Broadway World: Deborah Gibson Stars in Cabrillo’s THE KING & I

Cabrillo Music Theatre kicks off the new 2008-2009 season by announcing that Deborah Gibson, whose successful career spans the worlds of Broadway and Pop Music, will star in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic, THE KING AND I. Cabrillo Music Theatre’s Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld will direct, while Darryl Archibald will serve as Musical Director and Conductor. The production will feature the original Jerome Robbins choreography of the “Small House of Uncle Thomas” Ballet, recreated by Irene Cho, who performed the piece under Robbins’ supervision in THE KING AND I and Jerome Robbins’ BROADWAY. Heather Castillo will handle additional choreography and musical staging. THE KING AND I will open on Friday, October 17, 2008 and run through Sunday, October 26th, for Cabrillo Music Theatre in the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Countrywide Performing Arts Center located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

East meets West in THE KING AND I, as Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam reach across cultural and social borders to find each other. Anna, a young widow, mother and teacher, sets out for a new life in the Far East, and meets her match in the King, an inquisitive and powerful monarch who is as much a boy as a man. They each find the other to be more than expected, in this warm, funny and touching tale of love everlasting. Composer Richard Rodgers and Lyricist/Librettist Oscar Hammerstein II lead an extraordinary musical journey, which includes “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Shall We Dance,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” and “The March of the Siamese Children.”

Also featured is the “Small House of Uncle Thomas” Ballet, originally choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and recreated in its entirety by Irene Cho. A unique re-telling of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” as interpreted through the eyes of a Siamese slave, the Ballet transcends dance and becomes a powerful and timeless piece of storytelling.

Though set in 1862, THE KING AND I’s clashing cultures, its struggle for knowledge, and its balance between faith and science, make this story as pertinent and as contemporary as ever. Further adding to the show’s timeless appeal is Deborah Gibson, making her Cabrillo Music Theatre debut as Anna Leonowens. “Deborah is an endlessly talented star” says Carole W. Nussbaum, Cabrillo Music Theatre’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Her signature ‘WOW’ factor will bring audiences to their feet and will resonate throughout this region for years to come.” Nussbaum goes on to say, “Cabrillo is privileged to welcome an artist of Ms. Gibson’s stature.” Gibson, a veteran of Broadway and popular music for over twenty years, will be joined by Southern California theatre veteran Daniel Guzman, as the King of Siam. They are supported by a cast of nearly 60 and a full professional orchestra to make THE KING AND I a memorable theatre experience for the entire family.

ABOUT THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

Deborah Gibson (Anna Leonowens). For more than 20 years, Deborah Gibson has proven she’s an entertainer of immeasurable talent. From singer, songwriter and musician to actor and dancer, she embodies what it truly means to be an entertainer. Gibson exploded on the pop music scene at the tender age of 16. A music prodigy, she quickly became the youngest person ever to write, produce and perform a number one single, (“Foolish Beat”), a record she still holds today in the Guinness Book of World Records. To date, Gibson has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide. After conquering the pop world, she set her sights on the theater. Gibson took a star turn in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables” as Eponine. She broke box office records in the London West End production of “Grease” as Sandy, and then took the stage in the U.S. Broadway tours of “Grease” and “Funny Girl” playing Rizzo and Fanny Brice. Gibson also wowed critics as Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Gypsy Rose Lee in “Gypsy,” The Narrator in the national tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Cinderella in the national production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” Velma Kelly in “Chicago,” and Sally Bowles in the Broadway revival of “Cabaret.” Gibson is now the composer and co-lyricist on a new musical in pre-production for Broadway: “The Flunky”, written by Jimmy Van Patten.

Gibson continues to dazzle with entertainment magic. She has bridged the gap between Pop Music and Broadway with her one-woman show “Pop Goes Broadway.” She brings the best of both worlds to the stage singing some of her biggest pop hits and reprising her starring roles on Broadway. Critics agreed “‘Pop Goes Broadway’ is the best show Atlantic City has seen in quite some time…it’s totally entertaining” during her three-week engagement in May 2008 at The Concert Venue at Harrah’s. Phil Roura of the New York Daily News said, “she has mastered her craft to the point where she just doesn’t perform a song – she embraces it and delivers it with her own special stamp of approval.” The “Original Pop Princess” is ready to pass the torch to the next generation of musical sensations. Her passion to mentor young performers and songwriters has led her to create “Deborah Gibson‘s Electric Youth”, a series of performing arts camps and songwriting/recording intensives.

