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Press Release: Benny & Joon Cast Announcement

Complete Cast and Creative Team Announced for the First Show of THE OLD GLOBE’s 2017–2018 SEASON: the WORLD PREMIERE Musical, BENNY & JOON, Directed by JACK CUMMINGS III, Based on the Delightfully Offbeat 1993 MGM Film

Performances Run SEPTEMBER 7 – OCTOBER 22, 2017, with Opening Night on Friday, September 15



SAN DIEGO (August 11, 2017)—The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team for the first show of its 2017–2018 Season, the world premiere musicalBenny & Joon, with book by Kirsten Guenther, music by Nolan Gasser, and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. Based on the beloved 1993 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture written by Barry Berman and Leslie McNeilBenny & Joon is directed by Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director of New York’s Transport Group. It will run September 7 – October 22, 2017, on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Previews run September 7 – 14, with opening night on Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon.

Benny & Joon is a delightful world premiere musical based on the beloved offbeat ’90s romantic comedy movie. As Joon’s sole caretaker, auto mechanic Benny makes sure his eccentric sister lives a comfortable, safe, and predictable life. But when Sam shows up, his off-kilter take on the world—full of classic films, Buster Keaton, and an oddball approach to domestic life—turns everything upside down. With unforgettable characters and a beguiling and tuneful score, Benny & Joon explores what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and take a leap toward love.

The cast features Andrew Samonsky (Broadway’s South PacificScandalous) as Benny, Hannah Elless (Bright Star at the Globe and on Broadway) as Joon, and Bryce Pinkham (Tony Award nominee for Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) as Sam, along with Colin Hanlon (Broadway’s FalsettosIn Transit) as Mike,January LaVoy (Enron on Broadway, Coraline Off Broadway) as Ruthie, Paolo Montalban (Globe’s Allegiance, ABC’s Cinderella with Brandy) as Larry, Natalie Toro(Broadway’s A Tale of Two CitiesLes Misérables) as Dr. Cruz and Mrs. Smail, andJason SweetTooth Williams (Disney’s Freaky Friday at La Jolla Playhouse) as Waldo and Video Store Owner. Completing the cast as Understudies are San Diego local Katie Whalley Banville (Globe’s A Doll’s House, Playhouse’s Freaky Friday and Escape to Margaritaville) and Jake Millgard (Globe/USD Shiley M.F.A. graduate, Globe’s Guys and Dolls).

The creative team includes Scott Rink (Choreographer), Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design), R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Michael Starobin (Orchestrations), J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director), Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting), Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager), and Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager).

“I’m truly excited to open the Globe’s 2017–2018 Season with this special new musical,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “A world premiere based on the delightfully offbeat 1993 MGM film, Benny & Joon centers on something rare in the musical theatre: the bond between siblings. The love between the brother and sister of the title is deep, moving, and real, and it gives this musical a gentleness and sweetness that I find completely captivating. Creators Kirsten Guenther, Nolan Gasser, and Mindi Dickstein have brought to the Globe a memorable and unique show, and my friend Jack Cummings III—who has carved out a unique space in the American theatre with the very human, people-driven stories he tells—brings Benny & Joon a beautiful spontaneity and freshness. The show’s score—rich, complex, melodic, and fun—won me over instantly when I first heard it, and I am happy to share this bright new work with San Diego audiences.”

Kirsten Guenther (Book) previously lived in Paris, where she worked as a Paris correspondent for USATODAY.com and penned the popular weekly column “The Sexy Expat,” about an American journalist trying to navigate and date the French. Her current theatre commissions include The Years Between (T. Fellowship) and the new musical Measure of Success (The Rockefeller Foundation Grant). Ms. Guenther wrote the book and lyrics for Little Miss Fix-It (as seen on NBC) and the book for Mrs. Sharp (Richard Rodgers Award for the Playwrights Horizons workshop starring Jane Krakowski, directed by Michael Greif). She penned the books to Out of My Head (licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights) and The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (Bay Area Theatre Award nomination). Ms. Guenther is the recipient of a Johnny Mercer Writers Fellowship, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and a Lincoln Center Honorarium. She has penned sketches for personalities such as James Franco, Jared Leto, Christopher Walken, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steve Buscemi, Kathie Lee and Hoda, and others. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from USC and an M.F.A. from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University.

