The Great White Way is coming to Warwick this Fall, with a Broadway Equity production of “tick, tick... BOOM!” at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, October 14 through 16. Produced by the Warwick Broadway Collective and the Warwick Dance Collective, this autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the creator of “Rent,” tells the story of Larson’s struggle to navigate love, friendship, and life as an up-and-coming artist in New York on the cusp of his 30th birthday.
The Sugar Loaf production features Broadway professionals, including Jennifer DiNoia (“Wicked”), Harris M. Turner (“Frozen,” “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”), and Brooklyn singer/pianist/composer Paul Peglar (Glee, Fame, Sonos/Arora). Choreographer Sara Edwards calls the trio a “dream team,” and says, “Paul is a real-life Jonathan Larson, a charismatic songwriter and singer.” Of Turner and DiNoia, she says, “both have powerhouse voices. With [Director] Jessica McRoberts and me at the helm of these wonderful talents, Broadway will be alive and well in this production at SLPAC.”
DiNoia joins the cast fresh from her role as Elphaba in “Wicked,” and says her involvement in the project “kind of seemed like kismet. I came up to Warwick to sing with my friends at Broadway at Baird’s and reconnected with my friend Jessica McRoberts...and was thrilled to hear about the possibility of being a part of ‘tick, tick... BOOM!,’ with so many brilliant talents attached to it. I love that this show dives headfirst into showing what a writer in the business goes through when developing a new work, and how it affects everything in your personal life.”
Edwards, who is currently the Associate Choreographer for the Broadway revival of “The Music Man” and Associate Director/Choreographer for Barry Manilow’s “Harmony,” says it was easy to find inspiration for the choreography in Jonathan Larson’s lyrics. “He is a terrific storyteller. I’ve always loved this show because it is about people working through relatable obstacles, and my choreography is directly connected to their story...We are playful, joyous and genuinely having a great time dancing to this score.”
Director Jessica McRoberts is a Warwick local, a Broadway veteran (“Follies,” “Nine,” “Sweet Charity”), and a former Radio City Rockette. She is joined by Assistant Director Chuck Ragsdale, who has appeared on Broadway in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and hosts the monthly “Broadway at Baird’s” cabaret evenings at Baird’s Tavern that helped to bring many of this project’s key players together. This is the first Broadway Equity production for the resident companies of Warwick Center for the Performing Arts, which last year opened a new flagship space on Church Street in the Village of Warwick.
WCPA owner and Director Melissa Padham-Maass says, “Our vision has always been to have a school that would incorporate all the different elements of the performing arts. We started with a lot more dance programming, and the musical theater program really took off when Jessica McRoberts came on board and started producing full-length musicals. Since then we have started a student company, the Warwick Broadway Collective, have hosted multiple workshops, and have produced two full-length musicals.”
Padham-Maass notes that bringing an Equity production to the area was a natural next step for the growing musical theater program: “Bringing this level of professional work to the community exposes our students to professional expertise, allowing them to study alongside working professionals and learn about the process of producing a work on this scale.” To that end, all five performances of “tick, tick...BOOM!” will be preceded by “The Jonathan Larson Celebration,” a pre-show tribute to the music and legacy of Jonathan Larson, including favorites from his Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon “Rent.” The pre-show features local professional artists as well as members of WCPA’s Warwick Broadway Collective and Warwick Dance Collective.
This is the first Broadway Equity production for the resident companies of Warwick Center for the Performing Arts, which last year opened a new flagship space on Church Street in the Village of Warwick.