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Announcing the complete cast for Return to the Forbidden Planet: Tony nominees Steven Boyer, Robert Cuccioli, Patrick Page and Mary Testa and more
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 06:06 pm EDT 10/10/19

Discover Shakespeare's Lost Rock n' Roll Masterpiece!

Red Bull Theater
Announces Complete Cast & Company for
The All-Star Benefit Concert Presentation of

Return to the Forbidden Planet

Directed by Gabriel Barre

Starring Tony Award Nominees
Steven Boyer, Robert Cuccioli, Patrick Page and Mary Testa
Along with Kim Exum, Kevin R. Free, Jo Lampert, and Amy Spanger

Featuring Cameo Appearances by Bryan Batt, Emily Bergl, Arnie Burton, Veanne Cox, Paige Davis, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Ann Harada, Chad Kimball, Crista Moore, Sarah Rice, Derek Smith, Emily Swallow, and Marc Vietor

Video Appearances by Dana Ivey, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Michael Urie

Special Guests Expected to Attend Include architect Michael Arad, Heidi Armbruster, Derrick Baskin, Christian Conn, Michael Emerson, Mark Linn-Baker, Richard Maltby Jr., Dakin Matthews, Roberta Maxwell, Davis McCallum, Ismenia Mendes, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, Rocco Sisto, Stephen Spinella, Louis Tucci, Jose Zayas, and more


One Night Only, Monday October 21st

At Peter Norton Symphony Space


RED BULL THEATER (Jesse Berger, Artistic Director | Jim Bredeson, Managing Director) today announced the cast for the one-night-only, all-star benefit concert performance of the Olivier Award-winning Best Musical Return to the Forbidden Planet, a musical of Shakespearean proportions by Bob Carlton. The 2019-’20 Season kick-off event will take place Monday October 21st at the Peter Norton Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street).

Exploding with over thirty cosmic hits of classic rock-n-roll, and playfully based on The Tempest and the cinematic sci-fi classic, this fun-filled musical rockets Shakespeare’s beloved characters from stage to space as Captain Tempest crash lands on the planet D’Illyria, inhabited only by the mad scientist Doctor Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and their trusty robot Ariel. With songs including “Great Balls of Fire,” “Shake Rattle and Roll,” “The Monster Mash,” and “Good Vibrations” along with some of Shakespeare’s most iconic phraseology catapulted through hyperspace into a campy concoction, this is a rare opportunity for today’s New York audiences to experience this Olivier Award-winning musical.

Gabriel Barre, who starred in the original New York production, will direct a cast featuring Steven Boyer (Broadway: Hand to God — Lortel and Clarence Derwent Awards, Tony and Drama League nominations), Robert Cuccioli (Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde — Tony Award nomination, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Les Miserables), Kim Exum (Broadway: The Book of Mormon), Kevin R. Free (Dave — world premiere, Once on This Island — Papermill), Mary Testa (currently on Broadway in Oklahoma! — Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Jo Lampert (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire — Lortel Award nomination), Patrick Page (currently on Broadway starring in Hadestown — Tony, Lortel Award nominations; Coriolanus — Helen Hayes Award); and Amy Spanger (Broadway: Matilda, Chicago, Elf, Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer — Drama Desk nomination, Urinetown, Kiss Me Kate, Sunset Boulevard; Off-Bway: Tick Tick Boom, Rent). The performance will also include cameo appearances by Drama Desk Award nominee Bryan Batt (Forbidden Broadway), Emily Bergl (“Shameless”), Drama Desk Award winner Arnie Burton, Tony Award nominee Veanne Cox, Paige Davis (Chicago), Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor), Ann Harada (Avenue Q), Tony Award nominee Chad Kimball (Memphis, Come From Away), two-time Tony Award nominee Crista Moore (Gypsy, Big), Theatre World Award winner Sarah Rice (Sweeney Todd), Tony Award nominee Derek Smith (The Green Bird), Emily Swallow, Marc Vietor, as well as Jeffrey Eugene Johnson, Ben Jones, Charlotte Maltby, and Salisha Thomas. Making special video appearances will be five-time Tony Award nominee Dana Ivey, celebrity astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson (affectionately known as the man who killed Pluto), and two-time Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie.

Special guests expected to attend include architect Michael Arad, Heidi Armbruster, Derrick Baskin, Christian Conn, Michael Emerson, Christa Justus, Mark Linn-Baker, Richard Maltby Jr., Dakin Matthews, Roberta Maxwell, Davis McCallum, Ismenia Mendes, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, Rocco Sisto, Stephen Spinella, Louis Tucci, Jose Zayas, and more.

