In the News: The Baker's Wife, A Class Act, More at Theatre Row, Fred Ebb Award Winners

Regional News   In the News: The Baker's Wife, A Class Act, More at Theatre Row, Fred Ebb Award Winners
 
Plus: The Louis Armstrong bio-musical A Wonderful World returns to Miami Beach this winter.
Juson Williams in <i>A Wonderful World</i>
Juson Williams in A Wonderful World Roberto Mata

Read on for more theatre news you may have missed in today's headlines.

The Baker's Wife, A Class Act, More Get Off-Broadway Revivals
Theatregoers will get a chance to see three not-oft produced musicals this spring. J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company has announced its second season of productions, with three short Off-Broadway revivals at Theatre Row. The season kicks off with the Tony-nominated musical A Class Act February 10–20. Based on the life of composer-lyricist Ed Kleban (Tony-winning lyricist of A Chorus Line), the musical has a book by Linda Kline and Lonny Price, and a score comprising Kleban's own songs. The 1980 Tony winner A Day In Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine, comprising two one-act musicals by Frank Lazarus and Dick Vosburgh, follows February 24–March 6. The season concludes with the Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical The Baker's Wife, about a bread shortage in a rural French village caused by the local baker's marital strife—meadowlarks may or may not be involved. The company, which is under the leadership of Executive Producer Jim Jimirro and Artistic Director Robert W. Schneider, produced Seesaw and No Strings in early 2020 before their inaugural season was cut short due to the pandemic.

Louis Armstrong Bio-Musical Sets Return at Miami New Drama
A Wonderful World will resume performances December 4 at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach, Florida, and open December 11. Juson Williams will return as Louis Armstrong, after playing the role prior to the coronavirus shutdown in March 2020, along with Nicole Henry, Darlene Hope, Gavin Gregory, and Stephen G. Anthony. Joining the cast are Christina Sajous, Allison Semmes, Jason Holley, and Daniel Barrett. Directed by Tony nominee Christopher Renshaw (Taboo), the musical features an original book by Aurin Squire and a score composed of songs recorded and made popular by Armstrong, arranged and orchestrated by Annastasia Victory (Caroline or Change, Once on This Island) and Michael O. Mitchell (MJ the Musical, Motown the Musical). The production is choreographed by Rickey Tripp (Once on This Island). Told from the perspective of the women in Armstrong’s life, A Wonderful World charts Armstrong’s journey from the birth of jazz in his native New Orleans through his international stardom. For more information and tickets, visit MiamiNewDrama.org.

Fred Ebb Award Winners Named
The writing team of Isabella Dawis and Tidtaya Sinutoke have been named the recipients of the 17th annual Fred Ebb Award for aspiring musical theatre songwriters who have not yet achieved commercial success. The award includes a $60,000 prize from The Fred Ebb Foundation, funded by royalties from the late lyricist's catalog. The award will be presented at a January 3 event at Birdland Jazz Club. Works by Dawis and Sinutoke include Sunwatcher, about Japanese female astronomer Hisako Koyama, and Half the Sky, the story of an Asian American woman climbing Mount Everest. Previous winners of the Fred Ebb award include Adam Gwon, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Benjamin Velez, Michael R. Jackson, and Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.

Mark Valdez Receives SDCF honor
Mark Valdez, an L.A.-based director, writer, and cultural organizer, has been named this year's recipient of the Zelda Fichlander Awar by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. The award, which is given annually within rotating regions of the country, recognizes directors and choreographers who have "demonstrated great accomplishment to date with singular creativity and deep investment in a particular community or region." The award will be presented in a virtual ceremony January 24. It carries with it an unrestricted $5,000 prize from SDCF. Jennifer Chang, Leslie Ishii, and Erika Chong Shuch were all named as finalists.

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