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Escapeland

ESCAPELAND

Music by Ross Baum
Book & Lyrics by Charlie Oh
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Music Directed by Jeremy Ramey

 
Developmental Reading:
May 9 – 22, 2022
Public Performances:
ABOUT THE SHOW

“Welcome to Smileville, the smiliest place on earth.
Nothing’s wrong here, why would you even ask?
Have I mentioned there’s a sale at the gift shop?”

Becca Brown lives in the shadow of Smileville, resenting the affluence, privilege, and cheer she never had access to. When she unexpectedly finds herself playing a princess inside the park, she ends up discovering the family she never had. Her hard-earned cynicism begins to fade just as the dark underbelly of Smileville rears its head, and Becca must choose between staying in the land of smiles and the harsh truth of the real world. This musical comedy about the backstage life of theme park employees examines class, family, and capitalism with a dark flair. The show uses pastiche numbers mixed with a contemporary pop score to reveal the inner life and turmoil of people who are asked to be professionally happy.

THE WRITERS

Ross Baum (Music) is a singer-songwriter, music producer, and theater composer whose work has been seen on stages and screens across the country including Lincoln Center, New York City Center, the Kennedy Center, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Billboard, Playbill, and E! Network. He received the 2018 Richard Rodgers Award for his original musical Gun & Powder (book & lyrics by Angelica Chéri), which had its world premiere at DC’s Tony-winning Signature Theatre, directed by Robert O’Hara. Other musical scores include: Escapeland (book & lyrics by Charlie Oh), Crowndation: I Will Not Lie To David (Center Theatre Group, National Black Theatre), Anne Frank: My Secret Life and A Letter To Auntie Rosa (Diverging Elements Theatre Company). Various concerts, festivals, and residences at Barrington Stage, Goodspeed, Theatre Latté Da, McCarter Theatre Center, Two River Theater, and NAMT. As founder and music director of the vocal group RANGE, he has arranged and produced content for a YouTube channel totaling over 100 million views, including their viral hit “Hamilton [in 7 minutes]” and studio album RANGE volume one. He has also worked as a vocal director, creative consultant, and orchestrator for corporate entertainment companies including Walt Disney Imagineering, Celebrity Cruises, RWS Entertainment Group, and currently serves on the Musical Theatre faculty at Syracuse University. Ross holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU, BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University, and is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop

Charlie Oh (Book & Lyrics)  is a playwright/lyricist/actor and a second-year playwright in the Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. His work has been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, the BMI Lehmen Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, NYC Songspace, The Brooklyn Generator, and Catwalk Writer’s Residency. His play “LONG” won the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Award In Playwriting, placed second for the Mark Twain Prize for Comedic Playwriting, and was a 2019 Honorable Mention for The American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award. He is a winner of the Disney/NMI 2018 New Voices Project, and The Craig Carnelia Songwriting Award. He currently holds a commission from Manhattan Theater Club and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A graduate of Northwestern University, where he studied playwriting under Laura Schellhardt. Acting: “The King and I” directed by Bartlett Sher, “All These Small Moments” (Tribeca Film Festival).

THE TEAM

Lisa Peterson (Director) Recent NY credits include An Iliad, written with Denis O’Hare (NYTW- 2012 Obie Award, Lortel Award, Drama Desk nominations); Shipwrecked by Donald Margulies and Motherhood Outloud by 15 writers (Primary Stages); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace, Slavs! (Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness) by Tony Kushner, Traps by Caryl Churchill, The Waves adapted from Virginia Woolf by Peterson and David Bucknam (Drama Desk nominations) and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire by Caryl Churchill (Obie Award for Directing), all at New York Theatre Workshop; The Fourth Sister by Janusz Glowacki and The Batting Cage by Joan Ackerman (Vineyard Theatre); The Poor Itch by John Belluso, The Square by 16 writers, and Tongue of a Bird (The Public); Collected Stories by Donald Margulies (MTC); Birdy adapted from the William Wharton novel by Naomi Wallace (Women’s Project); The Chemistry of Change by Marlane Meyer (Playwrights Horizons/WPP); The Model Apartment by Donald Margulies (Primary Stages); and Sueno by Jose Rivera (MCC).  Lisa has directed regionally at the Mark Taper Forum (where she was Resident Director for 10 years), La Jolla Playhouse (Associate Director for 3 years), Guthrie, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, McCarter, Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf, Yale Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Huntington, Dallas Theater Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and California Shakespeare Theater.  She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, and on the executive board of SDC.

Jeremy Ramey (Music Director, Pianist and Music Design) is a concert pianist, conductor and music director based in Chicago and serves as the resident music director for Theo Ubique Theatre Company. In 2020, Jeremy received his eleventh and twelfth Jeff nominations for music direction for his work on Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Hello, Again. Jeremy has won six Jeff awards total – most recently for Bridges of Madison County in 2019. He received previous Jeff awards for The Light In The Piazza, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Rent, The Most Happy Fella and Sweeney Todd. In 2016, he won his second Broadway World Award for Music Direction for his work on Bette, Live at The Continental Baths with the production company Hell in a Handbag. He received his training in piano performance and music at Rhodes College, Northwestern University and The Juilliard School of Music. 

THE CAST
Liam Oh as JIMMY
Olivia Behr as BECCA
Theo Gyra as LUKE
Olivia Whitmer as LIBBY
Caroline Drapeau as DENISE
Zach Forbes as PHIL
Danielle Llevada as GLORIA
Claire Guthrie as ENSEMBLE
Eli Blanks as ENSEMBLE
Sarah Cartwright as ENSEMBLE/SWING