‘In Your Arms’ set to premiere in San Diego

Jess LeProtto and Samantha Sturm with cast membersA new musical is premiering on the West Coast this month featuring direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli, known for his work on Newsies, Godspell, Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I and South Pacific. The highly anticipated dance-theatre musical In Your Arms will open the 2015-16 Season of San Diego’s Old Globe, one of the country’s leading regional theatre complexes and California’s oldest professional theatre.


In addition to choreography by Gattelli, In Your Arms will present original music by Tony Award winner Stephen Flaherty (also a two-time Oscar nominee for Anastasia) with lyrics by Tony and Emmy Award winner Lynn Ahrens. It will feature 10 dance vignettes written by an incredible and diverse lineup of theatre powerhouses, including Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage and Alfred Uhry.


The top-notch cast includes Marija Juliette Abney (of Broadway’s After Midnight and The Lion King), Stephen Bienskie (of Silence! The Musical and The Fix), Claire Camp (of Super Fly and Flashdance The Musical), George Chakiris (Academy Award winner for playing Bernardo in West Side Story film), Spencer Clark (of The Winter’s Tale at The Public Theater), Jeremy Davis (of South Pacific and Billy Elliot on Broadway), Jenn Harris (of Silence! The Musical), Glenda Sol Koeraus (known internationally as “La Argentinita”) and Donna McKechnie (Tony Award winner for playing Cassie in the original Broadway A Chorus Line.)


Brendon Stimson and Hayley PodschunThe cast will also feature Adesola Osakalumi (of Fela! and Equus), Karine Plantadit (Tony nominee for Broadway’s Come Fly Away and Astaire Award winner for After Midnight), Hayley Podschun (of Broadway’s Chaplin, Anything Goes and Pal Joey), Jonathan Sharp (of Fiddler on the Roof and The Red Shoes on Broadway), Ryan Steele (Astaire Award nominee for Broadway’s Newsies, Matilda The Musical and Billy Elliot: The Musical), Brendon Stimson (of Broadway’s Newsies, Honeymoon in Vegas and West Side Story), Alex Michael Stoll (of Broadway’s West Side Story and Evita), Samantha Sturm (of the original Broadway casts of Matilda The Musical, The Addams Family and Nice Work If You Can Get It), Oscar Valero (of Met Opera’s Carmen and La Traviata), Erica Wong (a company member of Ballet Theatre of Maryland and Milwaukee Ballet) and Lyrica Woodruff (of Susan Stroman’s Little Dancer.)


There’s also some representation from former So You Think You Can Dance competitors – Henry Byalikov, from the Australian version and Broadway’s Burn the Floor, and Jess LeProtto, of Season 8 and from Broadway’s Newsies and On the Town.


In total, the In Your Arms company can claim 18 Tony Awards, 4 Pulitzer Prizes, 6 Pulitzer finalist distinctions, 3 Emmy Awards and 2 Academy Awards – although to list all their honors would take several pages.


Stephen Bienskie and Jenn HarrisPart of The Old Globe’s yearlong celebration of its own 80th anniversary, In Your Arms will run September 16–October 25 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage. Preview performances run September 16–23, with the official opening night set for Thursday, September 24. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org.


In Your Arms is one of the most romantic shows I’ve ever come across, and I am happy to bring it to San Diego audiences,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “Its creators are a group of top-rank theatrical talent, and the Globe is honored to host them.”


“Stephen Flaherty’s lush and beguiling score weaves together a series of imaginative stories by an unprecedented gathering of writers to express the many moods and varieties of love. And wizardly director-choreographer Christopher Gattelli stages this material with a special magic: the potent and exuberant language of dance. Executing his vision is an astonishing company of celebrated performers whose credits dazzle as brightly as their talents. I’m thrilled to open our new season with such a fresh, original and moving show.”


Additional events taking place during the run of In Your Arms include: a free Insights Seminar on Tuesday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m., featuring a panel selected from the current show; an experts-lead discussion following the 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, September 26; and general post-show forums on September 29, October 6 and October 14 with members of the cast and crew following the performance.


Photo (top): Jess LeProtto and Samantha Sturm with cast members of In Your Arms. Photo (left): Brendon Stimson and Hayley Podschun in In Your Arms. Photo (right): Stephen Bienskie and Jenn Harris in In Your Arms. Photos by Buck Lewis, courtesy of New York Stage and Film & Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater.