KURT JOHNS' PROJECTS

BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL   A Musical Voyage

B2B

Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, Marc Blitzstein, Bertolt Brecht, Jacques Deval, Michael Feingold, Ira Gershwin, Paul Green, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, Ogden Nash, George Tabori and Arnold Weinstein
Music by Kurt Weill
Text and format by Gene Lerner
Musical Arrangements by Newton Wayland
Directed by Kurt Johns
Choreographed by Rody Hogemiller

cast

photos

press

Opened: Friday, October 5, 2007 at 8:00pm
Light Opera Works Second Stage
1420 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL

KURT JOHNS Director Kurt directed the critically acclaimed IRON, the popular TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE, and VINCENT IN BRIXTON (After Dark Award) at Apple Tree Theatre, where he will return to direct the regional premiere of THE MISTRESS CYCLE in December. Kurt directed THE WATER COOLERS (Jeff nominated) at the Lakeshore Theatre.  Kurt appeared in the Broadway productions of ASPECTS OF LOVE and CHESS. He portrayed Enjolras in the First National Tour of LES MISERABLES and starred Off-Broadway in SHARON! directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald. At the Goodman Theatre, Kurt appeared in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and SHE ALWAYS SAID PABLO. He played Hildy in WINDY CITY (Jeff nominated), Baron Felix in GRAND HOTEL, Che in EVITA and Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Kurt received a Jeff Award for GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at the Drury Lane Theatre. 

RUDY HOGENMILLER.Choreographer Rudy directed and choreographed Light Opera Works’ productions of KISS ME, KATE, THE MIKADO, BEN BAGLEY’S…COLE PORTER, 110 IN THE SHADE, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, DARLING OF THE DAY, THE MERRY WIDOW, H.M.S. PINAFORE and SWEETHEARTS, and choreographed BITTER SWEET, NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and MAN OF LA MANCHA.  For almost 30 years he has been an actor, director and choreographer in Chicago, working at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Theatre at the Center, Northlight Theatre, Mercury Theatre, and Pegasus Players.  As a dancer he has toured nationally and internationally from Los Angeles to Japan to Egypt with companies of EVITA, A CHORUS LINE and THE FANTASTICKS. He is the recipient of 16 nominations and six Joseph Jefferson Awards for choreography and/or direction.  He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

JON STEINHAGEN, music director, will conduct the show. Jon returns to Light Opera Works’ Second Stage after conducting last year’s BEN BAGLEY’S…COLE PORTEROther company credits include assistant musical direction of BITTER SWEET and 110 IN THE SHADE, and his appearance as Oxford in DARLING OF THE DAYRecent musical direction highlights include THE LIFE with Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. As composer/lyricist, Jon’s most recent musical, THE TEAPOT SCANDALS, received its premiere at Porchlight Music Theatre in January and received a Jeff nomination for best new musical.  His plays include THE APPLEWOOD PISTOLS and THE ANALYTICAL ENGINEAs an actor, Jon was seen in THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, and recently as Mack Sennett in MACK & MABELHe will next appear as John Dickinson in 1776 (Signal Theatre Ensemble). He has received four Joseph Jefferson Citations and six After Dark Awards for musical direction, original music, and acting.  

The cast for BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL is Natalie Ford, Beth Gervain, Brian Herriott and Jonathan Wagner

NATALIE FORD (Soprano) makes her debut with Light Opera Works. A native of San Mateo, CA, she is a recent graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, where she received a Master of Music in Voice and Opera, and was Zerlina in DON GIOVANNI, Tytania in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, and Pauline in Bloomington Music Works’ THE TOYSHOP. Natalie graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Valparaiso University; roles there included Adele in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Kate in THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE, and Moll in THE CRADLE WILL ROCK. She received Irene Ryan nominations for her portrayals of Léonide in THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE and Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT, and has participated in summer voice programs including the Charlie Creek Vocal Workshop, The Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute, and The University of Miami at Salzburg. 

