cast and creative
AMANDA LEA LAVERGNE (Kathy Selden) cannot believe that not only does she get to return to the incredible Ogunquit Playhouse after playing the Red Girl in SHOUT! The Mod Musical, but she also gets to be in the musical that inspired her to begin this amazing journey of song and dance. Broadway: Grease (performing the roles of Sandy Dumbrowski, ChaCha DeGregorio, and Patty Simcox). Regional credits: All Shook Up (Natalie/Ed), Lone Star Love (Ruby), Anything Goes (Hope Harcourt), Thoroughly Modern Millie, 42nd Street, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. National Tours: Disney’s High School Musical, Hairspray and Crazy for You. Love and thanks to Michael at The Roster, to Robert and Brad, and to my incredible and amazing mom and dad who bought me my first pair of tap shoes!
JON PETERSON (Cosmo) Broadway: Cabaret (Emcee). Off Broadway: Song Man Dance Man, George M. Cohan Tonight! (George M-Drama Desk Award nominee, Best Solo Performance, 2006 Drama League Honoree, Connecticut Critics’ Circle Award, Outstanding Actor in a Musical), Have A Heart(Henry), The George M. Cohan Revue (George) – Bistro Award Best Performer in a Revue. National Tour and Regional: Sophisticated Ladies (Gateway Playhouse), Half A Sixpence (Arthur Kipps)-Goodspeed Opera House. The World Goes Round, (Man #1), The Rocky Horror Show (Frank ‘n’ Furter), Cabaret (National Tour) (Emcee)–nominee National Broadway Theatre Award Best Actor in a Musical, A Chorus Line (Paul). West End and UK National Tours: The Sound Of Music, with Petula Clarke (Rolf), A Chorus Line (Paul), Dames At Sea (Lucky), She Loves Me (Bus Boy), Y (Revue), Sophisticated Ladies, Cavalcade (Joey), Whoop-Dee-Doo! (Revue), CATS (Skimbleshanks), On Your Toes, Blitz! (Georgie). Feature Film includes: Anna Ballerina, Mail Order Wife, Surviving Picasso, Chish ‘N’ Fips. Television includes: The Bill, Inmates, Out On Thursday. www.jonpeterson.biz
JOEY SORGE (Don Lockwood). Recently played the Fonz in the National Tour of Happy Days–A New Musical. Broadway: played ‘the Super’ and u/s Aldolpho/Robert/Gangsters in The Drowsy Chaperone; ‘Young Buddy’ in Follies (Roundabout Theatre); Thoroughly Modern Millie. Off-Broadway: Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night (Second Stage); Summer of ’42 (Variety Arts). National Tour: ‘Jimmy Smith’ in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Regional: Happy Days (Goodspeed/Papermill); Marty (Huntington Theatre); The Possession of Mrs. Jones (Zephyr Theatre, LA). Film: Valentine’s Day; Contradictions of the Heart. TV: “Numb3rs,” “Commander in Chief,” “Night Stalker.” Proud husband to Lori Alexander and daddy to Winnie, Sophia and our doggie, Cooper. AEA Member since 1993.
AMY BODNAR (Lina Lamont) is thrilled to be working in Oqunquit! Broadway: Oklahoma (Laurey), Ragtime. Off Broadway: Sessions (Leila) original cast and recording at Playwrights Horizons, The Brain From Planet X (Joyce) NYMF. National & Canadian tours: The Scarlet Pimpernel (Marguerite), Sunset Boulevard. World & American Premieres: Ace (Louise) Rep St. Louis/Cincinnatti Playhouse, Hans Christian Andersen (Jenny) Maine State, Martin Guerre (Jeanne) Guthrie, Just So (Giraffe) Goodspeed, Between the Lines (the actress) Luna Stage. Recent regional: The Producers (Ulla) Walnut Street, Maine State, North Shore, Annie (Grace) Casa Manana, White Christmas (Betty) Denver Center, Les Miserables (Fantine) All Shook Up (Sandra) Maine State. TV: As the World Turns.
