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July 6 – August 11, 2019
(Opening night: Saturday, July 13)
Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center
Book, music, and lyrics by PigPen Theatre Co.
Based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo and the Universal Pictures animated film
Directed by Marc Bruni and PigPen Theatre Co.
The acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co. charmed and astonished Old Globe audiences with The Old Man and The Old Moon. Now they return to San Diego, bringing their one-of-a-kind theatrical and musical inventiveness to Kate DiCamillo’s beloved, Newbery Medal–winning modern fable. Despereaux is a courageous mouse who dreams of becoming a knight. He sets off on a noble quest that will take him down into dungeons and up to the heights of a castle tower to rescue a beautiful human princess—but the dark-hearted rat Roscuro has other ideas. The Boston Herald proclaims, “PigPen Theatre Co. is already a phenomenon,” while The New Yorker says, “It’s like watching child geniuses at play!” Full of gorgeous music, stunning stage effects, witty performances, and a message of optimism and community, The Tale of Despereaux is an inspiring and beguiling story for all ages.
PigPen Theatre Co. (Book, Music, Lyrics, Co-Directors, The Tale of Despereaux)began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama in 2007. They have since produced their original plays in New York City and toured the country, earning them Critic’s Picks from The New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Boston Globe, and many more, and ranking them in the top 10 theatrical events of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. They were the first group to win the New York International Fringe Festival’s top honor for a play two years in a row (2010 and 2011), and they have since gone on to win IRNE (2012, 2015) and Joseph Jefferson Awards (2014) for their theatrical productions. In 2016, Sir Trevor Nunn invited PigPen to be a part of his first American acting company for a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles. PigPen’s debut album, Bremen, was named No. 10 album of the year in The Huffington Post’s 2012 Grammy Awards preview, sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, The Way I’m Running, in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schubas Tavern in Chicago. In 2015, PigPen released their sophomore album, Whole Sun; performed at Mumford & Sons’s return to the Gentlemen of the Road festival; and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep. In 2018, PigPen announced that they are creating two stage musicals based on beloved novels: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (in partnership with Universal Theatrical Group) and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (in collaboration with Rick Elice).
Marc Bruni (Co-Director, The Tale of Despereaux) is currently represented on Broadway and U.S. tour with the Tony, Olivier, and Grammy Award–winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. He won the Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Musical for its Australian production, and the show has also played the West End, U.K. tour, and Japan. His other credits include Off Broadway’s long-running Old Jews Telling Jokes (New York and Chicago; Joseph Jefferson Award nomination), Paint Your Wagon, Pipe Dream, Fanny, and Hey, Look Me Over! (City Center Encores!), Roman Holiday (Golden Gate Theatre), Trevor (Writers Theatre; Jeff Award nomination), The Explorers Club (Manhattan Theatre Club), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The Kennedy Center), The Sound of Music (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Other People’s Money (Long Wharf Theatre; Connecticut Critics Circle Award nomination), Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage Company), and Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre Company). He has directed nine musicals for The Muny in St. Louis, most recently My Fair Lady and Singin’ in the Rain, and has twice been nominated for Kevin Kline Awards. He also won the New York Musical Festival Award for his direction of Such Good Friends. He is a proud member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and a graduate of Dartmouth College.