FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MULTI-EMMY AWARD WINNING
IS SET TO STAR AND LEAD CAST IN
KISS ME, KATE
Directed by Sheldon Epps
September 16 to October 12
at The Pasadena Playhouse
PASADENA, CA (July 24, 2014) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Artistic Director Sheldon Epps and Executive Director Elizabeth Doran) announced today that Wayne Brady will star as Fred/Petruchio in the Cole Porter Broadway musical KISS ME, KATE. The multi-Emmy Award winning Brady will head a cast of 17. Epps will direct the 2014–2015 Season opener, which will run from September 16– October 12, 2014 with the official press opening on September 21. The production also stars Merle Dandridge (Broadway’s Spamalot and Tarzan) as Lily/Kate.
“It is said that a huge percentage of a director’s work is done in the casting process (and I believe that to be true). By this maxim, I know that the cast that we have blessedly brought together for this wonderful show will make my job a joy, and bring genuine electricity to our stage. It has long been my hope to work with Wayne, and he is perfectly suited to this role,” said Sheldon Epps. “And I am thrilled that we will have the bountiful visual and musical delights that Merle embodies on our stage once again. I know that this incredibly gifted pair will lead our wonderful company splendidly. It will indeed be ‘Too Darn Hot’ at each and every performance!”
KISS ME, KATE represents the iconic composer-lyricist Cole Porter at his very best and includes some of musical theatre’s most famous songs: “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’ Another Show,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” It is without a doubt one of the great classics of the American musical theatre, celebrating Shakespeare (it describes a production of The Taming of the Shrew) and the joys, madness, and the rewards of working in the theatre – both onstage and off. The book is by Bella and Samuel Spewack.
The Pasadena Playhouse production will view the work through a new lens, using the wonderful material of this celebrated production to showcase the trailblazing African-American actors and entertainers of the early 20th century.
Emmy Award winning Wayne Brady is one of the most versatile performers in show business today, entertaining audiences with his acting, improv, singing and dancing on television, film and the stage. He became well known for his improvisational skills on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” for which he won an Emmy Award and earned two Emmy Award nominations.
Brady went on to host his own syndicated talk/variety show, “The Wayne Brady Show,” for two years. Brady picked up two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host and the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show. He currently is the host of “Let’s Make a Deal” on CBS. Brady’s additional television credits include “The Dave Chappelle Show,” “30 Rock,” “Dirt” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” as well as “How I Met Your Mother,” on the Network. Also, Brady hosted “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”
Recently, Brady provided his voice for the upcoming animated feature, “Foodfight!” He starred in numerous feature films including, Crossover, and the independent feature The List, a romantic comedy with Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Illeana Douglas. Brady was also featured in Roll Bounce.
Brady earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his single “A Change is Gonna Come” off his debut musical album, “A Long Time Coming.” In 2005, he completed a run playing Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago. Also, he has made a big splash in Vegas with his stage show, Makin’ It Up.
Merle Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan to a mother of Korean and Japanese descent and a Memphis bred African-American father. After moving to the states, they settled at the Strategic Air Command (Offutt Air Force Base) in Bellevue, Nebraska. She attended Roosevelt University in Chicago on a full ride scholarship, then moved to New York where she began her career with leading roles in Broadway shows such as Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Rent (Joanne), Aida (Aida), Tarzan (Kala-Original Cast Recording) and Jesus Christ Superstar. Merle has toured the U.S. and Europe with Smokey Joeʼs Cafe, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, Rent, Aida, Spamalot and as Hugh Jackmanʼs sidekick in his touring concert show.
Regionally she has been featured at The Pasadena Playhouse (Jerry Hermanʼs Showtune), Williamstown (Lady Capulet in The Last Goodbye), La Jolla (Elizabeth in Most Wanted), and The Geffen Playhouse (Cleo in Atlanta and Anna Mae/Afua Assata Ejobo in By The Way, Meet Vera Stark). Television credits include recurring roles on “Stalker,” “Star-crossed,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Newsroom”; and guest starring on “Drop Dead Diva,” “Perception,” “The Mentalist,” “Nikita,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ringer,” “Lie to Me,” “Love Bites,” “CSI: Miami,” “The Deep End,” “24,” “Third Watch,” “NCIS,” “Angel” and several network pilots.
In her free time, Merle performs her solo act and with her “Disney on Broadway” family all over the world, is on staff at Lachey Arts along side her dear friends Drew and Lea Lachey, serves at her local church and cheers on Nebraska Cornhusker Football with reckless abandon. Merle is also known in the gaming world for her award-winning voice work as Alyx Vance in the Half Life 2 series, as Marlene in The Last of Us and Legion Commander/Winter Wyvern in Dota2.
Joining Brady and Dandridge are KISS ME, KATE principal cast members: Joanna A. Jones as Lois/Bianca, Terrance Spencer as Bill/Lucentio, Jenelle Lynn Randall as Hattie, Rogelio Douglas, Jr. as Paul, David Kirk Grant as Thug #1, Danny Stiles as Thug #2, Pat Towne as General Howell, and Jay Donnell as Baptista.
The ensemble features Eric B. Anthony, Shamicka Benn-Moser, Theresa Murray, Saudia Rashed, Carlton Wilborn, and Armando Yearwood.
The creative team for KISS ME, KATE also includes: Jeffrey Polk as choreographer, Rahn Coleman as musical director, John Iacovelli as scenic designer, David K. Mickelsen as costume designer, Steven Young as lighting designer, Jon Gotlieb and Jonathan Burke as sound designers, Michael Donovan as casting director, and Lurie Pfeffer as production stage manager.
KISS ME, KATE will play September 16, 2014 through October 12 with the official press opening on September 21. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $47.00 to $87.00, plus premium seats at $125.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
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Calendar listing for KISS ME, KATE
The Pasadena Playhouse
Dates: Tuesday September 16 through Sunday, October 12
Sunday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. – Press Opening
Playing Tuesday through Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
Schedule: Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Special Talkback Tuesdays – September 23 and 30 following the 8:00 p.m. performance
Events: Post-Show Discussion – Sunday, October 5 following the 2:00 p.m. performance
Prices: $47.00 to $87.00 plus premium seating at $125.00
Venue: The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena CA 91101
Tickets: Online sales and information: PasadenaPlayhouse.org
In Person: On non-performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. On performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday
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