was born in Brooklyn on September 26, 1898. At 16 he quit high school to work as a “song plugger” for a music publisher, and soon he was writing songs himself. “Swanee” (lyrics by Irving Caesar), as performed by Al Jolson, brought George his first real fame and led to his writing a succession of 22 musical comedies, most with lyrics by his older brother, Ira. The Gershwins’ shows include Lady Be Good! (1924), Fred and Adele Astaire’s first Broadway hit; Oh Kay! (1926); Girl Crazy (1930); a political trilogy, Strike Up The Band (1927; revised 1930); Of Thee I Sing (1931; the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize) and Let ‘Em Eat Cake (1933). With Ira, George also wrote four film scores, including Shall We Dance (1937) for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In the late twenties George read DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy, and immediately saw it as the basis of an opera using jazz and blues idioms. Porgy and Bess, with a libretto by Heyward and lyrics by Heyward and Ira, opened in New York in October 1935. Besides writing for the theater and films, George was a composer of major concert hall works including Rhapsody In Blue, Concerto in F, An American in Paris, Second Rhapsody and Three Preludes For Piano. George died suddenly of a brain tumor on July 11, 1937, when he was not quite 39.
the first songwriter to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, was born in New York City, 1896. In 1917, The Evening Sun published his first song lyric (“You May Throw All The Rice You Desire, But Please Friends, Throw No Shoes”). In 1924, Ira and his brother, George, created the smash hit, Lady, Be Good!, and went on to continue their remarkable collaboration through a dozen stage scores and four film scores, producing such standards as “Fascinating Rhythm,” “The Man I Love,” “S Wonderful,” “Embraceable You,” “I Got Rhythm,” “But Not For Me,” “A Foggy Day,” “Love Is Here To Stay,” and others far to numerous to mention. Ira was proudest of his lyrics to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Of Thee I Sing (1931), the middle work of a trilogy of satiric operettas written which also included Strike Up The Band (1927; revised 1930) and Let ‘Em Eat Cake (1933). During his long career, Ira also enjoyed productive collaborations with such composers as Harold Arlen (“The Man That Got Away”), Vernon Duke (“I Can’t Get Started”), Kurt Weill (Lady In The Dark), Burton Lane and Jerome Kern, with whom he created his greatest song hit of any one year (“Long Ago and Far Away”). Ira Gershwin died on August 17, 1983, in Beverly Hills, California, at age 86.
the prolific American playwright, director, screenwriter and newspaper columnist, was born in 1889. Along with such celebrities as Dorothy Parker, Ring Lardner and Robert Benchley, he was one of the famous participants in the Algonquin Round Table. He was author of such Broadway plays as Merton of the Movies, Dulcy, The Coconuts (starring the Marx Brothers) and a musical, Be Yourself (with some songs by Ira Gershwin.) After writing Strike Up The Band with the Gershwins in 1927, he went on to write the Marx Brothers’ films Animal Crackers and A Night At The Opera. On his revision of Strike Up The Band in 1930 and for two more political operettas with the Gershwins, Of Thee I Sing and Let ‘Em Eat Cake, he collaborated with Morrie Ryskind. Other books for musicals include The Band Wagon (1931) and I’d Rather Be Right (1937). His Broadway hit Dinner at Eight (co-written with Edna Ferber) was made into a now-classic movie. Forty-eight movies have been made from plays he wrote or directed, including You Can’t Take It With You, The Man Who Came To Dinner and The Solid Gold Cadillac. His last contribution to Broadway was the book for the 1955 musical Silk Stockings, with music by Cole Porter. He died in 1961.
like his collaborator George S. Kaufman, was a newspaper columnist as well as a playwright. He was born in 1895, in New York City. He wrote sketches and lyrics for the first Garrick Gaieties, a famous series of revues of the twenties, and co-wrote five plays and one film. With George S. Kaufman, he rewrote the book for the revival of Strike Up The Band. His familiarity with wartime hysteria qualified him for the job: he had been expelled from Columbia for writing anti-war articles for the school paper (the U.S. entered the First World War that spring). He went on to write the screenplays for such classic films as My Man Godfrey and A Night At The Opera (with Kaufman). He also wrote the screenplay for the Ira Gershwin-Kurt Weill movie musical Where Do We Go From Here? in 1945. Ryskind was the most overtly and combatively political of Kaufman's co-authors; ironically, he ended his writing career as a vehemently right-wing political columnist.