Nolan Gasser (Music) is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. He is most notably the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the company’s chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, among many others. His theatrical projects beyond Benny & Joon include the opera The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (2013); the oratorio Repast: An Oratorio on the Life of Booker Wright (2015); and the musical Start Me Up, in development. Dr. Gasser’s forthcoming book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, will be released in 2018 (Flatiron Books – Macmillan Publishers). He is also the subject of a documentary for the ESPN FiveThirtyEight series The Collectors entitled “Breaking Music Down to Its Genes” (2015). The film highlights his forthcoming work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to pilot an algorithm to provide personalized musical therapy for cancer patients. Dr. Gasser’s TEDx Talk, “Empowering Your Musical Taste,” is available on YouTube.

Mindi Dickstein (Lyrics) is a lyricist, librettist, and playwright. She wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women (licensed by Music Theatre International, original cast album released by Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). Her work on Benny & Joon, showcased in the 2016 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival, was developed in part at Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and Transport Group. Her current projects include Snow in August (based on the Pete Hamill novel), which had a developmental reading at Second Stage in June; and Alight Arise Return, developed at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and Lark Play Development Center. Her other musicals include Disney’sToy Story: The Musical, for which she wrote the book; and Trip (Playwrights Horizons Steinberg Charitable Trust Commission), Notes Across a Small Pond (Bridewell Theatre), and Beasts and Saints (Boston Music Theatre Project, ASCAP Foundation Workshop), for which she wrote book and lyrics. Her short play Starving to Death in Midtown was produced worldwide as part of the 2015 Climate Change Theatre Action. Her songs have been performed widely, including at Lincoln Center’s Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists. Ms. Dickstein’s honors include a Jonathan Larson Award, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, and two New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships. She received her M.F.A. from and is currently on the faculty of New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Jack Cummings III (Director) is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Transport Group, where he most recently directed William Inge’s Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba in rotating repertory. His favorite Transport Group credits include Queen of the Mist by Michael John LaChiusa (world premiere); See Rock City & Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias (New York premiere); The Audience (conceiver, world premiere); cul-de-sac by John Cariani (world premiere); Normal by Yvonne Adrian, Tom Kochan, and Cheryl Stern (world premiere); Marcy in the Galaxy by Nancy Shayne (world premiere); and Three Days to See (author/conceiver, world premiere); as well as revivals of I Remember MamaHello AgainFirst Lady SuiteOnce Upon a Mattress;Almost, MaineThe Dark at the Top of the StairsThe Boys in the BandAll the Way Home; and Our Town. His other New York credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s And Away We Go (The Pearl Theatre Company), 1,000 Words Come to Mind by Michele Lowe and Scott Richards (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere), and Arlington by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere). His regional credits include I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), A Streetcar Named Desire (Gretna Theatre), Violet and The Young Man from Atlanta(Barksdale Theatre), and The Illusion (Nevada Theatre Company). He received his B.A. in International Relations from William and Mary and his M.F.A. in Directing from University of Virginia. He is married to actress Barbara Walsh.

Benny & Joon is presented by special arrangement with Larry HirschhornBenny & Joon was developed in part at The Running Deer Musical Theater Lab in 2014, atTransport Group in 2015, at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Writers’ Retreat, and at the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals in 2017, and was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in 2016.

Benny & Joon is supported in part through gifts from Production Sponsors Terry AtkinsonNikki and Ben Clay, and Hal and Pam Fuson, as well as Artist SponsorsSandra and Arthur Levinson (for director Jack Cummings III) and Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust (for composer Nolan Gasser).

Additional events taking place during the run of Benny & Joon include:

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m.

An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, September 16 following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians, and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play’s concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, September 19, Tuesday, September 26, and Wednesday, October 4.

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.

SINGLE TICKETS to Benny & Joon start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon. Tickets can be purchased online atwww.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more. Performances begin on September 7 and continue through October 22, 2017. Performance times: Previews: Thursday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.; and Thursday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. Opening night is Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (September 16 – October 22): Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be no performances on Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.

LOCATION and PARKING INFORMATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Through a special arrangement with the San Diego Zoo, Old Globe evening ticket-holders have the opportunity to pre-purchase valet parking in the Zoo’s employee parking structure. With a drop-off point just a short walk to the Globe, theatregoers may purchase fast, easy, convenient valet parking for just $14 per vehicle per evening. Pre-paid only, available only by phone through the Old Globe Box Office. Call (619) 234-5623 or visit 

There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. The Balboa Park valet is also available during performances, located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For additional parking information visit www.BalboaPark.org. For directions and up-to-date information, please visit www.theoldglobe.org/plan-your-visit/directions--parking/detailed-directions.

