Opening Night celebrations set for Idaho comedy musical with Mayor’s proclamation, , the Ida-Ho-Down & 6-ton truck

8 Jul

Get ready to mash things up! In celebration of tomorrow’s opening night performance of IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL (Sat July 9)  Mayor Carolyn Goodman has proclaimed July 9, 2016 “IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL DAY” in Las Vegas. A proclamation ceremony will take place in Symphony Park at 6 p.m. Saturday  which is open to the public, and will be followed by the opening night performance at 7:30 p.m. in Reynolds Hall.

The proclamation ceremony will take place in front of an epic 18-wheel, 6-ton Big Idaho® Potato Truck, which will remain on display in Symphony Park through Tuesday, July 12. Tickets to this “spudtacular” production are still available, and include admission to the Ida-Ho-Down after-party on Saturday night. For more information, please visit TheSmithCenter.com.

Following the show, patrons are invited to dust off their boots, saddle their horses and head over to Symphony Park for Ida-Ho-Down with all the fixin’s. Guests can enjoy tasty potato-themed treats, country music and much more while mingling with the cast and creative team.

Opening night will feature the cast of 18 led by eight featured players includes ALEX ELLIS as Ida Dunham, CARMEN RUBY FLOYD as Mavis White Eagle, JESSICA FONTANA as Cassie Purdy, NATHANIEL HACKMANN as Whip Masters, MATT LOEHR as Slim Johnson, JEN PERRY as Aunt Pearlie, JAY ROGERS as Uncle Fate and PAUL VOGT as Jed Strunk.

The cast will also include an acclaimed ensemble featuring ALYSSA BRIZZI as Belle and Dream Cassie, BLAKE HAMMOND as Doc Generic and Exposition Jack, HOLLY HOLCOMB as Crazy Betty Felter, CHRISTINE HUDMAN as Anita Polk, ALLISON BLAIR MCDOWELL as Amanda Ride, ALEX PUETTE as Hank and Dream Whip, DESTINEE REA as Shenequa, ROBBIE ROBY as George Meany and Dance Captain, CONNOR RUSSELL as Yank Daley and JAMES TABEEK as Manny Meany.

IDAHO! also boasts an extraordinary creative team with book and music by Buddy Sheffield (IN LIVING COLOR), music co-written by musical director Keith Thompson (JERSEY BOYS, HAIRSPRAY, LES MISERABLES, MAMMA MIA, THE PRODUCERS, WHEN PIGS FLY) and casting by casting director and partner at Stewart/Whitley, Benton Whitley (CSA). The team also includes celebrated theater director Matt Lenz (PAGEANT: THE MUSICAL, HAIRSPRAY, A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL, THE IRISH CURSE AT SOHO REP, WICKED’S FIFTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD NOT TAKEN), choreographer Michele Lynch (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, DIRTY DANCING, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, JOYFUL NOISE, CABARET, EMPIRE, EVERYDAY RAPTURE, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE) and Emmy Award-winning production designer Andy Walmsley (AMERICAN IDOL, WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE). Sixteen Las Vegas musicians led by Thompson will appear on stage.

Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased at The Smith Center box office, by phone at 702-749-2000 or online at TheSmithCenter.com.

CAST BIOS:

ALEX ELLIS (Ida Dunham) is a Broadway veteran whose many accolades include performing in the original companies of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER, starring in the national tours of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE and LEGALLY BLOND, and appearing on television in THE GOLDBERGS, HOT IN CLEVELAND and more. She has also done national commercial placements for major brands such as Time Warner Cable, Silver Metro Line, Scrabble, Thumann’s Meats and A&E, among others. Her latest project involved writing, producing, shooting and starring in her own pilot. She will also play an 800-year-old vampire in a new, upcoming Disney animated television show.

CARMEN RUBY FLOYD (Mavis White Eagle) is heading from Broadway to The Smith Center in Las Vegas to premiere in IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL after starring in various Broadway blockbusters including the world-famous CHICAGO, AFTER MIDNIGHT, AVENUE Q, PORGY AND BESS and Disney’s THE LION KING. Currently on tour with the fabulous Vanessa Williams, Floyd has also garnered nationwide acclaim off-Broadway and regionally in productions such as COTTON CLUB PARADE, CROWNS, LANGSTON’S LITTLE HAM, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, AIN’T MISBEHAVIN, SHOWBOAT and more.