BETH GERVAIN (Mezzo) is making her Light Opera Works debut after recently appearing in Bailiwick Repertory Theatre's production of MY FAVORITE YEAR.  In Chicago, she has worked for Provision Theatre and Theatre Classics, and appeared with Summer Shakespeare at Notre Dame University.  Beth performed at Carnegie Hall with the Saint Mary's College Women's Choir, and holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Virginia, where she worked three seasons with the Heritage Repertory Theatre.  Some favorite roles include Hero in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Percy in THE SPITFIRE GRILL, and Rose in GYPSY. 

BRIAN HERRIOTT (Baritone) made his Light Opera Works debut in BITTER SWEET.  At Chicago Opera Theater, he played Sykos in COMEDY ON THE BRIDGE and Liberto in L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA.  He was Enjolras in LES MISERABLES on Broadway and as a member of the Third National Tour.  At the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, he was Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL, Sid in THE PAJAMA GAME, Trevor Graydon in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, Prince Charming in INTO THE WOODS, Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Gus/Growltiger in CATS, Rutledge in 1776, and Woody in FINIAN’S RAINBOW.  At the Goodman Theatre, he was Young Anton in THE VISIT, and at Chicago Shakespeare Theater he played Lord Mortimer in HENRY IV, PARTS ONE AND TWO, which traveled to the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.  He appeared at Drury Lane Oakbrook as Tony in WEST SIDE STORY, Lancelot in CAMELOT, Billy in CAROUSEL, and Sir Harry in ONCE UPON A MATTRESS.

JONATHAN WAGNER (Tenor) is making his Light Opera Works debut.  After graduating from Northwestern University, he has spent the last few years working around the country as an actor, writer and musician.  Recent roles include Robbie in CRIMINAL HEARTS (Apple Tree), Merivel in MADAME X (AlleyCat), A-Train in KEEP ISHMAEL (White Horse) and Mercutio in THE PEOPLE VS. FRIAR LAURENCE (Boarshead). He teaches at the Second City Training Center, provides the voice for the American Bar Association's "Litigation Podcast,” and has written three musicals: WRITING OUR WORLD, FAKER, and ANY SOMEONE AT ALL.

The design team for BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL includes Dustin Efird (Scenic), Suzanne Mann (Costumes), Ralph Holcomb (Hair and Make-Up), David Lee Bradke (Lighting), Daniel A. Katz (Properties), Eva L. Hare (Stage Manager) and Paige Keedy (Production Manager). 


PRESS

Steadstylechicago.com
"...The theatre has discovered the very talented former singer and actor Kurt Johns, who is becoming known as one of Chicago's finest directors. The Second Stage is the perfect showcase for this revue, which chronicles Weill's marriage to Lotte Lenya, as well as his collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, Maxwell Anderson, Ogden Nash, Marc Blitztstein and Alan Jay Lerner. "

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended
"...hearing so much Weill across an evening makes this a worthwhile experience, even though such an approach makes you wish that Light Opera Works would just stage a full banquet of one of the full Weill works rather than tantalize us with well-prepared appetizers."

ChicagoCritic - Recommended
"...This is a terrific retrospect and sampler of a controversial composer who has many admirers and detractors. I think this revue will offer Kurt Weill fans and those unfamiliar with Weill a strong taste of his songs. These folks navigate Weill’s difficult orchestrations and Brecht’s stiff lyrics with conviction and a complete understanding of the material. With hard working performers deftly interrupting Weill’s work, a fine 2 hours of music awaits."

Windy City Times - Recommended
"...the show can invoke the ambience that rendered the artistry exciting at its inception while still connecting it with contemporary zeitgeist."


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WHAT KEEPS A MAN ALIVE?

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JENNY

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HOW CAN YOU TELL AN AMERICAN?

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SAILOR'S TANGO

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BILBAO SONG

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SONGS OF PEACE AND WAR

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SHOW ME THE WAY TO THE NEXT WHISKEY BAR

progress pic
PROGRESS

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AIN'T IT AWFUL THE HEAT?

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CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY

stars pic
LOST IN THE STARS