PLEASE NOTE: To look up online or GPS directions to The Old Globe, please do not use the Delivery Address above. There is only a 10-minute zone at that physical address. For GPS users, please click here for the map coordinates, and here for written directions to The Old Globe and nearby parking in Balboa Park.

CALENDARGuys and Dolls (7/2–8/13), Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood! (7/22–9/3), Hamlet(8/6–9/10), Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio Showcase (8/14), AXIS: Saturday Morning Salsa (8/19), Benny & Joon (9/7–10/22), AXIS: The Journey Encore Installation (10/4–10/8), AXIS: Q&A with The Journey (10/6), The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (9/30–10/29), AXIS: Day of the Dead (10/29), Globe for All Tour: Twelfth Night(10/31–11/19), Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (11/4–12/24), M.F.A.:Romeo and Juliet (11/11–11/19), AXIS: Site-Specific Dance with Blythe Barton (11/18), AXIS: Culture Shock’s Hip Hop The Nutcracker Teaser (12/23), The Importance of Being Earnest (1/27/18–3/4), Uncle Vanya (2/10–3/11), AXIS: Give Love San Diego (2/10), American Mariachi (3/23–4/29), AXIS: American Mariachi Event (3/31), The Wanderers (4/5–5/6), AXIS: Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare! (4/21), A Thousand Splendid Suns (5/12–6/17), Native Gardens (5/26–6/24), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (7/2–8/12).

PHOTO EDITORS: Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available atwww.theoldglobe.org/press-room.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and MurderBright Star, AllegianceThe Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

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Katie Whalley Banville (Understudy) returns to The Old Globe, where she previously worked on A Doll’s House. Her recent credits include Disney’s Freaky Friday and the world premiere of Escape to Margaritaville(La Jolla Playhouse)She is a Resident Artist at Cygnet Theatre Company, with credits including Dainty June in Gypsy, April in CompanyParade, CabaretMy Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha. Her other regional credits include Louise in Gypsy (Craig Noel Award) and Clara in Passion (ion theatre company), Jenny Hill in Big Fish and Gingy in Shrek The Musical (Moonlight Stage Productions), and Andi Lee in 42nd Street(San Diego Musical Theatre). Her choreography credits include Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company) and A Christmas Carol (Cygnet).

Hannah Elless (Joon) returns to The Old Globe, where she originated the role of Margo Crawford in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Broadway musical Bright Star. Ms. Elless made her Broadway debut singing “Bless the Lord” in the revival of Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell, followed by a very “Neil” turn in the Drama Desk Award-nominated The Other Josh Cohen under the direction of Tony Award winner Ted Sperling. She was most recently seen Off Broadway in Transport Group’s Obie Award-winning productions of Picnic, as Millie Owens, and Come Back, Little Sheba, as Marie Buckholder. She can be found this fall on HBO’s new television drama “The Deuce.” Ms. Elless’s film credits include Before Winter, The Lake Effect, and The Over/Under, as well as the upcoming When Mary Met Ally.

Colin Hanlon (Mike) was in the Falsettos revival, In Transit, and Rent on Broadway. He also played Fiyero in the first national tour of Wicked. He was Adam in the New York premiere of Dot by Colman Domingo, directed by Susan Stroman (Vineyard Theatre). Mr. Hanlon was in the original casts of I Love You Becauseand Edges. He played Pete in the world premiere of The 12 by Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company) and Luke in the regional premiere of Next Fall at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Mr. Hanlon’s television credits include Steven on the Emmy Award-winning “Modern Family” on ABC, “Difficult People” on Hulu, and “The Sinner” on USA Network. He also starred in and produced “Submissions Only.”

