PARADISE-A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy‏

Theater — By on April 10, 2013 at 4:31 am

Cover Photo: Elijah Rock (as Tater) and Jason Rowland (Mayor Gayheart). Inside photo-Nina Brissey (as Chastity) and Jonathan Root (as Preacher John Mountain). Both photos by Agnes Magyari.

Developed by the company that launched eight sold out months of Sideways The Play (now slated for La Jolla Playhouse), comes the never before staged musical comedy PARADISE – A Divine Bluegrass Musical, with the live band Old #7.

Catapulted from coalmine to prime time, a small town sees hope for salvation.  On the verge of living the American Dream, this satirical musical lowbrow hoedown is about to be outsourced.  Can a charming new preacher and his bombshell sidekick, rescued from the stripper pole at the Innuendo Lounge, save the town?

DAN BONNELL (Director) was a regular participant at the Skirball-Kenis Theatre Projects new play development programs in LA and has been in residence as a director at the William Inge Theatre Festival and Seven Devils New Play Festival. He was Co-Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre-Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008. Dan is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Directing Award, the LA Weekly Directing Award, the NAACP Directing Award, the GLAAD Media Award and has been nominated for TCG’s Alan Schneider Award.

RUSKIN GROUP THEATRE has been making an impact on the Los Angeles theatre scene with an eclectic mix of thought provoking plays, garnering numerous “recommendations” from local critics.  Last season, they launched the WORLD PREMIERE of Rex Pickett’s Sideways The Play, now slated to move to La Jolla Playhouse for the 2013 season. Ruskin’s outreach this year includes working with the CHASE CHILD LIFE PROGRAM at UCLA, providing pediatric patients with live performances, music, and the arts. The CAFÉ PLAYS, created by RGT are produced monthly and are the culmination of writers, actors, and directors who meet at 9am, where they are given a theme.  They then write, produce, and perform a show by 7pm the same day.  When celebrating their 8th anniversary, RGT supporters Ed AsnerDylan McDermottChris MulkeyOlivia d’Abo, and other industry celebrities joined to produce the Best of Café Plays (both shows sold out within hours). Anthony Hopkins and Anthony Franciosa were some of the first teachers at Ruskin School of Theatre.

Ensemble Includes:

JONATHAN ROOT (Preacher John Cyrus) BroadwayAvenue Q (Tony Award-Winning Best Musical); Off-Broadway: The Toxic Avenger (Drama Desk Award-Winning Best Musical); Regional: Les Miserables, Romeo and Juliet, Waiting For Godot, A Flea In Her Ear, All’s Well That Ends Well. Film: Premium Rush, Henry. As a voiceover artist, he has been heard on hundreds of TV commercials and, now records for video games and movie trailers.

Marie-Francoise Theodore , Michael Rubenstone (as Peter), Kristal Lynn Lockyear (as Cindi). Photo by Agnes Magyari.

ELIJAH ROCK (Tater) is a soloist for The Los Angeles Jubilee Singers, and has headlined in the annual KJAZZ (88.1) FM Hollywood and Highland Summer Jazz Concert Series for years. He was the lead singer of The Downtown Project.  Rock co-stars in the feature film, 3 Blind Saints and recently joined the cast of the new crime drama web series Blood Brothers. In New York City Elijah debuted his one-man big band review Off Broadway, called Things Are Still What They Used To Be and there he became the featured vocalist with the Jazz ensemble Ensemble Uniqua, led by trumpeter Antonio Dangerfield. He played the lead role of Coalhouse Walker Jr, inRagtime, and Adrian in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Elijah’s newest release is the Jazz vocal single, That First Time and his debut Jazz Vocal EP, Elijah Rock LIVE in Hollywood.

ROBERT CRAIGHEAD (Old Man Johnson) was seen in The Fountain Theatre’s A House Not Meant To Stand and has appeared in over 50 theatrical productions ranging from Petruchio in Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. He spent three years on the daytime drama The Bold And The Beautiful as detective, Lt. Frank Conran and has appeared in numerous Guest Star and Supporting Roles in TV and Feature Films including Criminal Minds, NCISRizzoli & Isles, Ben & Kate, and Tony Goldwyn’s 2013 AMC Pilot, The Philly Lawyer.  This year he will be seen in three feature films, Saving Lincoln, A White Trash Christmas, and Demon Lake.

Additional cast: Kristal Lynn Lockyer, Rachel Noll, Nina Brissey, and Jason Rowland, and Michael Rubenstone.

PARADISE – A Divine Bluegrass Musical Comedy runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm through May 4, 2013 (no performance on Sunday, April 28th). Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405.  Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, seniors, and guild members) and can be purchased in advance by calling(310) 397-3244.

For more information please visit Free parking is available at the theater.

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