Friday, June 20, 2014

CLO Season Cuts Loose with Footloose

Contact: Aja Jones
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Footloose Dances its Way into
Pittsburgh CLO Summer Season
 “CUT LOOSE” at the Benedum June 24-29

Pittsburgh, PA ∙ June 18, 2014 – Audiences will bask in 1980s nostalgia at the Benedum Center, where dancing will be legal June 24-29! A talented company including two of Footloose’s Original Broadway Cast members will bring this dancing sensation to life on stage.

When teenager Ren McCormack moves from the big city to middle-of-nowhere Bomont, where even dancing is against the law, he's in for a real case of culture shock. After falling for the preacher’s daughter, Ren really shakes things up. When he and fellow rebellious teenagers defy authority and dare to dance, the result is a fast-paced rock ‘n roll musical featuring the Billboard-topping hits “Footloose,” “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise” and “Holding Out for a Hero.”

Patrick Cassidy (Rev. Shaw Moore) counts among his many credits: The Music Man opposite Shirley Jones, It's a Bird It's a Plane…, Annie Get Your Gun starring Patti Lupone, 42nd Street, Aida, Pirates of Penzance, Leader of the Pack, Assassins, Joseph…, Conrack, Company, Carousel, Little Shop of Horrors and Camelot. Television: “Ruby & The Rockits,” “Bay City Blues,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Perversions of Science,” the WB's “Smallville,” “The Neighbors,” “Law & Order SVU,” “Castle,”  “Crossing Jordan,” “Without a Trace,” “According to Jim,” “CSI Miami” and “ER.”

Joseph Domencic (Coach Dunbar) will appear in his 21st Pittsburgh CLO production with Footloose.  He teaches at Seton Hill University and performs regularly in the area, most recently in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 1776.   His new children’s musical, The Next Galileo, will tour area schools with Pittsburgh CLO’s Gallery of Heroes program in 2015.  This August he will appear in Tuesdays with Morrie at the Mountain Playhouse.

Brandon Epinoza (Chuck Cranston) counts among his many Broadway credits: Gypsy (Dir. Sam Mendes), Big, Les Misérables, The Will Rogers Follies. Off-Broadway: Triassic ParQ (SoHo Playhouse),Substitution (The Playwrights Realm, Scarcity (Atlantic Theater Company), Not Waving (NYSPF), Tea and Sympathy (Keen Company). Regional: Grease (MUNY, 2014), Bring It On (Alliance Theater), West Side Story (Stratford Shakespeare Festival). Workshops: Found (Atlantic Theater Company), Tuck Everlasting (Casey Nicholaw, Dir.), Bring It On (Alliance Theater), Saved! (Playwrights Horizons). TV: “The Leftovers” (HBO), “Elementary” (CBS), “The Carrie Diaries” (CW), “It Could Be Worse” (Pivot).

Alex Finke (Wendy Jo) is originally from Dayton, Ohio and was recently seen as Hope Harcourt in theAnything Goes National Tour. Other roles include: Legally Blonde (Serena), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitel) at MTWichita, Tarzan (Jane), State Fair (Margy Frake) at Wagon Wheel. Training: BFA University of Michigan.

Billy Hartung (Cowboy Bob) appeared in the original company of Footloose as Chuck Cranston. Other Original Companies include Side Show and Minnelli on Minnelli: at the Palace Theatre.  Highlights:  The Academy Award winning movie musical “Chicago” (Miramax), The 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center Honors (CBS).

Amy Hillner Larsen (Urleen) has appeared in the National Tours of: Priscilla Queen of the Desert(Swing/Asst. Dance Capt.), Hairspray (Shelley/ US Tracy). TV/Film: "66th Annual Tony Awards" (Tracy in Royal Caribbean's "Hairspray"), "Gigi: Almost American" with Josh Gad. Favorite Regional: Hairspray at the Hollywood Bowl (Shelley), Footloose (Rusty), Seussical (Sour Kangaroo), Fiddler (Tzeitel).

Jessie Hooker (Rusty) makes her Pittsburgh CLO debut. Favorite credits: Sarah in Ragtime (Milwaukee Rep), Tamika in SISTAS the Musical (Off Broadway), Jenny in Company (Geva Theatre), Judge/Ensemble (Pilar/Paulette u/s) in Legally Blonde (National Tour) and Kate in Lippa’s The Wild Party. Shenandoah Conservatory alum.

Dee Hoty (Vi Moore) has earned three Tony® nominations for starring roles in the Original Broadway Cast of Footloose, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, and The Will Rogers Follies. She starred on Broadway and in eight major U. S. cities as Donna in Mamma Mia! More Broadway:  Bye Bye Birdie(Roundabout), City Of Angels (Outer Critics Circle Nomination), Me and My Girl, Big River, The Five O’clock Girl, and  Shakespeare’s Cabaret. Pittsburgh CLO audiences will remember her as Grizabella inCATS and Desiree in A Little Night Music.