PETER MARINOS (Roscoe Dexter) Broadway debut in 1976 as Mary Sunshine in Bob Fosse’s Chicagowith Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, and Jerry Orbach, followed by Magaldi opposite Patti LuPone’s Evita, Marinakos to Anthony Quinn’s Zorba, the Fakir in The Secret Garden, and originating numerous character parts in the ensemble of The Producers. National tours Evita, Zorba and Cats. Peter’s favorite regional roles include the King of Siam - The King and I, Father - Violet, Emcee - Cabaret, and Pirelli - Sweeney Todd. This is Peter’s first time performing at The Ogunquit Playhouse. Thank you to Jamie Rocco and Jayme McDaniel.
WILLIAM MCCAULEY (R.F. Simpson), last seen as M. Dindon in La Cage aux Folles, made his Broadway debut in Franco Zeffirelli’s Saturday Sunday Monday with Sada Thompson and Eli Wallach. He replaced Jerry Orbach in Chicago, playing Billy Flynn for three years. Recently named “LA Actor of the Week” as the dying Benjamin Britten in Autumn Canticle, he was also Scrooge in LA’s musical Christmas Carol. Best known as Henry Higgins, he has also played Harold Hill, Daddy Warbucks, Fredrik Egerman, Ben Stone, and the villain DeSpiga in Tamara. TV: James Tyrone in PBS’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” a year on “Loving,” “Law & Order: CI.” One of New York’s finest cabaret performers, he succeeded Mabel Mercer as resident entertainer at the St. Regis Hotel, a position he held for two years.
CELIA TACKABERRY (Dora Bailey/Phoebe Dinsmore) Broadway: Sweet Charity (Director Bob Fosse), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (Director Tommy Tune) Off Broadway: The Audience, The Coconuts. National Tours: Sweet Charity, My Fair Lady and The Music Man. Regional Theatre: Arena Stage: The Women and Animal Crackers. The Walnut Street and Ogunquit Playhouse: Crazy For You. Actors Theatre of Louisville: The Lively Lad and Fit For Feet. St. Louis Rep: Anything Goes. Goodspeed: Animal Crackers and Exactly Like You. The John Engeman Theatre: Lend Me a Tenor. Television: Edand All My Children.
KELLEY BRADSHAW (Ensemble) recently appeared here at the Playhouse in Guys and Dolls! A native of Albany, Georgia, Kelley holds a BS in Biology from Georgia Southern University. In 2006, she was named Miss National Sweetheart and was a two-time 1st Runner Up, Talent, and Overall Swimsuit Winner in the Miss Georgia America Pageant. Television: The Late Show with David Letterman (Featured Dancer). Professional Theatre: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette), 42nd Street(Anytime Annie). Regional Theatre: Smokey Joe’s Cafe (DeLee Lively), The Will Roger’s Follies(Ziegfield Girl), Annie (Maid), The King and I (Eva). Many thanks to my immensely supportive family!
SCOTT BRATENG (The Baron/Ensemble) Scott is thrilled to make his Ogunquit debut in Singin’ In The Rain. Credits include White Christmas, Cabaret (Two Ladies/Gunther). West Side Story (A-Rab), Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Evita (Mario/Dance Captain), Pippin (Adam/Player), Wonderful Town,Anything Goes, Footloose (Bickle), The Nutcracker (Fritz), Cinderella (World Premiere), Swan Lake.Training: BFA in Drama ’04 from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet. Scott thanks his family for their love and support which keeps him afloat.
LINDSAY DEVINO (Ensemble) Ogunquit: Hairspray (Amber) and High School Musical (Sharpay) National Tours: The Drowsy Chaperone (Kitty) and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Pickles). Lindsay has also performed regionally at Maine State Music Theatre and Seacoast Rep. Graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School. Thanks as always to Robert and Brad, and to her wonderful family! www.lindsaydevino.com.
