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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lizzie to open at Firebrand Theatre
From a press release
2017-11-14

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CHICAGO ( November 13, 2017 ) — Firebrand Theatre, the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage, is pleased to present its inaugural production, the Chicago premiere of LIZZIE, the rock musical based on the true-life story of accused axe-murderess Lizzie Borden. LIZZIE will play November 11 — December 17, 2017 at The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets for LIZZIE and season subscriptions ( including 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL ) are currently available at firebrandtheatre.org . The press opening for LIZZIE is Tuesday, November 14 at 7:30 pm.

Directed by Victoria Bussert with music direction by Andra Velis Simon, LIZZIE features music by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner, book by Tim Maner, additional music by Tim Maner, additional lyrics by Alan Stevens Hewitt, based on an original concept by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner with orchestrations by Alan Stevens Hewitt.

LIZZIE features Liz Chidester as Lizzie, Leah Davis as Bridget, Jacquelyne Jones as Alice and Camille Robinson as Emma.

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one." So goes the nursery rhyme describing the crime of the century that took the nation by storm when Lizzie Borden murdered her parents with an axe in 1892. Or did she? LIZZIE is a musical that reimagines that bloody legend with four women fronting a female rock band. LIZZIE is American mythology set to a blistering rock score with rage, sex, betrayal and bloody murder.

Late Night Understudy Showcase

The production's understudy cast will be featured in late night, concert-style performances of LIZZIE throughout the run. The understudy cast includes Kyrie Anderson as Lizzie, Tatiana Bustamante as Bridget, Paige Daigle as Alice and Dakota Hughes as Emma. All late-night performances are pay-what-you-can.

Comments Artistic Director Harmony France, "We knew pretty early on that we wanted Lizzie to open our season. It fits our mission perfectly. It's one of the few musicals that feature all women. The characters are flawed and complicated in a way that women don't normally get to portray in musical theatre. There is an unapologetic blistering rock score that will be played by our all femme band. It's sexy and scary and vulnerable and there's a splash zone. The alleged axe-murderess, Lizzie Borden, has captured our imagination for centuries. She is a fascinating historical figure who lived a very unconventional life and she is one of the few women in America responsible for a 'crime of the century.' At Firebrand, we are committed to illuminating women's stories whether they're good, bad or ugly — and Lizzie is definitely all of the above."

The production team for LIZZIE includes: Eleanor Kahn ( scenic design ), Charlotte M. Yetman ( costume design ), Maya Michele Fein ( lighting design ), Victoria Deiorio ( sound design ), Jon Martinez ( assistant director ), Danielle Stack ( production manager ) and Jean E. Compton ( stage manager ).

Subscriptions are currently available at firebrandtheatre.org .

About The Creative Team

Victoria Bussert ( Director ) balances the professional and academic worlds working as an award-winning freelance director while serving as Director of Music Theatre for Baldwin Wallace University. Her work has been seen at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodspeed Opera, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Theatre Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Pegasus Players, Beck Center for the Arts, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, among others. Victoria serves as Resident Director for Cleveland's Great Lakes Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. She has directed seven national tours including Into The Woods, Once On This Island and The Who's Tommy. Her international directing credits include The Adventures of Friar Tuck in Russia, the Danish premieres of Avenue Q and [title of show], as well as the European premiere of Lizzie for Fredericia Theatre which moves to London in February 2017. Victoria received a BA in Theatre and Dance from Barat College and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Andra Velis Simon ( Music Director ) is a music director, adapter, arranger, vocal coach and pianist based in Chicago. Regionally, her work has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep, Olney Theatre Center in Maryland and Three Oaks in Michigan. In Chicago: The Goodman Theatre ( The Iceman Cometh and Camino Real ), Theater Wit ( Mr. Burns: a post-electric play and 10 out of 12 ), Chicago Children's Theatre ( The Hundred Dresses, A Year with Frog and Toad, Goodnight Moon ), The Hypocrites ( Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes, American Idiot, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore ), Windy City Playhouse, and many others. Andra is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches several musical theatre performance courses, and where she served as the staff Musical Director for the Theatre Department from 2008-2016.

Mission Statement

FIREBRAND THEATRE is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501( c )( 3 ) Equity theatre.

Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France, Managing Director: Kimberly Lawson, Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier, Kate Garassino, Emjoy Gavino, Amber Mak, Danni Smith, Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Sydney Charles, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Carly Glenn, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Amelia Jo Parrish and Andra Velis-Simon.


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