From the community: Evanston actress stars in brand new Broadway musical, BIG FISH, at Theatre at the Center VIEW ARTICLE IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE (text below)
Evanston actress Rachel Sparrow will star as "Jenny Hill" in the the deeply moving, enchanting new Broadway musical for all ages BIG FISH, which continues Theatre at the Center's exceptional 25th anniversary 2015 season. With a book by John August and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, BIG FISH is based on the Columbia Pictures film screenplay of the same name by John August and Daniel Wallace's 1998 novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythical Proportions. Artistic Director and multiple Jeff Award-winner William Pullinsi lends his expertise in the first professional locally-produced staging of the beloved musical running May 7th through June 7th at 1040 Ridge Road in Munster with press opening on Sunday, May 10 at 7 p.m. The production's spectacular stagecraft and magical fantasy numbers will be brought to life by Jeff Award-winning choreographer Linda Fortunato, highlighted by the original Broadway costumes designed by Tony Award-winner William Ivey Long. Rachel is making her Theatre at the Center debut. Having a classical background, Sparrow soloed at Millennium Park in 2012, singing Robert A. Harris' Gloria under the composer's baton. At Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on May 18th, 2015 Rachel will sing a virtuosic work Five Images After Sappho, by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the renowned composer/conductor will be at the performance. Since earning her Master's in Opera (Northwestern University '13), she has won several international and national singing competitions. Rachel showcased her versatility at her solo NYC Carnegie Hall debut last year singing a program of Broadway and operatic numbers. Sparrow's European debut was in the title role of Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor (La Musica Lirica). Last season, she played Polly in The Threepenny Opera (Indianapolis Opera), she was Gretchen in The Student Prince, covered Cosette in Les Miserables, and danced in Oklahoma! (Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre).
Shifting between two timelines, BIG FISH tells the story of traveling salesman Edward Bloom (Jeff Award-winner Stef Tovar) and his relationship with his adult son Will (Jeff Award-nominee Nathan Gardner). In the present-day world, sixty-year-old Edward faces his final chapter while Will gets ready to face fatherhood himself. Returning to the fairy-tale past, Edward tells his larger-than-life anecdotes of teenage encounters with a Witch, a Giant, a Mermaid, and the love of his life, Sandra (Jeff Award-winner Colette Todd). Determined to find the truth behind Edward's epic adventures, Will embarks on a journey of his own. The stories meet as Will discovers a secret his father's stories never exposed.
Starring alongside Stef Tovar (Knute Rockne: All American at Theatre at the Center; Boeing Boeing and Ragtime at Drury Lane Theatre), Colette Todd (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and The Beverly Hillbillies - The Musical at Theatre at the Center) and Nathan Gardner (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at Theatre at the Center; Les Misérables and Camelot at Drury Lane Theatre) are Jeff Award-winner Callie Johnson (A Christmas Carol at Theatre at the Center; Next to Normal at Drury Lane Theatre), Jeff Award-winner Bethany Thomas (South Pacific at The Marriott Theatre), John Stemberg (The Beverly Hillbillies - The Musical at Theatre at the Center), Norm Boucher (The Beverly Hillbillies - The Musical and Guys and Dolls at Theatre at the Center) and Nate Becker as "Young Will." The ensemble includes Matthias Austin, Julie Baird, Caitlin Borek, Amanda Compton, Ann Delaney, Brian Duncan, Isaac Jankowski, Reneisha Jenkins, John Koch, John Marshall, Jr., Henry McGinniss, Nathan Mittleman, Theo Moss and James Nedrud.
The BIG FISH production team includes Music Director Bill Underwood, Stage Manager Matt McMullen, Production Manager Ann Davis, Set Designers Jackie & Richard Penrod, Lighting Designer Guy Rhodes, Sound Designer Barry G. Funderburg, Costume Coordinator Brenda Winstead, Props Designer Brittney O'Keefe and Wig Designer Kevin Barthel.
Founded in 1991, the 400-seat Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional theater at its home, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago, and has free parking. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees. Individual ticket prices range from $40 - $44. To purchase individual tickets call the Box Office at 219.836.3255 or Tickets.com at 800.511.1552. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visitTheatreAtTheCenter.com.
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