Theater Latté Da announces a talent-packed line-up of adventurous musical theater for its 19th season

For Immediate Release
June 13, 2016
Contact: Seena Hodges
seena@latteda.org
612-767-5646 office

 

Theater Latté Da announces a talent-packed line-up of adventurous musical theater for its 19th season

Featuring an epic Broadway musical; the long-awaited return of a holiday favorite; the tenth anniversary of an original holiday classic; a wildly imaginative musical comedy; and a riveting drama underscored with live music.

Highlights of the 2016-17 season include Traci Allen Shannon and David Murray in their Theater Latté Da debuts in the roles of Sarah and Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in Ragtime; Tod Petersen’s triumphant return to his hilarious, autobiographical holiday favorite; local phenom Tyler Michaels as Peter, The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, in Peter and the Starcatcher directed by award-winning director and scenic designer Joel Sass; and Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert reunite in a dramatic turn as Flan and Ouisa Kittredge in Six Degrees of Separation.

Season subscriptions are on sale now and can be purchased at latteda.org/subscribe or by calling 612-339-3003.

 

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) On the heels of another highly successful season, Theater Latté Da today announced a talent-packed line-up of adventurous musical theater for its 19th season. The season features an epic Broadway musical, the long-awaited return of a holiday favorite, a wildly imaginative musical comedy, and a riveting drama underscored with music. The season also includes the tenth anniversary of the holiday classic All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and The NEXT Festival, Theater Latté Da’s rigorous new work initiative committed to developing the next generation of the American Musical Theater. Season subscriptions are on sale now and can be purchased at latteda.org/subscribe or by calling 612-339-3003. All single tickets will be made available at a later date.

Season 19 begins with Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens’ epic musical Ragtime. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s landmark novel, Ragtime is set in the volatile melting pot of New York City. It’s the turn-of-the-century, everything is changing and anything is possible. Three distinctly American stories are woven together—a determined Jewish immigrant, a daring Harlem musician, and a stifled woman of privilege united by their courage, compassion and belief in a better tomorrow. Together they confront what it means to be an American at the dawn of a new century. Nominated for 13 Tony Awards, the musical received awards for Best Book and Best Score.

Directed by Peter Rothstein, Ragtime features an extraordinarily talented cast. Sasha Andreev will play the role of the widower Tateh. Andreev previously appeared in the world premiere of Theater Latté Da’s Steerage Song and was most recently seen in the one-man show Buyer and Cellar at the New Century Theatre. Britta Ollmann will play the role of Mother. Ollmann was most recently seen as Cinderella in Theater Latté Da’s Into the Woods and was lauded for her performance as Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Making their Theater Latté Da debuts are David Murray and Traci Allen Shannon in the roles of Coalhouse Walker, Jr. and Sarah. Murray was most recently seen as Flick in Yellow Tree Theatre’s production of Violet. Shannon is an acting company member at the Children’s Theatre Company having appeared in a myriad of productions including Cinderella, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Five Fingers of Funk, and Bud, Not Buddy.

Theater Latté Da Resident Music Director Denise Prosek and Choreographer Kelli Foster Warder, who served as Assistant Choreographer on Cabaret and OLIVER!, join Rothstein as members of the creative team. Rothstein offers, “Ragtime is as timely and relevant as ever; it explores how we define ourselves as a nation in terms of who we are and what we wish to become.” He continues, “Doctorow’s poignant story is enhanced by Ahrens and Flaherty’s glorious score—one of the most sophisticated and lush in all of musical theater.”

TIME magazine calls Ragtime, “A triumph for the stage.”  Ragtime is in performance September 21 – October 23, 2016 at the Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413).
The second production in the season is the long-awaited return of the hilarious and charming A Christmas Carole Petersen by Tod Petersen and Peter Rothstein. The celebrated holiday comedy returns after a seven-year hiatus. There’s no denying the power of the holidays to bring out the best and worst in all of us. Acclaimed storyteller Tod Petersen reflects on the yuletide season with his family in Mankato, Minnesota, and pays particular tribute to the show’s namesake—his mother Carole.

Peter Rothstein directs with Denise Prosek as musical director. On the return of the piece, Petersen offers, “I’m very excited to give A Christmas Carole Petersen another run. In the seven years since we last performed it, I’ve never stopped hearing people say they wish it would return because it was such a big part of their holiday tradition. I am just happy to share my stories and hopefully bring some laughs, music, and memories to Theater Latté Da audiences—old and new!”

The St. Paul Pioneer Press calls A Christmas Carole Petersen “a stunning triumph!” The production is in performance November 30 – December 23, 2016 at the Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413).
The third production in the season is Rick Elice and Wayne Barker’s wildly imaginative play with music Peter and the Starcatcher—a daring Peter Pan prequel for grown-ups. Based on the bestselling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, this fantastical comedy explores how a Victorian street urchin ultimately becomes The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up.