January LaVoy (Ruthie) is makes her Old Globe debut in Benny & Joon. She has appeared on Broadway in Enron and Off Broadway in Measure for Measure (Theatre for a New Audience), Wings (Second Stage Theatre), Coraline (MCC Theater), and Two Trains Running, Home, Funnyhouse of a Negro, and the world premiere of Will Eno’s Wakey, Wakey (Signature Theatre Company). Her regional credits include Mattie Campbell in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum), Kate in Good People (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Isabella in Measure for Measure (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Dawn in Lobby Hero, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center Theatre Company), and the world premiere of Native Guard (Alliance Theatre). Her television credits include “Blue Bloods,” “3 lbs.,” “Law & Order” (original, “Criminal Intent,” and “Special Victims Unit”), and Noelle Ortiz on “One Life to Live.” Her voiceover work includes many national commercial campaigns and over 150 audiobooks. Ms. LaVoy has been honored as Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly and has received multiple Audie Awards.

Jake Millgard (Understudy) was last seen in the Globe’s productions of Guys and DollsMeasure for Measure (Globe for All), Love’s Labor’s LostMacbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and Arms and the Man. He received his M.F.A. from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program and appeared in their productions of As You Like It, The Seagull, Clybourne Park, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre.His New York credits include Sex and Violence, On Campus, and Remembering Kimberly. His regional credits include Dracula and A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The Full Monty (Northern Stage), and Art, The Odd Couple, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (Mount Baker Theatre’s Summer Repertory Theatre). He also appeared in the premiere of The Open Road Anthology (Humana Festival of New American Plays). Some of his television and film credits include “Grimm,” Pudding Face, Placebo, andFrank and Barry.

Paolo Montalban (Larry) was last seen at the Globe as Mike Masaoka in the world premiere of Allegiance. He is best known for portraying The Prince opposite Brandy in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella(ABC), as well as the series lead Kung Lao in “Mortal Kombat: Conquest” (TNT), which was based on the popular video game. He has appeared on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Emilia Clarke; as Manjiro in Pacific Overtures (Roundabout Theatre Company); and in The King and I. He was most recently seen Off Broadway as Tommie Haw, a stripping Chinese American cowboy, in Bella: An American Tall Tale(Playwrights Horizons). His other New York credits include Eglamour in Two Gentlemen of Verona(Shakespeare in the Park) and Claro in The Romance of Magno Rubio (Ma-Yi Theater Company). His regional work includes Arthur in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (The Muny, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company), the world premiere of Bella (Dallas Theater Center), The King in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music (American Conservatory Theater), The Emperor in The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater), and Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ogunquit Playhouse). Mr. Montalban has played recurring and guest-starring roles on “Madam Secretary,” “The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” His film credits include Just WrightAmerican Adobo, and The Great Raid.

Bryce Pinkham (Sam) is making his Old Globe debut. His Broadway credits include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and MurderThe Heidi ChroniclesHoliday InnGhost, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. His favorite television appearances are on PBS’s “Mercy Street” and Baz Luhrmann’s “The Get Down.” He is a frequent collaborator with Outside the Wire, a theatre company that brings social-impact performances to American military audiences around the world. His most recent tours include Kuwait, Qatar, Japan, and Guantanamo Bay. He is a proud Leonore Annenberg Fellow and an enthusiastic graduate of Boston College and Yale School of Drama. Along with Globe M.F.A. alumnus Lucas Caleb Rooney, he co-founded a charity that uses theatrical storytelling to empower at-risk youth in Madagascar and the United States.

Andrew Samonsky (Benny) has appeared on Broadway as Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Kenneth Ormiston in Scandalous, and Lt. Cable in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, with which he was also seen in the “Live from Lincoln Center” PBS broadcast. Most recently he played Robert Kincaid in the first national tour of The Bridges of Madison County. He originated the role of Captain Phoebus in the American premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse). Mr. Samonsky was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Frank Russell in the Off Broadway production of Michael John LaChiusa’s Queen of the Mist, and he appeared in the City Center Encores! productions of Fiorello! and Merrily We Roll Along. He has originated the roles of Richard inSomewhere in Time (Portland Center Stage), Beauchamp in Tales of the City (American Conservatory Theater), Joshua in Little Miss Sunshine (La Jolla Playhouse), and Nick in Disney’s On the Record (first national tour). He is a soloist with symphonies across the country, including the New York Philharmonic and Boston Pops. His television and film credits include “Elementary,” “Guiding Light,” The Ceiling Fan, and The Secret Song.

