Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato has cast Shannon McEldowney, Steven Romero Schaeffer, Andrew Mueller, Sara Geist and Tommy Malouf in the musical revue Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America to open its 30th Anniversary Season. The cast will be joined on stage by musicians William Underwood, Malcolm Ruhl and Alison Tatum. Fortunato will direct and William Underwood is the Music Director. Previews begin on February 13 with an Opening Night on February 16 and a continued run through March 22.
According to Variety, “The show pays tribute to an artist who remains great at making people feel good.”
Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America, written and adapted by Peter Glazer and directed by Linda Fortunato, is a musical tribute and intimate celebration of John Denver’s life and career. From growing up in a military family to his emergence on the 1960s folk scene, the climb to ‘70s superstardom and his later career of the 1980s and 1990s, John Denver’s story is brought to life in this Chicago-area premiere through hits such as “Country Roads,” Rocky Mountain High,” Annie’s Song,” and “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”
Shannon McEldowney returns to TATC after her work swinging in The Pajama Game. Other credits include Elf and Young Frankenstein at Little Theatre on the Square, Mama Mia at Drury Lane Oakbrook and Disaster at Chicago Theatre Workshop.
Steven Romero Shaeffer returns to TATC after performing in Big River in 2017. His Chicago credits include roles in Always, Patsy Cline at Firebrand Theatre and Into the Woods at Writer’s Theatre. He has also toured with Troupe America in Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Andrew Mueller is making his TATC debut. Other Chicagoland credits include Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera, Rent at Paramount Theatre, Shakespeare In Love and As You Like It at Chicago Shakespeare, Man of La Mancha at Marriott Theatre and Big River at BoHo Theatre. Off Broadway roles include Peter and The Starcatcher and Alice By Heart.
Sara Geist, making her debut at TATC, began her professional career at age 12 in The American Girl Revue. Since then she has performed with Mason Street Warehouse, Emerald City Theatre, Intrinsic Theatre Co., Windy City Performs, Next Theatre and on TV in Chicago Fire.
Tommy Malouf returns to TATC where he last appeared as Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet. Other Chicago credits include work with Remy Bumppo, The House Theatre of Chicago, Jackalope and Steep.
The creative team for Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America includes Scenic Designer and Head of Production Ann Davis, Lighting Designer G. “Max” Maxin IV, Sound Designer Joe Palermo, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead and Prop Designer Melissa Geel. Stage manager is Jessica Banaszak. Linda Fortunato is teamed with TATC General Manager Richard Friedman.
Founded in 1991, the 410-seat TATC is a year-round professional theater at its home: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana. TATC is an accessible venue with plenty of free parking and is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.
Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3p.m and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Individual tickets prices range from $42 – $46. To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more. Student tickets are $20 and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.