Sundance Institute Announces Acting Company For 2009 Theatre Lab At White Oak

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Los Angeles, CA – Sundance Institute announced today the acting company for its 2009 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak, which focuses on support for innovative musical theatre as well as on ensemble-generated work. As announced in September, the two projects selected for this season’s Lab are Like Water for Chocolate, a musical adaptation of the best-selling 1989 novel by Mexican author Laura Esquivel composed by Lila Downs and Paul R. Cohen with book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and directed by Jonathan Butterell and Ted Sperling; and Little Miss Sunshine, a musical adaptation of the popular 2006 film written by Michael Arndt and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris with music and lyrics by William Finn, and book and direction by James Lapine. Under the artistic direction of Philip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Lab runs October 25 through November 7, 2009 at White Oak in Yulee, Florida.

“The Sundance Theatre Program has always balanced its support between emerging and established talent. Clearly, artists at all stages of their careers need a nurturing place in which to imagine, create and refine their work away from the pressures of the commercial marketplace,” said Himberg. “This season’s Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak participants represent an extraordinary range of theatre-makers working in vastly different ways, and collaborating on complicated and exciting projects. We look forward to providing a true ‘Sundance’ experience which celebrates the independent spirit of their endeavors.”

The 2009 company for Like Water for Chocolate includes: Roxanne Carrasco (Chicago), Marisa Echeverria (The Bacchae), Michelle Rios (The Capeman, Man of La Mancha), Socorro Santiago (The Bacchae), Martin Sola (Coram Boy, La Bohème), and Mariand Torres (The People Vs. Mona).

Additional collaborating artists for Like Water for Chocolate include Robert Curto (Accordionist), Celso Duarte (Harpist), Yayo Serka (Drummer). Jennifer Rae Moore will stage manage, and Tony Williams  serves as assistant stage manager. Alan Filderman is casting director.

The 2009 company for Little Miss Sunshine includes: Etai BenShlomo, Craig Bierko (Guys & Dolls, The Music Man), Carmen Ruby Floyd (Avenue Q), Georgi James (A Tale of Two Cities), Dick Latessa (Hairspray, Cabaret), Marty Moran (The Tricky Part, Spamalot), Andrew Rannells (Jersey Boys), Eliseo Roman (In the Heights), Sherie Rene Scott (The Little Mermaid, Landscape of the Body), Chaunteé Schuler, Sally Wilfert (Assassins), and Michael Winther (33 Variations, The Crucible).

Vadim Fiechtner is Musical Director of Little Miss Sunshine and Will Aronson is Vocal Arranger. Shawn Pennington will stage manage. Nina Waters is the assistant stage manager. Casting by Telsey + Company.

Playwright Sybille Pearson (Giant, Baby, Sally and Marsha, Phantasie, Watching The Dog, Unfinished Stories) and Jack Viertel (Encores! Artistic Director, Creative Director for Jujamcyn Theaters) are the Creative Advisors for the 2009 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak. Christopher Burney and Janice Paran will serve as dramaturgs. Dave Nelson is this year’s production manager.

 White Oak is located on a 7,500 acre property in Yulee, Florida, conceived by Howard Gilman as a sanctuary for animals and a place of peaceful yet productive retreat for the people and activities he cared about. In 1982, Gilman established the White Oak Conservation Center on the property for the conservation and propagation of threatened and endangered species. White Oak, which houses the Baryshnikov Dance Studio, has also hosted residencies by performing artists and dance companies; national and international conferences; and seminars and workshops directly related to the Foundation’s primary fields of interest: performing arts, wildlife conservation and cardiovascular research.

Sundance Institute Theatre Program

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is a program of the Sundance Institute. Through its developmental activities at the Sundance Institute Playwright’s Retreat at Ucross, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak, Sundance Institute East Africa, and two new pilot theatre programs at Mass MoCA and Governors Island, the Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg, more than 85% of the work coming out of the Program’s labs has found professional production at theatres across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Recent productions of Sundance-developed work include: Passing Strange by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, which won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical and Grey Gardens by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie.

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry, Sin Number, Born into Brothels and Trouble the Water.

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