Season Mainstage Productions WORDS BY
WORDS BY Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Additional Lyrics from Porgy and Bess by DuBose Heyward
By Joseph Vass
Directed by David Ellenstein
Previews: October 17 – 19, 2012
October 20 –November 18, 2012
A World Premiere musical, the lesser-known lyricist brother of the famous Gershwin duo, guides us on a trip through some of the greatest American songs ever written. Not only do we hear the standards written by the brothers, but also many of the classics where Ira wrote lyrics to the music of Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Jerome Kern & Kurt Weill. Insights and tales about the colorful George, as well as a glimpse at the more private and understated life of Ira, frame this story of amazing and beautiful music.
The Lyrics for "WORDS BY, Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook" were provided through special arrangement with the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts and the Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund.
Joseph Vass (Playwright) conceived and wrote The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of An American Klezmer. He is the guiding spirit behind Klezmerica, the contemporary Jewish music ensemble that has performed all across the US and at the International Klezmer Festival in Israel. Vass wrote all the original music and lyrics for all five of Klezmerica's CD's: Bulka's Song, Gershwin The Klezmer, Pintele Yid, Jerusalem of Blue, and Live from Klezmerica! Vass also wrote the book, music and lyrics for the stage musical Mishegass!, produced by the ActorsTheater of Minnesota for a four-week run in 2004. He composed, performed and recorded all the music for Park Square Theater's 2007 production of the play, The Chosen. Vass is a member of The Dramatists Guild and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He lives in Maplewood, Minnesota, with his wife, comedian Susan Vass.
Ira GershwinIra Gershwin (Lyricist) created some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. With his brother George he wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows, featuring songs such as "I Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You", "The Man I Love" and "Someone to Watch Over Me". He was also responsible, along with DuBose Heyward, for the libretto to George's opera Porgy and Bess.
The success the brothers had with their collaborative works has often overshadowed the creative role that Ira played. However, his mastery of songwriting continued after the early death of George. He wrote additional hit songs with composers Jerome Kern ("Long Ago (and Far Away)"), Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen.
His critically acclaimed book Lyrics on Several Occasions of 1959, an amalgam of autobiography and annotated anthology, is an important source for studying the art of the lyricist in the golden age of American popular song.
(Ira) is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the High School of Performing Arts and the acting conservatory at NYU. He appeared Off-Broadway in Julius Caesar, The Prudent Wife, The Tryal, and Monster Island. Other New York credits include SubUrbia, The Female Terrorists Project, Iolanthe, Slavs!, Sympathetic Magic and Three Days of Rain. Regional credits include Stephen Adly Gurgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street and The Deep Ellum Ensemble’s Dr. Tedrow’s Last Breath. In Los Angeles, he has appeared in Blood Brothers at The Whitefire, Ferdinand the Bull at the Lewis Family Playhouse, Wendy Graf’s Behind the Gates, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and SPEED Merchant (of Venice) at Action! Theatre, Junie B. Jones, Lucky Duck and The Borrowers at South Coast Repertory, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities and Lonesome Traveler at the Rubicon Theatre and Laguna Playhouse as well as in the following films: Goodbye Canarsie, Viko, Alone, F.U.B.A.R., Wavelengths, The Cutters Club, 0s & 1s, County Line, Thy Will Be Done, Diamond Bar, Signal, Potter’s Field and Hollywood Sex Wars. He is the recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson American Theatre Wing Scholarship as well as an Award winner from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. www.nicholasmongiardocooper.com
This artist sponsored by Valerie & Harry Cooper
Andrew Abelson* (Crooner)
Ableson, a U.S. T.V. regular, and English native, is thrilled to be creating a new role at NCR. Previous NCR shows include The Big Bang and THIS.
