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(photo: Missy Aguilar is Calliope in ATC’s XANADU.)
American Theater Company (ATC) announced casting for the musical comedy XANADU, the final production of its season. Presented as a tribute to ATC’s late Artistic Director PJ Paparelli—a not-so-secret fan of this camp classic—XANADU is directed by Lili-Anne Brown and runs at ATC May 27-July 17, 2016. The production features music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar and a book by Douglas Carter Beane, based on the 1980 Universal Pictures film of the same title.
The cast includes Missy Aguilar (Calliope), Kasey Alfonso (Erato) Karla L. Beard (Melpomene), Jim DeSelm (Sonny), Landree Fleming (Kira), Aaron Holland (Danny Maguire, Zeus), Michelle Lauto (Kira U/S & Swing), Hanah Rose Nardone (Euterpe), James Nedrud (Terpsichore/Sonny cover), Daniel Spagnuolo (Thalia/Danny cover), and Cameron Turner (Swing).
XANADU takes place in Venice, California in 1980. Struggling artist Sonny Malone seeks to create his own version of the American dream by renovating an abandoned warehouse into a roller disco. “ATC’s production of Xanadu is for PJ Paparelli. He was cherished for his incisive and powerful productions of complicated and difficult stories; who knew his guilty pleasure was XANADU? We are concluding PJ’s legacy season with the wild exuberant and campy fun of XANADU in a production only ATC could pull off,” said ATC’s newly named Artistic Director Will Davis. “Come celebrate PJ with us and bring your skates!”
More information and tickets are available by visiting the ATC Box Office at 1909 W. Byron Street, by calling 773-409-4125 or visiting www.atcweb.org.
Missy Aguilar (Calliope) most recently appeared as Baby Rose in Babes in Arms, Oolie/Donna in City of Angels with Porchlight Music Theatre and U/S Ivy (performed) in The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes with Mercury Theatre. Last spring and summer she was happy to spend on the pier at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Atina/Ensemble, U/S Ursula), and Sense and Sensibility: A New Musical (U/S Fanny/Mrs. Jennings, performed). Ms. Aguilar’s other recent Chicago area credits include: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Ivan’s Concierge, U/S Lucia) and The Beverly Hillbillies (Cousin Pearl/Gloria) with Theatre at the Center; Les Miserables (Ensemble & U/S Mdme. Thenadier) with Drury Lane; Nunsense (Sister Hubert) with Fox Valley Repertory; and In The Heights (Ensemble & U/S Abuela Claudia) with Paramount Theatre.
Kasey Alfonso (Erato) makes her ATC debut. Chicago credits include: West Side Story, Rent and In The Heights (Paramount Theatre); Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare); Iphegenia in Aulis (Court Theatre); Wonderland (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Carrie: The Musical (Bailiwick Chicago); and Smokey Joe’s Café (Theo Ubique). She also stars as Kid Zhuyin in the web series The Adventures of Jacketmen. Ms. Alfonso is a proud graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Karla L. Beard (Melpomene) returns to ATC after appearing in Rent. She has appeared in Second City productions of What the Tour Guide Didn’t Tell You in the Up theatre, Soul Brother, Where Art Thou, Rush Limbaugh! The Musical, The Absolute Best Frigging Time of Your Life on the ETC stage, an assortment of Second City BizCo productions, several episodes of Chicago Live! and briefly in The Second City Guide to the Opera and Let Them Eat Chaos. TV/Film credits: Chicago PD, Empire, Mind Games and a variety of commercials. Other credits include: Mamma Mia! (National Tour); Doubt and Little Shop of Horrors (Peninsula Players); Sunday in the Park with George, Anyone Can Whistle and Princess and the Black-eyed Pea (Ravinia); The Amen Corner (Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre); The Piano Lesson (Madison Repertory Theatre; artist and music director); Miss Saigon and Hot Mikado (Marriott Lincolnshire); Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Arkansas Repertory); and Ragtime (Porchlight Theater). Ms. Beard received Jeff Nominations for her portrayals of the title character in the Midwest premiere of Dessa Rose, TiMoune in Once on This Island and Young Barbara Jordan in Voice of Good Hope at Victory Gardens.
