Randall Hartzog, Director of Marketing and Communications at Theatre Memphis, has released the following announcement.
“The Boy from Oz opens March 6 and runs through March 29, 2015, on the Lohrey Stage at Theatre Memphis. Touted as one of the national premieres on its return to the United States, this “life of” musical tells the story of Peter Allen’s rise from an intro act for Judy Garland, to his marriage to her daughter, Liza Minnelli, through his triumph as an Oscar-winning song writer and Radio City Music Hall concert star and his untimely death. Featuring the original songs made popular in night clubs and on tours, memorable hits as “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “Love Don’t Need a Reason,” “Everything Old is New Again” and “I Go to Rio” are included In this all out extravaganza.
As guest artist at Theatre Memphis in the lead role of Australian Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz, Josh Walden lives up to the challenge of portraying one of the most energetic and prolific songwriters and performers of the modern era. His talents extend to both sides of the boards in that he directs and produces for theatre, as well. His production as director of TM’s A Chorus Line in 2013 led to a partnership that set him on a path that brought him back to Memphis to perform on the Lohrey Stage in his own right. Walden returns to Theatre Memphis with open arms and is happy to be on the boards this time. He says, “I love watching the company perform … I’m just so impressed by this community of artists who live completely different lives by day and then shed all their cares to sell this show at night. They truly inspire me to be better. I love Theatre Memphis. There is such joy around the theatre. Everyone is proud of the work and strives towards excellence in all departments.”
Besides his accomplishments in singing and acting, his dancing skills pushed him to create his own company, Walden Dance Theatre, which according to Walden, “couples the technical skills of dancing with the tools of the acting world to create a highly charged theatrical setting while exploring the power of being still.” However, not one to stand still, he also created the film company Walza Productions in 2012 and has already had a film accepted into the New York City Independent Film Festival and the Big Apple Film Festival. An author of a children’s book and an entrepreneur in event planning and publishing, Walden spends most of his time in the theater having performed in national tours and Off-Broadway and regional theater venues. His Broadway credits include 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles and A Chorus Line.
Jerry Chipman directs his first musical with this production of The Boy from Oz. Having directed a fair amount of comedies and dramas he says, “I saw this show as a drama with production numbers. The biggest difference has been the shared vision.” Chipman adds, “When I signed on to direct I told executive producer Debbie Litch to line up the best musical director and choreographer so they could make a novice ‘look good’. Gary Beard (musical director) and Jared Johnson (choreographer) are an amazing duo. I’ve been amazed by their tireless enthusiasm for getting each number exactly right.”
Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch (who is performing in this production as the legendary Judy Garland) sings not only Walden’s praises, but also the talents of the totally committed cast. “There is no way we can do a show of this magnitude without the talent and dedication of our volunteer performers,” she remarks. “For them to be able to do this type of musical is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And to experience it with a seasoned professional like Josh only elevates the experience for them and the audience.” Chipman supports that thought, “ Josh brings exactly the essential elements: a great sense of showmanship supported by boundless energy and a strong vocal and dancing talent.”
Show times are Thursdays @ 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm with matinees @ 2pm on Sundays. Adult tickets are $30 adults, students are $15 with valid ID. They can be purchased at the Theatre Memphis Website or at (901)682-8323. Theatre Memphis on the Lohrey Stage is located at 630 Perkins Ext, Memphis, Tennessee 38117.
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