Pace University Will Stage First Production of Pasek and Paul's Award-Winning Dogfight Post Second Stage
By Michael Gioia
The 2013 Lucille Lortel Award-winning musical Dogfight — an unlikely love story between a clumsy waitress and a Vietnam-bound soldier that features a pop-rock score by rising theatrical songwriters and Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — will be given its first staging, following its Off-Broadway premiere, this fall at New York City's Pace University.
Hayley Anna Norris will star as the awkward, yet charming waitress Rose Fenny opposite Cory Jeacoma as Eddie Birdlace, the soldier who asks Rose out on a date to the "Dogfight" — the annual dance held on the eve of the marines' deployment, in which the young men strive to snag the ugliest date.
Amy Rogers, director of the BFA Musical Theater Program at Pace, will direct the production, which will play Oct. 2-9 at the University's Schaeberle Studio Theatre and also feature Jacob Pincus and Charles Franklin as Eddie's comrades, Bernstein and Boland, respectively, and Emily Rogers as Marcy, a prostitute hired to rig the "Dogfight" competition.
The musical features a score by Pasek and Paul, 2013 Tony Award nominees for their work on Broadway's A Christmas Story, the Musical, and a book by Peter Duchan.
"Spent 2 hrs chatting #Dogfight w @pasekandpaul and the terrific, insightful cast of Pace Univ's upcoming production--the 1st post-@2STNYC!," tweeted book writer Duchan, who — alongside the Tony-nominated songwriters — visited the Pace students in rehearsal.
Pasek and Paul told Playbill.com, "It was such a joyous and surreal experience to attend Pace's first rehearsal. To watch a fresh set of young and talented actors bring this material to life for the first time since the wonderful production that Second Stage gave us... it's really inspiring. And it was an eye-opening experience to hear their questions about the show and get a glimpse into their interpretation of the piece. We couldn't be more excited."
Duchan added, "The student actors asked smart, detailed questions that made me even more excited to see their take on our freshman effort. I'm so excited for Dogfight's life post-Second Stage, and this production seems like a great start."
Rounding out the ensemble are William Bellamy Gibbs/Dogfight Date/Big Tony, Tony Clements as Fector/Hippie, Kevin Shotwell as Stevens/Waiter/Hippie, Christopher Nolan as Lounge Singer/Pete/Sergeant/Phill, Katy Rea as Mama/Peggy/Fectors Date/Hippie, Aury Krebs as Ruth Two Bears/Chippy/Librarian and Carly Grayson as Marcy's understudy.
Joe Mantello directed the 2012 Second Stage Theatre production of the musical, which is based on the film of the same name. The Warner Bros. film source had a screenplay by Bob Comfort.
Read the Playbill.com feature with Pasek and Paul about their collaboration and the Off-Broadway premiere of Dogfight.
Other members of the creative team at Pace include assistant director Katherine Wilkins, music director Joel Waggoner, choreographer Ryan Kasprzak, assistant choreographer David Grinrod, set designer Anne Bartek, costume designer Erin Schultz, lighting designer Graham Kindred, assistant lighting designer Sienna Gonzalez, sound designer David M. Lawson, production stage manager Connor Santos, assistant stage manager Jen McMahon, production assistant Michael Money, production manager Josh Bradford and stage management mentor Chris Zaccardi.
Performances will be offered Oct. 2-4 at 8 PM, Oct. 5 at 2 PM and 8 PM, Oct. 6 at 1 PM and 7 PM and Oct. 8-9 at 8 PM.
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