BUDDY FLOWERS (Ensemble) earned his BFA from the University of Akron, some of his favorite credits: Tango Dancer in the North American Tour of Evita, Regional: Cats (Mistoffelees), La Cage Aux Folles, A Chorus Line, Swing!, and Guys and Dolls here on the Ogunquit Stage. Buddy enjoyed performing around the globe on Holland America Cruise Lines, and has been a guest artist with the Ohio Ballet. Thanks to Lana, Andy, Tom and Mona.
TIM HACKNEY (Syd/Ensemble) is thrilled to be here in Ogunquit where you can also see him as Troy Bolton in High School Musical. For the past year Tim was on the National Tour of The Drowsy Chaperone. Tim has appeared regionally in West Side Story (Riff), Sound of Music (Rolf) and Godspell(Jesus). Thanks to Mom, Dad and Claire.
ELAINE HAYHURST (Zelda/Ensemble) feels very fortunate to be a part of Singin' in the Rain. You may remember her from last year’s production of The Producers, in which she portrayed the Sausage. Elaine loves her family, coffee, long walks, the theatre of Tennessee Williams. Keep up with her atElaineHayhurst.com.
MICHAEL JOYCE (Ensemble) is thrilled to be part of Singin’ in the Rain! A recent graduate from The Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre, he can also be seen here at the Playhouse in High School Musical. Regional: Brigadoon (Barnstormers), Pageant (Stoneham Theatre/Dir. Bill Russell), 42nd Street (New Bedford). Boston Conservatory: Lucky Duck (Dir. Bill Russell), Into the Woods, Our Town, Closer. Thanks to Robert and Brad for this opportunity, and to Mom, Dad, and Cassie for their constant support!
LAURA LEITHEISER (Ensemble) is thrilled to be back at the Ogunquit Playhouse after playing Bebe in A Chorus Line earlier this season. National Tours: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Dance Captain/u/s Dorothy), Seven Brides...Brothers (Martha), and Singin' in the Rain. Favorite Regional credits include West Side Story (Francisca), A Chorus Line (Bebe), White Christmas at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and West Side Story (Minnie) at Tennessee Rep. Thanks to everyone at Ogunquit for this opportunity, and love to my family for their constant support!
LINDSAY LUPPINO (Ensemble) is delighted to be making her Ogunquit Playhouse debut! She was most recently seen playing Ariel in The 10th Anniversary National Tour of Footloose. Other credits include 06880 The Musical at The York Theatre Company, A Chorus Line (Val, Judy), The Full Monty (Georgie, Estelle), 42nd Street (Peggy), The Sound of Music (Liesl), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and the National/ International Tour of Copacabana (Lola u/s). Love and thanks to the family!! LindsayLuppino.com
CHRISTOPHER NOFFKE (Ensemble) was recently seen in Guys and Dolls here at the Ogunquit Playhouse. He hails from NYC where he teaches Musical Theatre Dance at STEPS on Broadway, and Jazz at Joffrey Ballet School. Recent Credits include The Producers - Carmen Ghia (Palace Theatre), How To Succeed... - Johnson (White Plains), Hello, Dolly! - Waiter (Paper Mill Playhouse), Nunsense A-men - Sister Robert Anne (Palace Theatre), National Tour of SWING!. He served as Director/Choreographer at SDM Theatre Camp, and as Resident Choreographer for Naples Dinner Theatre. He writes and choreographs shows for HS Competitive Show Choir, is part of Kicker and Turner comedy duo in NYC, and choreographs all over NYC and the Midwest.