is a full-time faculty member of the Graduate Acting Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to that, he worked as Associate Artistic Director at Arena Stage in Washington, DC for seven seasons. There he organized George S. Kaufman's centennial celebration, "Kaufmania" and directed concert versions of Kaufman's Let 'Em Eat Cake and I'd Rather Be Right. With Rob Fisher, he put together the concert Mr. Gershwin Goes To Washington for Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall for Ira Gershwin's centennial, as well as providing the concert adaptation for the Chicago Humanities Festival this month. He has written about Kaufman, the Gershwins, and theater of the 1930's for American Theatre, Stagebill, Show Music, the American National Biography, and the Cambridge Guide to the American Theatre. His chapter on the history of Broadway for the three-volume Cambridge Guide to the American Theatre will be published by the Cambridge University Press in the spring of 1999. In addition, he has translated or adapted over 15 plays and directed more than fifty plays. He has his B.A. from Brown in Theatre Arts, and his Masters from Stanford in Directing and Dramatic Criticism.
has directed over 35 feature and television films including Grace & Glorie starring Gena Rowlands and Diane Lane, The Summer of Ben Tyler starring James Woods and Elizabeth McGovern, Harvest of Fire starring Patty Duke and Lolita Davidovick (all for Hallmark Hal of Fame), Miracle in the Woods starring Della Reese and Meredith Baxter, A Friendship in Vienna with Jane Alexander and Ed Asner, Body Language with Heather Locklear, Poker Alice with Elizabeth Taylor and The Kid Who Loved Christmas with Vanessa Williams and Sammy David, Jr. His feature films include The Caller, Rescue Me, Children of Rage, and Echoes. He is currently directing Walking Across Egypt with Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Ellen Burstyn. Mr. Seidelman has directed more than twenty Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carre, Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing, and the New York City Opera's highly successful revival of The Most Happy Fella. His regional theater credits include Richard Alfieri's The Sisters at the Pasadena Playhouse and Santa Barbara's Hatlen Theater, Gypsy Princess for Opera Pacific, The Threepenny Opera, Stop the World..., Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, Irma La Douce, and The Glass Menagerie. He has two Emmys, five Emmy nominations, Peabody, Christopher, Humanitas, and Obie Awards, the Grand Prize from the New York Film and Television Festival, and a Drama Desk Award nomination.
was orchestrator/conductor on Broadway for Noel Coward's Sail Away and Richard Rodgers' No Strings. He created orchestrations for Jule Stein's Hallelujah Baby and more recently Tommy Tune's Grand Hotel. On records Matz has arranged, conducted, and produced albums for Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick, Melissa Manchester, Kiri te Kanawa, Nancy LaMott, Barbara Streisand, and most recently he arranged Barbara Cook's recording of songs with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. On TV Peter was arranger/conductor for Carol Burnett's long-running series, and composed scores for feature films (Sidney Lumet's Bye Bye Braverman is still Matz' favorite). Peter and his wife actress/singer/psychotherapist, Marilynn Lovell are active fund-raisers fo APLA, Shanti Foundation, Aid for AIDS, and other local AIDS organizatons, as well as the GMHC in New York.
As a youngster, Rob worked with Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Danny Thomas, Loretta Young, and was a member of the Louie DaPron Junior Dancers. Rob won a Drama-Logue for performance as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, one for choreography for George M. and No No Nanette, and two awards for best direction and choreography for Singin' In The Rain. In the past few years, Rob has been commuting to Bogota, Columbia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, to direct and choreograph Cabaret, Sugar, Molly Brown, Peter Pan, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and La Cage and to stage and direct Christmas Spectaculars with 100 of Columbia's most talented children. Currently running is a production of Showboat Rob directed and choreographed for Fullerton Civic Light Opera.
