Thursday, November 10, 2016

George Street Playhouse Announces Casting for DADDY LONG LEGS, a New Musical

Ben Michael and Elise Vannerson (Photo by Rick Engler/GSP)

The off-Broadway romantic musical hit based on Jean Webster's classic novel comes to New Brunswick for four-week run

George Street Playhouse has set the cast of Daddy Long Legs, a romantic holiday musical running from November 29 through December 24 at the New Brunswick theatre. The musical, with book by two-time Tony Award winner John Caird (Les Miserables, Nicholas Nickleby) and music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre), stars Ben Michael as Jervis, the titular “Daddy Long Legs” who anonymously sponsors the college education of Elise Vannerson's Jerusha.

The musical, based on Jean Webster's classic novel of the same name, will feature musical director Darren Cohen on piano, Sam Quiggins on cello and Luke McGinnis on guitar. The production will be helmed by Michael Mastro, George Street Playhouse's Resident Artistic Director.

“Daddy Long Legs is a moving, lovely, beautiful and funny new musical,” said Mr. Mastro. “It’s sure to warm the hearts of our patrons this holiday season.”

In this award-winning musical, a witty young woman’s wishes are answered when an anonymous young gentleman she nicknames "Daddy Long Legs" gives her the opportunity to move from her orphanage and attend university. Over the years, Jerusha shares her life with her secret benefactor through letters and songs, and experiences her first budding romance with a young suitor.

This heartwarming new musical has charmed audiences of all ages from London to New York. Based on the classic novel that inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire, Daddy Long Legs—a Drama Desk Award-winner and Outer Critics Circle Award nominee—was described by Stage Scene LA as “one of the most enthralling, entertaining and moving love stories on the American musical theater stage.”

Individual tickets, starting at $20, and full- and partial-season ticket packages are now on sale. Contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717 or visit for tickets and information. George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick’s vibrant downtown dining and entertainment district, steps away from plentiful parking and dining options for every palate and pocketbook.

Ben Michael (Jervis Pendleton) is a familiar face to Philadelphia theatre-goers, appearing in a number of Walnut Street Theatre productions, including South Pacific, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, 9 to 5 and Elf. Other musicals include Spring Awakening and Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon), and Carousel (Theatre at Monmouth).

Elise Vannerson (Jerusha Abbott) portrayed Lindsay Marchiano in “Lovelace: The Rock Musical” at the Edinburgh (U.K.) Festival Fringe in 2010 and performed in a workshop of Snapshots at NoHo Arts Center. Other appearances include Whose Life Is It Anyway?, The Women and The Pajama Game.

John Caird (Book) is a two-time Tony Award-winning author and director working in theatre, opera and musical theatre in London, New York, Tokyo and all around the world. Published works with MTI include Les Miserables (Schools Edition), Children of Eden (with music by Stephen Schwartz), Jane Eyre (with music by Paul Gordon) and his own new version of Leonard Bernstein's Candide (originally performed at the National Theatre in London). He has won numerous awards, including Olivier Awards for Nicholas Nickleby and Candide, and Tony Awards for Les Misérables and Nicholas Nickleby. Caird's book about directing, Theatre Craft, is published by Faber & Faber in London and New York.

Paul Gordon (Music and Lyrics) was nominated for a 2000 Tony Award for his score to Jane Eyre, which ran at the La Jolla Playhouse in Summer of 1999 and opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in December of 2000. Co-authored and directed by multiple Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les Miserables, Nicholas Nickleby, Stanley) the musical was first presented at the Royal Alexandra Theater in Toronto in December of 1996. His previous musical, the contemporary pop opera Greetings From Venice Beach, in which he co-wrote the book and the music and lyrics, was first presented in Los Angeles in 1993. Paul has also written the music and lyrics for The Circle, with book by Shem Bitterman.

Michael Mastro (Director/Resident Artistic Director) enters his second season as GSP's Resident Artistic Director. Here at GSP, he helmed last season’s Nureyev’s Eyes, 2014’s The Fabulous Lipitones and 2011’s The Subject Was Roses with Stephanie Zimbalist. He has also appeared on our stage in such productions as The Sunshine Boys, The Pillowman, The Fox on the Fairway and Inspecting Carol. In recent years, he has directed Ingmar Bergman’s Nora at Delaware Theatre Company, where he was Associate Artistic Director, and appeared in Ayckbourn’s The Things We Do For Love at the Westport Country Playhouse. He has also helmed several NYC celebrity play readings to benefit various nonprofits, working with actors like Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Jean Smart, Beau Bridges, Michael McKean, Stockard Channing, Melissa Leo, Laura Benanti, Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery and Cecily Strong. Other directorial assignments include associate director of the recent first national tour of West Side Story, helmed by David Saint, as well as the direction of many new American one-acts for several NYC theatre companies. As an actor, he works regularly on and off Broadway, regionally, and in film and TV, where he is currently recurring on Law and Order: SVU. Member: Actors Equity, SAG-AFTRA, SDC, Naked Angels, The Actors Center.

Darren Cohen (Musical Director/Piano) has served as musical director for Broadway and off-Broadway productions of A Chorus Line, Chicago and Fosse. He returns to George Street for the first time since musically directing 1995’s Off-Key. Mr. Cohen will be accompanied by Sam Quiggins on cello and Luke McGinnis on guitar.

The set is designed by Alexis Distler (GSP’s Nureyev's Eyesr; assistant on Broadway’s Act One, which earned a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design), with costumes by Esther Arroyo (GSP’s Nureyev's Eyes, The Fabulous Lipitones). The creative team also includes lighting designer Christopher Bailey (GSP’s Nureyev’s Eyes, My Name is Asher Lev) and sound designer Ted Crimy (GSP’s The Whipping Man, Our Town). The production stage manager is Jane Pole (Broadway’s The Addams Family, Macbeth). Casting is by McCorkle Casting, Ltd.

Daddy Long Legs is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI (

Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. This program 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.

About George Street Playhouse

George Street Playhouse is a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists. Its leadership consists of Artistic Director David Saint, Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro and Managing Director Kelly Ryman. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway, including 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 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 was represented by two productions in New York with the Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies, which opened off-Broadway that same year. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Educational Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 40,000 students annually. 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.

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