JESSICA FONTANA (Cassie Purdy) is thrilled to portray Cassie in IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL after starring on Broadway in two world-famous productions, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA and BABY IT’S YOU. Fontana has also garnered critical acclaim off-Broadway in numerous shows including ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, PIPE DREAM, LOVE AND REAL ESTATE and IDAHO! when it performed at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. In addition to earning a BFA from the University of Michigan, Fontana has appeared on many national tours including LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, REGIONAL: 110 IN THE SHADE, MOST HAPPY FELLA, SOON, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE and more.

NATHANIEL HACKMANN (Whip Masters) is excited to be making his Las Vegas debut! His most recent credits include LES MISERABLES, where he played Jean Valjean, Javert and the Factory Foreman, as well as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as Gaston, PAINT YOUR WAGON as Steve, SWEENY TODD as Anthony, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM as Miles, OKLAHOMA! as Curly, CAMELOT as Lancelot, SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS as Stanley, BYE BYE BIRDIE as Birdie and more.

MATT LOEHR (Slim Johnson) is an award-winning actor famously known for his ability to command the stage. He has performed in various Broadway spectacles including THE BOOK OF MORMON, THE PRODUCERS, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, MARY POPPINS, PROMISES and ELF THE MUSICAL. A three-time Carbonell Award winner for his performances as Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN, Cornelius Hackl in HELLO DOLLY! and Bobby Child in CRAZY FOR YOU, Loehr boasts a well-rounded resume featuring both national and regional achievements across a wide variety of performances.

JEN PERRY (Aunt Pearlie), known for starring in MAMMA MIA! at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, will return to town to star in IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL as one of the featured players of the production. Previous credits include Broadway blockbusters KINKY BOOTS, MAMMA MIA! and THE WIZARD OF OZ, off-Broadway spectacles BONNIE AND CLYDE, REVOLUTION, IDAHO!, NUNSENSE and WHAT DOESN’T KILL US and regional productions ANNIE, HAIRSPRAY!, CHICAGO, BLOWN SIDEWAYS THRU LIFE, HEARTBEATS, PIPPIN, RED HOT AND COLE and GODSPELL, among others.

JAY ROGERS (Uncle Fate) is a Drama Desk nominee who has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway and regionally in musicals ranging from ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC and WHEN PIGS FLY to WHOOP DEE DOO!, IDAHO!, THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVER TOLD, CLEAVAGE and CINDERELLA. Rogers will grace the stage at The Smith Center as he returns to IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL, making its premiere in Las Vegas following a successful run at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

PAUL VOGT (Jed Strunk) will return to Las Vegas to perform in the premiere of IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL following his widely successful run at HAIRSPRAY!, among other accolades he has received over the years. The Broadway star has performed in numerous productions both on and off Broadway including CHICAGO, CELLBLOCK TOUR, ELF, LAUREL AND HARDY, THE LITTLE MERMAID, HAMLET, GREATER TUNA, HAPPY DAYS: THE MUSICAL, OLIVER!, THE GRAND DUCHESS, FROSTY THE SNOW-MANILOW and more.

ALYSSA BRIZZI (Belle and Dream Cassie) has trained with The National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Banff Ballet. Most recently, she has been seen in The Broadway National Tour of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as their swing and dance captain. Previous credits include RHYTHMS AT TOKYO DISNEYSEA, HAIRSPRAY, WEST SIDE STORY, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, GYPSY, and BIG – THE MUSICAL. Brizzi was also a finalist on CBC’S reality television series TRIPLE SENSATION.

BLAKE HAMMOND (Doc Generic and Exposition Jack) is known for captivating audiences both on and off Broadway. Hammond is known for his previous Broadway performances in LIVING ON LOVE, FIRST DATE, SISTER ACT, ELF, BILLY ELLIOT, HAIRSPRAY, THE LION KING, THE MUSIC MAN, KISS ME KATE, and ON THE TOWN. Previous credits off-Broadway include award winning WHEN PIGS FLY as well as seven tours with the most recent being CINDERELLA and THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Regionally Hammond has performed in Williamstown, Kennedy Center, Ahmanson, Coronet, Northlight, and Ogunquit Playhouse. This award winning actor has made appearances on television and in film, including credits in WE GOT HELP. Hammond was in the original production of IDAHO! at the New York Music and Theatre Festival, and is delighted to return for more spuds!

