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Press Release: October Sky Annoucement

Look to the Stars!


SAN DIEGO (March 25, 2016)—The Old Globe today announced that its 2016-2017 Season will blast off with a tale of boys, rockets, and big dreams: the West Coast premiere of October Sky. Inspired by the beloved 1999 Universal Pictures film and Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam, Jr., October Sky features a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman (’night, Mother and The Secret Garden) and Aaron Thielen (Hero), and music and lyrics by Joseph Jefferson Award winner Michael Mahler (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). Directed and choreographed by Joseph Jefferson Award winner Rachel Rockwell (Ragtime, American premiere of Ride the Cyclone)and produced in association with Universal Stage Productions (Wicked, Billy Elliot: The Musical, Bring It On: The Musical), October Sky will run September 10 – October 23, 2016 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Preview performances run September 10 – September 21. Opening night is Thursday, September 22. Tickets are currently available by subscription only. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

The Old Globe’s 2016-2017 Season launches into orbit with the new musical October Sky, inspired by the beloved 1999 movie, which itself was based on a true story. In the sleepy town of Coalwood, West Virginia, school is just something you do until you’re old enough to work in the coal mines. After the Soviets launch the Sputnik rocket, a local high schooler named Homer decides to enter a rocketry competition against the wishes of his domineering, practical-minded dad. With the help of his friends and the local community, he just might light up the night. October Sky is a musical slice of small-town Americana packed with youthful exuberance that will send your heart soaring and inspire you to reach for the stars.

“I’m very happy to open our 2016-2017 Season with this inspiring, heartwarming, and altogether lovely new musical,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “October Sky is a great American story of small-town values and the triumph of the iconoclast. Its beautiful score and music by Michael Mahler are memorable, and Marsha Norman and Aaron Thielen tell a beguiling story. I’m proud to welcome Rachel Rockwell to the Globe with a show I know San Diego audiences will adore.”

Marsha Norman (Book) won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for her play ’night, Mother and a Tony Award for the book to her musical The Secret Garden. Norman’s “Life Long Love” was featured in the Globe’s 2015 world premiere production of In Your Arms. She is Co-Chair, with Christopher Durang, of the Playwriting Program at The Juilliard School, and she teaches musical book-writing at Yale University. Her newest projects include the book for the musical King Kong and a play about trafficking and violence toward women worldwide. She won a Peabody Award for her work in television and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. She won the Margo Jones Award, the Sidney Kingsley Award, the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award in Playwriting, and the Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award. She writes and lectures frequently on playwriting and the musical book. She serves on the board of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a Founder and President of The Lilly Awards Foundation and serves on the Steering Committee of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Aaron Thielen (Book) is the Artistic Director at The Marriott Theatre in Chicago. He has long been an advocate for the creation of new musicals. Along with October Sky the Musical, which premiered at The Marriott Theatre in 2015, he and Michael Mahler wrote the award-winning musical Hero, which was produced at the Marriott and Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. Thielen also adapted the 20th Century Fox film For the Boys. He was one of the creative forces in bringing the 2008 world premiere musical The Bowery Boys to The Marriott Theatre. He co-authored the award-winning All Night Strut!, A Fascinatin’ Rhythm,and Now and Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Marc Robin.

Michael Mahler (Music, Lyrics) is the Chicago-based composer/lyricist of October Sky; Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Hero; Knute Rockne All-American; Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure; How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?; and others. His songs have been featured in concerts and showcases across the globe, including the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals, the ASCAP/MAC Songwriters’ Showcase, and an evening at The Kennedy Center. He contributed additional lyrics to the Broadway-bound revival of Boublil and Schönberg’s Miss Saigon and served as the original English lyricist for La Révolution Française. His projects in development include Gravediggers’ Hamlet and an adaptation of The Secret of My Success. Mahler is also the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work.

Rachel Rockwell (Director, Choreographer) is a multiple award-winning American theatre director, choreographer, and performer. Rockwell was named Best Director of 2010 by Chicago magazine and the 2012 Chicagoan of the Year in theatre by the Chicago Tribune. Some of her Chicago-area credits include Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre, Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production – Musical and Best Choreography), Enron (TimeLine Theatre Company), the world premiere of October Sky the Musical, 42nd Street, Shout!, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Christmas Carol, Disney’s High School Musical, Seussical, and The Wizard of Oz (The Marriott Theatre). Her further Chicago directing credits include Disney’s Mary Poppins, In the Heights, The Music Man, Annie, and Hair (Paramount Theatre); Billy Elliot: The Musical (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography), Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, The Sound of Music (also recorded for the New York Public Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive), Ragtime (Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production – Musical and Best Director – Musical), Oliver!, and Miss Saigon (Drury Lane Theatre); and the U.S. premiere of Ride the Cyclone, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Shrek The Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet, Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). As a performer, Rockwell appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia! and in national tours of Mamma Mia! and Harold Prince’s Showboat.

Universal Stage Productions is the live theatre division of the world-famous motion picture studio. Universal’s record-breaking musical phenomenon Wicked recently celebrated its 12th smash-hit year on Broadway. With a national tour and multiple international productions, Wicked has been seen by more than 42 million people worldwide and has grossed over $4 billion dollars, making it one of the most successful theatrical ventures of all time. In 2008, Universal’s critically acclaimed musical adaptation of Billy Elliot opened on Broadway and went on to win 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Universal also produced the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Bring It On: The Musical and the acclaimed revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and will produce the Broadway premiere of Holiday Inn – The New Irving Berlin Musical at Studio 54 this fall with Roundabout Theatre Company.

October Sky was originally premiered by The Marriott Theatre, August 2015; Terry James, Executive Producer; Aaron Thielen, Artistic Director.

The cast and creative staff for the San Diego premiere will be announced at a later time.

TICKETS to October Sky will initially be available only as part of a Season Package.Subscription prices for the 2016-2017 Season range from $107 to $674 (subject to change). Subscription packages may be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

October Sky is supported in part through gifts from Leading Production Sponsor Gloria Rasmussen and Production Sponsors Valerie and Harry Cooper, Conrad Prebys and Debra Turner, Rhona and Rick Thompson, and Sheryl and Harvey White.

LOCATION and PARKING INFORMATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. 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 ($12), 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/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.

2015-2016 SEASON CALENDAR: Rain (3/24-5/1), Constellations (4/9-5/8), Camp David (5/13-6/19), tokyo fish story (5/28-6/26), Macbeth (6/19-7/24), Sense and Sensibility (7/6-8/14), Meteor Shower (7/30-9/4), Love’s Labor’s Lost (8/14-9/18), October Sky (9/10-10/23).

PHOTO EDITORS: Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available at www.TheOldGlobe.org/pressroom.

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 Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy, 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 education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The 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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