Natalie Toro (Dr. Cruz, Mrs. Smail) originated the role of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway and won Sarasota Magazine’s Best Featured Actress Award in its pre-Broadway run. She was the first American to play the role of Eponine in Les Misérables, and she was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for her portrayal of Eva Peron in the 20th anniversary tour of Evita. She originated the role of Sally in Alan Menken’s A Christmas Carol and also played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Grizabella in Cats, and Camila in In the Heights. She has originated roles Off Broadway including La Bruja in The Yellow Brick Road and Ginger in Zombie Prom. Her regional work includes The Bikinis, Zorba, Mrs. Johnstone in Blood BrothersFrances of Guernica, Everything’s Ducky, and The Fix produced by Cameron Macintosh. Ms. Toro is currently a headliner with her one-woman show on major cruise lines around the world. Her CDNatalie Toro includes a duet with Sutton Foster, and her holiday CD Just in Time for Christmas features duets with Ryan Kelly from Celtic Thunder and Grammy Award winner Jon Secada. Ms. Toro’s television credits include “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” and “Black Box.” She has also performed with numerous symphony orchestras and at Carnegie Hall and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Jason SweetTooth Williams (Waldo, Video Store Owner) is making his Old Globe debut with Benny & Joon. He has spent the last year in the new Disney musical Freaky Friday, enjoying runs at La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Alley Theatre, and Signature Theatre Company, where it received its world premiere. He was also recently seen Off Broadway opposite Jackie Hoffman as Prince Dauntless in Transport Group’s production of Once Upon a Mattress directed by Jack Cummings III. Mr. Williams is a longtime collaborator of award-winning writer Joe Iconis, having appeared in Iconis’s Bloodsong of Love (Ars Nova), The Black Suits (Summer Play Festival/The Public Theater), ReWrite (Urban Stages), and Things to Ruin (album available on Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). His other favorite theatre credits includeCrossing Brooklyn (Transport Group), The Trouble with Doug (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), and The Disappearing Man (Musical Theatre Factory). As a writer, Mr. Williams co-wrote the ’70s Blaxploitation-inspired action musical Broadway Bounty Hunter, which had its world premiere last summer starring Annie Golden at Barrington Stage Company.

Scott Rink (Choreographer) choreographed the Off Broadway productions of Once Upon a Mattress, Three Days to See, Queen of the Mist, Hello Again, Being Audrey, Crossing Brooklyn, Songs for a New World, and Normal. Mr. Rink’s regional credits include Carnaval de Fuego (Six Flags Elitch Gardens), Alice in Wonderland (Birmingham Children’s Theatre), Disney’s Mulan (Imagination Stage), and Seussical (Wagner College). His commissioned works include dances for Ailey II, ABT II, Oakland Ballet Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Harvard University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and University of Minnesota, among others. Mr. Rink has created a number of works for his company danceRINK in New York City and abroad. As a dancer, Mr. Rink performed in the companies of Eliot Feld, Elisa Monte, Karole Armitage, and Lar Lubovitch.

Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design) previously designed sets for The Old Globe’s production of The Few. His Broadway credits include set and costumes for Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, set for Fool for Love, and sets for this season’s revival of Once on This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre. His recent Off Broadway credits include sets and/or costumes for Rancho Viejo, Indian Summer, The Christians, and Iowa (Playwrights Horizons), Sell/Buy/Date (Manhattan Theatre Club), Homos, or Everyone in America (Labyrinth Theater Company), Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba (Transport Group), The Harvest (Lincoln Center Theater), The Glory of the World (Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater), Cloud Nine (Atlantic Theater Company), and other work at Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Soho Rep., Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Transport Group, and many others. Mr. Laffrey’s regional work includes the Humana Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Goodspeed Musicals, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, Studio Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, and others. He has also designed internationally in Tokyo, Oslo, Osaka, and throughout Australia. Mr. Laffrey won a 2017 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Set and Costume Design, and he has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and four Henry Hewes Design Awards, along with numerous regional accolades.

R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design) is the resident lighting designer for New York City-based Transport Group, and he has designed their Off Broadway productions of Inge in Rep: Picnic and Come Back, Little ShebaOnce Upon a MattressThree Days to SeeI Remember Mama (Henry Hewes Design Award nomination); Almost, MaineQueen of the Mist (Hewes nomination); Hello AgainSee Rock City (Drama Desk Award nomination); Bury the Dead (Drama Desk nomination); Marcy in the GalaxyThe Dark at the Top of the StairsNormal; The Audience (Drama Desk nomination); First Lady Suite; Requiem for William;Our Town; and the world premiere play And Away We Go by Terrence McNally, produced by The Pearl Theatre Company. His regional credits include The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award) and The Outgoing Tide (Barrymore nomination) (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Cake Off (Signature Theatre Company), and I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), as well as Illinois Shakespeare Festival’s 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 seasons. Mr. Kennedy has designed national tours of The Secret Garden (Joseph Jefferson Award Citation), Once on This IslandFive Guys Named Moe, and A Grand Night for Singing.

