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by BWW News Desk
Just as the 2012 presidential race heats up,International City Theatre (ICT) presents the West Coast premiere of a hard-boiled, darkly comic, Olivier Award-nominated rock musical about the American political machine. With book and lyrics by John Dempsey and music by Dana P. Rowe, The Fix begins a four-week run on April 27 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Randy Brenner is at the helm, with musical direction by Darryl Archibald, choreography by Heather Castillo, and Sal Mistretta reprising his Helen Hayes Award-winning role as Uncle Grahame. Low-priced previews take place on April 24, 25 and 26.
U.S. senator and popular presidential candidate Reed Chandler has died in the arms of his mistress. His widow, Violet, determined that “if I can’t be the wife of the president I’ll be his mother,” and her brother-in-law, political king maker Grahame Chandler, thrust her son Cal into the political spotlight. Together, they shepherd Cal through races for city council and the governorship, always with an eye on the final prize – president of the Unites States. Driven by a powerful rock score, The Fix tells a cynical and darkly comic tale of one of the most dysfunctional almost-first families this side of real life Washington politics.
Originally developed in association with Cameron Mackintosh, The Fix premiered at London’s Donmar Warehouse in 1997 where it was directed by Sam Mendes and received an Olivier nomination for Best Musical. The U.S. premiere took place at the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA a year later, where it garnered ten Helen Hayes Award nominations, winning two— including one for Sal Mistretta.
“It’s funny how the parallels in the script came to pass in so many ways in terms of Clinton, but, it’s also funny to think of it—the dimwitted son in a political dynasty with a substance abuse problem— in terms of Bush,” said John Dempsey in a recent interview with BroadwayWorld. “The inspiration for The Fix came sort of two-fold. We had kicked around this idea of doing Caligula as a rock opera. I was living in Youngstown, Ohio, and there is a very colorful politician up there who was in trouble—he was going to prison or something—so, I started to think, ‘What if you blew it up to national politics and you used the Caligula story?’ And, the idea of a political mother that is that awful is not new, of course - it’s equally inspired, I suppose, by Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.”
The formidable ICT cast features Adam Simmons as Cal (Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, Forbidden Broadway and End of the World Party Off Broadway, and Bark @ The Coast Playhouse in L.A.); veteran Broadway actress Alix Korey as Violet (Broadway productions of All Shook Up, Chicago, 45 Seconds from Broadway, Triumph of Love, An Evening with Jerry Herman, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Is There Life After High School?, Pirates of Penzance and the 1978 revival of Hello, Dolly, plus Off Broadway roles that include Drama Desk nominations for The Wild Party and Listen to my Heart, a Drama League Award forSuburb, and an Outer Critics Circle nomination for No Way To Treat a Lady); and Sal Mistretta, reprising his Helen Hayes Award-winning role in the U.S. premiere at the Signature Theatre as Grahame Chandler (national tours of Evita, Sunset Blvd.,Cats, and Cabaret, and Pirelli in the ACE Award-winning DVD of Sweeny Todd starring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury). Also in the cast are Jay Donnell (recently seen at ICT in Loving Repeating),Melanie Fernandez (The Vagina Monologues in an all-Filipina cast with Lea Salonga and Tia Carrere at the Aratani Theater), Stephanie Hayslip (Rent, directed by Nick DeGruccio), David Michael Laffey (Chance Theatre’s Jerry Springer: The Opera), William T. Lewis (Guys & Dolls at The Hollywood Bowl) and Carrie St. Louis (2012 graduate of USC's Thornton School of Music).
The set design is by Stephen Gifford; lighting design is by Donna Ruzika; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; sound design is byPaul Fabre; hair and wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi; property design is by Patty and Gordon Briles; and casting is by Michael Donovan, CSA.
