Red Bull Theatre (Jesse Berger, Artistic Director | Jim Bredeson, Managing Director) today announced the cast for the one-night-only, all-star benefit concert performance of the Olivier Award-winning Best Musical Return to Forbidden Planet, a musical of Shakespearean proportions by Bob Carlton. The 2019-’20 Season kick-off event will take place Monday October 21st at the Peter Norton Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street).
Exploding with over thirty cosmic hits of classic rock-n-roll, and playfully based on The Tempest and the cinematic sci-fi classic, this fun-filled musical rockets Shakespeare’s beloved characters from stage to space as Captain Tempest crash lands on the planet D’Illyria, inhabited only by the mad scientist Doctor Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and their trusty robot Ariel. With songs including “Great Balls of Fire,” “Shake Rattle and Roll,” “The Monster Mash,” and “Good Vibrations” along with some of Shakespeare’s most iconic phraseology catapulted through hyperspace into a campy concoction, this is a rare opportunity for today’s New York audiences to experience this Olivier Award-winning musical.
Gabriel Barre, who starred in the original New York production, will direct a cast featuring Steven Boyer (Broadway: Hand to God — Lortel and Clarence Derwent Awards; Tony and Drama League nominations;), Kim Exum (Broadway: The Book of Mormon), Mary Testa (currently on Broadway in Oklahoma! — Tony, Drama Desk nominations;), Jo Lampert (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire – Lortel Award nomination), Patrick Page (currently on Broadway starring in Hadestown — Tony, Lortel Award nominations; Coriolanus — Helen Hayes Award;); Amy Spanger (Broadway: Matilda, Chicago, Elf, Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer – Drama Desk nomination, Urinetown, Kiss Me Kate, Sunset Boulevard; Off-Bway: Tick Tick Boom, Rent); with special appearances by Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony Award nominee Derrick Baskin, Bryan Batt, Emily Bergl, Drama Desk Award winner Arnie Burton, Tony Award nominee Veanne Cox, Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli, Paige Davis, Tony Award nominee Chad Kimball, Drama Desk Award winner Laila Robins, Tony Award nominee Derek Smith, Emily Swallow, Marc Vietor, PLUS celebrity astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson (affectionately known as the man who killed Pluto).
Return to Forbidden Planet will feature a live five-piece band with direction by Greg Pliska leading a five-piece band; Return to Forbidden Planet will feature choreography by Tracy Bersley, costume design by Heather Jackson, projection design by Joshua Thorson, sound design by Patrick LaChanze, and lighting design by Paul Hudson. The event is made possible in part by The Marta Heflin Foundation.
“Out of this world! Prepare to blast off with this musical space odyssey of Shakespearean proportions. With an interstellar cast of musical/classical theater superstars singing some of the catchiest songs ever recorded and having the time of their lives in a script full of hilarity and fun, this promises to be a night to remember, and a fabulous way to kick off our exciting 2019-’20 season,” said Mr. Berger. “Not too low-brow for Shakespeare scholars, and not too high-brow for Trekkies or ‘50s Sci-fi aficionados, Return to the Forbidden Planet is sure to delight.”
Gabriel Barre is best known for creating original musicals. His work has been seen on Broadway, throughout the United States, and internationally. Gabriel directed the Broadway production of Amazing Grace which also toured the country and enjoyed a sit-down production at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. He is well known for his Off-Broadway work: he directed the original production of Andrew Lippa’sThe Wild Party at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Brian d’Arcy James, and Julia Murney, garnering the Calloway Award for Best Direction, as well as five Outer Critics Circle Award nominations and thirteen Drama Desk nominations, both including Best Direction of a Musical. He directed the original production of John Cariani’s Almost Maine at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Other Off-Broadway productions include the original productions of Summer of ’42, Honky Tonk Highway, Stars in Your Eyes, Andrew Lippa’s john & jen, and Son of A Gun. Nationally, he directed the US national tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Eartha Kitt, which performed at Madison Square Garden; it toured the US for three years. His concert work includes the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center three years in a row, several Musical by the Year concerts at Town Hall, the concert version of Pippin for World Aids Day, and The Four Seasons at Lincoln Center. Most recently he directed a concert of The Scarlet Pimpernel at Lincoln Center.
The performance will begin at 7:30PM. This is an important intergalactic fundraiser for Red Bull Theater. Proceeds help to make all of its programs possible. Tickets for this benefit event will be $49-$300 (most tickets include tax-deductible donation).
Red Bull Theater, hailed as “the city’s gutsiest classical theater” by Time Out New York, brings rarely seen classic plays to dynamic new life for contemporary audiences, uniting a respect for tradition with a modern sensibility. Named for the rowdy Jacobean playhouse that illegally performed plays in England during the years of Puritan rule, Red Bull Theater is New York City’s home for dynamic performances of great plays that stand the test of time. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, the company also produces new works that are in conversation with the classics. A home for artists, scholars and students, Red Bull Theater delights and engages the intellect and imagination of audiences, and strives to make its work accessible, diverse, and welcoming to all. Red Bull Theater believes in the power of great classic stories and plays of heightened language to deepen our understanding of the human condition, in the special ability of live theater to create unique, collective experiences, and the timeless capacity of classical theater to illuminate the events of our times. Variety agreed, hailing Red Bull’s work as: “Proof that classical theater can still be surprising after hundreds of years.”
Since its debut in 2003 with a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles starring Daniel Breaker, Red Bull Theater has served adventurous theatergoers with Off-Broadway Productions, Revelation Readings, and the annual Short New Play Festival. The company also offers outreach programs including Shakespeare in Schools bringing professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms; Bull Sessions, free post-play discussions with top scholars; and Master Classes in classical acting led by veteran theater professionals.
Red Bull Theater has produced 19 Off-Broadway productions and nearly 200 Revelation Readings of rarely seen classics, serving a community of more than 5,000 artists and providing quality artistic programming to an audience of over 65,000. The company’s unique programming has received ongoing critical acclaim, and has been recognized with Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Off Broadway Alliance, and OBIE nominations and Awards.
Red Bull Theater’s mainstage production of American Moor is currently enjoying its critically acclaimed, sold-out run at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
For tickets and more information about any of Red Bull Theater’s productions and programs, visit www.redbulltheater.com.