Akron Watson (The Color Purple, Hamilton) leads the cast of Ogunquit Playhouse's world premiere of the musical Mr. Holland's Opus. Based on the 1995 film, the new musical with a book, lyrics, and direction by BD Wong and music by Wayne Barker began previews August 13 at the Maine venue and will continue through September 10.
Joining Watson are Anastasia Barzee (Miss Saigon) as Iris Holland, Joshua Castille (Spring Awakening) as Cole Holland, Veanne Cox (An American in Paris) as Helen Chae-Jacobs, Chris Orbach (Law and Order) as Bill Meister, Timothy Gulan (The Last Ship) as Eugene Wolters, Kai An Chee as Rowena, Napoleon Douglas as Louis, Yannick-Robin Eike as Bobby Toti, Mary Hould as Natalie, Abeba Isaac as Shondi, Louis Jannuzzi III as Stadler, Angel Lin as Gertrude, Matt Magnusson as Jim Stahlen, Maggie McNeil as Stadler's Mom, Noax as Leonard, Timmy Ong as Lamont, Troy Valjean Rucker as Louis Rus Sr., and Rodrigo Torrejón as Manny.
Rounding out the company in the ensemble are Stephanie Cha, Jenn Chandler ,Francesca Dawis, Tyrone Kiaku, Cat Patterson, Natalie Powers, Garrett Shin, and Nathan Wright, along with understudy Joey Antonio, who also serves as director of artistic sign language.
The production also features a community chorus composed of young singers from Maine and throughout New England.
Wong's creative team includes choreographer and associate director Darren Lee, music director Kevin Stites, scenic and costume designer Lex Liang, lighting designer Jonathan Spencer, projection designer Caite Hevner, sound designer Kevin Heard, and wig designer Roxanne De Luna. The production is cast by Michael Cassara, and Nikki Lint is serving as production stage manager.
Based on the 1995 film starring Richard Dreyfuss, Mr. Holland's Opus tells the story of a frustrated composer who finds purpose as a beloved and inspirational school music teacher.