HOLLY HOLCOMB (Crazy Betty Felter) is thrilled to make her Las Vegas debut in IDAHO! THE COMEDY MUSICAL. Her previous credits at the New York City Center OF THEE I SING – ENCORES! and at The York Theatre MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF. Holycomb preformed in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in IDAHO! She has toured nationally for GREASE. With select Regional performances in JEKYLL AND KYDE, CAROUSEL, I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE AND THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, MY FAIR LADY, MAN OF LA MANCHA, and KISS ME KATE. Spending her last two years traveling the world while performing on Oceana Marina and Riviera.

CHRISTINE HUDMAN (Anita Polk) was last seen on Fox channel, singing back up for Kristen Chenoweth on the American Country Music Awards. She did over 1,000 performances as Rizzo in the National Tour of GREASE, and did a National tour of THE FULL MONTY. Hudman has preformed locally at the MGM for the American premiere of JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA, as well as KOOKYTUNES in Las Vegas. She has preformed backup for Jennifer Hudson at the Gala Premiere of The Smith Center which was featured on PBS. She has been a voice-over for Lexus, and can be hearth on the movie soundtrack for the 2016 Oscar-winning film SPOTLIGHT.

ALLISON BLAIR MCDOWELL (Amanda Ride) is known for her Broadway appearance and National tour in CHICAGO, and her national tour of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. McDowell is known for her regional tours in GREASE, PETER PAN, INTO THE WOODS, EWITA, 42ND STREET, CAUCASION CHALK CIRCLE, RAGTIME, and BRIGADOON.

ALEX PUETTE (Hank and Dream Whip) most recently seen in the world premiere of I ANNE HUTCHINSON/ I AM HARVEY MILK. His Broadway National tours include LEGALLY BLOND, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and A CHRISTMAS STORY. Internationally, Puette toured in WEST SIDE STORY. His New York credits include off-Broadway revival of NEW GIRL IN TOWN, and various other workshops and readings. Regionally, he has performed at The Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C., Ogunquit Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, The St. Louis Muny, Kansas City Starlight, Weston Playhouse, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, and Bucks County Playhouse.

DESTINEE REA (Shenequa) is thankful to be a part of the Idaho family! Some of her previous roles include Gwendolyn in CELL, Lorrell Robinson in DREAMGIRLS, Dorothy in THE WIZ, Amaryllis in THE MUSIC MAN, and Wendy in PEDRO PAN.

ROBBIE ROBY (George Meany and Dance Captain) It has been 10 years since Roby has performed in Sin City as the dance captain for the Vegas Company of HAIRSPRAY. He was a member of the Broadway production of BILLY ELLIOT and HAIRSPRAY. His National tours include THE LITTLE MERMAID and STARLIGHT EXPRESS. Other New York City performances include PAINT YOUR WAGON, CARNEGIE HALL FAMILY HOLIDAY CONCERT: THE NYC POPS, EMPIRE, and IDAHO! Most recently Roby was part of Carol Channing’s 95th Birthday Celebration Concert.

CONNOR RUSSELL (Yank Daley) has previously performed in the New York productions of BABES IN ARMS, and LIGHT AND SHADOW. Regionally, Russell has performed in DISNEY’S ALADDIN, A CHORUS LINE, HAIRSPRAY ANNIVERSAY CONCERT, A MUSICAL CHRISTMAS CAROL, WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE WHO’S TOMMY and GYPSY. He has appeared on film as Paul in THE HINTERLANDS, BRAND UPON HE BRAIN and TRUTH SLASH FICTION.

JAMES TABEEK (Manny Meany) His Broadway credits include MARY POPPINS where he understudied the role of Neleus, TABOO, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, WICKED and the Broadway workshop of SWEET CHARITY. His New York City and Los Angeles credits include DIE FLEDERMAUS, BABES IN ARMS, CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR, CARNIVALE, and IDAHO! at the New York Musical Theatre Festival where he also played Manny Meany. Recently, he performed in the premiere of SERRANO THE MUSICAL. Tabeek has also played in theatres regionally including Kennedy Center, Walnut Street, North Shore Music Theater and more. His European credits include WEST SIDE STORY. His film appearances include HAIL, CESAR!, NORTHBOUND, and RETROGRADE (coming 2016). He also plays Devan in the new hit media series THE RESIDUALS (exclusively on BroadwayWorld.com)

CREATIVE TEAM BIOS:

BUDDY SHEFFIELD (Book, Music and Lyrics) is best known for his Emmy award winning show LIVING IN COLOR. Sheffield is proudest of ROADHOUSE, a show for tween’s he co-created and produced on Nickelodeon, as well as writing for Dolly Parton on her variety show DOLLY. He retired from Hollywood with three prime time Emmy nominations, a NAACP Image Award for best original song, and the prestigious Ollie Award for excellence in Children’s televisions. IDAHO! marks the return of his true love, the live theatre.

