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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, A New Musical With Book By Tony Winner JOE DiPIETRO to close GSP season

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George Street Playhouse and Artistic Director David Saint have announced that a new musical, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, will close their current season, bowing April 22 and running through May 17, 2015.

This production replaces the previously-announced production of Six Degrees of Separation, which will be postponed until next season. The musical’s book is by Tony Award-winner JOE DiPIETRO (Memphis, Clever Little Lies at George Street), with music and lyrics by BRENDAN MILBURN and VALERIE VIGODA from the power-pop trio GrooveLily. Ms. Vigoda also comprises half of the cast, alongside WADE McCOLLUM (Priscilla Queen of the Desert). The production is directed by Lisa Peterson The Model Apartment, Slavs!). Opening night is set for Saturday, April 25 (changed from the original date).

In Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, a sleep-deprived single mom and video game music composer is contacted across time by the famous polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. Inspired by her music, he shares his epic Antarctic journey with her in video and song. Together they struggle toward and conquer new horizons in this cross-time love affair for the ages. Ms. Vigoda and Mr. McCollum not only act and sing, but accompany themselves (with one other musician) onstage, with the use of keyboards and drum machines, sound loopers, electric violins and an acoustic banjo in a score that encompasses all musical styles. The world of the play, which encompasses video, Skype technology and green screen imagery, are the work of production designer Alexander Nichols.

Individual tickets, beginning at $28 are currently available, as are flexible admission and smaller subscription packages through the George Street Playhouse Box Office, 732-246-7717. Play information, tickets, as well as parking and dining suggestions are available on the Playhouse website: www.gsponline.org. George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s lively downtown.

Actor and Lyricist Valerie Vigoda is a classically-trained musician, honors graduate of Princeton University and former Army lieutenant. She has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper (opening for Tina Turner and Cher), Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. She founded GrooveLily (originally “The Valerie Vigoda Band”) in 1994, with the critically-acclaimed CD Inhabit My Heart. Along with her husband and longtime collaborator Brendan Milburn, Valerie is a 2009 winner of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, as well as a two-time winner of the Jonathan Larson Award for Excellence in Writing for the Theatre.

Actor Wade McCollum starred in the first national tour of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as Tick/Mitzi. Previously, Wade was seen as the Velociraptor of Faith in the off-Broadway musical Triassic Parq, Norm Waxman in Jersey Boys, Prior in Angels in America, Dracula in Steven Dietz’s Dracula, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Crumpet in The Santaland Diaries, the Emcee in Cabaret (Dallas Fort Worth Critics Circle Award for Best Actor), Charlotte in I Am My Own Wife, Batboy in Batboy the Musical and Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch for which he garnered Backstage’s Garland Award and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. While in Los Angeles, Wade originated the role of Woody in Toy Story the Musical in several workshops for Disney. Wade can currently be seen on season two of the popular BroadwayWorld Web series Submissions Only!! He is a 2009 winner of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, as well as a two-time winner of the Jonathan Larson Award for Excellence in Writing for the Theatre.

Playwright Joe DiPietro is well known to George Street Playhouse audiences as the writer of the hit comedy Clever Little Lies, scheduled for a New York Production in 2015, as well as Creating Claire and Toxic Avenger. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work on Nice Work if You Can Get It, and won the Tony for the musical with his Toxic Avenger colleague David Bryan, Memphis. His other shows include All Shook Up; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (the longest-running musical revue in off-Broadway history); The Toxic Avenger and The Things About Men (both winners of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical). His plays include the much-produced comedy Over The River and Through the Woods; The Art of Murder (Edgar Award winner for Best Mystery Play); Creating Claire and The Last Romance.

Composer Brendan Milburn graduated from Pomona College and NYU’s Master of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre Writing. He does a lot of arranging for GrooveLily, and he’s an accomplished record producer as well. His music and lyrics have been featured in a number of shows both off- and on Broadway.

Lisa Peterson (director) New York: The Model Apartment by Donald Margulies (Primary Stages); Slavs! By Tony Kushner, Traps and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire by Caryl Churchill (OBIE Award),The Waves, adapted from Virginia Woolf (two Drama Desk nominations)all at New York Theatre Workshop; The Scarlet Letter, adapted by Phylis Nagy (CSC, world premiere). Regional: Collected Stories by Donald Margulies (South Coast Rep, world premiere, DramaLogue Award); Ikebana by Alice Tuan (East West Players, world premiere, Drama Logue Award); The Batting Cage by Joan Ackermann, July 7, 1994 by Donald Margulies, Tough Choices for the New Century by Jane Anderson, Trip’s Cinch by Phyllis Nagy (Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, world premieres); Good Person of Setuan adapted by Tony Kushner, Triumph of Love adapted by James Magruder, Arms and the Man by Shaw, The Swan by Elizabeth Egloff (La Jolla Playhouse); A Moon for the Misbegotten, by O’Neill, My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard, Fefu and her Friends by Irene Fornes (Yale Rep); Reckless by Craig Lucas (Hartford Stage). New Play Development: Sundance, The Playwrights’ Center, New Dramatists, Young Playwrights’ Festival, Taper New Works Festival, Audrey Skirball Kenis, NY Stage and Film, Royal Court London.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Kelly Ryman was appointed Managing Director in 2013. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the recent Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, George Street Playhouse will be represented by two productions in New York: the Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You, scheduled to open in April, and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies, opening off-Broadway in March. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse.

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