CHICAGO – Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to announce casting for its musical comedy THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE.
The cast includes Ben Auxier, Stephanie Boyd, Katy Campbell, Elisabeth Del Toro, Brian Huther, Mike Ott, Reagan Pender, Shea Pender, Natalie Rae and Kyle Ryan. Swings: Sophia Foldvari and Nate Hall.
Named “Best of the Fest” at the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, LEFTY & CRABBE features book and lyrics by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi, music by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, additional music and arrangements by Ryan McCall, direction by Rusty Sneary, music direction by Ryan McCall and choreography by Jenna Schoppe. THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE will play June 8 – July 14, 2019 at Underscore’s newly-remodeled, permanent home, The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at underscoretheatre.org. The press opening is Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 pm.
Set at the death of vaudeville and the rise of Hollywood, THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE tracks two ultra-talented but down-on-their-luck performers and friends as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of the entertainment world. Lightning-fast and “fall down funny,” Lefty & Crabbe was born as part of the Kansas City Fringe Festival in 2015, received its first full production at The Living Room Theatre in 2017 and won “Best of the Fest” for its 2018 production at The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.
Comments Underscore Artistic Director Whitney Rhodes, “When I was living in Minneapolis, I worked for historic theaters that started as Vaudeville houses and spent years hearing truly magical stories about that history. The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe sent me on a nostalgic journey that is pure joy; it is a smart and thoughtful piece of work. It’s a nod to where the craft began and we can’t wait to share it with audiences.”
The production team includes Nicholas Schwartz (scenic design), Christina Leinicke (costume design), Benjamin Carne (lighting design), Robert Hornbostel (sound design), Lacey Pacheco (stage manager) and Christine Lauer (assistant stage manager).
Title: THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE
Book and Lyrics by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi
Music by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther
Additional Music and Arrangements by Ryan McCall
Directed by Rusty Sneary
Music Direction by Ryan McCall
Choreography: Jenna Schoppe
Cast (in alphabetical order): Ben Auxier (Ensemble), Stephanie Boyd (Ensemble), Katy Campbell (Ensemble), Elisabeth Del Toro (Lolo, Ensemble), Brian Huther (Ensemble), Mike Ott (Ensemble), Reagan Pender (Ensemble), Shea Pender (Crabbe), Natalie Rae (Evelyn, Ensemble) and Kyle Ryan (Lefty).
Swings: Sophia Foldvari and Nate Hall.
Location: The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 9 at 4 pm and Monday, June 10 at 7:30 pm
Press performance: Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, June 14 – Sunday, July 14, 2019
Curtain Times: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 4 pm; Mondays at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $20 – $25. Tickets are currently available at underscoretheatre.org.
About the Artists:
Brian Huther (Book, Music and Lyric) is a Chicago-based creator, performer and musician, and erstwhile radio producer and greeting-card writer. His projects with creative partners at Friend Dog Studios have accumulated millions of views on YouTube and Facebook (Drunk Trump, 2016 The Movie: The Trailer) and packed out theatres in Kansas City, Missouri (The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe, Milking Christmas, Hacks). He has written two one-act plays, and is currently developing a five-act near-future epic because he likes the pain. Performing credits include Theatre Wit, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, KC Actors Theatre, The Living Room, Chicago PD and a cornucopia of storefront projects, sketch/improv shows, music projects and commercials. www.brianhuther.com www.frienddogstudios.com
Ben Auxier (Book, Music and Lyrics) is an actor, writer and comedian originally from Kansas City who moved to Chicago in late 2016. His other co-writing endeavors include the musical comedy Milking Christmas, which premiered in Kansas City in 2017, the dark comedy straight play HACKS, which won a Best of Fringe recognition in 2016, and loads and loads of sketch, including lot of work for the occasionally-viral online comedy channel Friend Dog Studios. His acting credits over the last few years include the original Chicago run of Lefty & Crabbe, Mozart in THEATREWORKS’ production of Amadeus in Colorado, and several appearances with KC-based companies The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and The Living Room Theatre. www.benauxier.com
Seth Macchi (Book and Lyrics) is an actor, comedian and writer located in Kansas City. Previous acting appearances at New Theatre in Kansas City include Bernard in Boeing Boeing, Chris in Beau Jest, Paul in Over the Moon and Tony in You Can’t Take It With You. Seth was also in Our Town and A Christmas Carol at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Mistakes Madeline Made, H4CKS, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe and Milking Christmas at The Living Room, Not About Heroes at the MET and Fiddler on the Roof at Spinning Tree. Seth is also a co-creator of Friend Dog Studios, a creative collaboration he shares with Ben Auxier and Brian Huther. Together, they have made dozens of online comedy sketches, a podcast, and three world premiere stage productions, which they mounted at The Living Room. Check out some of the stuff they have created online at www.frienddogstudios.com
Ryan McCall (Additional Music, Arrangements, Music Direction) is a composer/arranger/performer currently serving as the Music Director/Accompanist for the Theater and Dance Department at the University of Kansas. KU credits include: Music Director for La Cage aux Folles, Spring Awakening, Company, Little Women, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Anything Goes, The Adding Machine, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate; Composer of And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, Man Equals Man, Summer and Smoke, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (North American Premiere in it’s original pronunciation). Ryan has worked professionally with Kansas City Ballet, Second City, Improv Olympic, KC Rep, Giordano Dance Company and The Living Room Theater. Recently, Ryan joined forces with Friend Dog Studios as a composer and arranger for two new musicals, The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe and Milking Christmas. He is also the composer of the family musical Noah’s Art, which he wrote with his longtime friend Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting, Amelie), and the rock musical Stillwater with Tysen and their band, Joe’s Pet Project. Ryan has taught songwriting workshops at the Kansas, Florida and International Thespian Conferences and is one of the Music Directors for the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, a program dedicated to teaching young artists how to write for the musical theater stage. Ryan is originally from Salina, KS.
Rusty Sneary (Director) graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance. In the spring of 2010. he co-founded The Living Room Theatre where he serves as the Artistic Director. Rusty has produced and served as Artistic Director on over 50 productions including over 25 world premieres. He has also served as a lighting designer, sound designer and the director of many productions, has acted in numerous productions at The Living Room, and continues to act on other professional Kansas City stages. Directing credits include the world premieres of The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, Trigger Happy and The Grave, as well as Annapurna, Some Girl(s), Talk Radio and Race.
Jenna Schoppe (Choreographer) is a choreographer, actor and dancer. She returns to Underscore after appearing in the Tiny Storefront Concert series. Her previous choreographic endeavors include Yank: A WW2 Love Story (Pride Films and Plays, Jeff Award – Best Choreography), Little Women (Brown Paper Box co.), Shrek (Windy City Performs), Book of Merman (Flying Elephant Productions), Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre) and The Producers (NightBlue Performing Arts).
About Underscore Theatre Company
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago’s home for new musicals.