TV includes guest-starring in shows such as The Shield, Will & Grace, Medical Investigation, NCIS Los Angeles, as well as recurring roles on Joan of Arcadia, and Las Vegas Ableson began his career on the London stage in sellout productions of The Ecstasy, Bent, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Globe Theatre, as well as award-winning productions of Sweet Charity and Godspell, at the Edinburgh Festival. Ableson, son of beloved British crooning legend Frankie Vaughan, moved to the US in 1995, landing roles immediately in Nash Bridges and the feature film Boyfriends (1996), playing Owen, the film’s bad-boy. In 2000, The West Coast premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s shocking play Shopping & Fucking, won Ableson many awards for his starring role as Mark, the needy, love-hungry heroin addict. He further built on that reputation one year later, starring as legendary theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, in another multi-award-winning L.A. premiere, Austin Pendleton’s Pulitzer-nominated Orsons’ Shadow. The award-winning musical, The Beastly Bombing and Haywire! were other West Coast premieres, further solidifying his theatrical reputation.
This artist sponsored by Elaine & Leonard Hirsch
Your support helps us to put these wonderful artists on our stage
Meghan Andrews* (Chanteuse)
Meghan is happy to be making her North Coast Rep debut! Broadway theatre credits include Frost/Nixon (Donmar Warehouse) and The Grapes of Wrath (Steppenwolf Theare Co.) She received a 2006 Lucille Lortel Nomination for her work in The Signature Theatre Company’s off-Broadway production of The Trip to Bountiful. Other theatre credits include the US National Tour of Frost/Nixon, The Trip to Bountiful (Goodman Theatre), Doubt (GeorgeStreet Playhouse), the US premier of Clocks and Whistles (Origin Theatre Company, NYC ), All’s Well That Ends Well (Blessed Unrest, NYC), Dracula (Fulton Theatre), Honky Tonk Angels (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), numerous productions at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and many others. Television Credits include F/X’s Justified, NBC’s Law & Order, Law & Order: C.I., The Guiding Light, Flesh ‘n Blood (NBC), and others. Film credits include The Adjustment Bureau, The Interloper, and Cost of Living. Meghan is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory and is a lifetime member of the Actors’ Studio. She is the daughter of jazz composer and vocalist George and Jo D. Andrews, and is herself a composer of original indie/folk music. To hear more visit meghanandrews.com
This artist sponsored by Chuck and Judy Wheatley
Gunnar Biggs* (Bass)
GUNNAR BIGGS has been a prominent figure in the musical environment in Southern California for over forty years. Often the bass player of choice for numerous jazz ensembles and recording sessions in the region, Gunnar recently released his own CD, footprint, featuring all original compositions. His performance credits include several southern California jazz festivals including the Kool Jazz Festival, La Jolla Jazz Festival, Ocean Beach Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Parks in Carlsbad, Pt. Loma, and La Jolla. TV appearances include KPBS’ Club Date and the Emmy-award winning documentary, Three Generations of the Blues. His theatre credits include a number of shows with the La Jolla Playhouse, including How to Succeed in Business and Randy Newman’s Faust. Gunnar is a known quantity in San Diego music venues, maintaining a solid groove and studied understanding of the role of the bass across genres including Latin jazz/salsa, big band, Brazilian, straight ahead, blues and fusion jazz.
He recently retired from San Diego State University where he was the Instructor of Double Bass for twenty-five years and Palomar College where he served as Director of Jazz Ensembles for five years. He continues to teach bass at Cal State San Marcos, Mira Costa and Palomar College and has a large number of private students. Besides being an in demand performer and overbooked educator, Gunnar serves as a judge, clinician and guest artist at several local jazz and music festivals, including Coronado’s annual festival.
Gunnar started studying French Horn when he was seven, but took up the bass at age 13. He studied at North Texas State University in their prestigious jazz program but left his studies early to take a position with the San Diego Symphony at age 19. At age 20, he left the Symphony to go on the road with drummer, Buddy Rich and has performed with major jazz artists ever since including Thad Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Mose Allison, Sheila Jordan, Kenny Barron, Red Norvo, Papa John Creach, Shelley Manne, Jack Sheldon, Don Menza, Charles McPherson, Barney Kessel, Conti Condoli, Joe Pass, Laurendo Almeida, Charlie Byrd, and Peter Sprague. Although he enjoys notoriety in the jazz genre, Gunnar is active in the classical world as well and has performed with the San Diego Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta de Baja California and performs frequently as a guest artist with Orchestra Nova (formerly San Diego Chamber Orchestra). He holds an undergraduate degree in Global Arts and Ethnic Studies and a teaching credential from Cal State San Marcos.
