Growing up in the Australian Outback, young Peter Allen has dreams of seeing his name in lights on Broadway. “The Boy from Oz” is Allen’s story – of his spectacular rise to the top as a singer/songwriter and the trials that come with fame. Forte Dramatic Productions partners with Pierrot Productions to bring Allen’s musical biography to the stage at Kelsey Theatre.
Dates and show times are Fridays, May 12 and 19 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, May 13 and 20 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, May 14 and 21 at 2 p.m.
Kelsey Theatre is located on Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on May 12.
Featuring songs written by Allen, the show premiered on Broadway in 2003 with Hugh Jackman in the starring role. Charting Allen’s path to international stardom, the show also features Judy Garland, who “discovered” him early in his career, and Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, whom he married and later divorced.
Notes the show’s director, John Zimmerman, the original Broadway production is mostly remembered for Hugh Jackman’s stunning performance, but “Boy from Oz” is more than a one-man show. “Not only does the show feature a star turn for our leading man, Andrew Ruggieri, but also showcases Judy Garland (Gina Whalen), Liza Minelli (Christina Kosyla), and some interesting and poignant characters from Allen’s colorful life,” Zimmerman said, adding that the dance and vocal ensemble numbers are also show-stopping. “They are pulling off some amazing physical and vocal choreography that is worth the price of admission all on their own,” he said.
Zimmerman predicts that Kelsey patrons are likely to talk about this show for years to come. “Theatergoers will experience an intimate evening with the singer/songwriter, as well as the glitz and glamor of Radio City and the Copacabana. And, Andrew Ruggieri [as Allen] is a young man who is on his way to something big,” he said.
In addition to Ruggieri, of Glendora, N.J., in the lead role, the cast features Teddy Brendel of Cranbury as Young Peter; Gina Whalen of Millstone Township as Judy Garland; Susan Fowler of Yardley, Pa., as Marion Woolnough; Christina Kosyla of Lawrenceville as Liza Minnelli; Andre Williams of Franklin Park as Greg Connell; Peter Sauer of Yardley, Pa., as Dee Anthony; Frank Ferrara of West Windsor as Dick Woolnough; Mark Applegate of Washington Crossing, Pa., as Chris Bell; and John Russel of Hamilton as the Bartender.
The dance ensemble includes Nicole Farina-Machin (dance captain) of Columbus, Kaitlyn Anthony of Bordentown, Jaci D’Ulisse of Trenton, Simon Hamilton of Princeton, Deanna Flanagan of Rahway, John Katchisin of South Amboy, Madison Kotnarowski of Trenton, Evan Krug of Edison, Sally Page Sohor of Manalapan, Todd Roman of Fords, Chris Shore of Toms River, and Kelly Vallery of Hamilton.
The pit singers are Brielle Fattori of Yardville, Marilyn Hall of Levittown, Pa., Amanda O’Brien of Langhorne, Pa., and Nicholas Pecht of Hamilton.
In addition to direction by John Zimmerman, the production team includes Producers Stephanie Zimmerman and John Demeter, Vocal Director Aimee Robidoux, Pit Conductor Lou Woodruff, Choreographer Koren Zander and Stage Manager Beverly Kuo-Hamilton. Costumes are by Anthony Remer and props are by Amy Bessellieu. Technicians include Scott Monsees, Mike Skelly and Jimmy Zimmerman.
Tickets for “The Boy from Oz” are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for students. Tickets are available online or by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.
For a complete listing of adult and children’s events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.