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First Look at Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz

First Look at Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; FRONT: Michael Wartella (Mickey Rooney), Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland), Colin Hanlon (Roger Edens), and Karen Mason (Kay Koverman); photo by Jerry Dalia

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland) and company; photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Paper Mill Playhouse, recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, presents the New Jersey premiere of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz with a book by Marc Acito, musical adaptation & additional music by David Libby and conceived by and additional lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz began performances September 26, 2019, and will continue through Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ). Bank of America is the major sponsor for Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank. Opening Night is Sunday, October 6, 2019, at 7:00pm.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Michael Wartella (Mickey Rooney), Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland), and company; photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Directed and choreographed by Tony award nominee Denis Jones, Orchestrations by Larry Blank and David Libby with music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the principal cast features Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot) as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, Tony Award nominee Max Von Essen (An American in Paris, Paper Mill’s The Baker’s Wife) as Frank Gumm, Olivier Award-winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes ‘Round) as Ma Lawlor/Kay Koverman, Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”) as Louis B. Mayer, Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting) as Mickey Rooney, and Colin Hanlon (ABC’s “Modern Family”, Paper Mill’s Benny & Joon) as Roger Edens.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; The cast of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz; photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Grace Brown, Lamont Brown, Joe Cassidy, Clara Cox, Tessa Grady, Sophie Knapp (Teaneck, NJ), Molly Lyons, Kimberly Immanuel, Christina Maxwell, Kevin B. McGlynn, Allsun O’Malley, Samantha Joy Pearlman, Drew Redington, Joshua J. Schwartz, Parker Slaybaugh, Sean Thompson, Violet Tinnirelloand Kathy Voytko (Bloomfield, NJ).

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; LEFT TO RIGHT: Lesli Margherita (Ethel Gumm), Samantha Joy Pearlman (Mary Jane Gumm), Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland), Max Von Essen (Frank Gumm), and Tessa Grady (Virginia Gumm); photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Before she burst onto the big screen as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was a young vaudeville trouper named Frances Gumm. In this highly anticipated new musical chronicling Garland’s early career from vaudeville baby to MGM teen star in the making, the road to Oz is paved with adversity. At its heart a story of love between a father and daughter, featuring such legendary songs as “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” and “Everybody Sing,”Chasing Rainbows is a poignant coming-of-age tale about “the little girl with the big voice,” who went on to become one of the world’s most beloved entertainment icons. The show has already earned praise from Liza Minnelli, who said, “My mother said that her biography is in her music, and now a talented creative team is using that music to tell the story of her early years and her extraordinary rise to fame.”

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Sophie Knapp (Baby Gumm) and Max Von Essen (Frank Gumm); photo by Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; LEFT TO RIGHT: Karen Mason (Koverman), Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland), and Sean Thompson (Clark Gable); photo by Jerry Dalia

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz opens Sunday night.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Ruby Rakos (Judy Garland); photo by Jerry Dalia
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Max Von Essen (Frank Gumm); photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; LEFT TO RIGHT: Colin Hanlon (Roger Edens), Stephen DeRosa (Louis B. Mayer), and Karen Mason (Kay Koverman); photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; Lesli Margherita (Ethel Gumm) and Max Von Essen (Frank Gumm); photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade
Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse; The cast of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz; photo by Jerry Dalia

Out of Town

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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