Valerie Harper and Sally Struthers to Join Cast of Nice Work If You Can Get It, the Sparkling New Gershwin Musical Comedy on Stage at the Ogunquit Playhouse
For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2015
The Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce that star of stage, screen and television Valerie Harper will join the cast in the role of the wealthy and stylish Millicent Winter in the delightful Nice Work If You Can Get It on stage July 22 to August 15. Also joining the cast is two-time Emmy Award winner Sally Struthers as the Duchess Estonia, a temperance enforcer who is set against a gang of bootleggers in this madcap musical comedy set during the Roaring Twenties. This brand-new musical written by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro is based on material by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse and was nominated in 2012 for 10 Tony Awards, winning two. This high-stepping Broadway musical recalls the golden age of American musicals, complete with extravagant dance numbers, glittering Broadway costumes and a treasure trove of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved songs, including “But Not For Me,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
This sparkling tale combines laughter, romance and Broadway magic for an evening bursting with girls, glamour and the glorious songs of the Gershwins. The champagne is flowing and the gin is fizzing with a cast of outrageous characters who gather in New York City to celebrate the wedding of wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter, played by Joey Sorge, whose world is suddenly turned upside down by bootleggers, rumrunners and gold diggers thanks to the feisty street-wise Billie Bendix, played by Amanda Lea LaVergne, and the fast-talking, wise-cracking bootlegger Cookie McGee played by James Beaman
Television icon Valerie Harper makes her Ogunquit Playhouse debut in the role of Millicent Winter, who pressures her son Jimmy to marry someone respectable or she will disinherit him. She began her career on Broadway as a dancer and went on to study and perform with Chicago’s Second City Theatre before landing the role of Rhoda Morgenstern in the hit television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which led to her own television series Rhoda. Harper went on to appear in multiple television shows and films including another series Valerie, as well as the TV shows Touched by an Angel, Sex and the City and That '70s Show, the films Freebie and the Bean, The Last Married Couple in America, Blame it on Rio and the television movies Mary and Rhoda with Mary Tyler Moore, Thursday’s Game with Gene Wilder and The Shadowbox directed by Paul Newman. For her work Harper received eight Emmy Award nominations, four Emmy Awards, ten Golden Globe nominations and two Golden Globe Awards. In 2007 she returned to the stage to portrayed former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in a national tour of the one-person show Golda's Balcony. In 2010, she returned to Broadway to star as actress Tallulah Bankhead in the play Looped, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress.
Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winning actress Sally Struthers returns to Ogunquit to portray prohibitionist Duchess Estonia Dulworth. Struthers is best known for her comedic roles and is a highly acclaimed actress of stage, television and screen, winning two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for her performances in television’s groundbreaking series All in the Family. She starred in the Fox television series 9 to 5, her own CBS series Gloria and had recurring roles in the CBS comedy Still Standing and the CW’s highly acclaimed Gilmore Girls. She recently performed the title role in the National Tour of Hello Dolly! Struthers has performed many roles at Ogunquit Playhouse including Louise Seger in Always, Patsy Cline, Mama Morton in Chicago, Paulette the hairdresser in Legally Blonde and last season as Felicia Gabriel in The Witches of Eastwick.
Starring as Jimmy Winter is Joey Sorge who was part of original Broadway casts of Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara, and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. He has also performed on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie and as Young Buddy in the 2001 revival of Follies. Sorge was last seen at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Singin’ in the Rain and The Drowsy Chaperone.
Amanda Lea LaVergne returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse stage to play Billie Bendix after last appearing as Kathy Selden in Singin’ In the Rain and as Red Girl in Shout! The Mod Musical. She has appeared on Broadway in Annie, Grease, and The People In The Picture and she originated the role of Campbell in the world premiere of Bring It On the Musical in Atlanta.
Bootlegger Cookie McGee is played by James Beaman who starred as Sir Robin in the First National Tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot. He has created roles in two new musicals, Frog Kiss and The Road To Qatar!, and he has also appeared in regional theatres in the U.S. as Thénardier in Les Misérables, John Adams in 1776, and Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher, as well as many leading and featured roles at The Kennedy Center, Goodspeed Musicals, North Shore Music Theatre, and many more. He last appeared at the Ogunquit Playhouse in 2014 in Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story and in 2007 in La Cage aux Folles.
Directing the Ogunquit Playhouse production is Larry Raben who recently directed the world premiere of Tony-winner Joe DiPietro’s Falling For Eve Off-Broadway and won the LA Ovation Award for Best Direction for Singin’ In The Rain. Raben has helmed many shows throughout the U.S. including Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray, The Wedding Singer, Always Patsy Cline.
Peggy Hickey joins the creative team as Choreographer. She recently choreographed the 2014 multi-Tony Award winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for which she was also nominated for an Outer Critics Circle and Astaire Award for Best Choreography. She also choreographed My Fair Lady for the New York City Opera starring Kelsey Grammer, Brian Dennehy and Kelli O’Hara, as well as directed and choreographed Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella at Lincoln Center. She has choreographed shows for 25 years with Los Angeles Opera, most recently The Ghosts of Versailles starring Patricia Racette and Patti LuPone.
Musical Director is Charlie Reuter who conducted the First National Tour of Nice Work If You Can Get It and served as assistant conductor for the Tony Award-winning musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder as well as Dreamgirls at The Muny starring Jennifer Holliday.
The Ogunquit Playhouse will produce three more Broadway musicals in 2015. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about the iconic jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, Million Dollar Quartet, is on stage August 19 to September 19. Saturday Night Fever, with a newly revised book and musical arrangements, comes to life on stage from September 23 to October 25. The Irving Berlin classic White Christmas will be presented just in time for the holidays, December 9 to 20 at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Mark your calendars now and get ready to see every show this year. Tickets are on sale now. Prices start at $44 per show. To learn more about becoming a Playhouse member, or to purchase tickets and gift certificates, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.com or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511.
1. Noelle Marion, Heather Stinson, Elyse Collier, Joey Sorge as Jimmy Winter, Ashlea Potts, Madison Mitchell, Kristina Miller in Nice Work If You Can Get It / photo by Gary Ng
2. Amanda Lea LaVergne as Billie Bendix and Joey Sorge as Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It / photo by Gary Ng
3. Sally Struthers as Duchess Estonia Dulworth with Vice Squad in Nice Work If You Can Get It / photo by Jeff Bellante
4. Valerie Harper as Millicent Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It / photo by Gary Ng
5. Breighanna Minnema as Eileen Evergreen and ensemble in Nice Work If You Can Get It / photo by Gary Ng
6. Valerie Harper (headshot)
7. Sally Struthers (headshot)