Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is excited to announce the cast for the high-stepping musical Yankee Doodle Dandy, running from July 17 – 22, 2012 at 8:15 p.m. each night. This production recounts the life of the first giant of American musical theatre, George M. Cohan, and marks TUTS’ 45th summer of free musicals at Miller Outdoor Theatre (6000 Hermann Park Drive). A dynamic showbiz saga, Yankee Doodle Dandy offers an intimate portrayal of the trials and tribulations of “the man who owned Broadway.”
In real life, Cohan started performing in his teens and wrote more than 50 Broadway musicals and dramatic plays before his death from cancer at age 64. He wrote more than 500 songs during his career, many of which are now part of the American musical landscape, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1941 for his song “Over There.” Join TUTS for the musical version of Cohan’s sometimes upbeat, and other times gritty, life. Filled with astonishing tap dance numbers and unforgettable tunes like “Give My Regards To Broadway” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” the entire family will love Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Presented in a narrated revue format, multiple actors will portray Cohan and his closest colleagues throughout the years. Serving in the leading male roles will be Greg McCormick Allen, Robb McKindles and Matt Owen. Making his TUTS debut, Allen brings more than two decades of regional theatre and dance experience to the stage. A staple among the Seattle theatre scene, Allen won the prestigious Footlight Award from the Seattle Times and was credited by the paper as the “hardest working hoofer in showbiz.” McKindles has appeared in the Broadway production and National tours of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Grease as well as the national tour of Meet Me in St. Louis. Also making his TUTS debut, Owen is a regular performer at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. Owen has performed off-Broadway in Sodom! The Musical and at the NYC Fringe Festival in Swimming Upstream.
Melinda Cowan, Cynthia Ferrer and Tari Kelly will portray the female leads. Cowan, a two-time recipient of the revered Kevin Kline Award, toured nationally with White Christmas and possesses several years of regional theatre experience. Ferrer’s credits range from the first national tour of Singin’ In The Rain to several appearances in film and television. TUTS audiences will remember her from TUTS’ 2009 presentation of Happy Days - A New Musical. Kelly’s credits include Broadway’s Anything Goes, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Boy From Oz, and Show Boat as well as the national tours of Little Shop Of Horrors, Show Boat, and Beauty and the Beast. Her most recent appearance at TUTS was 2008’s White Christmas.
Bearing several different titles, James A. Rocco will serve on-stage as the narrator for the show and off-stage as the director and choreographer. He is the vice president of programming and producing artistic director for the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Rocco has served as both director and choreographer for previous TUTS productions including Jesus Christ Superstar, Singin’ In The Rain, and 2008’s White Christmas. Other notable credits include Broadway’s The Wizard of Oz and London’s Doin’ What Comes Naturally. His re-visioned stage version of Singin’ in the Rain has been seen around the world.
Rounding out the cast are Xavier Alcala-Herrera, Scott Brateng, Caitlin Cannon, Marybelle Chaney, Gabe Corey, Michael Ericson, Brittany Halen, Brittany Jamieson, Miles Marmolejo, Brent McBeth, Taryn Molnar, Chris Murry, Bridgette Noltimier, Kym Chambers Otto, Max Pierce, Charles Swan and Erin Wasmund.
Jeff Rizzo will lend his talents as musical director and conductor. Rizzo has worked on several TUTS shows including Singin’ In The Rain, Hello, Dolly!, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Sound Of Music and this season’s White Christmas. Joining Rizzo on the creative team are sound designer Dennis Craig and lighting designer Richard Winkler.
The book for Yankee Doodle Dandy is written by James A. Rocco and David Armstong, executive producer and artistic director of Seattle’s celebrated 5th Avenue Theatre. The score is made up of George M. Cohan’s best known numbers, with additional music and lyrics written by Albert Evans. The show originally premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in 2004 before being reworked and performed again at the Ordway Center in 2008. The TUTS production will offer an adapted version of the Ordway Center’s production.
For more information on Yankee Doodle Dandy, visit Theatre Under The Stars on the web at www.tuts.com or Miller Outdoor Theatre at www.milleroutdoortheatre.com. To contact TUTS by phone, call (713) 558-TUTS (8887). Free tickets for the covered seats are available on the day of performance between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Miller Theatre Box Office. Free tickets are limited to four per person. Any tickets remaining will be given out one hour before curtain. Don’t want to wait in line? For each $50 tax-deductible donation to TUTS, the organization will set aside two reserved tickets under the covered pavilion so you may enjoy the show and experience how your generosity makes the music happen. At 8 p.m., any unfilled seats will be released to the general public. Contact Seth Malin at 713-558-2656 or Seth@TUTS.com to take advantage of this opportunity. No tickets? No problem! Bring a cozy blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the show from the Miller Theatre lawn, the perfect place for a picnic and a show!
TUTS’ presentation of Yankee Doodle Dandy is sponsored in part by The Brown Foundation, Inc., The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., Wells Fargo and by the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.
Patrons are encouraged to utilize public transportation to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Visit www.RideMetro.org for a complete list of bus schedules and routes.
Theatre Under The Stars’ 2011-2012 Seeing Is Believing season is generously sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System. For all of TUTS’ shows, air transportation is provided by United Airlines, the official airline of Theatre Under The Stars. Media sponsors include ABC-13 and Houston Chronicle. Season support is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Theater District Association and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston’s acclaimed nonprofit musical theatre company whose mission is to enrich life through the experience of quality musical theatre and to positively impact lives beyond the stage through innovative education & community outreach programs. TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public when it was founded in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the theatre opened. Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres such as Kopit and Yeston’s Phantom, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas as well as critically acclaimed re-inventions of classics Cabaret and Les Miserables. Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS has helped bring Bombay Dreams, 9 to 5, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Curtains and The Color Purple to Broadway and ultimately back to Houston audiences.
In support of TUTS’ mission, TUTS Education programs provide instruction and stage experience for more than 21,000 students annually, allowing them to flourish in a year-round schedule of classes. The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages, ranging from four to adult. Through a merger with The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for children of all abilities that will enhance their development into confident, balanced individuals. TUTS Education provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites. TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.