Bob Boss (Guitar)
Bob Boss has been playing guitar since 1963. A lifelong California resident, music has taken him all across the United States, Canada, Mexico and most of northern Europe. He has lived in San Diego since 1983 and enjoyed the opportunity to perform Jazz, Blues, Rock & Country and has worked in musical theatre. Bob has played on numerous recordings and on radio and television. He holds a masters degree in Humanities and has taught Jazz Guitar at SDSU, UCSD and many local Community Colleges.
Duncan Moore (Drums)
Duncan Moore began playing drums at the age of 8,in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. After attending the University of Iowa, where he studied percussion with Tom Davis, he relocated to San Diego in 1977.Since then, he has established himself as a busy professional drummer and percussionist in the southern California area. During his 30 years in San Diego he has worked with a number of local and nationally known artists including: Joe Farrell, Mose Allison, Ray Brown, Kenny
Burrell, Joe Chambers, Billy Childs, Conti Codoli, Hal Crook, Curtis Fuller, Geoffrey Keezer, Roger Kellaway, Mundell Lowe, Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, Bob Sheppard, Bobby Shew, Tom Scott, Ernie Watts, Steve Wilson and Mike Wofford. Besides live performances Duncan maintains a home recording studio, where he records drum tracks for numerous jingles, soundtracks and music libraries. He has also done recording for Seaworld and Disney on Ice shows. Duncan has also recorded drum and percussion tracks for the following movies and TV shows: Cable Guy, Commander in Chief, Search for John Gissing, Kate and Leopold, Mind of a Married Man, Man About Town. He has performed frequently on ClubDate an award winning show on PBS, with Bobby Shew, Mike Wofford, Holly Hofmann, Peter Sprague and Bob Magnusson. Duncan has taught at numerous jazz camps, and clinics, and currently teaches drumset at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, Ca. and at UCSD in La Jolla, CA.
David is the Artistic Director of North Coast Repertory Theatre.
Born into a theatrical family, David has worked in theatres across the country. Before joining North Coast Rep in 2003 he served as Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Repertory Company and the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company (AJTC). A veteran of over 200 theatrical productions, directorial favorites include:
North Coast Rep – Two by Pinter: The Lover and The Dumb Waiter, HENRY IV Part 1, Heroes, My Name is Asher Lev, The Drawer Boy, Becky’s New Car, Ghosts, The Tempest, Talley’s Folly, Over the Tavern, Old Wicked Songs, The Dresser, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Madagascar, A Shayna Maidel, The Honky Tonk Angels, Rashomon, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Tuesdays With Morrie, Collected Stories, Halpern and Johnson, Romeo and Juliet, Amy’s View, Einstein Comes Through (also co-author), The Chosen, A Life in the Theatre, Story Theatre and Charley’s Aunt. Coconut Grove Playhouse - Sonia Flew starring Lucy Arnaz; Halpern and Johnson starring Hal Linden and Brian Murray. Papermill Playhouse - The Chosen starring Theodore Bikel and John Lloyd Young. Portland Stage - Halpern and Johnson. Renaissance Theatre - Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix - Rabbit Hole. Alabama Shakespeare Festival - Rocket City (world premiere) and Honky Tonk Angels. Laguna Playhouse - Alexandros (world premiere). Southwest Shakespeare Company - Cyrano de Bergerac. AJTC - Awake and Sing. Meadow Brook Theatre - A Christmas Carol. Pirate Playhouse - Old Wicked Songs and Talley’s Folly. Kingsmen Shakespeare - Hamlet. Portland Rep - Conversations With My Father and Gaslamp Quarter Theatre - A Shayna Maidel
Favorite roles as an actor include Matt in Talley’s Folly at North Coast Rep, title roles in Hamlet at Los Angeles Theatre Center and Los Angeles Repertory Company; Richard III at California Shakespeare Festival; Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Laguna Playhouse; Calisto in The Illusion and Harker in Dracula at the Arizona Theatre Company; Jonathan in Sight Unseen at North Coast Rep and Portland Repertory Theatre.