Jeff Howell (Wes Warniker) was recently seen in By the Way Meet Vera Stark (REP). Pittsburgh CLO shows include 42nd Street, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jekyll and Hyde, A Musical Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit), Beauty and the Beast, Bells are Ringing, Pajama Game, The Most Happy Fella.  Other credits include Candide, Tigers Be Still, Chicago, and Tribute to Lerner and Loewewith Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Greg Kamp (Willard Hewitt) will make his Pittsburgh CLO debut. Credits include: Catch Me If You Can(1st National Tour), Harmony (CTG/ Alliance), Titanic (Hangar), Bat Boy, Urinetown (Edinburgh Fringe). TV: “The Wronged Man” (Lifetime), “Solving Charlie” (ABC), and “Past Life” (Fox). Mr. Kamp is an Artistic Associate with Hook & Eye Theater, on staff with The Broadway Dreams Foundation, and a graduate of CCM.

Christine Laitta (Eleanor Dunbar) is a Pittsburgh CLO veteran. CLO Cabaret Credits: Girls Only, I Love You, You’re Perfect..., Forbidden Broadway, and Forbidden Broadway: SVU. She performs her TV Tunes Sing A Long at the CLO Cabaret Late Night. Laitta recently portrayed the role of Principal Anderson in the PBS pilot “Scientastic!”

Betsy Lawrence (Lulu Warniker) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after appearing as Jack's Mother in Into the Woods and a nun in The Sound of Music.  Betsy was a member of the New York City Opera touring company, Pittsburgh Opera, American Opera, as well as regular backup singer for PBS "My Music" series.   She is on the voice faculty of CMU and director of the CMU jazz choir.

Courtney Markowitz (Betty Blast/Irene) returns to her hometown of Pittsburgh for Footloose.  Broadway:Jekyll & Hyde.  National tours: Jekyll & Hyde, Spring Awakening (Ilse).  Regional credits include Lizzie(Alice) - TUTS Underground; Oliver! (Rose Seller) – Pittsburgh CLO; All Shook Up (Miss Sandra),Joseph… – Artpark. BFA from Elon University and a Pittsburgh CLO Academy Alumni.

Kristen Martin (Ariel Moore) appeared in the Original Broadway Cast of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark(u/s Mary Jane), Off Broadway: The City Club (Crystal LaBelle), 1st National Tour of A Chorus Line (Val),42nd Street at Goodspeed and Asia Tour (Peggy Sawyer), Dames At Sea at the Bay Street Theatre (Ruby), CATS National Tour (Demeter), TV: “Deception.”

Michael Misko (Cop/Quartet) will make his Pittsburgh CLO debut. Regional Credits: Shrek: The Musical(Shrek), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Big Bopper/Norm Petty), Guys & Dolls (Nicely Nicely Johnson),Dial ‘M’ for Murder (Tony), The Pillowman (Katurian), Romeo & Juliet (Mercutio, et al), West Side Story(Tony). Michael is a native of Moon Township.

Manuel Stark (Ren) is making his Pittsburgh CLO debut.  TV: “Smash” (14 episodes). Broadway: West Side Story at the Palace Theatre (Chino).  Off Broadway: Venice at the Public Theater.  Encores!:Applause, …Superman, Little Me, The Most Happy Fella, and Irma la Douce. Regional: A Chorus Line at Paper Mill Playhouse (Paul); Aladdin at the 5th Avenue Theatre (Prince Abdullah); West Side Story at Ogunquit Playhouse (Bernardo); Cats at Theatre Under The Stars (Coricopat).

Stephen Wilde (Principal Clark/Saloon) is from Pittsburgh, but lives in New York. MFAs: Carnegie Mellon, Moscow Art Theatre School. Broadway Tour: The Music Man. Off-Broadway: Talk of the Town. Moscow Art Theatre: Shelter, The Bear Theatre. Film: “Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective.” Stephen is Secretary for Board of Directors - Theatre World Awards.

Sally Wilfert (Ethel McCormack) last appeared in Pittsburgh CLO’s productions of Copacabana and Les Miserables. Broadway credits include Assassins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, King David.  National Tour: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway: See Rock City, Make Me A Song, The Prince & The Pauper. Regional:  LMNOP (Goodspeed), Little Miss Sunshine (LaJolla), Elegies (Barrington Stage) Marry Me A Little (Cincinnati Playhouse).  Numerous Concerts, Television & Recordings.

Footloose is complete with a talented ensemble, including Pittsburgh CLO veterans Lindsey Bracco,Lucas Fedele, Michael Greer, Isabelle McCalla and Mara Newbery. They will be joined by 13 CLO Academy students.

