— “Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story” is making its world premiere at Bucks County Playhouse through October 1, 2017. The high energy musical drama stars Tony-nominee Alan Campbell (“Sunset Blvd.”) as Alan Freed and multiple-Emmy nominee George Wendt (Norm from “Cheers”) as J. Edgar Hoover. The talented cast of the show also includes: Bob Ari, William Louis Bailey, Whitney Bashor, Richard Crandle, John Dewey, Brian Mathis, Matthew Sean Morgan, Heather Parcells, Soara-Joye Ross, Melissa van der Schyff, Michael Siktberg and James Scheider. The Quartet is performed by Early Clover, A.J. Davis, Jerome Jackson and Dr. Eric B. Turner.
The musical includes a book by Gary Kupper, Larry Marshak and Rose Caiola. Original music and lyrics are by Gary Kupper. Tony Award Nominee Randal Myler will direct with choreography by Brian Reeder. Music supervision and arrangements are by Dave Keyes and Gary Kupper. Dave Keyes is also the production’s Musical Director. Tim Mackabee is Scenic Designer and Jen Caprio is Costume Designer. Rui Rita is Lighting Designer, Rafe Carolotto is Sound Designer, with Christopher Ash as Projections Designer, and J. Jared Janas as Wig and Hair Designer. “Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story” is a Caiola Production.
“Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story” uncovers the true story of Alan Freed — the Father of Rock and Roll. It’s the 1950s and a cocky young DJ discovers the music that all America wants to hear — except no radio station will play it. Pursued by the notorious J. Edgar Hoover for promoting this unwholesome genre, Alan perseveres — unearthing the sound of a new generation through pure guts, grit, and determination. Featuring original songs and Rock and Roll hits of the 1950s, by legends like Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, audiences will be rocking around the clock to such songs as “Sh-Boom,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Ain’t that a Shame,” “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Peggy Sue” and more!
This is the third world premiere production scheduled for Bucks County Playhouse this year. The summer season launched in May with the debut of “Clue: On Stage.” The Playhouse’s traditional subscription season also includes “The New World,” a world premiere musical comedy by the producers and co-creators of “Altar Boyz.”
“Rock and Roll is here to stay at Bucks County Playhouse. We are delighted to be presenting this moving tale of the father of Rock and Roll, welcoming a new creative team to the Playhouse,” says Bucks County Playhouse Producing Director Alexander Fraser. “We know our audiences love Rock and Roll given the success of our encore production of ‘Buddy’. We are pleased to be sharing with them another side of the early days of this truly American art form.”
Campbell has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater. He made his Broadway debut in the New York premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Sunset Boulevard” starring opposite Glenn Close and Alice Ripley, and received a Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award nomination for his performance as Joe Gillis. He also starred in Susan Stroman’s 2000 Tony Award-winning musical “Contact” and was seen on Broadway as Sam Carmichael in the hit musical “Mamma Mia!”
Known worldwide for his iconic, six-time Emmy-nominated role of Norm on the long-running sitcom “Cheers!” as well as “oodles of film and television credits,” Wendt has appeared on Broadway in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Art” (also in London), “Elf” and “Hairspray.” He played Juror #1 in the national tour of “Twelve Angry Men,” and is a veteran of Chicago’s Second City.
Tickets to “Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story” range from $40 – $75. Special rates for groups of 10 or more. For complete details, and to purchase tickets, please visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121, or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.
ABOUT BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE
Bucks County Playhouse, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is the oldest and largest professional Equity performing arts center in Bucks County. Under the direction of Tony Award-winning producers, Alexander Fraser and Robyn Goodman, the Playhouse provides first class professional theatrical entertainment as well as community events, partnerships and arts education programming for visitors and residents of New Hope, Doylestown, Lambertville and the Delaware Valley.
Located between Philadelphia and New York, Bucks County Playhouse opened in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill after a group of community activists, led by Broadway orchestrator Don Walker and playwright Moss Hart, rallied to save the building. The Playhouse quickly became one of the country’s most famous regional theaters, featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, Kitty Carlisle, George S. Kaufman, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Bert Lahr, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Liza Minnelli and Audra McDonald and remained in continuous operation until December 2010. In 2012, the Playhouse re-opened thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, and Broadway producer Jed Bernstein.
Since its renovation, significant productions include Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” starring Tyne Daly, which moved to Broadway and was nominated for two Tony Awards, and “Misery” by William Goldman based on the Stephen King novel which also went on to a Broadway run in the 2015-16 season. Two of the Playhouse’s recent productions — “Company” starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” — were named by Wall Street Journal to its “Best of Theatre” list for 2015. The Playhouse’s productions of “Steel Magnolias” and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” broke box office records in 2016. “Buddy” returned in 2017 and transferred to the Kimmel Center, where it became the first regional theatre invited to perform at the prestigious venue. Thanks to the Bridge Street Foundation and their vision for the New Hope waterfront, the Playhouse is currently in construction mode — as it adds 4,000 square foot riverfront cafe and bar that is expected to open in 2018.