The Ivoryton Playhouse is delighted to welcome Sam Sherwood into the role of Danny during the last week of The Road: My Life With John Denver (April 20 – 24).
This Connecticut premiere event is a celebration of folk musician John Denver’s life and music, including hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.”
John Denver was about more than country music. He had international appeal, and was equally popular with country and pop audiences. In addition to music, he was an activist and humanitarian whose biggest causes were land conservation and environmental awareness. He supported space exploration and was vocal about his stance in music censorship. He was quite an interesting guy!
This show celebrates all that he did, but of course with great music! If you like country music, pop music, or music from the ‘70s, you’ll like this music. His music is refreshingly optimistic, and his influence continues on today.
Featuring versatile musicians David Lutken (Ring of Fire), The Road offers a rare glimpse of the man behind the music and the stories behind the songs.
Generously sponsored by:
Katie Deal* (Singer) Katie is thrilled to be making her Ivoryton debut with her dear friend, David M. Lutken, whom she first met during the world premiere of Back Home Again at the Milwaukee Repertory last fall. Best known for her authentic country sound, Katie regularly performs in touring concerts honoring the greats, I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues: A Salute to Ella, Judy & Patsy; Katie Deal in Today, Tomorrow & Forever: A Tribute to Patsy Cline; and Classic Nashville Roadshow with Jason Petty. Katie frequently performs as a guest vocalist with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra and has recently been featured in Let’s Be Cops (Twentieth Century Fox) and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Sony Pictures). Favorite regional credits: Smokey Joe’s Café (Playhouse on the Square), 9 to 5: The Musical (Springer Opera House), The Spitfire Grill (Wayside Theater), Man of La Mancha (Off Square Theatre), Keep on the Sunny Side (Barter Theatre), and two national tours of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. Katie is proud to be a recent inductee of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, Hall of Honor. www.KatieDeal.com
David M. Lutken* (Danny) is happy to be back at the Ivoryton Playhouse where he co-directed and appeared in ‘Ring of Fire’ and was Musical Director for last season’s ‘Stand By Your Man’. BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind; Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies. NY CITY OPERA: Paul Bunyan. OFF-BROADWAY: Southern Comfort; Stars In Your Eyes; The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show; Winter Man. REGIONAL THEATER (USA): Man of La Mancha; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; Big River; Pump Boys and Dinettes; The Love List; Buddy; Back Home Again; On Golden Pond; The Man Who Came to Dinner; Fire On The Mountain; Stand By Your Man; In The Deep Heart’s Core. LONDON THEATRE: Dark of the Moon; Bonnie and Clyde; A Month in the Country, and his original show: Woody Sez: the Life & Music of Woody Guthrie in its 2011 WEST END debut (nominated for the Evening Standard’s Best Musical award).
Originally from Dallas, Texas, David studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts and, as a boy, at the Royal School of Church Music. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and The 92nd St. Y, across Great Britain and Europe, in China, Israel and the West Bank, with the North Carolina Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and The Louisiana Hayride.
Sam Sherwood* (Danny) Sam’s thrilled to perform at the historic Ivoryton Playhouse after appearing in last year’s Stand By Your Man. Recent credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum; Hank Williams: Lost Highway and Cotton Patch Gospel (Flat Rock Playhouse); Ring of Fire (Various); Titanic (National Tour); The Music Man (National Tour); Pump Boys & Dinettes (Alhambra Theatre); Dream A Little Dream (Phoenix Theatre). Back home in NYC, Sam has performed at Carnegie Hall, 54 Below, Symphony Space, as well as various street corners and subway platforms. www.sherwoodsounds.com
Randal Myler (Author/Director) has received two Tony Award nominations (Best Musical/Best Book of a Musical) and a Drama Desk nomination (Best Musical Revue) for It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, which ran at both Lincoln Center and Broadway’s Ambassador Theatre. Love, Janis, Mr. Myler’s musical biography of Janis Joplin, reached 700 performances at Eric Nederlander’s Village Theater, where he also staged Dream A Little Dream: The Mamas And The Papas Musical with Denny Dougherty. Lost Highway received its premiere at the Tony Award-winning Denver Center Theatre Company and then moved to the Mark Taper Forum, the Old Globe and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Regional directorial credits: Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, New Victory, B.B. King’s in NYC, Geffen Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse, Royal George, Virginia Stage, Missouri Rep, Meadow Brook and Bay Street. A 17-season veteran of the Denver Center, Mr. Myler’s recent projects include Touch The Names: Letters To The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, John Fante’s 1933, the musical version of The Immigrant and the critically acclaimed Cuban-American play Union City, New Jersey, Where Are You?, starring Rosie Perez. His latest work (co-authored with Dan Wheetman) is Fire On The Mountain: The Music Of The Coal Mines, and he recently directed Betty Buckley in the new musical, Diner Stories at the Denver Center.
