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BIG RIVER EXTENDS TO NOVEMBER 15

Photo: Lindsay Schnebly
October 19, 2009 . . . Hollywood, CA . . . Due to popular demand, Actors Co-op has extended its production of the Tony Award-winning musical BIG RIVER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller, Book by William Hauptman. Previously set to close November 1, BIG RIVER is extended to Sunday, November 15.

Actors Co-op’s production of BIG RIVER was named CRITIC’S CHOICE by Backstage West (“Tuneful, funny and heartwarming . . . engaging . . . hilarious . . . robust humor and heartfelt sentiment . . . triumph of atmosphere†) and dubbed a “WOW!†by StageSceneLA.com (“It’s all-around brilliant work that theater lovers will not want to miss. Superb . . . memorable . . . theater magic . . . sensational†).

Based on Mark Twain’s novel, this Tony Award-winning musical follows one of America’s best-loved literary figures on his adventures along the mighty Mississippi.  Join the irrepressible Huck Finn on a musical journey as he helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom. BIG RIVER is a hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming celebration of pure Americana, with a jubilant score of cajun, gospel, folk, country and blues by country music legend Roger Miller.

About the Director
Mr. Richard Israel directs BIG RIVER. For Actors Co-op, Mr. Israel directed LEADING LADIES, as well as 1776 (LA Weekly Award Nomination for Direction and Outstanding Musical). Other directing credits include VIOLET for the Musical Theatre Guild and the Los Angeles premiere of BIG – THE MUSICAL for West Coast Ensemble (WCE). As the Co-Artistic Director for WCE, he has directed critically-acclaimed productions of Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASINS (LA Weekly Award Nomination for Direction and Outstanding Musical, LADCC Award for Musical Ensemble), Adam Guettel’s FLOYD COLLINS (Backstage West Garland Award for Direction), and the west coast premiere of the Jonathan Larson Award-winning musical VANISHING POINT, among others. Other directing highlights include productions for TheSpyAnts, Galveston Island Musicals, The Nine O’Clock Players of the Assistance League of Southern California, Idyllwild Arts Academy and Chicago’s Porchlight Theatre.

About the Authors
The music and lyrics for BIG RIVER are by Roger Miller. ROGER MILLER made his first significant mark on the entertainment world as a songwriter of numerous pop and country hits. Repeated appearances on The Tonight Show, The Jimmy Dean Show, The Steve Allen Show and a stint as a regular on The Merv Griffin Show established Miller in the collective American mind as a spontaneous and consistently original wit. After a career that encompassed numerous Grammy Awards, recordings and concerts, television and motion pictures, Miller made his Broadway debut in 1985 as the composer and lyricist for the musical BIG RIVER: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. It was the smash hit of the season, winning an astounding seven Tony Awards including one for Miller’s score, and was named Best Musical of the season.

The book is written by William Hauptman. Mr. Hauptman won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for BIG RIVER. His plays include HEAT, DOMINO COURTS (Obie Award) and GILLETTE (LA Drama-Logue Award). His fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthology, The Atlantic Monthly and Southwest Review. Mr. Hauptman has also written screenplays for film and television, garnering an Emmy nomination and an NAACP Freedom Foundation Award, and was a guest professor at the Texas Center for Writers, a program of the University of Texas in Austin. William Hauptman was born in Texas and attended the University of Texas and the Yale School of Drama.

Creative Team
Linda Kerns is the Musical Director for BIG RIVER. Ms. Kerns recently directed the world premiere musical MAKIN’ HAY for Actors Co-op. She was the musical director for Actors Co-op productions of SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM,  LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE 1940’s RADIO HOUR and ALL I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN. Her regional directing credits include I DO! I DO!, THE FANTASTICKS, THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE and TWO BY TWO. An accomplished actress, Ms. Kerns has appeared on Broadway in the original company of NINE, as well as in national tours of LES MISERABLES and WICKED and is the recipient of the LA Weekly Award Best Musical Performance for INTO THE WOODS at Actors Co-op. She teaches at UCLA in the Department of Theater, Film and Television.

Julie Hall is the Choreographer for BIG RIVER. Ms. Hall choreographed last season’s LEADING LADIES and THE ELEPHANT MAN as well as the 2006 Co-op Too! production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.  She is a graduate of the Florida State University School of Music.

BIG RIVER is produced by Gina D’Acciaro. Ms. D’Acciaro is an LA Ovation Nominee for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and received a Garland Award Honorable Mention, both for her role as Bertha in TALES OF TINSELTOWN at Actors Co-op. She recently co-produced FROM BROADWAY TO LA, a Co-op Too! cabaret. She has a BA in Theatre from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
The creative team also includes Set Designer Stephen Gifford, Costume Designer Vicki Conrad Dlugolecki, Lighting Designer Lisa D. Katz and Sound Designer Rebecca Kessin.

About the Cast
The talented ensemble of BIG RIVER includes Desean Anderson, David Atkinson, Bryce Blue, Brian Byers, James Fowler, Bruce Green, Pamela Hamill, Anna Hulsey, Joshua Kuehl, Miles Jeffries, Sean Hankinson, Kellen Law, Rory Patterson, Liz Randall, Stephen Reynolds, Tracy Ray Reynolds, Cari Satre, Kyle Shepard and Landen Starkman.

About Actors Co-op
In its 18th season of transforming theatre, Actors Co-op operates two 99-seat Equity-approved theatres on the campus of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Actors Co-op began on January 8th, 1987, with a dozen actors. Currently, its membership exceeds 40 professionals. Since the Crossley Theatre opened its doors in April of 1989 and its second theatre, the Crossley Terrace Theatre opened February of 1995, Actors Co-op has produced over 60 main stage productions, over 26 Second Stage productions, staged readings of original works, and has received 125 Drama-Logue Awards, 27 LA Weekly Award nominations (four wins), 25 Theatre LA Ovation Award nominations, five Garland Awards and five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. In addition, Actors Co-op was honored with the 1996 Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Achievement” in smaller theatre from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle as well as the 1996 Charlie Award for “Excellence in the Arts†by the Hollywood Arts Council.

Actors Co-op’s 18th season opened with BIG RIVER directed by Richard Israel followed by SHERLOCK’S LAST CASE directed by Jeremy Lewit. Opening in 2010 is WIT directed by Marianne Savell. Completing the 18th season is THE PHILADELPHIA STORY directed by Douglas Clayton.

Schedule
BIG RIVER has been extended to November 15, 2009. Regular performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM. A Saturday matinee is scheduled for October 31 at 2:30 PM. There is no evening performance on October 31, 2009.

Location
Actors Co-op’s Crossley Theatre is located at 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, CA 90028, on the campus of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, one block north of Hollywood Boulevard, just off the Gower Street exit of the 101 Hollywood Freeway. Free, well-lit parking is available on Carlos Street (1/2 block east of Gower).

Ticket Information
Tickets are $34 for adults, $30 for seniors (60 and older) and $25 for students. Group rates are available for parties of six or more. Tickets may be purchased on-line at www.actorsco-op.org or call (323) 462-8460, ext. 300.
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