John Dempsey is a New York-based writer/lyricist whose works have been widely produced across the United States as well as throughout the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Brazil and other countries. Book and lyrics:Brother Russia, Saved, The Witches Of Eastwick, Zombie Prom, Dick Whittington and Circles. Lyrics: A Country Christmas Carol andThe Reluctant Dragon. In addition, he has contributed lyrics to various editions of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus as well asBoublil and Schonberg’s The Pirate Queen. For his work on The Witches Of Eastwick and The Fix he has been twice nominated for the Society of London Theatre’s Laurence Olivier Award.
Dana P. Rowe is an American composer whose musical theater works have been performed internationally with commercial productions in London's West End, Russia, the Czech Republic, Japan (including Tokyo's Imperial Garden Theatre), Germany, Australia, New York City and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Musicals include Brother Russia, See Jane Run!, The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde, The Witches Of Eastwick, Zombie Prom and The Reluctant Dragon. MR. Rowe received Olivier Award nominations for The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick, both of which were produced in London by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and later premiered in the U.S. under the direction of Eric Schaeffer at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
Randy Brenner recently directed Fancy Boys Follies Off Broadway (44th Street Theatre) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (Alex Theatre in Glendale). He directed and co-produced Stephen Schwartz’s new musical Snapshots at various regional theaters, including The Human Race Theatre in Dayton, Ohio for which he received the DayTony Award as Best Director of a Musical. Other directing credits:Pirates of Penzance, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Joseph…, Grease and more at many Civic Light Operas, and dozens of plays and musicals around the country. He has won Drama-Logue, Robbie, and Phoebe Awards for his direction, as well as a GLAAD Media Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for his direction of Dan Butler and later Greg Louganis Off-Broadway in The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me…. In L.A.: Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little; I Remember Mama and Nine at The Pasadena Playhouse; Common Knowledge, Three Grooms and a Bride, Autumn Canticle (GLAAD nomination), To Bitter and Back, Sally Kirkland in the world premiere of The Powder Room Suite, Bruce Davison in a reading of Bashed, and a staged reading of The Gamester starring Tony Shalhoub.
Darryl Archibald musical directed ICT Productions of Loving Repeating, Backwards In High Heels, The Threepenny Opera and Raisin.Other credits: Memphis Broadway tour (associate conductor); Dreamgirls national tour (associate conductor); Disney's The Lion KingBroadway tour (vocal coach/assistant conductor); Wicked at the Pantages (substitute conductor); Jonathan Dove’s Innocence (Banff Centre, Manhattan Theatre Club); Swing! (Sacramento Music Circus); Smokey Joe’s Café (Ovation Award), The Sound Of Music (Ovation nomination), The Producers, White Christmas, A Chorus Line directed by Kay Cole, The King and I with Deborah Gibson (Cabrillo Music Theater); Swing!, The Buddy Holly Story (McCoy/Rigby); Marry Me A Little (Celebration Theater); Two By Two with Jason Alexander and Faith Prince, How To Succeed In Business… with John O’Hurley, Carousel with M. Emmet Walsh, The Fantasticks with Eric McCormack, Once On This Island (NAACP Award) with Ledisi, Li'l Abner with Cathy Rigby and Fred Willard,Merrily We Roll Along with Teri Hatcher, I Do! I Do! with Diana Canova and Harry Groener (Reprise); Company (Los Angels Drama Critics Circle nomination), Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along (West Coast Ensemble); Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Lady In the Dark, and Sail Away (Musical Theater Guild).
International City Theatre is Long Beach’s Resident Professional Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.” ICT’s 2012 season is its 27th and the first selected by caryn desai in her new role as artistic director. Subtitled “Adults Behaving Badly… unless they Ain’t,” the five-play series opened with Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, and, following The Fix, will continue with Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies, the West Coast premiere of Michael Hollinger’s provocative drama Ghost-Writer, and the musical revue Ain’t Misbehavin’.
The Fix runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm, April 27—May 20, with previews on Tues., April 24; Wed., April 25; and Thurs., April 26 @ 8 pm. Tickets are $37 on Thursdays, and $44 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night (April 27) which is $55 and includes a reception with the actors; preview tickets are $29. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. To purchase tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org