Film and television credits include over three dozen roles including Star Trek IV, The Practice, Foul Play, Christine Cromwell, Renegade, Eight is Enough, and General Hospital. David has also been guest faculty for numerous universities including California State Northridge, Cal Arts, and Shakespeare workshops privately. David lives with his beautiful wife Denise and their amazing sons Jamie and Will.
Susan Jordan-DeLeon (Asst. Director/Choreographer)
Susan Jordan-DeLeon, a long time San Diegan and associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, received her B.A. in Theatre and M.F.A. in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University. As a director and choreographer, Susan has won numerous awards and was selected by the California Legislature Assembly for Recognition for Excellence in Theatre for her production of West Side Story. An active performer, director-choreographer and instructor in the San Diego theatre community, Susan is a part-time faculty member at Grossmont Community College where she recently directed and choreographed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Prior to “The Bee,” Susan directed A Grand Night For Singing at San Diego State University. As a performer, Susan is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and appeared in the 1st National Company of Disney’s Beauty & The Beast in Los Angeles, as well as at numerous West Coast civic light operas and regional theatres. Her favorite roles to date are Joan/Sprenger in Vinegar Tom, Arlene in Baby (NCR), Marmee in Little Women, Madame Dubonnet in The Boy Friend, and Woman #2 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
Marty Burnett (Scenic Designer)
Designs for North Coast Rep for the last 142 shows. Mr. Burnett has designed sets for the Union Plaza, Sahara, and Hacienda Hotels and Casinos in Las Vegas; Harrah’s Lake Tahoe; The Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ; The Grand Hotel in Anaheim; and The Drury Lane in Chicago. Mr. Burnett is the resident designer and technical director at North Coast Rep.
Matthew Novotny (Lighting Designer)
Matthew recently designed the lighting for The Underpants, Dames at Sea, Two by Pinter: The Lover and The Dumb Waiter, THIS, Visiting Mister Green, Lend Me A Tenor, Five Course Love, My Name is Asher Lev, King O’ the Moon, Ghosts, Glorious, I Love You Because, Old Wicked Songs, Rabbit Hole, Shipwrecked!, The Dresser, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Mornings at Seven, Baby and Rashomon at North Coast Rep. He’s currently the Director of Production for Lyric Opera San Diego. Lighting designs include: Iolanthe, The Merry Widow, The King and I, Countess Maritza, and The Mikado. San Diego: Das Barbecu, The Wiz, West Side Story and Rumors. Regional: Yankee Doodle Dandy (Seattle), Noises Off! (Boston), The Game, (Washington DC) and Primal Twang, a guitar concert featuring six Grammy-winning artists. Matthew holds a BA in Technical Theatre from San Diego State University, and an MFA from Boston University.
Alina Bokovikova (Costume Designer)
Alina is thrilled to work with this great theatre again. Her last credits include: The Underpants, THIS (North Coast Rep),The Man His Wife and His Hat (Moxie Theatre), Henry IV (North Coast Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Moxie) , Les Noces (ballet), The Great American Trailer Park Musical (SD Rep), Hedda Gabler, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Stereoblind (Dance film), Phantom Band, Camino Real (Patte Award), Beehive the Musical, Good Doctor, La Traviatta. Alina has a MFA in Costume Design from UC San Diego and Masters Degree in Education from Russia, so teaching theatre is one of her favorite activities. She is an instructor for Costume Design at UC San Diego and for History of Costume at FIDM.
Nick Drashner (Sound Designer)
TopDog/Underdog (Ion Theatre), A Man His Wife and His Hat (Moxie Theatre). UCSD productions: Live In the Wake, Spring Awakening, A Man His Wife and His Hat, Kasimir & Karoline, A Fish Without a Bicycle, Phantom Band, The Threepenny Opera (ASD), The Seagull (ASD), Camino Real (ASD). Nicholas holds an MFA in Sound Design for Theatre and a BA in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts from University of California San Diego.
