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October Sky

September 10 – October 23

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

Photo Credits

The cast of October Sky. Photo by Jim Cox.

October Sky


October Sky

Book by Brian Hill and Aaron Thielen
Music and Lyrics by Michael Mahler
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Inspired by the Universal Pictures film and Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam,  Jr.

"A sumptuous production of an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. October Sky feels good all over!" —Talkin' Broadway

The beloved film is now a triumphant new American musical that will send your heart soaring and inspire your whole family to reach for the stars! In the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia, every young man’s future is in the coal mines, but after the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the world’s race to space inspires local highschooler Homer Hickam to dream of a different life. Against the wishes of his practical-minded father, he sets out on an unlikely quest to build his own rockets and light up the night sky. October Sky is an uplifting musical portrait of small-town Americana packed with youthful exuberance, and a sweeping, unforgettable new score.

Leading Season Sponsors
Darlene Marcos Shiley and Gloria Rasmussen

Season Sponsors
Valerie and Harry Cooper, Conrad Prebys and Debra Turner, Karen and Stuart Tanz, Rhona and Rick Thompson, ViaSat, and Sheryl and Harvey White

Artist Sponsors for Kyle Selig (Homer Hickam): Lynne and Steve Wheeler


Program                 Song List

Cast and Creative


Brian Hill (Book) is best known for The Story of My Life, which premiered at Broadway’s Booth Theatre in 2009, earning four Drama Desk Award nominations (Outstanding Musical, Music, Lyrics, and Book of a Musical), as well as the newly revised book for Goodman Theatre’s acclaimed production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic Brigadoon. He was resident director of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, associate director of The Little Mermaid,and associate director for the national tours of Sunset Boulevard and The Sound of Music. Working with composer/lyricist Neil Bartram he has written the book for The Adventures of Pinocchio; The Theory of Relativity, which premiered in London in 2015; the English language adaptation of Belles Soeurs, based on Michel Tremblay’s groundbreaking play; and Broadway’s The Story of My Life. Current Bartram and Hill projects include Senza Luce, commissioned by the Canadian Music Theatre Project; You Are Here, co-commissioned by Acting Up Stage and Signature Theatre Company; Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which is being developed with Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and a musical adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. The cast recordings of The Story of My Life and The Theory of Relativity are available on the PS Classics label. bartramandhill.com.

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, 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. Mr. 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 and Lyrics) is the Chicago-based composer/lyricist of October Sky; Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical; 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. Mr. Mahler is the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work and is married to actress Dara Cameron. michaelmahler.com.

Rachel Rockwell (Director and Choreographer) is pleased to be making her Old Globe debut. A resident of Chicago, some of her credits include the world premiere of Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical (Children’s Theatre Company), the U.S. premiere of Ride the Cyclone (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre, Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography), Enron (TimeLine Theatre Company), and the world premiere of October Sky (The Marriott Theatre). Her further Chicago-area credits include 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), Mary Poppins, In the Heights, The Music Man, Annie, and Hair (Paramount Theatre), and The Little Mermaid, Shrek The Musical, 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). Ms. Rockwell was named Best Director of 2010 by Chicago magazine and the 2012 Chicagoan of the Year in theatre by the Chicago Tribune.

Kevin Depinet (Scenic Design) designed Sense and Sensibility at The Old Globe this summer. He has designed for Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, McCarter Theatre Center, Court Theatre, Writers Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Glimmerglass Opera, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, American Players Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and Mark Taper Forum. His Broadway credits include associate designer for August: Osage County, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, and Of Mice and Men. His national tour credits include Camelot and Ragtime. Mr. Depinet has also designed for the National Theatre in London, Discovery Channel, Netflix, 21st Century Fox, and Disney. Kevindepinetstudio.com.

Linda Cho (Costume Design) is thrilled to be returning to The Old Globe, where she most recently designed last year’s The Comedy of Errors. This is her 15th show here since 2002. Her work was seen on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for which she received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and a Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Musical. Off Broadway she has designed at Theatre for a New Audience, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theatre, The Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, Drama Dept., The Acting Company, and Atlantic Theater Company. Regionally her designs have been seen at LA Opera, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Goodspeed Musicals, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Internationally, Ms. Cho has designed costumes at Royal Shakespeare Company in England and Stratford Festival in Canada. She received her M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Drama.

Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design) previously designed the Globe productions of Bright Star, Bethany, The Rainmaker, and August: Osage County. His recent Broadway projects include Bright Star, Sylvia, and Old Times. His other Broadway credits include The Visit and Airline Highway (2015 Tony Award nominations), Of Mice and Men (2014 Tony nomination), Macbeth (Drama Desk Award nomination), The Snow Geese, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Nance (2013 Tony nomination). His other regional credits include American Conservatory Theater, Arena Stage, Alley Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Huntington Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Santa Fe Opera, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Internationally, Mr. Weideman has designed at Edinburgh International Festival, London’s West End, Royal Shakespeare Company, Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, Greece, National Theater of Korea, La Scala in Milan, Opéra de Lyon, and De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam. His awards and nominations for lighting design include Tony, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Hewes Design, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and San Diego Craig Noel Awards.