KEITH THOMPSON (Co-Composer) is very excited to be working on IDAHO! at the Smith Center with his friend and collaborator Buddy Sheffield. He is founder and host of The Composers Showcase, held exclusively at Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center. His original showcase GOD LIVES IN GLASS, ran out of the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and the Provincetown Playhouse in New York, as well as in Las Vegas. His original KOOKY TUNES ran out of New York’s Laurie Beechman Theater. Thompson’s professional credits include JERSEY BOYS, THE PRODUCERS, HAIRSPRAY and WE WILL ROCK YOU. His National tours include CABARET, MAMMA MIA, HAIR, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and PETER PAN. In 2000, he won the Dora Award for CARABET. Thompson’s New York Credits include LES MISERABLES, WHEN PIGS FLY and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.

MATT LENZ (Director) His New York credits include PAGEANT: THE MUSICAL, THE IRISH CURSE, IDAHO!, THE GREAT DAISY THEORY, FINGERS AND TOES and ALAN BALL’s. In 2015 he was Drama Desk’s Best Musical Nomination for PAGEANT: THE MUSICAL. Lenz’s National Tours include CHEERS LIVE ONSTAGE, A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL, HAIRSPRAY, and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. He directed HAIRSPRAY internationally, as well as numerous plays and musicals regionally. On Broadway he was an associate director of HAIRSPRAY, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN and DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (resident director).

MICHELE LYNCH (Choreography) Her Broadway credits include EVERYDAY RAPTURE and COAST OF UTOPIA. She was an assistant Choreographer on Broadway shows HAIRSPRAY, THE FULL MONTY and URINETOWN. Off-Broadway, she choreographed LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and went on National Tours for DIRTY DANCING, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRE and HAPPY DAYS. Her film credits include THE LAST FIVE YEARS, JOYFUL NOISE and CAMP. She choreographed the opera production of SHOWBOAT. She has choreographed in theatres regionally and internationally. Her International shows include DIRTY DANCING, HAIRSPRAY, THE FULL MONTY, as well as Dolly Parton’s world BETTER DAY TOUR.

ANDY WALMSLEY (Set Designer) has designed for many Broadway and WestEnd Theatre musicals including BLOOD BROTHERS and BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. He designed two of the 10 longest running musicals at West End. He has designed for AMERICAN IDOL, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, THE BIGGEST LOSER, THE EMMYS, MISS USA and WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. His set designers were heavily featured in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, and was nominated for 10 Academy awards. Walmsley has designed for theatre, circus, ice shows, cruise ships, television and Las Vegas spectaculars and corporate.

CHARLIE MORRISON (Lighting Designer) has been on national and international tours for DISNEYS: THE LITTLE MERMAID, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (NYC/Tour), CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, MISS SAIGON, AIDA (US, Taiwan, and China) THE PRODUCERS, MAN OF LAMANCHA, GUYS AND DOLLS, GROOVALOO (NYC, LA, Foxwoods, and US Tour), HELLO DOLLY! MY FAIR LADY, and THE KING AND I (US Tour and Korea). THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, 42ND STREET, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, THE WHO’S TOMMY, TITANIC, THE MUSIC MAN, and many others. His regional lighting designs have appeared at Paper Mill Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Guthrie, Goodspeed Musicals, Seattle Rep, Seattle Fifth Avenue, Theatre Under the Stars, Dallas Summer Musicals, Kansas City Starlight, Pittsburgh CLO, George Street Playhouse, North Carolina Theater, Playmaker’s Rep, Tulsa Opera, and many others.

MICHAEL MCDONALD (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for Broadway and London West End HAIR. His off-Broadway costume designs include STRAIGHT, A PERFECT FUTURE, JERICHO, ALMOST HOME and AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS (Lincoln Center). His regional tours include LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, GOD OF CARNAGE, SEX WITH STRANGER, OKLAHOMA!, TAKE ME OUT, JOHNNY BASEBALL, ALL THE WAY, DIRTY BLOND, SPRING AWAKENING, and OMNIUM GATHERUMAND CROWNS.

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