Kai Harada (Sound Design) designed the Broadway productions of Amélie, Sunday in the Park with GeorgeAllegianceGigiFun HomeOn the TownFirst DateFollies (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), and Million Dollar Quartet. His other credits include Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Beaches (Drury Lane Theatre), Brooklynite (Vineyard Theatre), Little Dancer and First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb (The Kennedy Center), Zorro (Moscow, Atlanta), Hinterm Horizont (Berlin), Sweeney Todd and The Pirates of Penzance (Portland Opera), and She Loves Me (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). He was also the audio consultant for the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Michael Starobin (Orchestrations) previously orchestrated In Your Arms at The Old Globe. His credits include Sunday in the Park with George, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Freaky Friday, Kid Victory, Falsettos, First Daughter Suite, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, If/Then, Annie, Dogfight, Leap of Faith, Queen of the Mist, The People in the Picture, Sondheim on Sondheim, Next to Normal (Tony Award), The Glorious Ones, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Adrift in Macao, Bernarda Alba, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Assassins (Tony Award), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A New Brain, A Christmas Carol, Hello Again, Guys and Dolls (1992), My Favorite Year, In Trousers, Once on This Island, Closer Than Ever, Legs Diamond, Romance/Romance, Carrie, Birds of Paradise, Rags, Three Guys Naked, and Von Richthofen. His film credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Goofy Movie, Life with Mikey, Home on the Range, Tangled, Lucky Stiff, and Beauty and the Beast (2017).

J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director) previously served as music director of The Old Globe’s Rain. He recently penned new arrangements for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, currently playing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His select New York credits include Adding Machine, Curtains, First Daughter Suite, The House of Blue Leaves, Iowa, Mary Poppins, We the People, and seven seasons with Lincoln Center Theater. His regional credits include Barrington Stage Company, Hangar Theatre, The Kennedy Center, New York Stage and Film, three national tours for Theatreworks USA, and Two River Theater. He is part of the founding faculty of New Studio on Broadway at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as well as the Musical Theatre Conservatory at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and he is music supervisor at Camp Broadway. He is also a composer, lyricist, and writer whose works have been seen Off Broadway. In addition, he is the resident composer for The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York and is a recipient of an American Theatre Wing Jonathan Larson Grant.

Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting) returns to The Old Globe after casting their productions of October Skyand Bright Star (Artios Award nomination). His Broadway and national tour credits include Bright StarNext Fall (Artios nomination), The Seafarer, Coram Boy, ChicagoAnnie Get Your GunDirty Dancing, and South Pacific. Off Broadway and regionally he has cast productions for Lincoln Center Theater, Women’s Project Theater, New York Stage and Film/Powerhouse Theater (Artios nomination for The Power of Duff), Atlantic Theater Company, Naked Angels (Artios Award for Fault Lines), Pasadena Playhouse, Irish Arts Center, Soho Theatre in London, American Theater Group, and New York Musical Festival, among many others.

Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager) has previously worked on the Globe productions of King Richard II;Picasso at the Lapin AgileOctober SkyKiss Me, Kate; The Twenty-seventh Man; Bright Star; Dog and Pony; The Winter’s Tale; Be a Good Little Widow; Allegiance; A Room with a View; Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show; The Savannah Disputation; Kingdom; and the 2007 Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Nero also worked on the Broadway production of Bright Star and will soon be launching the show’s tourHer selected La Jolla Playhouse credits include Sideways directed by Des McAnuff, Ruined directed by Liesl Tommy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Christopher Ashley, and Herringbone directed by Roger Rees and starring BD Wong. Ms. Nero has worked with several prominent regional theatres including The Kennedy Center, Hartford Stage, Center Theatre Group, SITI Company, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, to name a few. Her other selected credits include Schick Machine (Paul Dresher Ensemble), which toured both nationally and internationally, and Garden of Forbidden Loves and Garden of Deadly Sound (IMAGOmoves), which performed at the International Hungarian Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania.

Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager) has previously worked at The Old Globe on King Richard IIThe BlamelessDr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!October Sky; Macbeth; Rain; The Metromaniacs;Kiss Me, Kate; The White Snake; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike;The Last Goodbye; Globe for All (2014, 2015); the Summer Shakespeare Festival (2011–2013);SomewhereLost in YonkersI Do! I Do!; and The Price. Her other credits include Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin (La Jolla Playhouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage), The Foreigner, miXtape, See How They RunThe Music Man, and The Rivalry (Lamb’s Players Theatre), The GondoliersThe Pirates of PenzanceCandide, and Trial by Jury (Lyric Opera San Diego), and SummerFest (La Jolla Music Society). She received her B.A. in Theatre from UC San Diego.


World premiere

Benny & Joon

A New Musical

Book by Kirsten Guenther

Music by Nolan Gasser

Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein

Based on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture written by Barry Berman and Leslie McNeil

Directed by Jack Cummings III


RUNS: September 7 – October 22, 2017

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center


TICKETS: Tickets start at $36, on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18, 12:00 noon.


SYNOPSIS: A delightful world premiere musical based on the beloved offbeat ’90s romantic comedy movie. As Joon’s sole caretaker, auto mechanic Benny makes sure his eccentric sister lives a comfortable, safe, and predictable life. But when Sam shows up, his off-kilter take on the world—full of classic films, Buster Keaton, and an oddball approach to domestic life—turns everything upside down. With unforgettable characters and a beguiling and tuneful score, Benny & Joon explores what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and take a leap toward love.


CAST:, Hannah Elless (Joon), Colin Hanlon (Mike), January LaVoy (Ruthie), Paolo Montalban (Larry), Bryce Pinkham (Sam), Andrew Samonsky (Benny), Natalie Toro (Dr. Cruz, Mrs. Smail), and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Waldo, Video Store Owner), with Katie Whalley Banville and Jake Millgard (Understudies).

CREATIVE TEAM: Scott Rink (Choreographer), Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design), R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Michael Starobin (Orchestrations), J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director), Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting), Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager), and Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager).

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m.

The seminar series features a panel from the artistic company of the show. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, Sept. 16.

The seminar series features a panel from the artistic company of the show. Reception at 6:00 p.m. FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, Sept. 19, Tuesday, Sept. 26, and Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Discuss the play with members of the cast, crew, and/or Globe staff following the performance. FREE.


September 7 THU 8:00pm

September 8 FRI 8:00pm

September 9 SAT 8:00pm

September 10 SUN 7:00pm

September 12 TUE 7:00pm (Zeiger Insights Seminar)

September 13 WED 7:00pm

September 14 THU 8:00pm

OPENING NIGHT: September 15 FRI 8:00pm


September 16 SAT 2:00pm (Subject Matters)

September 16 SAT 8:00pm

September 17 SUN 2:00pm

September 17 SUN 7:00pm

September 19 TUE 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

September 20 WED 7:00pm

September 21 THU 8:00pm

September 22 FRI 8:00pm

September 24 SUN 2:00pm

September 24 SUN 7:00pm

September 26 TUE 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

September 27 WED 7:00pm

September 28 THU 8:00pm

September 29 FRI 8:00pm

September 30 SAT 2:00pm

September 30 SAT 8:00pm

October 1 SUN 2:00pm

October 1 SUN 7:00pm

October 3 TUE 7:00pm

October 4 WED 7:00pm (Post-Show Forum)

October 5 THU 8:00pm

October 6 FRI 8:00pm

October 7 SAT 2:00pm

October 7 SAT 8:00pm

October 8 SUN 2:00pm

October 8 SUN 7:00pm

October 10 TUE 7:00pm

October 11 WED 2:00pm

October 11 WED 7:00pm

October 12 THU 8:00pm

October 13 FRI 8:00pm

October 14 SAT 8:00pm

October 15 SUN 2:00pm

October 15 SUN 7:00pm

October 17 TUE 7:00pm

October 18 WED 7:00pm

October 19 THU 8:00pm

October 20 FRI 8:00pm

October 21 SAT 2:00pm

October 21 SAT 8:00pm

October 22 SUN 2:00pm

October 22 SUN 7:00pm


Susan Chicoine (619) 238-0043 x2352 / (619) 325-9416 

Mike Hausberg (619) 238-0043 x2355 

Alejandra Enciso (619) 238-0043 x2356