Jim DeSelm (Sonny) makes his ATC debut. Chicago area credits: West Side Story and Beaches (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Road Show (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); James Joyce’s The Dead (Court Theatre); Fiddler on the Roof (Paramount Theatre); South Pacific (Marriott Theatre); Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar (Theatre at the Center); Juno (TimeLine Theatre Company); A Catered Affair (Porchlight Music Theatre); Parade and Floyd Collins (Boho Theatre; Jeff Award Nomination – Actor/Musical); The Mikado (The Hypocrites); The Last Five Years (Kokandy Productions, Jeff Award Nomination – Actor/Musical); and Pump Boys & Dinettes (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Jeff Nomination – Music Direction). Regional Credits include: Snapshots (Village Theatre/Arizona Theatre Company); Oklahoma!, Once Upon A Mattress and Plain & Fancy (Round Barn Theatre). Television credits include Chicago P.D. (NBC) and Double Cross (Investigation Discovery).
Landree Fleming (Kira) makes her ATC debut. She was most recently seen as Penny in Hairspray (Paramount Theatre). Other Chicago credits include: Seussical (Marriott Theatre); Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Theatre at the Center); Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Godspell (Theatre at the Center); She Kills Monsters (u/s, Buzz22); Reefer Madness (Circle Theatre, Jeff Nomination – Best Actress); and The Giver (Adventure Stage Chicago). Ms. Fleming is a member of musical sketch comedy group Off Off Broadzway. She is represented by Gray Talent.
Aaron Holland (Danny Maguire, Zeus) returns to ATC. Recent Chicago credits include: SISTER ACT! (Marriott); Seussical! (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Hair (American Theater Company); The Color Purple (Mercury Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); Goodnight Moon and Dot & Ziggy (Chicago Children’s Theatre); and Passing Strange (Bailiwick Chicago). TV credits: Chicago Med. Mr. Holland received a BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Michelle Lauto (Kira U/S & Swing) makes her ATC debut. Favorite credits include the Chicago premieres of Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago), 35mm (Circle Theatre) and The Boy From Oz (Pride Films & Plays). Ms. Lauto is a proud graduate of The Second City Training Center Conservatory.
Hanah Rose Nardone (Euterpe) makes her ATC debut. Chicago credits include: Bye Bye Birdie and White Christmas (Drury Lane Oakbrook); The Little Mermaid (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and The Wild Party, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ripper and Spring Awakening (CCPA at Roosevelt University). Regional credits include: 42nd Street, Big River, Legally Blonde and The Sound of Music (The Little Theatre on the Square); Guys and Dolls, Boeing Boeing, Footloose and Cabaret (Timber Lake Playhouse). Ms. Nardone recently received her BFA in Musical Theatre from The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
James Nedrud (Terpsichore/Sonny cover) makes his ATC debut. Recent credits include: Angry Fags (Pride Films and Plays at the Steppenwolf Garage); Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre, Aurora); Les Miserables (Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook); Applause (Porchlight Revisits); WOZ: A Rock Cabaret (Kim Lawson at Victory Gardens); Three Little Pigs (Emerald City); and Under a Rainbow Flag (Pride Films and Plays; Jeff nomination for best supporting actor in a musical). He has also worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, About Face Theatre and Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, among others. Mr. Nedrud is a proud graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and member of Pride Films and Plays.
