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originally published: 11/02/2022

George Street Playhouse Announces Cast for "Joy the Musical"

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — George Street Playhouse has announced the full cast as first rehearsals kick-off today for the world premiere production Joy the Musical starring Erika Henningsen at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The musical is based on the life of Joy Mangano and her book Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life.  Performances begin December 7th and continue through December 30th.  Tickets are now on sale.

Joy the Musical is directed by Casey Hushion with choreography by Joshua Bergasse and features music and lyrics by Tony Nominee AnnMarie Milazzo (A Walk on the Moon). Musical supervision is by Andy Einhorn and book by Tony Award Winner Ken Davenport.

Joy is a heartwarming and powerful musical based on the life of Joy Mangano—the entrepreneur, inventor, best-selling author, and self-made millionaire whose journey epitomizes the real American Dream. This uplifting true story is about one woman’s triumphant climb, from divorce to single motherhood and bankruptcy, to becoming a wildly successful dynamo that all started with the invention of a mop – her Miracle Mop!  Joy is a feel-good musical about finding yourself through determination, imagination, and reinvention with a twist, and is sure to inspire audiences long after they leave the theater.

George Street Playhouse Announces Cast for "Joy the Musical"

Erika Henningsen  (Joy) was last seen starring as Cady Heron in the Tony-nominated musical Mean Girls. She debuted on Broadway as Fantine in the recent revival of Les Miserables opposite Ramin Karimloo.  Other credits include Beth in the Kathleen Marshall-helmed musical Diner with music by Sheryl Crow at Signature Theater and Kim Ravenal in the PBS televised Show Boat: Live from Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. She can be seen recurring on the critically acclaimed Peacock series Girls5Eva as well as the hit Amazon comedy, Harlem.  Erika recently debuted her solo show Raise Your Standards in  a sold out run at The Feinstein’s Nikko in San Francisco. Upcoming projects include voice work in the popular animation series, Hazbin Hotel in production with A24. Broadway.com 2018 Star of the Year and Outer Critics Circle Award Nominee. @erikahenningsen

Trent Saunders (Tony) Broadway: Hadestown, Aladdin. London: Evita (Che). National Tours: American Idiot. Regional: Evita (Bay Street), Aida (Village Theatre), Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Forever 54 (Jerry Herman Ring Theatre). Graduate of UMiami ’12.

 

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Vicki Lewis (Toots)  Vicki is perhaps best known for her role as Beth the secretary on the hit NBC series Newsradio,  She also starred in the NBC series Three Sisters with Diane Cannon along with recurring roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Caroline in the City, Gray’s Anatomy, Home Improvement and many others. Her films include: The Ugly Truth, Den Brother,The Last Day Of Summer, California Dreamin’ (Dave Foley and Lea Thompson) Godzilla(1998) Mousehunt (Nathan Lane, Lee Evans and Christoper Walken) Pushing Tin (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett ) I’ll Do Anything (Nick Nolte, Albert Brooks) The Huntress, Bye Bye Birdie (Tyne Daly, Jason Alexander) and Breakfast Of Champions(Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte).  She starred as Velma Kelly in the Broadway and Las Vegas productions of Chicago. She played Gloria Thorpe in the Tony nominated Damn Yankees and in Pal Joey (opposite Patti LuPone and Peter Gallagher) for “Encores”. East of Midnight her debut album, which she wrote and produced with Junior Burke, and which was orchestrated by Stephen Taylor, is available on iTunes, along with her hit EP of Christmas songs Santa’s Little Helper.

Stephen De Rosa (Rudy)  Broadway: Mr. Saturday NightGary: A Sequel to Titus AndronicusOn The TownBetrayalThe NanceHairsprayTwentieth CenturyHenry IVInto the Woods (2002), The Man Who Came to Dinner (filmed live for PBS). Off-Broadway: DoReMiWonderfuTown, Irma LaDouce (all for Encores!), Love’s Fire (The Acting Company/RSC), The Mystery of Irma Vep. Regional Credits include Westport Country Playhouse, Yale Rep, George Street Playhouse, Berkshire Theater Group, Williamstown and many others. Television: Law & OrderUgly Betty, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (Eddie Cantor). MFA: Yale.

George Street Playhouse Announces Cast for "Joy the Musical"

Additional Casting includes: Sami Bray (Christie),  Badia Farha (Ronnie/Ensemble), Pomme Koch (Dan/Ensemble), Gaelen Gilliand (Ensemble), Hazel Anne Raymundo (Thelma), Olivia Jones (Young Joy), John Hickok (Cowboy Eddie/Ensemble), Ashleigh Marie Arnold, Brian Shepard, Dana Costello, Kristen Faith Oei, Alanna Saunders, Ryan Duncan, Anthony Wayne, Justin Gregory Lopez, (Ensemble); Bronwyn Tarboton (Dance Captain/Swing), Michal Kolaczkowski (Swing). 

Casey Hushion (Director) has had the pleasure of working on Broadway for many years, on projects including Mean Girls, Aladdin, The Prom, In the Heights, and The Drowsy Chaperone as the Associate & Resident Director. Working with Broadway’s finest writers, producers, directors and creative teams, Casey has simultaneously established a successful directing career of her own. Recently Casey directed the new hit play CLUE, which premiered at Cleveland Playhouse. The production went on to successful runs at La Mirada, Paper Mill Playhouse, and was the most licensed U.S. Play in 2020 & 2021.  Casey also directed the world premiere of Mystic Pizza at Ogunquit Playhouse. Other New York credits include Call Me Madame at City Center Encores!, Fat Camp at the American Theatre of Actors, and the Broadway production of Nerds (almost).  For television, she has choreographed episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and staged press events for The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The View, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the NBC special One Night Only: The Best of Broadway among others.