Daniel Guzman (The King). Daniel returns to Cabrillo Music Theatre, having recently played Zach in A Chorus Line! Just completed Les Miserables (Grantaire) at The Hollywood Bowl to a sold out audience for the three night concert. Recent film: My Sister’s Keeper. Stage: The Who’s Tommy (Specialist, u/s Uncle Ernie): Montalban, LA. Tours: Camelot w/ Michael York (Dinadan, u/s Merlyn), Jesus Christ Superstar w/Carl Anderson (King Herod), Les Miserables (Montparnasse), Evita (Magaldi, u/s Che). Broadway: Cyrano: The Musical, Les Miserables. Moscow & Austria as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats directed by Gillian Lynne & Andrew Lloyd Webber. Hollywood Bowl: Les Miserables, Stephen Sondheim’s 75th: The Concert, Mame. Other: Water and Power at Mark Taper Forum (u/s Water & Power), The King and I (King): MTW, City of Angels (Lt. Munoz): Reprise, A Chorus Line (Zach): Cabrillo, Carousel (Jigger): Welk Resort, Guys & Dolls (Sky Masterson): Arvada/Las Vegas, Sweet Charity (Vittorio Vital): Arvada, Wonderful Town w/Lucie Arnaz (Valenti): Reprise, West Side Story (Bernardo): Arvada, Man of La Mancha (Dr. Carrasco): SBCLO. TV Highlights: Ally McBeal, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Diagnosis Murder, Crusade, Pacific Palisades, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Numerous commercials, workshops and demo tapes.

LEWIS WILKENFELD (Artistic Director/Director of The King and I) celebrates the start of his third year as Artistic Director, and his lucky 13th directorial production for CMT productions during the last decade. These include Beauty and the Beast, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Music Man, Annie, West Side Story, Carousel, and The Secret Garden.

His production of Bye Bye Birdie! was named Ventura County’s Production Of The Year. Additionally, Lewis’ work has won him an AriZoni Award (Beauty & the Beast, Phoenix Theatre), a Drama Logue Award (The Wizard of Oz, starring Cathy Rigby) and a Robby Award (Gypsy! at the Lawrence Welk Resort Theatre). His directing work has taken him to Ogden, UT (Children of Eden); Houston, TX (Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby); Norris Theatre, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (I’m Not Rappaport starring Ted Lange); Moonlight Amphitheatre, Vista, CA (Hello, Dolly and Sweet Charity); Brea, CA (They’re Playing Our Song and Sleuth); and Long Beach’s Musical Theatre West (A Funny Thing… Forum) and International City Theatre (1940s Radio Hour). Lewis is proud to have directed six shows for the award-winning Musical Theatre Guild in Los Angeles, including two productions to have played in the Forum Theatre in Thousand Oaks: I Can Get It For You Wholesale and Roberta. Lewis represents Cabrillo Music Theatre on the Membership Committee of the National Alliance of Musical Theatre.

Darryl Archibald (Musical Director). Mr. Archibald’s productions include regional and national tours, regional and world premieres, and award winning productions at theaters around the country. He is currently a substitute conductor for the Los Angeles production of Wicked. Tours include: Disney’s The Lion King – Cheetah Tour, where he served as vocal coach/assistant conductor, A Grand Night For Singing, The All Night Strut, Jerry’s Girls. Other shows include: Once On This Island (Reprise Theater Company), the West Coast premiere of THE FIX (Alex Theater), Li’l Abner with Cathy Rigby and Fred Willard (Freud Playhouse), Swing! (Sacramento Music Circus), the Desert Aids Project Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Palm Springs Convention Center), The West Coast and regional premiere of Never Gonna Dance, Ragtime (Musical Theater West), A Chorus Line directed by Kay Cole, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and The Music Man (Cabrillo Music Theatre), Swing! (McCoy/Rigby Ent.), Gaveston: Favourite of the King, Merry Me A Little – revised version (Celebration Theater), Merrily We Roll Along with Teri Hatcher and I Do! I Do! with Diana Canova and Harry Groener (Reprise!), My Fair Lady, 1776, Little Shop Of Horrors, Camelot and Forever Plaid (Utah Shakespearean Festival), Ain’t Misbehavin’ directed by Ken Page, and Swing! (Civic Light of the South Bay Cities), Four Guys Named Jose… And Una Mujer Named Maria, Raisin, A Christmas Carol (ICT), An Evening With Rodgers and Hammerstein (Long Beach Symphony), Lady In the Dark, Sail Away (Musical Theater Guild), Zorba with Judy Kaye, On The Town, My One And Only (associate conductor – Reprise!).

