By Michael Gioia
and Kenneth Jones
16 Apr 2013
|Photo by Peter James Zielinski|
As previously announed, Sheldon Epps, artistic director of Pasadena Playhouse, will direct. Epps took over for Lonny Price, whose other commitments prevented him from continuing with the engagement. Epps is known for his directorial work on Broadway's Baby It's You!, Play On! and Blues in the Night.
"I am extremely pleased and most fortunate to have such a talented cast of performers and designers to bring this beloved story to our stage," said Epps in a statement. "Each and every one of them will bring their unique personal energy, artistry and musical skill to this production which I hope will have a whole new generation fall in love with Sam and Annie’s romantic adventure.”
The romantic musical based on the hit film will officially open June 2. The complete cast includes Gleason (The Phantom of the Opera) as Sam, West (A Christmas Story) as Jonah, Schwartz (Wicked, Gypsy) as Annie, Sabrina Sloan ("American Idol," Catch Me if You Can) as Becky, Todd Buonopane ("30 Rock," Happy Days) as Rob, Cynthia Ferrer ("General Hospital," "Georgia Rule") as Eleanor, Katharine Leonard (Hairspray) as Victoria, Robert Mammana (Les Misérables, "Dexter") as Walter, Adam Silver ("Californication," "The Runaways") as Greg, Lowe Taylor (The Marvelous Wondrettes) as Suzy and Carter Thomas (Mary Poppins national tour) as Jonah alternate.
Sleepless in Seattle has a book by Jeff Arch, music by Ben Toth, lyrics by Sam Forman. It's based on the Columbia Pictures film that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
The creative team includes choreographer Spencer Liff (The Playhouse's A Snow White Christmas, "So You Think You Can Dance"), scenic designer John Iacovelli (The Playhouse's The Heiress, Art and Blues for an Alabama Sky), lighting and projection designer Brian Gale (The Playhouse's Intimate Apparel and The Heiress), sound designer Carl Casella (One Night With Janis Joplin), costume designer Kate Bergh (The Playhouse's Under My Skin), music supervisor Tony nominee Larry Blank (Catch Me If You Can, The Drowsy Chaperone, Irving Berlin's White Christmas), musical director David O and orchestrator Tony winner Michael Starobin (Next to Normal, Assassins).
According to Playhouse notes, "Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical centers around Sam, a widower and single father. When Sam's son, Jonah calls into a talk radio program looking for a new mother, Sam ends up getting on the phone and laments about his lost love. Thousands of miles away in Baltimore, Annie hears the program and immediately falls in love with Sam, despite the fact that she has never met him and that she is engaged to another man. Believing they are meant to be together, Annie sets out for Seattle to meet Sam, who, meanwhile, contends with an onslaught of letters from available women equally touched by his phone call."
The American Film Institute (AFI) lists "Sleepless in Seattle" among the Top 10 Best Romantic Comedies of all time. The film grossed over $227 million dollars worldwide. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.
The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.