BENJIE RANDALL (Production Tenor/Rod/Ensemble/u/s Don Lockwood) is honored to be performing on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage for the first time. Benjie appeared in the world premier of the new Gershwin musical An American in Paris, as Gene Kelly. Before that he played Phil Davis in the Denver Centers production of White Christmas, where he garnered the Denver Post Ovation Award, and the Readers Choice Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Benjie recently wrote, produced, and recorded his self titled debut album, available on iTunes. love to B-4. BenjieRandall.com
MAHRI RELIN (Olga/Girl in the Green Dress/Ensemble) recently performed in Japan, where she worked on the pre-Broadway premiere of Trip of Love, a ‘60s dance and music review. Favorite National/International Tours across Japan, China, Lebanon, Italy, Russia and the US include West Side Story (Anita, Rosalia), Doctor Dolittle (Mildred the Cow), Swing!, Guys and Dolls (Havana Tango), and Scrooge: The Musical (Belle). Mahri has just finished performing here at Ogunquit in Guys and Dollsand is thrilled to be able to continue working in this beautiful town.
KRISTYN POPE (Ensemble/Dance Captain) is grateful to return to Ogunquit Playhouse, after last appearing in their production of Hello, Dolly! Other credits include: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette); 42nd Street - 1st National Tour (u/s Anytime Annie), Broadway Revival, and Goodspeed Theatre (Gladys); Anything Goes (Purity); Cabaret (Frenchie); Yankee Doodle; Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. BA Psychology (Northwestern University). She sends love to family, friends, and teachers, and a special "thank you" to Jayme. Ps16:11. In memory of Ms. Cathy.
ALAN M-L WAGER (Mr. Raab/Sound Engineer/ Policeman/Ensemble) Ogunquit Playhouse: The Producers. He appeared in the Broadway and National Touring companies of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast in a variety of parts...including a stop at Washington’s Kennedy Center, where he played the role of Lumiere. Alan also toured the United States with Michael York in a production of Camelot, and was a featured singer with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in New York City. Much love to Robert. After all these years, you’re still the only one for me. Shmegratulations! Proud member Actors Equity since 1992.
EDDIE ZITKA (Ensemble) is so excited to be returning to Ogunquit Playhouse! He was last seen on the Ogunquit Stage in Cinderella three years ago as a mouse. Recent credits include The first National tour of the Wedding Singer (groom), McCarter Theater A Christmas Carol (Dance captain, puppet master, Bob Cratchit u/s), and Downtown Cabaret Theater Sweet Charity (Ensemble). Thanks to family, friends, and the Ogunquit family for allowing me back. ENJOY!
BRADFORD T. KENNEY (Executive Artistic Director) is honored to continue his stewardship of “America’s Foremost Summer Theatre.” He is proud to include many wonderful theatrical productions and the guidance of some of the most significant theatre companies in New England as part of his career. Highlights include A Chorus Line with Lorenzo Lamas, Guys and Dolls with Richard Kind, Christian Hoff, Liz Larsen and Glory Crampton, Jefferson Mays in My Fair Lady, Andrea McArdle and Ivan Rutherford in Les Misérables, Ryan Landry and Eddie Mekka in Hairspray, Lorenzo Lamas in The King and I, Rue McClanahan in Crazy for You, Sally Struthers in Hello, Dolly!,Andrea McArdle in Cabaret and Leslie Uggams in Cinderella. While at Foothills Theatre in Worcester, MA, he produced such highlights as: Miss Saigon, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, Proof, Cabaret (National Regional Premiere), Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Dick and Jimmy Van Patten in The Sunshine Boys, Romeo & Juliet, Titanic The Musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Regional Premiere), Macbeth, Ten Little Indians, Chicago, Gypsy, Our Town and Ragtime. He is also founder of the Wachusett Theatre Company in Massachusetts with shows such as The Sound of Music, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Disney/Elton John’s AIDA (Northeast Regional Premiere), Ted Lange from “The Love Boat” in Damn Yankees; and Eddie Mekka from “Laverne & Shirley” in Fiddler on the Roof, among others. His children’s theatres have produced Disney’s Jungle Book Kids, SeussicalTYA (Northeast Premiere), Willy Wonka Jr., and Disney’s 101 Dalmations Kids, and the new production, Fairy Houses, The Musical. In addition to his producing credits, Brad has appeared on stage in the title role of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer with Salisbury Lyric Opera, Strephon in Lolanthe with the Savoyard Light Opera, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Barrett the Stoker in Titanic, Eric Burling in An Inspector Calls, Christopher Wren in The Mousetrap, Bobby in Company, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, the King in The King and I, Cornelius in Hello, Dolly! and Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as many other roles in shows throughout New England. He is a fourth generation artist, having studied at Rhode Island School of Design, Heartwood College of Art and Maine College of Art. Bradford dedicates this time in the theatre to the memory of Ryan Francis Curtis.
