Broadway Cast Headlines Billy Elliot the Musical at the Ogunquit Playhouse
For Immediate Release:
June 6, 2014
The Ogunquit Playhouse, America’s Foremost Summer Theatre, is thrilled to be one of the first regional theatres in the U. S. to produce the Tony Award winning Billy Elliot the Musical on stage June 25 to July 26. Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy who discovers his true passion lies in ballet class and not in the boxing ring, and then finds the strength to defy the convention of his small UK mining town to make his dream come true. The Ogunquit production features a cast of Broadway veterans, including Anastasia Barzee, Armond Shultz and Tony Award nominee Joel Blum.
This amazing show was honored in 2009 with ten Tony Awards including Best Musical, and features a spectacular score by Elton John. It has toured the world since its 2005 London debut, delighting critics and capturing the hearts of millions of people worldwide. Billy Elliot is an astonishing international musical that has enough heart, humor and passion to be called “the best show you’ll ever see” by the New York Post.
Reprising his lead role of Billy from the 1st National Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical and making his Ogunquit Playhouse debut is the versatile young actor, singer, dancer and acrobat Noah Parets. Noah recently portrayed The Artful Dodger in Oliver! at Trinity Repertory Company and appeared in New York City in the role of Noah Freeman in the award-winning new musical The Dark I Know at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in addition to dancing with Project Moves at the Joyce Theater and singing at Broadway Under the Stars at the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center. Noah trains at the Boston Ballet and studies tap, jazz and modern dance with Project Moves Dance Co. Sam Faulkner will be sharing the role of Billy Elliot with Noah, performing three times each week during the run. Sam was last seen in the NYC reading of Broadway-bound revival The Me Nobody Knows, directed by Stafford Arima. Sam also appeared as Ralphie in A Christmas Story the musical in Chicago, and has performed in over 20 regional productions in his hometown, Charlotte, NC.
Broadway’s Anastasia Barzee is cast as Mrs. Wilkinson, the ballet teacher who becomes Billy’s mentor. Ms. Barzee has starred on Broadway in many shows including Henry IV Parts 1&2, Urinetown, Jekyll & Hyde, and Miss Saigon. She created the roles of Josephine in the West End production of Napoleon as well as Betty (Rosemary Clooney’s role from the film version) in the stage adaptation of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. She starred as Lorna in Golden Boy directed by Walter Bobbie for Encores!. She has appeared both on television and film including The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, White Collar, Made in Jersey, Golden Boy, 666 Park, Law & Order and as Ann Coulter opposite Sean Penn in Doug Liman's Fair Game.
The role of Billy’s Dad will be played by Armand Schultz who is reprising his role from the 1st National Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical. He has performed on Broadway in Frost/Nixon, The Herbal Bed, A View from the Bridge and The Secret Rapture. Among his other performances are roles in Our Town at Barrow Street, The House In Town at Lincoln Center Theatre, Stuff Happens (for which he won a Drama Desk Award), King Lear, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus at the New York Shakespeare Festival and The Public Theatre, and in Cyrano de Bergerac at the Roundabout. Mr. Shultz has also performed leading roles in many regional theatres across the country including The Guthrie Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Olney Theatre. His film credits include SALT, Cold Souls, Druid Peak, Burn After Reading, The Happening and Vanilla Sky. In television he has had many guest starring roles on “The Black Box,” “House of Cards,” “Elementary,” “Unforgettable,” “Gossip Girl,” “Chicago Code,” and “Law and Order: SVU.”
Tony Award nominee Joel Blum joins the cast as George, reprising his role from the National Tour. He has appeared in many Broadway shows including The Music Man and 42nd Street, and received two Tony Award nominations - one for Best Supporting Actor for Show Boat and the other for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Steel Pier. Off-Broadway he appeared in Golf The Musical receiving the 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Mr. Blum has performed in many national tours and regional theatres throughout the US, including Doctor Doolittle starring Tommy Tune, Annie Get Your Gun starring Debbie Reynolds, Damn Yankees starring Tony Randall andPal Joey ’78 starring Lena Horne.