Daniel Spagnuolo (Thalia/Danny cover) has worked at The Paramount Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, ProfilesTheatre, Boho Theatre Ensemble, The Little Theatre on the Square, and Light Opera Works. Danny’s choreography credits: Rent (Theo Ubique Cabaret); The Full Monty (Kokandy Productions; Non-Equity Jeff Award Nomination); Godspell and A New Brain (Brown Paper Box Co.; Broadway World Nominations); The Little Mermaid (Drury Lane Oakbrook); and Ruthless (Big Noise). Mr. Spagnuolo has served as assistant choreographer on such productions as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Porchlight Music Theatre) and American Idiot (The Hypocrites).
Cameron Turner (Swing) makes his ATC debut. He is a Chicago-based actor/director/choreographer and proud graduate of The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Previous performance credits include: Jesus Christ Superstar (Theo Ubique Cabaret); DamnYankees and Annie Get Your Gun (Light Opera Works); and Les Miserables and A Chorus Line (Timber Lake Playhouse). Other Chicago credits include: 35MM: A Musical Exhibition (Director/Choreographer – Circle Theatre); The Boy From Oz (Choreographer – Pride Film & Plays); Jesus Christ Superstar (Asst. Choreographer – Theo Ubique Cabaret); and The Wild Party (Asst. Choreographer – Bailiwick Chicago).
Douglas Carter Beane’s (Playwright) plays include: The Nance, The Little Dog Laughed (Tony, Olivier nominations; GLAAD Media Award), Mr. & Mrs. Fitch, As Bees in Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle, Gassner Playwriting awards), Advice From a Caterpillar, The Country Club, Music From a Sparkling Planet, The Cartells. Musicals: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella(Tony nom.), Sister Act (Tony nom.), Lysistrata Jones (Tony nom.), Xanadu (Tony nom.; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards). Revues: White Lies; Mondo Drama; The Late, Late Show. Opera: Die Fledermaus (Met). Screenplays: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar; Advice From a Caterpillar (Best Feature, Aspen Comedy Festival). Producer: 21 plays as founder and artistic director of New York’s Drama Dept. Member of the Dramatists Guild and is on the Playwrights Walk of Fame at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Jeff Lynne (Music and Lyrics) is a founding member of the Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO, whose discography includes five platinum-selling albums: Face the Music, A New World Record, Out of the Blue, Discovery, and Xanadu. In addition to his recording work with the ELO, Lynne co-produced studio albums by George Harrison (Cloud Nine), Roy Orbison (Mystery Girl), Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever), Ringo Starr (Time Takes Time), and Paul McCartney (Flaming Pie). He co-founded the “supergroup,” the Traveling Wilburys, with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison. Lynn co-wrote and produced the track “Let It Shine” for Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s debut solo album in 1988.
John Farrar (Music and Lyrics) is a music producer, guitarist, singer, and former member of the British rock group, The Shadows. He worked extensively with Olivia Newton-John, producing fourteen of her albums and writing many of her hit singles, including “You’re the One That I Want” (Golden Globe nom.), “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (Academy Award nom.), and “Have You Never Been Mellow.” He co-wrote with Tim Rice songs for the 1995 musical, Heathcliff, and collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola to create songs for a new musical, Gidget.
Lili-Anne Brown (Director) is the Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago. She received the Joseph Jefferson Award in 2014 (Direction of a Musical) for her direction of Ahrens & Flaherty’s Dessa Rose. Other directing credits include: Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep), the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of Passing Strange (BTA Award for Best Director of a Musical, Jeff Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical), and the world premiere of Princess Mary Demands Your Attention by Aaron Holland, for Bailiwick Chicago; On the Boards and Hearts of Darkness at Roosevelt University; and Hairspray, Unnecessary Farce, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, all at Timber Lake Playhouse, where she is an Artistic Associate. Upcoming next season: American Idiot at Northwestern University and Jabari Dreams of Freedom by Nambi Kelley at Chicago Children’s Theatre. She works as an actor, director and educator, both locally and regionally, and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and an associate of SDC. Lili-Anne is a Northwestern University graduate (Performance Studies), and a proud native Chicagoan.