ROBERT LEVINSTEIN (Director of Production) Broadway: Waiting in the Wings (with the legendary Lauren Bacall), Voices in the Dark, Parade (Lincoln Center). Off-Broadway: Clue: The Musical. Pre-Broadway Workshop: The Jazz Singer. National Tour: Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Regional Tours: AIDA, Fame: The Musical. Regional Theatre: Resident PSM for North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA 2000/2001 Seasons. Resident PSM for the Ogunquit Playhouse 2003/2007 seasons which included Always...Patsy Cline with the lovely Sally Struthers and Christa Jackson, Tale Of The Allergists Wife with Karen Black and Auntie Mame with Charles Busch. Robert wishes to thank Alan and Kim for all their undying love and support.
JAYME MCDANIEL (Director/Choreographer) Direction and Choreography credits: Singin’ in the Rain, Grey Gardens, Yankee Doodle and The Rocky Horror Show (The Ordway) The Student Prince (Paper Mill Playhouse), Zorba and H.M.S. Pinafore (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Violet, Candide and Drood(Connecticut Rep), It’s a Fabulous Life (Broward Center), Chicago, Zombie Prom, The Merry Widow(JPAS), People Like Us (Peterborough Players), They’re Playing Our Song (Colonial Theatre), and others. Associate Director and/or Choreographer: Laughing Room Only (Broadway), White Christmas, Wonderful Town, Sound of Music, (5th Ave Theatre), Yankee Doodle Dandy (5th Ave, Dallas Summer Musicals, Theatre of the Stars) Camelot and Rags (Paper Mill), Nefertiti (Parker Playhouse) Crazy for You (Musical Theatre West) and The Music Man (CLOSBC). In 2007, the Minneapolis Star Tribune lauded him as the Outstanding Director of a Musical.
MATTHEW SMEDAL (Music Director) Jesus Christ Superstar (North Shore Music Theatre), The Wizard of Oz and Scrooge (West Virginia Public Theatre), Gypsy (with Kim Zimmer), Oklahoma! and 1776 (Barn Theatre). Associate Music Direction: Man of La Mancha (with Brent Spiner and Julia Migenes), Flora the Red Menace (with Eden Espinosa), Lil’ Abner (withKathy Rigby) and Damn Yankees (with Ken Page and Lilias White, Reprise Theatre Company), The King and I (with Debbie Gibson, Cabrillo Music Theatre).
RICHARD LATTA (Lighting Director) is as excited as ever about the season at Ogunquit. Recent projects include The 25th Anniversary Tour of Nunsense starring Sally Struthers, Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne, and projects for American Ballet Theatre. Upcoming shows include two new installments in the Nunsense canon, a TV taping of Meshuggahnuns and a remounting of last seasons’ Fiddler on the Roof with Sally Struthers and Eddie Mekka.
ADAM RIGBY (Sound Designer) is returning to the Ogunquit Playhouse for his fourth year. He has worked in NYC, Chicago and Toronto. He works for Sound Associates Inc., White Plain Performing Arts Center and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC. His credits include Broadway: The Ritz(Assistant Designer), Wicked (Assistant Designer First National Tour and Chicago). Off-Broadway: A Little Night Music and Oliver (Regional, Sound Engineer), and I Love You Because. He has been the mixer, co-designer and designer for Shout! The Mod Musical. He is looking forward to a summer full of excitement.
