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The Most Happy Fella: Full Cast announced

The Most Happy Fella
The Most Happy Fella


Joining the previously announced Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson and Shuler Hensley in the New York City Center Encores! production of Frank Loesser's Musical The Most Happy Fella, will be Heidi Blickenstaff, Brian Cali, Bradley Dean, Zachary James, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Jessica Molaskey and Kevin Vortmann.

The Most Happy Fella, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, with music direction by Rob Berman, is the second producion of New York City Center's Encores! 2014 season and will play at New York City Center for seven performances from 02 - 06 Apr 2013.

The Most Happy Fella tells the story of a love triangle between an aging Napa Valley farmer (Shuler Hensley), a young waitress (Laura Benanti) and a handsome, restless ranch hand (Cheyenne Jackson).

The musical is based on the play 'They Knew What They Wanted' by Sidney Howard, and features a book, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Loesser's score includes the songs "Somebody Somewhere," "My Heart Is So Full of You," "Big D" and "Standing on the Corner."

The musical premiered at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on 03 May 1956 and ran for 676 performances. Directed by Joseph Anthony nd choreographed by Dania Krupska. The show was nominated for six Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Conductor and Musical Director, Best Actor in a Musical (Robert Weede), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Jo Sullivan.). The musical has had three Broadway revival: 1959, 1979 and 1992.

As previously announced New York City Center's Encores! 2014 season begins with with Jerry Bock's and Sheldon Harnick's 'Little Me' (05 - 09 Feb 2013), followed by Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella (02 - 06 Apr 2014), which concludes with Marguerite Monnot's, Julian More's, David Heneker's and Monty Norman's 'Irma La Douce' (07 - 11 May 2014).

Bios:

Laura Benanti (Rosabella) won a Tony Award for her performance as 'Gypsy Rose Lee' in the Broadway revival of 'Gypsy,' after playing the role in the Encores! SummerStars production. She garnered Tony nominations for her work in 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,' 'Into the Woods,' and' Swing,' and also appeared on Broadway in 'In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play,' 'The Wedding Singer,' 'Nine' and 'The Sound Of Music.' She recently starred in NBC's comedy series "Go On" as well as "The Playboy Club." She has also appeared on "The Big C" and continues to be seen on "Law and Order: SVU." Her previous Encores! credits also include the role of 'Eileen' in 'Wonderful Town.'

Shuler Hensley (Tony) will be seen in the upcoming Broadway productions of 'No Man's Land/Waiting For Godot' at the Cort Theater. His additional Broadway credits include 'The Monster' in 'Young Frankenstein,' 'Jud' in 'Oklahoma!' (Tony Award),'Inspector Javert' in 'Les Misérables' and 'Tarzan.' His Off-Broadway credits include starring in the title role in 'The Whale' (Lortel, Obie Awards), and as 'Hannibal Lecter' in 'Silence! The Musical' and 'The Apple Plays.' His opera and concert credits include 'Carousel' (New York Philharmonic and PBS), 'Wozzeck' (Curtis Institute of Music), 'Regina' (Kennedy Center), and performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Detroit Symphony. His film credits include "Van Helsing" and "The Legend of Zorro." Hensley starred as 'Ben Marino' in the Encores! production of 'Fiorello.'

Cheyenne Jackson (Joey) previously starred in the Encores! productions of 'Finian's Rainbow' and 'Damn Yankees.' His Broadway credits include 'The Performers,' 'Finian's Rainbow,' 'Xanadu,' 'All Shook Up,' 'Aida' and 'Thoroughly Modern Millie.' Off-Broadway he has been seen in 'The Agony & The Agony,' 'Altar Boyz, '8,' 'The 24 Hour Plays' and' On the Twentieth Century.' Jackson's notable television credits include "Onion News Empire," "30 Rock," "Mockingbird Lane," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Glee," and the upcoming "Full Circle." His film credits include "Behind the Candelabra," "United 93," and the upcoming "Love is Strange."

Heidi Blickenstaff (Cleo) starred Off-Broadway in [Title of Show] and Now. Here. This. and has appeared on Broadway in The Full Monty, The Addams Family and as Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Her credits include Meet John Doe at the Ford's Theatre (Helen Hayes Award), First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb at the Signature Theater and at the Kennedy Center, and as Diana in Next to Normal at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont.

Brian Cali (Ciccio) was seen on Broadway in Master Class at Manhattan Theatre Club and in the national tour of Sister Act.

Bradley Dean (Guiseppe) was seen on Broadway as Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music opposite Bernadette Peters. His previous New York credits include Spamalot, Evita, The Story of My Life, Company, Man of La Mancha, Jane Eyre, Walmartopia and The Fantasticks.

Zachary James (Pasquale) appeared on Broadway in The Addams Family (Lurch), Coram Boy and South Pacific. His regional credits include the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana, Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Colline in La Bohème and Sweeney in Sweeney Todd. Zachary created the role of Abraham Lincoln in Philip Glass' opera The Perfect American at the Teatro Real in Madrid. He is the founding director of the Metropolis Opera Project, a New York City–based opera company.

Jay Armstrong Johnson (Herman)’s Broadway credits include Hands on a Hardbody (also at La Jolla Playhouse), Catch Me If You Can and Hair , and Off-Broadway credits include Wild Animals You Should Know. Jay will be playing Anthony in the New York Philharmonic’s upcoming concert production of Sweeney Todd.

Jessica Molaskey (Marie) is a veteran of over a dozen Broadway shows, including Terrance McNally’s A Man of No Importance, Parade, Dream, Tommy, Crazy for You, Les Misérables, City of Angles, Chess, Cats and Oklahoma!. Jessica has premiered music written by Ricki Ian Gordan, Larry O'Keefe, Adam Guettal, Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChuisa and Stephen Sondheim. Her many recordings include Pentimento, Good Day, Make Believe and Fred Hersh's Two Hands Ten Fingers.

Kevin Vortmann (Doctor)’s Broadway and New York credits include A Little Night Music, Death Takes a Holiday and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. He recently played Riff in West Side Story in Concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and Herman in The Most Happy Fella at Goodspeed. Kevin has appeared in eight Encores! productions, including Fiorello!, Face the Music and On the Town.

Casey Nicholaw (Director and Choreographer) won the 2011 Tony Award for his work as co-director of 'The Book of Mormon.' He directed and choreographed the Broadway productions of 'Elf: The Musical' and 'The Drowsy Chaperone' (Tony nomination) and choreographed 'Monty Python's Spamalot,' (Tony nomination). His Encores! credits include 'Anyone Can Whistle,' 'Follies' and 'Bye Bye Birdie.'

- by Tom Millward

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