Orlando Shakes announces cast for ‘Chaps’

Orlando Shakespeare Theater has announced what sounds like a pretty swell cast for its peculiarly named Christmas show.

Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas will feature Michael Edwards, Philip Nolen, Melissa Mason, Brandon Roberts, Michael Gill and Mark Whitten. (That’s Gill and Mason on the left.)

Here’s the official word:

Music, laughter, and holiday cheer abound in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of ‘Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas,’ running December 1 – 26.

Just in time for the holiday season, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF presents Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas, a rousing, rowdy, family-friendly musical comedy that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit!

It’s 1944, years into World War II and the heyday of singing cowboys on radio and the silver screen. America’s favorite singing cowboy Tex Riley and his troupe are late for a special Christmas Eve broadcast at the BBC in London. Out of desperation, Mabel, their tour manager, and Miles, the frantic young producer, grab anyone  – a snobby announcer, an amiable sound man, a passing soap opera actor – slap them into costume, hand them scripts and shove them in front of the studio audience. The resulting performance is one that England will never forget! Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas features many famous cowboy tunes including, “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds, ” “Cool Water,” “Gunslinger,” and  “Ride, Cowboy, Ride.”

“Gene Autry and Roy Rogers were both enormously popular American western stars of yesteryear,” said Patrick Flick, director of Chaps! “They sang us songs, made us laugh, and taught an entire generation about justice, courage, and honor – virtues that also embodied the Allied forces fighting for our freedom. That’s the heart of this comedy.”

Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas begins previews on Wednesday, December 1, opens officially Friday, December 3 and runs through Sunday, December 26 in the Margeson Theater.

The six-person cast includes several familiar faces, as well as performers new to Orlando Shakes audiences, including: Michael Edwards (Clive Cooper), Philip Nolen (Leslie Briggs Stratton), Mark Whitten (Miles Shadwell), Michael Gill (Archie Leitch), Melissa Mason (Mabel Carter), and Brandon Roberts (Stan).

An experienced production team joins the cast including Director Patrick Flick, Music Director Dan Flick, Scenic Designer Bert Scott, Costume Designer Mel Barger, Lighting Designer Mary Heffernan, and Sound Designer Britt Sandusky.

MORE ABOUT THE CAST:
Philip Nolen, a veteran of the Orlando theater scene, last appeared at Orlando Shakes in the hilarious musical history of the universe, The Big Bang. He gave critically acclaimed performances as Salieri in Mad Cow Theatre’s Amadeus, as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. He is joined by Michael Edwards, who also appeared in My Fair Lady as Alfred P. Doolittle and as Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls. Mark Whitten originated roles in the Off-Broadway production of Captain Louie as well as Toy Story: The Musical with Disney Cruise Lines. Michael Gill, another Orlando Shakes regular, was last seen as Tom in Schoolhouse Rock Live! and as Guildenstern in Hamlet. Melissa Mason has performed locally at Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and at Orlando Shakes, where she appeared as Shulie in last season’s Schoolhouse Rock Live! Brandon Roberts recently graced the Orlando Shakes stage in The 39 Steps, Hamlet, and The Comedy of Errors.

What:
Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas
Book by Jahnna Beecham and Malcome Hillgartner
Vocal Arrangements by Malcome Hillgartner and Chip Duford

When: December 1-26, 2010 – ON SALE NOW!

Where:
Orlando Shakespeare Theater in the Margeson Theater
Lowndes Shakespeare Center
812 East Rollins Street, Orlando, FL 32803

Dates & Times:
Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm – all seats $20, $28, $34
Friday and Saturday at 8pm – all seats $26, $32, $38
Sunday at 2pm – all seats $20, $28, $34

Group Sales: 10% off for groups of 10-19; 20% off for groups of 20 or more
Student Rush: $10 – 30 minutes prior to show with valid student ID

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE INFORMATION:
Previews: December 1 and 2, 2010 at 7pm – all seats $16

Opening Night: Friday, December 3, 2010 at 8pm

Senior Matinees: Wednesday, December 8 and 22 – all seats $15

Post-Show Talkback: Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7pm

$20 Under 30: Friday, December 17, 2010 – Tickets for that evening’s performance are just $20 for those under 30 years old. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a pre-show happy hour featuring $2 beer and $3 wine.

Added Performance: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 7pm

Closed Caption: Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 2pm

Tickets for Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas are available by calling 407-447-1700 or online at www.orlandoshakes.org and in person at the box office located inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 East Rollins Street in Orlando’s Loch Haven Cultural Park. Box Office hours are 12pm to show time, Tuesday-Saturday, and one hour prior to show time on Sundays for walk up sales. On non-performance days, the Box Office closes at 5pm. The Box Office will be closed on Mondays.

Photo Credit: Archie Leitch (Michael Gill) and Mabel Carter (Melissa Mason) get into the yuletide spirit for Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s energetic, toe-tapping holiday musical, Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas. Photo by Patrick Flick/Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

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