VIDEO CREATIONS (Film Sequence Designers) Blake Baldwin, a retired banker and attorney, and Lee Cote, a veteran of the reality television world, own and operate Video Creations in beautiful Kennebunk, Maine. Blake grew up watching his uncle Peter Baldwin direct television sitcoms like "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Bob Newhart Show," and "The Wonder Years." Lee worked on such shows as "Real World," "Simple Life," and "Ultimate Fighter." Video Creations is a full service multimedia company specializing in video production, presentation services, and film/video preservation. We are thrilled to play a supporting role to the Ogunquit Playhouse’s lead in bringing outstanding summer theater to Southern Maine! Visit us on the web at www.videocreations.tv.
GREGORY A. POPLYK (Costume Designer) is pleased to be working with James Rocco and Jayme McDaniel once again. Last season his costumes, for Yankee Doodle (originally designed for the premiere production at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle) were seen at the Ordway. Past productions include Jesus Christ Superstar at the North Shore Music Theatre, Robert La Fosse’s Land of Nod for the opening night of the New York City Ballet season, and A Christmas Carol for Theatreworks USA. At the Paper Mill Playhouse he has designed many productions including Grease!, Carousel, My Fair Lady, and Showboat. He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for Showboat when it was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances series. Mr. Poplyk also chairs the TDF Costume Collection Advisory Committee in New York, which annually presents the Irene Sharaff Awards which recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of costume design both past and present.
JENNIFER KUCERA (Hair Designer) is originally from WI where she attended Cosmetology School in Milwaukee. She began working in Theatre when she was 18, working for the Florentine Opera Company. Productions included Don Pasquale, Il Travatore, Three-Penny, Carmen, La Cenerentola, andLa Boheme. From there, she went to Arizona and worked for Arizona Theatre company as the wig supervisor. Productions included Hank Williams: The Lost Highway, Crowns, The Importance of Being Ernest, and Sherlock Holmes. Jennifer then began to tour around the US and Canada with the productions of Hairspray, The Producers, and Wizard of Oz. She currently resides in Las Vegas where she has worked for Spamalot and currently The Peep Show.
RANDY LAWSON (Production Stage Manager) Returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse after PSMing this season’s acclaimed production of A Chorus Line. Previously, Miss Saigon (Virginia Musical Theater,) 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain and Cabaret (Atlantic City) 42nd Street and My Fair Lady, (Tuacahn) Into The Woods and Pride’s Crossing (Fulton Opera House/Associate Artist) De La Guarda (two years) Cape Cod Theater Project (six years) New York Musical Theater Festival (three years) Williamstown Theater Festival, O‘Neill Theater Center, Maine State Music Theater, Circle Rep, New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Actor’s Theater of Louisville (Humana Festival of New American Plays) Goodspeed Opera House, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Randy worked with Director Harold Prince on Flight Of The Lawn Chair Man and 3hree. As an actor, Randy created the role of the “kiss of death waiter” in John Guare’s New York Actor, directed by Jerry Zaks.
Sandra Trullinger (Assistant Stage Manager) is happy to return to the Ogunquit Playhouse once again this season after working as the Assistant Stage Manager for A Chorus Line. Prior Ogunquit seasons were 2003 - 2005. As Actor she was recently seen in NYC in Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens with a benefit performance for BC/EFA hosted by Tim Gunn. As Director, she recently won "Best Director by Audience Vote" for the Chester Horn Short Play Fest for the second year in a row. In Stage Management, she last worked on Camelot starring Michael York. She also is a Line Producer for Jamie deRoy & friends, interior design assistant and has started her own business as pet-sitter.
FRED RUBINO (General Manager) joined the Playhouse staff as the project manager in 2006 overseeing major renovations to the electrical and theater rigging systems. Fred has volunteered many hours working on the restoration of the Playhouse building as well as the Chekoway Pavilion and Children’s Theatre facilities. Fred was appointed General Manager in 2007 by The Ogunquit Playhouse Foundation Board.