Return to the Forbidden Planet will have music direction by Greg Pliska leading a five-piece band (Matt Deitchman on guitar, Jessie Nelson on drums, Pearl Rhein on bass, and Jenny Horn on sax); Return to the Forbidden Planet will feature choreography by Tracy Bersley, costume design by Heather Jackson, projection design by Joshua Thorson, sound design by Patrick LaChance, and lighting design by Paul Hudson. Casting by Stuart Howard. Bob McCormick serves as Project Consultant, Mary Ehlinger as script editor & music consultant. Chris Zaccardi is the stage manager and Sean Patrick, production manager. The event is made possible in part by The Marta Heflin Foundation.

Return to Forbidden Planet opened at the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End on September 11, 1989. It won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical for 1989/’90, beating out The Baker’s Wife, Buddy, and Miss Saigon. When the show opened in New York in 1991 at the Variety Arts Theater, Theatre Week opined, “Return to the Forbidden Planet is a desecration, recreation, or consecration, depending on whom you ask.” It hasn’t been seen in a major revival in New York since it closed in 1992 after playing 245 performances.

“Out of this world! Prepare to blast off with this musical space odyssey of Shakespearean proportions. With an interstellar cast of musical/classical theater superstars singing some of the catchiest songs ever recorded and having the time of their lives in a script full of hilarity and fun, this promises to be a night to remember, and a fabulous way to kick off our exciting 2019-'20 season,” said Mr. Berger. “Not too low-brow for Shakespeare scholars, and not too high-brow for Trekkies or ‘50s Sci-fi aficionados, Return to the Forbidden Planet is sure to delight.”

Gabriel Barre is best known for creating original musicals. His work has been seen on Broadway, throughout the United States, and internationally. Gabriel directed the Broadway production of Amazing Grace which also toured the country and enjoyed a sit-down production at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. He is well known for his Off-Broadway work: he directed the original production of Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Brian d'Arcy James, and Julia Murney, garnering the Calloway Award for Best Direction, as well as five Outer Critics Circle Award nominations and thirteen Drama Desk nominations, both including Best Direction of a Musical. He directed the original production of John Cariani’s Almost Maine at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Other Off-Broadway productions include the original productions of Summer of ’42, Honky Tonk Highway, Stars in Your Eyes, Andrew Lippa’s john & jen, and Son of A Gun. Nationally, he directed the US national tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Eartha Kitt, which performed at Madison Square Garden; it toured the US for three years. His concert work includes the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center three years in a row, several Musical by the Year concerts at Town Hall, the concert version of Pippin for World AIDS Day, and The Four Seasons at Lincoln Center. Most recently he directed a concert of The Scarlet Pimpernel at Lincoln Center.

The performance will begin at 7:30PM. This is an important intergalactic fundraiser for Red Bull Theater. Proceeds help to make all of its programs possible. Tickets for this benefit event will be $49 - $300 (most tickets include tax-deductible donation).

Red Bull Theater, hailed as “the city’s gutsiest classical theater” by Time Out New York, brings rarely seen classic plays to dynamic new life for contemporary audiences, uniting a respect for tradition with a modern sensibility. Named for the rowdy Jacobean playhouse that illegally performed plays in England during the years of Puritan rule, Red Bull Theater is New York City’s home for dynamic performances of great plays that stand the test of time. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, the company also produces new works that are in conversation with the classics. A home for artists, scholars and students, Red Bull Theater delights and engages the intellect and imagination of audiences, and strives to make its work accessible, diverse, and welcoming to all. Red Bull Theater believes in the power of great classic stories and plays of heightened language to deepen our understanding of the human condition, in the special ability of live theater to create unique, collective experiences, and the timeless capacity of classical theater to illuminate the events of our times. Variety agreed, hailing Red Bull’s work as: “Proof that classical theater can still be surprising after hundreds of years.”

Since its debut in 2003 with a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles starring Daniel Breaker, Red Bull Theater has served adventurous theatergoers with Off-Broadway Productions, Revelation Readings, and the annual Short New Play Festival. The company also offers outreach programs including Shakespeare in Schools bringing professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms; Bull Sessions, free post-play discussions with top scholars; and Master Classes in classical acting led by veteran theater professionals.

Acclaimed as “a dynamic producer of classic plays” by The New York Times and “the most exciting classical theater in New York” by Time Out NY, Red Bull Theater has produced 19 Off-Broadway productions and nearly 200 Revelation Readings of rarely seen classics, serving a community of more than 5,000 artists and providing quality artistic programming to an audience of over 65,000. The company’s unique programming has received ongoing critical acclaim, and has been recognized with Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Off Broadway Alliance, and OBIE nominations and Awards.

Red Bull Theater’s mainstage production of American Moor is currently enjoying its critically acclaimed, sold-out run at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

For tickets and more information about any of Red Bull Theater's productions and programs, visit www.redbulltheater.com.
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