Award-winning Director and Scenic Designer Joel Sass helms this story of unbreakable friendship that places child-like wonder at the heart of grown-up theater. Featuring nine actors portraying more than 100 unforgettable characters, Peter and the Starcatcher uses ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination to bring the story to life.

Twin Cities and Theater Latté Da favorite Tyler Michaels takes on the role of Peter Pan. Michaels is best known for his turn as the Emcee in Theater Latté Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust’s lauded production of Cabaret and for his work as the sweet-faced, unwitting accomplice Toby in last season’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Celebrated character actor Robert Berdahl makes his Theater Latté Da debut in the role of Black Stache. Berdahl is known to Twin Cities’ audiences for his work at the Guthrie Theater and is currently playing the role of The Beast in Beauty and the Beast at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. The production also features music direction by Denise Prosek and choreography by Black Label Movement Artistic Director Carl Flink.  On this production Rothstein offers, “I’m thrilled to have my longtime friend and colleague Joel Sass direct his first show for Theater Latté Da. His fierce imagination is a perfect match for Elice and Barker’s highly theatrical, whimsical voyage.”
Winner of five Tony Awards, Peter and the Starcatcher is a theatrical tour de force. Entertainment Weekly calls the musical “an absurdly funny fantastical journey.” Peter and the Starcatcher is in performance February 1 – February 26, 2017, at the Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413).

The final production in the mainstage season is John Guare’s biting, tragicomedy Six Degrees of Separation. Peter Rothstein directs a stellar cast of actors and musicians who inhabit and underscore Guare’s riveting drama.

Paul, a young black man, convinces Flan and Ouisa Kittredge—part of the New York elite—into thinking he is the son of Sidney Poitier. Enraptured by his intellect and charm, the couple invite him to stay the night. However, Paul’s ruse is soon undone leading to discoveries which leave them all forever changed. Nominated for four Tony awards, Six Degrees of Separation is a singular tragicomedy on race, class and manners. Inspired by the real-life con artist David Hampton, this witty and sincere social commentary wrestles with the human desire for meaningful connection.

Twin Cities’ favorites Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert team up once again to take on the dynamic roles of Flan and Ouisa Kittredge. Benninghofen and Wingert are known to audiences for their delicious roles of the vengeful barber Sweeney Todd and the resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett in last season’s production of Sweeney Todd. Wingert previously appeared with the company as the caustic, no-nonsense Maria Callas in the critically acclaimed production of Terrence McNally’s Master Class. Rothstein offers, “I cannot wait to join forces once again with powerhouses Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert—and on Six Degrees of Separation, no less. It’s my absolute favorite American plays.” He continues, “Having the actors provide live musical underscore to Guare’s genius play will offer audiences a truly unique theater-going experience.”

The New York Times calls Six Degrees of Separation, “a hilarious and searing panorama of urban America in precisely our time.” This drama underscored with music is in performance March 8- April 9, 2017 at the Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413)

Subscribers can add-on two offerings in the 2016-17 season.  All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and the NEXT Festival.

This season, Theater Latté Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust have been working toward a remount of Theater Latté Da’s 2015 critically-acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In working to produce the remount, the project encountered a series of challenges. Both arts organizations decided that it would be best not to move forward with the production at this time. We are disappointed; however, we both remain enthusiastic about future partnerships.

To that end, Theater Latté Da has again partnered with Hennepin Theatre Trust to present the tenth anniversary production of the classic holiday favorite All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Peter Rothstein. This moving piece recreates an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together by trading carols, sharing food and drink, playing soccer and burying the dead. This dramatic re-telling contains poetry, diary entries, war documents and letters written by thirty World War I figures brought to life by 12 actor/singers. The historic documents are interspersed with iconic World War I songs and European carols, exquisitely arranged by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach. Lichte, who was founding artistic director of the vocal ensemble Cantus, returns to the Twin Cities to serve as music director for this production. The production features the talents of Michael Gruber, Jim Ramlet, Evan Tyler Wilson, and Max Wojtanowicz.

Critics have called All is Calm “A dramatic, real-life musing about the power this season has to make us stop, reflect, and decide to operate in a mode of peace” and “A work of beauty…not only an outstanding piece of musical theater, but a brilliantly executed production that understands that its power comes from its simplicity.” Performances of All is Calm begin December 15 and continue through the 18 at the Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN).

Season 19 concludes with the fifth year of the NEXT Festival. The Festival is Theater Latté Da’s investment in the future of the great American Musical and its playwrights, composers and lyricists. Rothstein notes, “I believe audiences can play a vital role in the development process and our NEXT Festival provides them the unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the creative process.” Past projects include: Lullaby by Michael Elyanow; C. by Bradley Greenwald and Robert Elhai; The Illyria Project by Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle; The Last Queen of Canaan by Harrison David Rivers, Jacob Yandura, and Rebecca Melocik; and Stu for Silverton by Peter Duchan, Breedlove, and Will Reynolds. Staged readings of the new musicals will be performed in Spring 2017. Show titles and venues will be announced at a later date.