Annie Bornhurst (Props & Set Dressing)
North Coast Repertory Theatre: Dames at Sea, Two by Pinter: The Lover and The Dumb Waiter, THIS, Visiting Mister Green, The Lion in Winter, Heroes, Lend Me a Tenor, My Name is Asher Lev, King O’ the Moon, The Drawer Boy, Gee’s Bend, Becky’s New Car, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Voice of the Prairie, Ghosts, Little Women, Glorious!, A Christmas Carol, Talley’s Folly, I Love You Because, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Over the Tavern, Old Wicked Songs, Rabbit Hole. Actors Circle Theatre: The View from Here. The Sanford
Meisner Center: Frankie and Johnny, Babes and Brides.
Jess Slocum (Stage Manager)
BROADWAY: In The Heights. REGIONAL: 2012 Shakespeare Festival, A Room with a View, The Rocky Horror Show, 2011 Shakespeare Festival, Rafta, Rafta…, Robin and the 7 Hoods, Alive and Well, Sammy, Cornelia, Since Africa, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas! (’07-‘09), The Glass Menagerie - The Old Globe; Ruined, The Third Story, Memphis, Most Wanted - La Jolla Playhouse; Tranquillity Woods- Steppenwolf Theatre Company. SAN DIEGO: Yellow Face – Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company; Festival of Christmas 2011 – Lamb’s Players
Theatre. EDUCATION: Vanderbilt University. UPCOMING: Pygmalion and A Doll’s House at The Old Globe. Proud Member of Actors’ Equity Association.
John Finkbiner (Scenic Artist)
John has been a member of the NCR staff for nearly three years. His favorite shows are Halpern and Johnson, SHIPWRECKED!, The Dresser and Jacques Brel. John received his BA degree at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television in 1991. John is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and performs with his band, the Stereotypes. His music has been featured on Showtime’s “Californication”,
Fox’s “Bones” and NBC’s “Knight Rider”, among others. John lives with his wife Judi and his son John Gibson in Leucadia.
Jason Nall (Production Manager)Jason is in his first season with North Coast Rep. Previously, he was production manager with The Cutting Ball Theatre, where he worked on their award-winning Pelleas and Melisande, Tontlawald, and Tenderloin, a documentary piece of the famous San Francisco neighborhood. He was also the resident PM for Crowded Fire Theatre Company (Exit, Pursued by a Bear; Songs of the Dragon Flying to Heaven; The Secretaries) and served as production manager for Boxcar
Theatre (Clue), and Lamplighters Music Theatre (Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, Mikado). He is also an AEA stage manager, working for San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, The Magic Theatre, and Berkeley Playhouse. He has also participated in several new works, including Cybil Shepherd’s one-woman show Curvy Widow, Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar with Ensemble Parallèle, and Mark Foeringer Dance Project’s Bitter Fruit. Originally from Claremont, CA, he has a BA in Criminology from UC Irvine.
Ryan Ford (Associate Production Manager)
Ryan is thrilled to be on staff here at NCRT as the Associate Production Manager. Previous works at NCRT include: as a sound mixer; Dames at Sea, Honky Tonk Angels, and Back to Bacharach and David; as ASM or PA; Dracula, String of Pearls, Madagascar, A Shayna Maidel, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Leading Ladies. Around San Diego, Ryan has worked as a stage manager at several theatre companies including Moxie, ion, Diversionary, Cygnet, Playwrights Project, and San Diego Rep. Favorite productions include Twist (Diversionary), A Hammer A Bell and A Song to Sing (SDRep), and Angels in America (ion). Ryan holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from UCSD. Love and thanks to his fabulous fiancée, Sammi, for long days and late nights.
Kendra Stockton (Production Assistant)
Kendra has worked as part of the stage management team on several productions at the La Jolla Playhouse, with Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, and on both Memphis and the revival of Godspell on Broadway. She is a recent graduate of Wagner College in Staten Island, NY and a San Diego native.