Mr. Archibald’s arrangement and orchestration credits include: the prime-time television special “A Hollywood Holiday Celebration” (ABC), The Fountain Show and Christmas Trolley Show, The Grove Los Angeles), Page By Page (cast recording), Zorba, On Your Toes, Damn Yankees (Reprise!), Never Gonna Dance (Musical Theater West). Upcoming 2008 productions include: Silk Stockings (MTW), and more Wicked.

Irene Cho (Choreographer – “Small House of Uncle Thomas”) is a Kansas City native. Irene’s association with “Small House of Uncle Thomas” began when she was cast as one of Yul Brynner’s wives and royal dancers in his last national tour and Broadway run of The King & I. As a member of the original Broadway cast of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Irene had the honor of dancing under the watchful eye of Jerome Robbins and helping to re-create his original choreography for “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.” In addition to Mr. Robbins, Irene was coached in the role of Eliza by Yuriko, who created the role in the original Broadway production and also danced the role in the film. Other Performing Career Highlights: The Phantom of the Opera (original Broadway cast, Los Angeles and San Francisco companies), Funny Feet (Off Broadway), Sayonara (Papermill Playhouse), Phantom (Theatre League’s Yeston/Kopit production), Hollywood Bowl (Showboat, Carousel, South Pacific and Bernstein’s Mass), Los Angeles Opera (Rigoletto – directed by Bruce Beresford, Aida, Turandot), Joffrey Ballet Concert Group, Cleveland Ballet, American Ballet Comedy, “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” for TV, commercials, still photography work with Harvey Edwards. Family: actor Norman Large and sons, Nathan & Brandon.

HEATHER CASTILLO (Additional Choreography/Musical Staging) is excited to make her choreographic debut with Cabrillo Music Theatre on The King and I. Other choreographic projects this year have included: The Fix, Anything Goes and The Office Machine for UC Irvine, adding to Urinetown, City of Angels, Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me, Kate, La Celestina, Under Milk Wood and Connecticut Yankee in recent years. As a dancer, Heather worked for Buena Vista Special Events, Universal Studios, and Saban Entertainment to name a few. Other performer credits range from: Annie to West Side Story. Heather will finish her M.F.A. in dance in 2009 at UC Irvine.

ABOUT THE PRICING AND SCHEDULE
THE KING AND I will open on Friday, October 17, 2008 and run through Sunday, October 26. Performances are Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. A post-show discussion with cast, staff and audience will follow the Saturday, October 18, 2:00pm performance. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Countrywide Performing Arts Center Box Office located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks or through any Ticketmaster location or by phone (805) 583-8700. For groups of 12 or more, please call Group Sales, Cabrillo Music Theatre at (805) 497-8615. Ticket prices range from $38 – $74. For ticket and theatre information, call (805) 449-ARTS (2787).

CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE is located at the Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Countrywide Performing Arts Center, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

Cabrillo Music Theatre’s “Must-See” 2008-2009 Season continues with BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO (January 2009), 42ND STREET (March 2009) and CATS (July 2009).

Cabrillo Music Theatre is the resident musical theatre company of the Countrywide Performing Arts Center at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and a non-profit theatre organization. For over three decades, Cabrillo has been enriching the cultural life of Ventura County and its surrounding areas by providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre. It is Cabrillo’s mission to provide the highest quality musical experience, to foster educational opportunities, and to promote cultural and artistic enrichment to enhance the quality of life in our community. To this end, Cabrillo Music Theatre has established the Adopt-A-School, ADOPT-A-SENIOR, and PET (Project Entertainment Troops) outreach programs. Since the inceptions of these programs, thousands of underserved children, in need seniors, active military and their families have enjoyed Cabrillo Music Theatre’s productions at no charge. With the ADOPT-A-SCHOOL, ADOPT-A-SENIOR, and PET programs, Cabrillo makes live theatre accessible to children, seniors, and military men and women who otherwise may never have the opportunity to experience a live musical theatre performance. For more information about Cabrillo Music Theatre’s outreach programs, contact Carole W. Nussbaum, President/Chief Executive Officer at (805) 497-8613.

Photo credit: Kerry Long
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