This is Mr. Wissmann's first design for REPRISE! He has designed eighteen productions for The Pasadena Playhouse. He has also designed scenery for the La Mirada Performing Arts Center, The Westwood Playhouse, South Bay Civic Light Opera, The Tiffany, The Colony, The Odyssey, The Beverly Hills Playhouse, The Ivy Substation, The Matrix and Coconut Playhouse, Florida. He has also worked as Set Designer for the Rogue Music Theatre, Oregon, and is the Resident Set Designer for The Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara. He has received numerous Drama-Logue Awards and the NAACP Theatre Award for Set Design for the musical Sisterella. He resides in Pasadena with his wife Shelley, and their co-designs, Michael and Joanna.
has enjoyed creating lighting for many varied productions and architectural spaces. Tom designed Finian's Rainbow for REPRISE! last season. He has created lighting designs for over seventy productions at South Coast Repertory Theatre and at the Mark Taper Forum including Children of a Lesser God, Julius Ceasar and A Christmas Carol. Other noted productions include The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies and Forbidden Hollywood. At Universal Studios his designs include Backdraft, Earthquake and Back to the Future. His lighting can also be seen at Boomtown Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, MGM Grand Hotel, Sam’s Town Casino Resort and theme parks in Japan, Korea, Australia and Germany. His architectural lighting can be seen at Santa Monica Place, South Coast Plaza Mall, Orange County Performing Arts Center, The Los Angeles Music Center and many shopping malls, restaurants, churches and residences. Other professional associations include the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Theatre, International City Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Sacramento Music Theatre. Mr. Ruzika is a member of the Design Faculty at UC Irvine.
is no stranger to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, having designed, coordinated, and styled over 250 stage productions since moving to Los Angeles in 1977. Among his favorite stage designs are the West Coast and National Tours of Steel Magnolias, A Woman of Independent Means, the National and International Tours of Gertrude Stein..., and the Long Beach Civic Light Opera production of Chicago which was the catalyst for the Broadway hit today. When not designing for the stage he is kept busy designig costumes for television and especially big events. He has designed or supervised the costumes for over 110 television productions including The Young and The Restless, Kids/Incorporated, the 1991 and 1995 Special Olympics opening ceremonies, the 1994 World Cup opening and closing ceremonies, seven Super Bowl Halftime Extravaganzas since 1990, and the 1996 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies for NBC. For his design work he has received three Emmy nominations, two Cable Ace nominations, four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nominations (winning in 1980), twenty-one Drama-Logue Awards, the 1992 and 1993 NAACP Theatre Award, and the LA Weekly Career Achievement Award. He and his design studio DO RAGS DESIGNS are based in North Hollywood, CA.
currently the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre's resident sound designer, has been herad on and off Broadway, most recently with Terrence McNally's Tony Award winning Master Class, starring Zoe Caldwell, Patti Lupone, Dixie Carter, and now Faye Dunaway in the national tour and Bermuda Avenue Triangle off Broadway with Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna. He designed the sound for all three REPRISE! productions last season and looks forward to doing the same this season. For the Taper his recent designs include Gross Indecency, Neat, Room Service, Nine Armenians, Master Class for which he received an L.A. Theatre Ovation Award, and Blade to the Heat for which he received his seventh Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award. Other recent designs include The Heiress and Candide at The Ahmanson Theatre; The Old Settler and Moon Over Buffalo at the Pasadena Playhouse; and at the Geffen Playhouse Four Dogs and a Bone, under the direction of Lawrence Kasdan. Jon has received seven LADCC Awards, Career Achievement Awards from The Los Angeles Theatre Alliance, the L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and was recently presented with the Distinguished Artist Award from the Los Angeles Music Center Club 100. He currently heads the sound design program at California Institute of the Arts and has been a member of the teaching faculty at both USC and the UCLA Schools of Theatre, and for Disney Imagineering, he created original sound effects and design for two attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida.
has designed over 70 theatrical shows, including the premiere season of RERISE! Other design work includes Forbidden Hollywood at the Coronet Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Picnic for Denver's Arvada Center for the Arts, Forever Plaid, Blues in the Night, and Sweet & Hot at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, The King and I, South Pacific, Company, and Into the Woods for the Long Beach Civic Light Opera. As a mixer he recently finished two national touring productions, Man of La Mancha, with Robert Goulet, and Ain't Misbehavin' starring The Pointer Sisters, as well as the gala production of Saturday Night at the Summit attended by Bill Clinton and the leaders of the G-7 countries, which featured performances by Michael Bolton, Amy Grant, Crystal Gayle, Chuck Berry, Kool and the Gang, and Ronnie Spector. His theatrical work has earned him five LA Drama-Logue Award for outstanding Achievement in Sound Design, and an Ovation Award nomination for Best Sound Design in a Large Musical.