Dan Wheetman (Author/Music Director) Dan’s first professional theater gig was the Denver Center Theatre tour of Quilters in 1985. This year marks the 30th anniversary of that first job and the start of his artistic collaboration with Randal Myler. He has appeared in productions all over the US as an actor and musician. He’s written several musicals with Randal, including It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, Appalachian Strings, Fire On The Mountain, Mama Hated Diesels, and Low Down Dirty Blues. He has garnered several LA Critics’ Circle awards for Musical Direction and a Tony nomination as a writer for It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues at the Lincoln Center in New York. Along with his theater work Dan toured for eight years in John Denver’s band, has recorded several solo albums and plays in a very eclectic band, Marley’s Ghost.
Directed by: Randal Myler
Musical Director: Dan Wheetman
Stage Manager: Laura Lynne Knowles*
Scenic Designer: Daniel Nischan
Lighting Designer: Tate Burmeister
Sound Designer: Tate Burmeister
Costume Designer: Vickie Blake
* member of Actors Equity
Join us for an opening night reception with the cast following the performance on Friday, April 8th. Light refreshments will be served.
Check back here for press releases, photos and video clips!
East coast Premiere of brand new musical The Road: My Life with John Denver
at the Ivoryton Playhouse
Ivoryton – This Connecticut premiere event is a captivating celebration of the life and music of folk musician John Denver, including hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.” John Denver was about more than country music. He had enormous international appeal, and was equally popular with country and pop audiences. In addition to music, he was an activist and humanitarian whose biggest causes were land conservation and environmental awareness. He supported space exploration and was vocal about his stance in music censorship. He was quite an interesting guy!
Featuring versatile musicians David Lutken (Ring of Fire), and Katie Deal – who have been with the show since its original production as Back Home Again at Milwaukee Rep – they present an unvarnished rendition of Denver’s music with gorgeous harmonies, solid musicianship and honest to goodness talent.
Created and directed by collaborators Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, this production does not offer a standard biography of Denver. Instead, Wheetman presents his own story, as a musician who’d known Denver as an Aspen neighbor before touring with him for eight years. As embodied by Lutken, Wheetman’s story sheds light on Denver’s own, with parallels including a love for Colorado, the hardships of life on the road and the consequent toll on marriages. But as Denver once sang, in another song included in this show, it’s his guitar that gave him his life, his living, and “all the things you know I love to do.” Focused on that guitar, “Back Home Again” movingly captures what those things were and why Denver’s music still matters.
Directed by two time Tony award nominee, Randal Myler and Musical Directed by Dan Wheetman, the set is designed by Dan Nischan, lights by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Vickie Blake.
The Road: My Life with John Denver opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 6th and runs through April 24th, 2016. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.
Tickets are $44 for adults; $39 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
*denotes member of Actors Equity
Members of the press are welcome at any performance. Please call ahead for tickets.
Generously sponsored by:
Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!
Did You Know
John Denver’s generosity of spirit colored his music with a pure, simple grace, casting a spell that crossed the barriers of age, economics, geography, language and politics.
He was a rare combination – a gifted performer and an extraordinary man who utilized his success to give greater visibility to the many causes that he championed. He was a founder of The Hunger Project, an organization committed to the sustainable end of chronic hunger, he co-founded The Windstar Foundation, a non-profit environmental education and research center and established "Plant-It 2020,” an environmental foundation that urges people all over the world to plant as many indigenous trees as possible. The powers of his artistry and world vision continue to touch people all over the world.