Joshusa  Bergasse (Choreography) For film/television, Joshua won the Emmy Award for his choreography on NBC’s musical drama Smash. He also choreographed multiple segments on So You Think You Can Dance and PBS’s Sinatra: A Voice for a Century. On Broadway, Josh choreographed the revival of On The Town, which opened to rave reviews. He received an Astaire Award and was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Awards. Also on Broadway, Josh choreographed the revival of Gigi, and most recently choreographed the Broadway debut of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Off-Broadway credits include Sweet Charity staring Sutton Foster; Cagney (Drama Desk, Astaire, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for choreography); Bomb-Itty of Errors and Captain Louie. Josh’s other credits as a choreographer include West Side Story at the Stratford Festival; Little Me, and It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman! at City Center Encores!; Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage Co; Guys and Dolls, and The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall.  As a director/choreographer, Josh co-directed and choreographed the Bombshell on Broadway concert at the Minskoff Theatre. He directed and choreographed Hazel, a new musical at the Drury Lane Theatre and West Side Story at North Carolina Theater.

AnnMarie Milazzo (Music and Lyrics) served as vocal designer for Broadway’s Spring Awakening, Next to Normal, If/Then, and Finding Neverland and A Beautiful Noise. Her Off-Broadway credits include Carrie, Bright Lights Big City, and Superhero. Her regional credits include Dangerous Beauty, Prometheus Bound, Some Lovers, Dave, and A Walk on the Moon. Milazzo served as the Broadway orchestrator, with Michael Starobin, for Once on This Island, for which she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. She is the composer and lyricist of Pretty Dead Girl, winner of the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and the lyricist of Le Rêve and Le Perle. Milazzo is the Grammy-nominated female vocalist for East Village Opera Company on Decca/Universal Records. 

Andy Einhorn (Music Supervision) served as the music supervisor and musical director for the recent Broadway revivals of Hello, Dolly! and Carousel. His previous Broadway music directing and conducting credits include Holiday InnBullets Over BroadwayRodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Brief Encounter, and Sondheim on Sondheim, while his other Broadway work includes Evita and The Light in the Piazza. Since 2011, Einhorn has served as music director and pianist for six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald; he also music directed concerts for the late Barbara Cook. He served as music director and conductor for the Châtelet Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion in Paris and has twice led the New York Philharmonic, conducting for McDonald and Chris Botti. His tour work includes Sweeney ToddThe Light in the Piazza, Mamma Mia!, and The Lion King.

Ken Davenport (Book) is a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and writer whose credits include A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond MusicalOnce On This Island (Tony Award), Gettin’ the Band Back TogetherThe Play that Goes WrongGroundhog Day (Tony nomination), Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), It’s Only a PlayMacbeth starring Alan Cumming, GodspellKinky Boots (Tony Award), and more, including multiple Off-Broadway productions such as Altar Boyz, The Awesome 80s Prom and more.  Ken’s shows have been produced internationally in over 25 countries around the world. He is the founder of TheaterMakersStudio.com, a one-of-a-kind “masterclass” community that provides training and inspiration from Broadway’s best to writers, directors, producers and more.  Ken created the best-selling board game, Be A Broadway Star, one of the highest-ranking Broadway gifts on Amazon.com.  Ken was also the Executive Producer for North America for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and is the Theatrical Consultant for Primary Wave, a music management and publishing company.  Ken’s unique production and marketing style has garnered him international attention in numerous publications, including Vanity Fair and The New York Times. Upcoming projects include The Griswolds’ Broadway VacationJOY the MusicalHarmony: A New Musical written by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, The Ten and a musical based on the life of Harry Belafonte.  

JOY Design and Production Team Features:  Anna Louizos (Scenic Designer), Tina McCartney (Costume Designer), , Jen Schriever (Lighting Designer), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Designer),  Liz Printz (Hair & Wig Designer), John Clancy (Orchestrator), Melissa Chacón (Production Stage Manager). 

Tickets begin at $25 and  are now on sale.  For subscriptions and group discounts ofinformation visit www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org or call 732-246-7717. 

George Street Playhouse Announces Cast for "Joy the Musical"

The George Street Playhouse World Premiere production is presented in association with Sandi Moran and Ken Davenport. 

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1997, George Street Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work.  As New Brunswick’s first producing theatre, George Street Playhouse became the cornerstone of the revitalization of the City’s arts and cultural landscape.  With its 47-year history of producing nationally renowned theatre, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theatre and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.

 

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Beginning with the 2019-20 Season, George Street Playhouse moved to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in downtown New Brunswick.  Featuring two state-of-the-art theatres — The Arthur Laurents Theater with 253 seats and The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater which seats 465– and myriad amenities, the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center marks a new era in the esteemed history of George Street Playhouse.

Founded by Eric Krebs, George Street Playhouse, originally located in an abandoned supermarket on the corner of George and Albany Streets, was the first professional theatre in New Brunswick. In 1984, the Playhouse moved to a renovated YMCA on Livingston Avenue, and in 2017 took temporary residence in the former Agricultural Museum at Rutgers University during construction of its new home.

The Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway. In 2018, George Street Playhouse was represented on Broadway with Gettin’ the Band Back Together which premiered on the Playhouse mainstage in 2013.  American Son, produced by George Street Playhouse in 2017, opened on Broadway in 2018 starring Kerry Washington and Stephen Pasquale, and appeared on Netflix in 2019.  Other productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger.  In 2015, It Shoulda Been You opened on Broadway and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies opened off-Broadway.  Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. Others include the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at the Playhouse during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.

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