Garth Helm (Sound Design) designed the Broadway and first national tour productions of Pippin (2013 Tony Award nomination for Best Sound Design of a Musical). He also designed the first national tour of The Heart of Robin Hood. He was the associate sound designer for Rocky (Broadway 2014), We Will Rock You (national tour 2013–2014, São Paulo 2015–2016), Ghost The Musical (Broadway, first national tour, South Korea), Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary (London’s O2 Arena, first national anniversary tour), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Toronto, Broadway, first national tour), Dirty Dancing (U.S.), Phantom (Las Vegas), and The Phantom of the Opera, for which he is the current sound supervisor (Broadway). His regional designs include Brigadoon, Beauty and the Beast, Billy Elliot: The Musical, Barry Manilow’s Could It Be Magic, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Evita, Oliver!, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Shrek The Musical, The Sound of Music, The Most Happy Fella, West Side Story, and Xanadu. Mr. Helm is also a sound design consultant for various live theatre and performance venues, and he is the owner of Production Sound Services.

Shawn Sagady (Projection Design) has designed the Broadway productions of All The Way (Drama Desk Award nomination, Tony Award for Best Play), Leap of Faith, Memphis (Tony Award for Best Musical). His Off Broadway and regional credits include stop. reset., Mound Builders, and Emotional Creature (Signature Theatre Company), By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Second Stage Theatre), Father Comes Home from the War (The Public Theater), Memphis and Julius Caesar (national tours), The White Snake and Back Back Back (The Old Globe), Overt Political Correctness (American Repertory Theater), 2666, Brigadoon (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination), and The White Snake (Jeff nomination) (Goodman Theatre), Fingersmith, The Great Society, A Wrinkle in Time, Measure for Measure, and American Night: The Ballad of Juan José (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Carmen (La Jolla Playhouse).He also served as Director of Photography for the film project 100 Monologues.

Bruce Coughlin (Orchestrations) has several Broadway credits to his name including The Wild Party, The Light in the Piazza (co-orchestrator, Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Urinetown, Grey Gardens, 9 to 5, Annie Get Your Gun, The Sound of Music, Once Upon a Mattress, and the 1996 revival of The King and I; plus additional/contributing orchestrations for Big Fish, On the Twentieth Century, Something Rotten!, and On the Town. His New York and regional credits include War Paint (Goodman Theatre), First Daughter Suite (co-orchestrator), Giant, See What I Wanna See, the recent London revivals of Assassins and Urinetown, Amélie, Floyd Collins, Children of Eden, and Finding Neverland (U.K. version), as well as Rain, Sense and Sensibility, and A Room with a View (The Old Globe), Tales of the City (American Conservatory Theater), and Far from Heaven (Playwrights Horizons). His opera credits include The Grapes of Wrath, 27, and Morning Star, all by Ricky Ian Gordon. His film credits include Hairspray (“Miss Baltimore Crabs”) and Fantasia 2000 (principal arranger). He is the winner of a Tony Award (and two additional nominations), Drama Desk Award (and eight nominations), and an Obie Award. brucecoughlin.com.

Charlie Alterman (Music Director) was music director for the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin as well as the Broadway productions of Next to Normal and Godspell. He made his Broadway debut in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me (as both music director and standby for several roles). He will return to Broadway as music director of Half Time this spring, which played Chicago last winter as Gotta Dance. He has toured with Grease and served as music supervisor for the North American tour of Next to Normal. His Off Broadway favorites include Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver and Silence! The Musical. His regional work includes shows at The Muny, American Repertory Theater, Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Company, and nine seasons with Williamstown Theatre Festival. Mr. Alterman’s concert appearances include shows with Brooke Shields, Frankie Avalon, Dana Reeve, Emily Skinner, Billy Porter, Carol Woods, and Ken Page.

Markus Maurette (Special Effects Design) is currently the special effects designer for The Illusionists: Turn of the Century, which also played on Broadway. He has designed special effects systems for Cirque du Soleil, Productions du Dragone, “America’s Got Talent,” the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, 2006 Asian Games, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” and others. His Broadway design collaborations with JMFX include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine, Into the Woods, Henry IV, 45 Seconds to Broadway, Man of La Mancha, Aida, Sinatra, and others. Mr. Maurette’s general production credits include “Saturday Night Live,” “Conan,” “All My Children,” “Survivor,” Victoria’s Secret, Louis Vuitton, Shape, Coach, The Public Theater’s New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Theatre for a New Audience, New York Theatre Workshop, Asia Society, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Dublin Theatre Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Odyssey Theatre, Portland Repertory Theatre, Northwest Childrens Theater, Studio Concepts, Stark Raving Theatre, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and others. His recent art department television credits include “The Knick,” “The Blacklist,” “The OA,” “Billions,” and “Falling Water.” ARTFX23.com.