BETTY COMDEN AND ADOLPH GREEN (Book) Broadway and film musicals were two of America’s major cultural gifts to the world, and for more than fifty years nobody did it better than Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Together, they created some of the best-known and most-loved musical comedies to ever roll out of New York or Hollywood. The duo’s successful stage frolics such as On the Town, Wonderful Town, Bells Were Ringing, and Subways Were for Sleeping, were highly influential, and molded an entire generation’s view of Manhattan Island as the most charming, romantic cityscape in the world. For most people, their Singin’ in the Rain, which ranks as one of the 10 best films of all time, was the quintessential Hollywood musical. They began their careers as performers in Greenwich Village in the late 1930s as part of a trio called “The Revuers.” Unable to hire a writer, Betty and Adolph were forced to create their own original comedy material. It was a fortuitous partnership, and everyone, including Leonard Bernstein, came downtown to see their comedic antics. And then came On the Town, a play that would alter the trajectory of their onstage careers forever. Essentially a reworking of Jerome Robbins’ ballet, Bernstein-Comden and Green’s On the Town became the smash hit of 1944. Comden and Green were immediately recognized as the most innovative and gifted lyricists of the year. Over the next two years they adapted On the Town and wrote Good News and The Barkleys of Broadway for the screen. In the 1950s alone, they created Two on the Aisle, added songs to Mary Martin’s Peter Pan for Broadway, re-teamed with Bernstein for Wonderful Town, and were reunited with Judy Tuvim, by then known as Oscar winner Judy Holiday, for another smash, Bells were Ringing. That same decade they were responsible for a string of MGM hits: Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and It’s Always Fair Weather, among others. Subsequently, they turned a bright young partnership into a legendary one, adding Hallelujah, Baby!, Applause, On the Twentieth Century, and the 1991 Tony Award winning The Will Rogers Follies to the already impressive canon. It was a partnership that, in the words of the Washington Post, “has changed the face of Broadway, and maybe Hollywood too.” “We rarely do homework separately,” said Betty Comden. “Everything is together.”
NACIO HERB BROWN (Music) began working with MGM in the earliest years of the sound era. He and frequent collaborator Arthur Freed went on to write scores and songs for many films, particularly musicals such as the Broadway Melody (1929), The Ziegfeld Girl (1941), and Singin’ in the Rain (1952).
ARTHUR FREED (Lyrics) was a popular song writer- notably in collaboration with Nacio Herb Brown- who joined MGM with the advent of sound and produced virtually every great Hollywood musical of the 1940s and 50s. Freed gathered around him such luminaries as Vincente Minnelli, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Fred Astaire, and Judy Garland, and produced classic films including the all-black Cabin in the Sky (1943), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), On the Town (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), and Silk Stockings (1957).
GENE KELLY (Original Choreography) is best known for dancing through movie musicals of the 1940s and ‘50s, especially An American in Paris (1951) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952). He got his start on Broadway in the late 1930s, first as a dancer, then as a choreographer and actor. His star turn in My Pal Joey led to a Hollywood contract, and he first appeared in 1942’s For Me and My Gal (opposite Judy Garland). Over the next decade he became a major star, thanks especially to musicals: Anchors Aweigh (1945, famous for his scene dancing with Jerry, the cartoon mouse from Tom and Jerry), Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949); and three movies he made with director Stanley Donen, On the Town (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and It’s Always Fair Weather (1955). Buoyant and athletic, Kelly became the screen’s most famous dancer since Fred Astaire. An ambitious perfectionist, who produced, choreographed, acted, and directed, Kelly won a special Oscar in 1951. Although his career after the mid-1950s fizzled and he never made much of a mark as a dramatic actor, Kelly’s place in cinema history is secure because of the innovations he brought to choreography.
