Chicago Shakespeare Theater has released rehearsal images from the highly anticipated world premiere of The Notebook, a new musical based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film.
Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, share a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. Broadway directors Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, RENT) and Schele Williams (Aida, Motown the Musical) team up with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson on music and lyrics, book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC's This Is Us), and choreography by Katie Spelman.
Portraying Allie and Noah across their lifetimes are Jordan Tyson (off-Broadway The Street of New York, Folk Wandering, Sweetee) as Young Allie, Joy Woods (Broadway's SIX, off-Broadway Little Shop of Horrors) as Middle Allie, and Tony Award-winner Maryann Plunkett (Broadway's Me and My Girl, Sunday in the Park with George, The Crucible, Saint Joan) as Older Allie; John Cardoza (Broadway's Jagged Little Pill, world premiere The Karate Kid - The Musical) as Young Noah, Ryan Vasquez (Broadway's Waitress, Wicked, Hamilton) as Middle Noah, and John Beasley (Kennedy Center's Fences, Goodman Theatre's Two Trains Running, WB's "Everwood") as Older Noah.
The company of The Notebook also features Yassmin Alers (Broadway's On Your Feet!, Paul Simon's The Capeman, RENT), Andréa Burns (Broadway's On Your Feet!, In The Heights - Drama Desk Award), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Parade at Writers Theatre - Jeff Award), Dorcas Leung (Broadway's Miss Saigon, Hamilton 1st National Tour), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Jesus Christ Superstar 50th Anniversary Tour, Broadway's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, American Idiot), Sophie Madorsky (Nice Work If You Can Get It and Rock of Ages at Summer Repertory Theatre), and Liam Oh (Next to Normal at Writers Theatre). Understudies include Alex Benoit, Mary Ernster, Jerica Exum, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, RhonniRose Mantilla, and Carson Stewart.
Known for her distinctively soulful folk-pop style, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson is a force in the music industry, with four Top 20 albums and two platinum singles: "The Way I Am" and "Girls Chase Boys." Michaelson's nine studio albums have been released on her own independent label Cabin 24 Records and her original songs have soundtracked important moments in hundreds of television series and feature films. Michaelson made her Broadway debut as Sonya in Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 in 2017.
Bookwriter Bekah Brunstetter was a supervising producer and writer on NBC's Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series This Is Us. An accomplished playwright, her work has been produced at major regional theaters, including Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, Atlantic Theater Company, and The Old Globe. Her new musical A.D. 16, written in collaboration with Cinco Paul (Schmigadoon), recently premiered at Olney Theatre in a production directed by Stephen Brackett (A Strange Loop, Be More Chill). She was also a writer and producer on the acclaimed Netflix series Maid, garnering the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Long Form - Adapted program.
The World Premiere musical of The Notebook is directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams. A four-time Tony Award-nominee, Greif's Broadway credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, and Grey Gardens-as well as the landmark 1996 original production of RENT, among others. The multi-Obie Award-winner has staged a host of off-Broadway productions at Second Stage, Signature Theatre, and The Public Theater, and directed FOX's RENT: Live telecast. Williams is currently directing the upcoming Broadway revivals of Aida and The Wiz, as well as the premieres of Mandela the Musical and Indigo. She will be helming Disney's upcoming musical Hidden Figures, currently in development. She has directed at regional theaters and festivals across the country and has a long history of work on Broadway in RENT, Aida, and Motown: The Musical.
Choreographer Katie Spelman is a Chicago native with credits at theaters across the country, including A.D. 16 at Olney Theatre, The Who's Tommy at Denver Center, Oklahoma! at Goodspeed, and the Jeff Award-nominated Cabaret at Paramount Theatre. Spelman was one of five choreographers awarded the SDCF Agnes De Mille commission. She was also the associate choreographer for the Boston, Broadway, and Australian companies of Moulin Rouge.
The production's music supervisor is Carmel Dean, who is also collaborating on arrangements with Ingrid Michaelson and on orchestrations with John Clancy (Broadway's Fun Home, Tuck Everlasting, Shrek the Musical). Dean's music direction and arrangement credits include Broadway productions of If/Then, American Idiot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Hands on a Hardbody. She also composed the score for The Transport Group's world premiere musical Renascence based on the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which debuted off-Broadway in 2018.
Geoffrey Ko is The Notebook's music director. He was the associate music director for Broadway's Be More Chill, and has worked off-Broadway on Broadway Bounty Hunter, Baby (with Richard Maltby Jr.), Billy and the Killers, Generation Me, and Renascence. Other projects include Ride on the West End and Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.
The Notebook features scenic design by David Zinn (Broadway's The Minutes, SpongeBob SquarePants - Tony Award, The Humans - Tony Award, Fun Home) and Brett J. Banakis (The Devil Wears Prada, Broadway's The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Cher Show), costume design by Paloma Young (Broadway's Peter and the Starcatcher - Tony Award, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, West End's & Juliet - Olivier Award nominee), lighting design by Ben Stanton (three-time Tony Award nominee - Junk, Deaf West's Spring Awakening, Fun Home), sound design by Nevin Steinberg (Broadway's Hadestown - Tony Award, Tina, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton), and wig and make-up design by Mia Neal (Academy Award-winner for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Broadway's Shuffle Along, A Raisin in the Sun). Casting is by The Telsey Office/Patrick Goodwin, CSA, with Chicago casting by Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Associate/Casting Director Bob Mason. Also featured on the creative team are Asmeret Ghebremichael (Associate Director), Anna Ebbesen (Associate Music Director), Emily Madigan (Associate Choreographer), Sasha Smith (Intimacy Director), Matthew Buttrey (Associate Scenic Designer), Annie Le (Associate Costume Designer), Wilburn Bonnell (Associate Lighting Designer), Daniel Lundberg (Associate Sound Designer), Erica Maholmes (Assistant Lighting Designer), and Emily Hayman (Assistant Sound Designer). Victoria Navarro is the Production Stage Manager.
The Notebook will be presented September 6-October 16, 2022, in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets ($41-$125) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
All photos by joe mazza - bravelux.
Maryann Plunkett (Older Allie), Joy Woods (Middle Allie), and Jordan Tyson (Young Allie) in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="400" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_cst_notebook-rehearsal_01_joemazza1.jpg" width="600" />
Maryann Plunkett (Older Allie), Joy Woods (Middle Allie), and Jordan Tyson (Young Allie) in rehearsal for The Notebook
Michael Greif and Schele Williams in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="400" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_6.jpg" width="600" />
Co-directors Michael Greif and Schele Williams in rehearsal for The Notebook
Carmel Dean (Music Supervisor / Co-Orchestrations / Co-Arrangements) and Ingrid Michaelson (music & lyrics) in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="400" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_5.jpg" width="600" />
Carmel Dean (Music Supervisor / Co-Orchestrations / Co-Arrangements) and Ingrid Michaelson (music & lyrics) in rehearsal for The Notebook
John Cardoza (Young Noah) and Jordan Tyson (Young Allie) in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="400" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_4.jpg" width="600" />
John Cardoza (Young Noah) and Jordan Tyson (Young Allie) in rehearsal for The Notebook
Joy Woods (Middle Allie) and Ryan Vasquez (Middle Noah) in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="400" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_3.jpg" width="600" />
Joy Woods (Middle Allie) and Ryan Vasquez (Middle Noah) in rehearsal for The Notebook
Maryann Plunkett (Older Allie) and John Beasley (Older Noah) in rehearsal for The Notebook" height="429" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2192307/tn-500_2.jpg" width="600" />
Maryann Plunkett (Older Allie) and John Beasley (Older Noah) in rehearsal for The Notebook