Courtney Cerny (Assistant Director and Associate Choreographer) is positively delighted to be working for The Old Globe. Her choreography credits include Brigadoon and Peter Pan (Alluvion Stage Company), The Phantom of the Opera (Liberty University), and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas as assistant choreographer (Drury Lane Theatre). Ms. Cerny’s Chicago performance credits include Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre), Hazel (including dance captain), West Side Story, Billy Elliot: The Musical, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Drury Lane Theatre), and Oklahoma!, Mary Poppins, and In the Heights (Paramount Theatre). In the Midwest region, she has performed in Footloose, Annie Get Your Gun, Fireside Christmas, and Hello, Dolly! (The Fireside Dinner Theatre)and The Music Man (Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre). Ms. Cerny received her B.A. in Theatre Arts Performance from Liberty University.

Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting) cast the Broadway and national tour productions of Bright Star, Next Fall (2010 Artios Award nomination), The Seafarer, Coram Boy, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Dirty Dancing, and South Pacific. His Off Broadway and regional productions include Bright Star (The Old Globe, 2015 Artios nomination), The Pipeline Festival (Women’s Project Theater), Atomic and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party (Acorn Theater), Marry Harry (American Theater Group), Dangerous Beauty (Pasadena Playhouse), Next Fall (Naked Angels), Fault Lines (Cherry Lane Theatre, 2009 Artios Award), The Glorious Ones (Lincoln Center Theater), This Isn’t Romance (Soho Theatre), Rock Doves (Irish Arts Center), The Opposite of Sex (Magic Theatre), Flight (Lucille Lortel Theatre), In This House (Melting Pot), and This is Our Youth. Additionally, Mr. Cherpakov has cast over 65 new plays and musicals for the Powerhouse Theater season at New York Stage and Film. hccasting.com.

Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager) previously worked on the Globe productions of Kiss Me, Kate, The Twenty-seventh Man, Bright Star, Dog and Pony, The Winter’s Tale, Be a Good Little Widow, Allegiance – A New American Musical, A Room with a View, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show, The Savannah Disputation, Cornelia, Kingdom,and the 2007 Shakespeare Festival. Her 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. 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 toured to the International Hungarian Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania. Ms. Nero was most recently on Broadway with Bright Star.

Amanda Salmons (Assistant Stage Manager) has previously worked at The Old Globe on 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), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Somewhere, Lost in Yonkers, I 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 Run, The Music Man,and The Rivalry (Lamb’s Players Theatre), The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, Candide, and Trial by Jury (Lyric Opera San Diego), and SummerFest (La Jolla Music Society). Ms. Salmons holds a B.A. in Theatre from UC San Diego.

Kendra Stockton (Assistant Stage Manager) previously worked at The Old Globe as an assistant stage manager on Bright Star and Dog and Pony as well as a production assistant on The Few and the 2013 Shakespeare Festival. She also recently assistant stage managed La Jolla Playhouse’s productions of Guards at the Taj, The Orphan of Zhao,and The Who and the What. Her additional production assistant credits include Sideways, A Lonely Boy’s Guide to Survival (And Werewolves), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Memphis (La Jolla Playhouse) as well as Godspell and Memphis (Broadway).

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 they will produce the Broadway premiere of Holiday Inn – The New Irving Berlin Musical at Studio 54 this fall with Roundabout Theatre Company.

Music Director, Conductor, Keyboard
Charlie Alterman
Associate Music Director
Joey Joseph
Violin, Concertmaster
Healy Henderson
Travis Maril
Erica Erenyi
Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano and Baritone Sax, Oboe
John Reilly
Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Banjo, Dobro, Mandolin
Justin Rothberg
Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin
Vince Cooper
Acoustic and Electric Basses
Ken Dow
Drums, Percussion
Tim McMahon


Post-Show Forums

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast members. Get the "inside story" on creating a character and putting together a professional production. Post-show forums are scheduled after select Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Tuesday, September 27

Tuesday, October 4

Wednesday, October 5


Subject Matters

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! Subject Matters discussions follow select Saturday matinee performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Saturday, October 8


October Sky flies high!” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“A great story of individualism, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit!” —Forbes

“Sensational! One of the best shows I’ve seen by The Old Globe.” —La Jolla Light

“A sumptuous production of an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. October Sky feels good all over!” —Talkin’ Broadway

“It’s the kind of toe-tapping, spirit-lifting, family-friendly musical that we remember from the Golden Age of Broadway.  Bring any young dreamers in your life to the Old Globe. October Sky will inspire them to work harder, keep trying, and reach for the stars.” —San Diego Jewish World

“Sincere and beautifully mounted! Directed on a grand scale, and on a spectacular set.” —San Diego CityBeat

“A Knockout Staging! This terrific tale is better than the acclaimed movie.” —KSDS Jazz 88

“A splendid musical production, brilliantly directed and choreographed. This sparkling musical just blows the socks off the audience.  Don’t miss it!” —Desert Local News