several years as an itinerant pianist playing in saloons and brothels throughout the Midwest, he settled in St. Louis about 1890. There he studied and led in the development of a music genre now known as ragtime–a unique blend of European classical styles combined with African American harmony and rhythm. In 1893, Joplin played in sporting areas adjacent to the Colombian Exposition in Chicago, and the following year moved to Sedalia, Missouri. From there, he toured with his eight-member Texas Medley Quartette as far east as Syracuse, New York. One of his first compositions, The Great Crush Collision, was inspired by a spectacular railroad locomotive crash staged near Waco, Texas in September of 1896.  In the late 1890s, Joplin worked at the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia, which provided the title for his best known composition, the Maple Leaf Rag, published in 1899. This was followed a few years later by The Entertainer, another well known Joplin composition. Over the next fifteen years, Joplin added to his already impressive repertoire, which eventually totaled some sixty compositions. In 1911, Joplin moved to New York City, where he devoted his energies to the production of his operatic work, Treemonisha, the first grand opera composed by an African American. At the time, however, this resulted unsuccessfully.  After suffering deteriorating health due to syphilis that he contracted some years earlier, Joplin died on April 1, 1917 in Manhattan State Hospital. Although Joplin’s music was popular and he received modest royalties during his lifetime, he did not receive recognition as a serious composer for more than fifty years after his death. Then, in 1973, his music was featured in the motion picture, The Sting, which won an Academy Award for its film score. Three years later, in 1976, Joplin’s opera Treemonisha won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.

 

STAFFORD ARIMA (Director) directed Altar Boyz, which received the “Best Off-Broadway Musical” Outer Critics Circle Award, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as “Outstanding Musical”, and is currently running in its 5th year Off-Broadway. He directed the West End premiere of a reconceived production of Ragtime, which was recognized with 8 Olivier Award nominations including “Best Director” and “Best New Musical”. Additional credits include: The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea (San Diego Rep.); Candide (San Francisco Symphony); The Secret Garden (World AIDS Day concert); Marry Me a Little (Cincinnati Playhouse); Esther Demsack (SPF Festival, The Public Theater); Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill Playhouse); A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim (Boston Pops); Ace (The Old Globe); Abyssinia (Goodspeed Musicals); Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater); Rags-In Concert (Nokia Theater); Total Eclipse (TSP Studio Theatre, Toronto); Children’s Letters to God (Off-Broadway) and Bowfire (World Tour/PBS television special). Arima’s Broadway credits as associate director include A Class Act and Seussical. He is a graduate of York University (Toronto) where he received a BA in Theatre Studies and was the recipient of the Dean’s award for “Excellence in Creative Work”. www.staffordarima.com

 

RODGER HESS PRODUCTIONS (Producer).  Broadway: Macbeth, Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, Wait Until Dark, 1776, Annie: 20th Anniversary Production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jelly’s Last Jam, Leader of the Pack, The Five O’Clock Girl. Off-Broadway: Italian-Jewish-Therapy, My Old Lady, Water Coolers, Cowgirls, Fallen Angel, Potholes, Blame It On The Movies, How I Got That Story. Touring: The Tin Pan Alley Rag, Annie:The National Tour, Swing, Six Dance Lessons In SixWeeks, Finian’s Rainbow, A Chorus Line, Evita, Elvis: A Musical Celebration.  Created and produced the following worldwide arena touring shows starring the Warner Bros. and DC Comics Cartoon characters: Bugs Bunny Follies, Bugs Bunny Meets The Superheroes, Bugs Bunny In Space, Bugs Bunny Sports Spectacular, Bugs Bunny Circus.  Miscellaneous:  Nintendo World Championships. “The Pueblo” (Arena Stage, Washington D.C., ABC-TV Emmy Award).

 

 

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit theatres.  The company contributes invaluably to New York’s cultural life by staging the highest quality revivals of classic plays and musicals as well as new plays by established writers. Roundabout consistently partners great artists with great works to bring a fresh and exciting interpretation that makes each production relevant and important to today’s audiences.

 

Roundabout Theatre Company currently produces at three permanent homes each of which is designed specifically to enhance the needs of the Roundabout’s mission.  Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design is perfectly suited to showcasing intimate plays and musicals. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics.  Roundabout’s Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions.  Together these three distinctive venues serve to enhance the work on each of its stages.

  

 

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company.  Roundabout productions are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts; and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  American Express is the 2008-2009 season sponsor of the Roundabout Theatre Company.  

 

Roundabout Theatre Company‘s 2008-2009 season includes Lisa Loomer’s Distracted featuring Cynthia Nixon, directed by Mark Brokaw; Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist, starring Matthew Broderick, directed by David Grindley; Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, starring (in order of speaking) Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, John Glover, directed by Anthony Page.  Roundabout’s sold out production of The 39 Steps made its second Broadway transfer to the Helen Hayes Theatre on January 21, 2009.

 

Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2009-2010 season includes Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie, starring Sienna Miller, directed by Mark Brokaw; Michael Stewart, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse’s Bye Bye Birdie, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom; Mark Saltzman, Irving Berlin & Scott Joplin’s The Tin Pan Alley Rag, directed by Stafford Arima; Noël Coward’s Present Laughter starring Victor Garber, directed by Nicholas Martin.

 

www.roundabouttheatre.org

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