The new musical from Disney composer extraordinaire Alan Menken will open on Broadway April 26, 2012, at the St. James Theatre located at 246 West 44th Street. With Tony nominees in the cast and Tony winners helming the creative team, the success of this new musical venture is practically a sure-thing, not just a "leap of faith."
Another film-turned-musical hitting a Broadway stage during the 2012-2013 season, Leap of Faith is based on the 1992 motion picture of the same name, written by Janus Cercone and produced by Paramount Pictures Corporation. The story revolves around a traveling minister whose vehicle breaks down in a rural town in Kansas. "Jonas Nightingale," part-time reverend and full-time con artist, seizes the opportunity to make some money off the townspeople while he is there, only to be thwarted by the local sheriff.
Cast & Creative
Four-time Tony nominee Raúl Esparza stars as preacher and grifter "Jonas Nightingale." Esparza is one of only two male actors in the history of the Tony Awards to be nominated in all four performance categories: Best Actor in a Musical for Company (2007), Best Featured Actor in a Musical Taboo (2004), Best Featured Actor in a Play for The Homecoming (2008), and Best Actor in a Play for Speed-the-Plow (2009).
Playing the Sheriff who tries to keep the town safe from the conman's charms is Jessica Phillips of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as "Marla Humes." The rest of the supporting cast includes Wicked's Kendra Kassebaum as "Sam Nightingale," Kecia Lewis-Evans as "Ida Mae Robinson," Leslie Odom, Jr. as "Isaiah Robinson," Krystal Joy Brown as "Ornella," and Talon Ackerman as "Jake Humes."
The ensemble includes Hettie Barnhill, Kyle Brenn, Ta’Rea Campbell, Michelle Duffy, Lynorris Evans, Manoly Farrell, Dierdre Friel, Bob Gaynor, Lucia Giannetta, Angela Grovey, Louis Hobson, Tiffany Howard, Grasan Kingsberry, Maurice Murphy, Ian Paget, Terita Redd, Eliseo Roman, Bryce Ryness, Ann Sanders, C.E. Smith, Danny Stiles, Dennis Stowe, Betsy Struxness, Roberta Wall, and Virginia Ann Woodruff.
Revising the film script for the stage is the original screenwriter Janus Cercone and Warren Leight, who won the Tony Award for Best Play for Side Man (1999). Leight is currently the executive producer on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Leap of Faither features music by Academy Award and Grammy Award winner Alan Menken, most famous for his compositions on Disney animated films. Menken's scores for Disney have been reworked for the Broadway stage and earned him Tony nominations for Best Score for The Beauty and the Beast (1994) and The Little Mermaid (2008), plus his original music for Sister Act (2011). Leap of Faith's lyricist, Glenn Slater, also earned Tony nominations for his work on The Little Mermaid and Sister Act.
Leap of Faith is helmed by Christopher Ashley who was nominated for two Tonys for Best Director of a Musical on The Rocky Horror Show (2001) and Memphis (2010). Choreography is by Drama Desk nominee Sergio Trujillo, who staged the dances for Jersey Boys and Memphis, both of which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in their seasons.
Orchestrations for Leap of Faith are by Michael Starobin and Joseph Joubert, with Vocal and Incidental Music arrangements by Michael Kosarin, Dance Music arrangements by Zane Mark, and Music Direction by Brent-Alan Huffman.
Sets are designed by Robin Wagner, who won three Best Scenic Design Tonys for On the Twentieth Century (1978), City of Angels (1990), and The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical (2001). Costumes are designed by William Ivey Long, who has won five Tony Awards for Best Costume Design for Nine (1982), Crazy for You (1992), The Producers, the new Mel Brooks musical (2001), Hairspray (2003), and Grey Gardens (2007).
Lighting is designed by Donald Holder, who won Tonys for Best Lighting Design for The Lion King (1998) and Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific (2008). Drama Desk nominee John Shivers is in charge of the Sound Design. Wigs & hair design is by Paul Huntley, with Make-Up by Angelina Avallone.
Producers of the Broadway production of Leap of Faith include Michael Manheim; James D. Stern; Douglas L. Meyer; Tom Viertel, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Steven Baruch; Annette Niemtzow; Daryl Roth; Robert G. Bartner; Jujamcyn Theaters; Patricia Monaco; Steven and Shanna Silva; Debi Coleman; Dancap Productions Inc.; Steve Kaplan and Center Theatre Group in association with Michael Palitz; Diana Buckhantz; Pamela Cooper; Vera Guerin; Independent Presenters Network; Christina Papagjika; Relativity Media, LLC; Richard J. Stern; Melissa Pinsly/Celine Rosenthal; Semlitz/Glaser Productions and associate producers Victor Syrmis; and Rebecca Falcon.
Tickets for Leap of Faith can be purchased on the show's website.