STANLEY DONEN (Original Choreography) landed in the chorus of George Abbott’s My Pal Joey(1940) which made a star of Gene Kelly. Donen and Kelly became friendly and when Kelly was choreographing the Broadway show Best Foot Forward (1941), he hired Donen as his assistant. When the feature version was made, Donen was hired as a chorus boy. He and Kelly worked on choreography for Cover Girl (1944). The following year, Donen worked on Anchors Aweigh (1945) and broke new ground with the now famous sequence wherein Kelly danced with the animated Jerry mouse (of Tom and Jerry). He continued to act as choreographer on a variety of films in the 1940s until making his film directing debut as Kelly’s full-fledged collaborator with the energetic On the Town (1949). Along with Vincente Minnelli, Donen became the star director of MGM musicals in the 50s. Among his best works are Singin’ in the Rain (1952), considered to be one of the greatest musical films ever made; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954); his post-MGM romantic fairy tale, Funny Face (1956); and his spirited George Abbott collaborations, The Pajama Game (1957) and Damn Yankees (1958). In 1959 he began working in England, turning out sophisticated comedies and thrillers, such as the polished Charade(1963) and the stylish romantic drama, Two for the Road (1966). His subsequent films, however, have met with lukewarm critical response. The Little Prince (1974), complete with a Lerner and Loewe score, attempted to film the unfilmable. Lucky Lady (1975) was a nostalgic throwback to the films of the 30s that seemed quaint and out of place with the grittier fare embraced by mid 70s audiences (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nashville). Another exercise in nostalgia, Movie Movie (1978) was a gentle send-up of 30s-era Hollywood staples: the Warners’ melodramas and the Technicolor movie musical. His films in the 80s - Saturn 3(1980) and Blame It on Rio (1984) - were box office and critical disappointments. In 1993, Donen made his stage musical directing debut with the unsuccessful adaptation of the classic dance film The Red Shoes. He briefly romanced Elizabeth Taylor in 1951 and was formerly married to dancer Jeannie Coyne, who later wed Gene Kelly. His son Joshua, from his second marriage to actress Marion Marshal, is a film producer. Donen was also formerly married to actress Yvette Mimieux.
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER INC., or MGM is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. Loew combined them into a new film company with Mayer as its head of production. The newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was intended to provide quality feature films for the Loew’s Theatres chain and was wholly owned by Loew’s Incorporated. From the end of the silent film era through World War II, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the most prominent motion picture studio in Hollywood, with the greatest output of all of the studios: at its height, it released an average of one feature film a week, along with many short subjects and serials. A victim of the massive restructuring of the motion picture industry during the 1950s and 1960s, it was ultimately unable to cope with the loss of its theater chain-due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1948) and the power shift from studio bosses to independent producers and agents. On April 8, 2005, the company was acquired by a partnership led by Sony Corporation of America and Comcast in association with Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital, L.P.) and Providence Equity Partners. MGM Mirage, a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “MGM,” is not currently affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Established in 1924, MGM is tied for the fifth-oldest movie studio in history with Columbia Pictures. The studio’s motto, “Arts Gratia Arts,” is Latin meaning “Art for art’s sake.” On April 16, 2009, MGM celebrated its 85th anniversary.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA), founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence. www.actorsequity.org
MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL In 1952, Frank Loesser transformed a fledgling business into what is now known throughout the world as "MTI." In the intervening years, Music Theatre International has become a leader in the theatrical licensing industry, specializing in Broadway, Off-Broadway and West End musicals. Since its founding in 1952, MTI has been responsible for supplying scripts and musical materials to theatres worldwide and for protecting the rights and legacy of the authors who it represents. Whether it is the newest hit from the Broadway or London stage, or a timeless classic, MTI has been a driving force in cultivating new work and in extending the production life of the great American musicals such as, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Les Misérables, Annie, Of Thee I Sing, Damn Yankees, The Music Man, Godspell, Little Shop Of Horrors, and the musical theatre collection of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, among others.