Barry Ivan (Director/Choreographer) has national and international credits that range from directing at the German State Opera to guest directing at Yale. Highlighted Pittsburgh CLO credits: Sunset Boulevard, Company, A Little Night Music, The Full Monty, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, and Les Misérables. Mr. Ivan’s productions of The Full Monty and Hairspray received IRNE awards for Best Musical, and he received Best Director IRNE nominations for Nine and Les Misérables.  Mr. Ivan directed the US Premiere of Dracula: A Chamber Musical, and will be directing the world premiere of playwright Jeff Stolzer's new play Scenes From the Life Of An American Male, a comedy-drama with music.  Mr. Ivan is currently under contract developing and Executive Producing Web TV programming.

Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 19th season with Pittsburgh CLO. His theater credits include the Broadway productions of Souvenir, Les Misérables, Me and My Girl, Cats and Brigadoon. He has also contributed his talents to television programs such as “Crazy For You” and the “Today Show.” Mr. Helm has conducted at Radio City Music Hall, Paper Mill Playhouse and many other regional and national theaters.

Andrew David Ostrowski (Lighting Designer) recently completed work on Pittsburgh CLO’s Ring of Fire at the CLO Cabaret, as well as Hope and Gravity at City Theatre. He has designed for every local company in Pittsburgh. National credits include: The Asolo, Virginia Stage Company, North Shore Music Theatre, Merrimack Reparatory Company, The Arden Theatre Company, Spoleto Festival USA, Dallas Summer Musicals, Theater of the Stars, Madison Opera, as well as others. International credits include productions in Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, France, and touring all of Western Europe.

“Footloose” burst onto the silver screen in 1984 and quickly became one of the year’s most successful motion pictures. The soundtrack recording reached #1 on the Billboard charts, and went on to sell more than 17 million copies worldwide, generating Top Forty hits including "Let's Hear It For The Boy," “Almost Paradise," “Holding Out For A Hero," and "I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)."

In 1996, a collaboration between director Walter Bobbie and screenplay writer Dean Pitchford led to the stage adaption of the film. Songwriter Tom Snow and Pitchford wrote new songs for the theatrical production to supplement the existing hits.

Footloose began previews on October 5, 1998 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The show made its Broadway debut later that month on October 22 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where it continued to thrill audiences until July 2, 2000. Footloose has danced on through multiple national tours and productions in the UK.

In 2011, Paramount Pictures’ re-make of “Footloose” starring Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid brought this uplifting story and electrifying music to a whole new generation.

Walter Bobbie (Book) won the Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards as director of the international hit Chicago which has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Broadway direction credits include White Christmas, High Fidelity, Sweet Charity, Twentieth Century, Footloose, and A Grand Night for Singing. Bobbie is also an actor who appeared in a range of plays and musicals such as the original cast of Grease and many more. He received a Drama Desk nomination for his performance as Nicely-Nicely in 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, and Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations for his performance in David Ives's Polish Joke at Manhattan Theatre Club. Bobbie was Artistic Director for City Center's acclaimed Encores!, and serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Dean Pitchford (Book and Lyrics) wrote the original screenplay for the 1984 film “Footloose.” He began his performing career off- and on-Broadway (Godspell; Pippin) before turning to songwriting, screenwriting and directing. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards (winning Best Song for “Fame,” co-written with Michael Gore), three Golden Globes (winning for “Fame”), seven Grammys and two Tonys®. His songs - recorded by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Cher, Peter Allen, LL Cool Jay, Kenny Loggins, Hugh Jackman, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler and Martina McBride - have sold over 70 million records.

Tom Snow (Music) has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture: "Let's Hear It for the Boy" from Footloose (1984) and "After All" from Chances Are (1990); and he has twice been nominated for the Grammy Award: Best Album of Original Score written for a Motion Picture -- Footloose soundtrack; and Song of the Year -- "Don't Know Much." The biggest stars in the world have recorded Tom's songs, including Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Kenny Loggins, Cher, Thelma Houston, Michael Bolton and Tina Turner. The stage adaption of Footloose features nine new songs by Snow.

Performance Schedule for Footloose
Tuesday June 24 8 p.m.
Wednesday June 25 8 p.m.
Thursday June 26 8 p.m.
Friday June 27 8 p.m.
Saturday June 28 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday June 29 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are available online at, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Tickets start at $35. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call our Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information. Visit pittsburghCLO.or gfor further information.

Pittsburgh CLO gratefully acknowledges the generosity of our season Sponsors: the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WTAE-TV.

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Since 1946, the Pittsburgh CLO has been the driving force behind live musical theater in Pittsburgh and the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Under the direction of Van Kaplan since 1997, this not-for-profit arts organization appreciates the support of nearly 200,000 patrons each year and produces a subscription series, educational programs, national tours and develops and invests in new works, including 19 Broadway shows (25 Tony Awards®) featuring the current productions of Cinderella, Kinky Boots and Matilda. Its dedication to the musical theater art form extends to include such programs as the CLO Academy, the CLO Mini Stars, the Gene Kelly Awards, the Richard Rodgers Award the National High School Musical Theater Awards, the Construction Center for the Arts and the CLO Cabaret.

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