April 27, 2012
-- For 9 performances starting on May 18th, a cast of over 30 singers and musicians from Connecticut Playmakers will perform music from South Pacific, Oklahoma, The King and I, The Sound of Music, Cinderella, and Carousel in the musical revue The Sounds of Rodgers & Hammerstein. The show will take place in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church at 108 Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich (off I-95 Exit 5). Evening performances will be held at 8:00 pm on May 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th, and June 1st and 2nd and 2:00 pm Saturday matinees on May 19th, 26th, and June 2nd. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check to CT Playmakers, 94 Davenport Drive, Stamford, CT 06902. For reservations call (203) 977-8627. Since 1947, the non-profit theatre group CT Playmakers (ctplaymakers.org)
has presented over 226 Broadway shows and musical revues.
The Sounds of Rodgers & Hammerstein will feature entertainment at its best with a series of romantic and comedic vignettes along with show-stopping songs as conceived in this musical revue directed by Michele Grace, musically directed by Chris Coogan, and produced by Peggi de la Cruz. Favorites from film and theatre will be showcased including popular hits like Some Enchanted Evening, Oklahoma!, Wash that Man Right out of my Hair, You’ll Never Walk Alone, Getting to Know You, Do Re Mi, Nothing Like a Dame, and many more classic tunes. “From the professional set design and costumes to the talented performers, this is one production that I know will delight fans of all ages,” says Michele Grace. Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals integrate the formula-musical technique with thought-provoking plots, comedy, song, dance, and drama. “The string of 1940s and 1950s hits in this show are a tribute to one of the most successful partnerships in American musical theatre history,” explains Chris Coogan. Producer Peggi de la Cruz notes that “Connecticut Playmakers attracts singers and actors from across Fairfield and Westchester counties, giving us a great pool of solo and ensemble talent.”
The show’s director, Michele Grace, is a professional singer, actor, playwright, teacher, voice over talent, vocal coach, and music entrepreneur who has performed all over the U.S. and abroad. Michele played the role of Shirley with Tim Daly in the play “Fifth of July,” opened for the celebrity singer/pianist Bobby Short at New York City’s The Carlyle, and served as Musical Theatre Professor at the Regional Center for the Arts and taught at New York’s renown theatrical HB Studios, where she studied acting with the legendary actress Uta Hagen.
Musical director Chris Coogan is an award-winning jazz and gospel musician, choral director, composer/arranger, accompanist, producer, teacher, and performer who has been hailed by The New York Times as “a masterful pianist.” Chris has played with celebrities including Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Ronnie Spector, Phoebe Snow, Jose Feliciano, Kristen Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult, among others. A seasoned singer and pianist, Chris has performed in the tri-state area at parties for Martha Stewart, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and was asked to perform for President Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The cast and crew include Linda Colucci, Peggi de la Cruz, Virgil de la Cruz, Renee Escaravage, Cathy Hickey, Jodi Maxner, and Barbara Occhino from Stamford; Caryn Raimondi, Mickey Raimondi, Christine Mallardi, Laura Skutch, Chris Balestriere, Martin Diamond, Matt Vousé, and Rosalind Cormier of Norwalk; Jed Wolf, Michele Grace, Kathleen Alexander, and Susan Lovallo of Fairfield; Chris Coogan and Melissa Middleton Coogan of Weston; Frank Callahan of Bridgeport; Leslie Duchin and Dan Swartz of Greenwich; Janice Rudolph of Ridgefield; and Catherine Rose of Westport.
After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/
lyricist) joined forces in the early 1940s to create the most consistently successful partnership in American musical theatre. Richard Rodgers, born in 1902 in Queens, New York, was a relatively well-known composer in the 1920s. During the same period, Oscar Hammerstein II, born in 1895 in New York City, was completing somewhat popular works using the operetta form. Rodgers & Hammerstein first worked together in 1943 when they collaborated on the hit musical Oklahoma! fusing Rodgers' musical comedy with Hammerstein's operatic background. From there they went on to produce over forty shows and film scores. This collaboration signified the most long-standing, influential collaboration in Broadway history, and has not been paralleled since. “The Sounds of Rodgers & Hammerstein”
is a musical tribute to some of the most beloved music born of this dynamic duo.