Also performing in the Ogunquit production is Dale Soules as Grandma. She has performed extensively across the US, abroad and on Broadway in Hair, Dude, The Magic Show, The Crucible, Whose Life Is It Anyway, Grey Gardens and Hands On A Hardbody. Stephen Hanna was a member of the original Broadway cast of Billy Elliot and will reprise his role of Older Billy. As principal dancer for the New York City Ballet he has performed around the world. Anthony Festa will make his Ogunquit Playhouse debut playing Billy’s brother Tony. He recently was seen in West Side Story as Tony in London’s West End.
Broadway veteran BT McNicholl returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse to direct Billy Elliot the Musical. Mr. McNicholl directed the critically acclaimed production of West Side Story in 2013 for Ogunquit as well as Cabaret, La Cage aux Folles and Fiddler on the Roof. He recently staged the Broadway-bound premiere of Europe’s hit play The Gronholm Method. On Broadway he has directed for the Roundabout Theater Company and has worked with Mike Nichols, David Hare, Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot film director), Sam Mendes, Jerry Zaks, James Lapine and Rob Marshall on a dozen Tony Award winning shows including Cabaret, Passion, Spamalot and Billy Elliot. He has worked in Hollywood as an acting coach for the Oscar-nominated film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, and as development consultant for MGM's theatrical division. In addition, he won the Australian “Tony” for Best Direction, has staged new works for Disney/Feld Entertainment and for the European premiere of The Producers for Mel Brooks. Mr. McNicholl produced Sunday in the Park with George: In Concert on Broadway with Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin. Working with Stephen Sondheim, he adapted and directed A Little Night Music for the concert stage. His Off-Broadway credits include author and lyricist for the musical The IT Girl and director for Billion Dollar Baby with Kristin Chenoweth.
Choreographer for the Ogunquit production is Adam Pelty who served as resident choreographer for the Broadway touring company of Billy Elliot the Musical. Mr. Pelty has worked as dancer and actor on national and European tours, as well as on Broadway, working with industry standouts including Susan Stroman, Frank Galati, Ann Reinking, Terrence McNally, Chita Rivera, Kander and Ebb, Frank Wildhorn, John Rando and Mike Ockrent. As a choreographer, he has staged dances for film, television specials and commercials.
An all new set is being designed exclusively for the Ogunquit Playhouse stage by Campbell Baird who has designed sets for Broadway and regional theatres throughout the country. In addition, he has designed for Nashville Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, and was resident designer for Joffrey Ballet. He supervised productions for his mentor Oliver Smith’s set design for Joffrey Nutcracker and the Tony Award winning production of The Importance of Being Earnest at Roundabout Theatre Company. He is an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, teaching theatre and film history, costume drawing and presentation.
Costume Designer Dustin Cross returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse after last year’s successful season which earned him a Broadway World Award for Best Costume Design for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and a Broadway World nomination for West Side Story. He has designed costumes for many shows including Broadway’s The 24 Hour Plays at American Airlines Theatre, Off-Broadway for Forbidden Broadway, Comes out Swinging, The Other Josh Cohen, Cougar The Musical and Zelda at the Oasis as well as for The Christmas Rose at Carnegie Hall.
Tickets and season subscription packages are on sale now. Buy early to guarantee the best seats for the best price. Single ticket prices start at just $39 per show and season ticket packages are still available starting at $99 for a three-show subscription. To learn more about becoming a member, season subscriber, or to purchase tickets and gift certificates, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org, call the Box Office at 207-646-5511or visit the new “Downtown Box Office” located at 102 Main Street (Route 1) just south of the Ogunquit village center.
Next on stage is Mary Poppins flying over the rooftops of London and into the Ogunquit Playhouse from July 30 to August 30. This beloved family musical features the delightful songs from the popular Disney film including “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” The Ogunquit Playhouse was selected by Cameron Mackintosh to be the American Northeast premiere of his hit musical stage adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick, on stage September 3 to 27. This sexy new musical comedy is based on the Warner Brothers hit motion picture starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher about small-town New England women who wish for the man of their dreams ― and get far more than they bargain for when the devil incarnate arrives to liven things up! “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky!” The Addams Family closes the Ogunquit season October 1 through 26.