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Photo: Bri Sudia makes her Goodman debut as Ruth in the Goodman’s WONDERFUL TOWN
The cast and creative team is set for Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman’s revival of WONDERFUL TOWN—Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and book by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov. WONDERFUL TOWN follows the adventure of sisters Eileen and Ruth who leave Columbus, Ohio in search of success in the Big Apple.
Lauren Molina, who appeared as Cunegonde in Zimmerman’s production of CANDIDE, portrays the beautiful actress and hopeful romantic, Eileen; and Bri Sudia (FAR FROM HEAVEN, Porchlight Music Theater) makes her Goodman debut as Ruth, an aspiring, romantically challenged journalist. Joining Molina and Sudia in the 26-member cast are Chicago favorites Karl Hamilton as Robert Baker, the isolated editor of the Manhatter newspaper; Wade Elkins as Frank Lippencott and Steven Strafford as Chick Clark—two of Eileen’s love prospects and residents of the bohemian 1950s town; and Jordan Brown (Wreck), Amy J. Carle (Mrs. Wade), Matt DeCaro (Appopolous), Christina Hall (Violet), James Earl Jones II (Speedy Valenti), Sadieh Rifai (Helen) and George Andrew Wolff (Lonigan). Ensemble members include Nathaniel Braga, Ariana Cappuccitti, Sherriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Mark David Kaplan, Tiffany Krause, Kent M. Lewis, Russell Mernagh, Jeff Parker, Jody Reynard, Todd Rhoades, Lainie Sakakura, Ian Saunders and Erica Stephan. Artist headshots and bio information can be found on the Artist Page.
Under music director Doug Peck and associate music director/conductor Ben Johnson, the 18-member orchestra will bring to life 20 of Bernstein’s songs—including “Ohio” and “One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man.” Chicago native and choreographer Alex Sanchez makes his Goodman debut. The creative team also includes Todd Rosenthal (sets), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), T.J. Gerckens (lights) and Ray Nardelli (sound).
The Goodman production marks the first major revival of WONDERFUL TOWN in more than 10 years. The musical is based on the book and subsequent play MY SISTER EILEEN by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov and the autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKenney. The play ran for three years (1940 to 1943) and Fields and Chodorov later collaborated on the play’s musical adaptation, earning them the 1953 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.
WONDERFUL TOWN runs September 10 – October 16 in the Albert Theatre. Tickets ($25 – $93; subject to change) go on sale to the general public Friday, August 5 and are available at GoodmanTheatre.org.