Theater Latté Da is an award-winning Twin Cities musical theater company that combines music and story to illuminate the breadth and depth of the human experience. The company seeks to create new connections between story, music, artists and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater.  latteda.org

Season at-a-Glance

 

Ragtime
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel “Ragtime” by E. L. Doctorow
Directed by Peter Rothstein
Music Direction by Denise Prosek
Choreography by Kelli Foster Warder
Featuring: Sasha Andreev, David Murray, Britta Ollmann, and Traci Allen Shannon

Performance Dates: September 21 – October 23, 2016
Venue: Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413)

It’s the turn-of-the-century, everything is changing and anything is possible. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s landmark novel, Ragtime is set in the volatile melting pot of New York City. Three distinct American stories are woven together—a determined Jewish immigrant, a daring Harlem musician, and a stifled woman of privilege united by their courage, compassion and belief in a better tomorrow. Together they confront what it means to be an American at the dawn of a new century. With a compelling book by Terrence McNally and a glorious score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, Ragtime was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and was awarded Best Book and Best Score.

A Christmas Carole Petersen
Written by Tod Petersen and Peter Rothstein
Directed by Peter Rothstein
Music Direction by Denise Prosek

Featuring: Tod Petersen
Performance Dates: November 30 – December 23, 2016
Venue: Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413)

Carole’s back, and she’s ready to deck the halls! The celebrated holiday comedy returns after an eight-year hiatus. There’s no denying the power of the holidays to bring out the best and worst in all of us. Acclaimed storyteller Tod Petersen reflects on the yuletide season with his family in Mankato, Minnesota, and pays particular tribute to the show’s namesake—his mother Carole. Join us for the long-awaited return of this hilarious and heartwarming Theater Latté Da original.

 

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Written by Peter Rothstein
Musical Arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach
Directed by Peter Rothstein
Music Direction by Erick Lichte

Featuring: Michael Gruber, Jim Ramlet, Evan Tyler Wilson, and Max Wojtanowicz.
Performance Dates: December 15 –  December 18, 2016
Venue: Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402)

Don’t miss the tenth anniversary of this award-winning, Theater Latté Da original that has been seen and heard around the globe. This moving work captures an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together by trading carols, sharing food and drink, playing soccer and burying the dead. Poetry, diary entries, official war documents and letters home are woven together with iconic World War I songs, patriotic tunes and European Christmas carols to create a truly unique and profound theatrical event.

 

Peter and the Starcatcher
Written by Rick Elice
Based on the Novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Music by Wayne Barker
Directed by Joel Sass
Music Direction by Denise Prosek
Choreography by Carl Flink

Featuring: Tyler Michaels and Robert Berdahl

Performance Dates: February 1 – February 26, 2017
Venue: Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413)

Let your imagination soar in this swashbuckling Peter Pan prequel for grown-ups. Based on the bestselling novel, this fantastical comedy explores how a Victorian street urchin ultimately becomes The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up. Follow the nameless orphan and his ambitious friend Molly as they protect the world from a greedy band of pirates. Winner of five Tony Awards, Peter and the Starcatcher is a theatrical tour de force! Award-winning director and scenic designer Joel Sass helms this wildly imaginative story of unbreakable friendship that places child-like wonder at the heart of grown-up theater.

 

Six Degrees of Separation
Written by John Guare
Directed by Peter Rothstein

Featuring: Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert

Performance Dates: March 8 – April 9, 2017
Venue: Ritz Theater (345 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413)

Peter Rothstein directs a stellar cast of actors and musicians who inhabit and underscore John Guare’s riveting drama. Paul, a young black man, convinces a wealthy New York couple Ouisa and Flan Kittredge into thinking he is the son of Sidney Poitier. Enraptured by his intellect and charm, the couple invite him to stay the night. However, Paul’s ruse is soon undone leading to discoveries which leave them all forever changed. Nominated for four Tony awards, Six Degrees of Separation is a singular tragicomedy on race, class and manners. Inspired by the real-life con artist David Hampton, this witty and sincere social commentary wrestles with the human desire for meaningful connection.
NEXT Festival

Performance Dates: Spring 2017

Venue: TBD

 

NEXT is Theater Latté Da’s New Work Festival showcasing three works that stretch the boundaries of musical storytelling. Each show in the Festival receives three public performances providing audience members the opportunity to “get in on the ground floor” of the creative process. Following each performance is an in-depth conversation with the playwrights, composers and lyricists. Be a part of Theater Latté Da’s commitment to the next generation of the Great American Musical.

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