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Empire at La Mirada Theater

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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont


Book, Music & Lyrics by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull

Musical Direction by Sariva Goetz

Directed and Choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge


 December 21, 2015…La Mirada, CA…LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS & MC COY RIGBY ENTERTAINMENT (2014 Ovation Award Nominee for Best Season!), in association with Sue Vaccaro, Ricky Stevens & The Rivet Gang announce the third show of their 2015-2016 season, the pre-Broadway engagement of EMPIRE, book, music & lyrics by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull, musical direction by Sariva Goetz, and directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Ragtime). EMPIRE will preview on Friday, January 22, 2016 (with a press opening on Saturday, January 23) and run through Sunday, February 14, 2016 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd in La Mirada.

EMPIRE is an original musical about those who bravely embodied the American spirit during the dark days of the Great Depression by building what was then the tallest structure in the world, the Empire State Building! When the roaring 20’s collapsed into the reeling 30’s, these industrialists, laborers and their families mortgaged all that was safe and reasonable for the dream of leaving their mark on New York City and the world. EMPIRE is a celebration of the American spirit with big dance numbers, pop-driven melodies, and captivating spectacle. EMPIRE puts a contemporary spin on the classic musicals of the ’40s and ’50s!


MARCIA MILGROM DODGE (Director & Choreographer) Her award-winning work has been seen throughout the United States, Canada, England, Denmark, Asia and the Middle East. Dodge’s celebrated Kennedy Center revival of Ragtime moved to Broadway after playing a sold-out run in Washington, D.C. (2010 Tony®Nomination.) Her new production of Ragtime is touring the United States for Phoenix Entertainment. Dodge has worked in such acclaimed theatres as the New York City Opera, The Public, Center Stage, The Muny, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Glimmerglass Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Huntington Theatre, Bay Street, Maltz Jupiter, Goodspeed, Reprise, Music Circus, The Alley, Flat Rock Playhouse and abroad at the Nanta Theatre (Seoul, S. Korea); Fredericia Teater (Denmark); Royal Opera House (Muskat, Oman) and the Wintergardens Theatre (Blackpool, England). Dodge is a teacher, a wife, a mother, a proud executive board member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society and a published and produced playwright. Upcoming projects include 110 In The Shade (Ford’s Theatre) and the American premiere of Frank Wildhorn’s The Count of Monte Cristo (Pioneer Theatre.)

 SARIVA GOETZ (Music Director) Broadway – Les Miserables (10 years as assistant conductor/keyboardist, original Broadway), Aladdin, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sister Act, Mamma Mia, Little Mermaid, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bombay Dreams, Beauty and the Beast, Guys & Dolls, Secret Garden, Miss Saigon, City of Angels, Once On This Island, Sweeney Todd, Romance Romance, Starlight Express, Roza, Merlin.  Off-Broadway –  American Princess, My Old Friends, Goblin Market, Middle of Nowhere, Splendora, Jerusalem Syndrome.  Tours – Scrooge in Concert, Theatreworks USA: Curious George.  Regional – Cincinnati Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage: Secret Garden, Bucks County: Really Rosie, George St.: Fields of Ambrosia, Williamstown: Tonight at 8:30,  Goodspeed: Bloomer Girl.  Concerts – Long Island Philharmonic and Broadway Pops International: “Boheme to Broadway,” Avery Fisher Hall: “A Celebration of the Life of Lee Strasberg,” Richard Rodgers Theatre: “Nothin’ Like a Dame”.  Teaching – American University, New Jersey City University.  Education – MA: New York University, BMusic: University of Arizona.

SUE VACCARO (Producer) has been active in every aspect of show business for many years. She spent ten years working as a producer on several projects with her mentor Emmy Award winning actress Rue McClanahan, of the classic TV show Golden Girls, including her final stage production of a new musical titled My First Five Husbands. She was involved with the Gold Remi & CINE Golden Eagle Award winning film Archaeology of a Woman, written and directed by Sharon Greytak, starring Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland and Tony Award winner Victoria Clark. Sue was Executive Producer of the 2014 New York City International Film Festival winner for Best Feature Comedy Ron & Laura Take Back America. Her stage producing credits include winning a Tony Award for the Pulitzer Prize/Olivier Award/Tony Award winning play Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris and the highly acclaimed London revival of Smokey Joes Cafe. Sue sits on the boards of major nonprofits including Women, Fashion and Film.

RICKY STEVENS (Producer). Ricky has spent his entire life working in the entertainment industry. Ricky is a multiple Tony Award nominated and Tony Award winning Producer on Broadway. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with emphasis in Arts Administration and directing and is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute (CTI) Intensive Program. Broadway credits include the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Olivier Award winning play Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, A Catered Affair by Harvey Fierstein and John Bucchino (Three Tony Award nominations), Is He Dead by Mark Twain (One Tony Award nomination), and Radio Golf by August Wilson (Four Tony Award nominations). London, West End credits include Marguerite by Legrand, Boubil, Schoenerg, Kretzmer, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.

THE RIVET GANG (Producer). Led by co-producers Katy Kinney Harris, Joanna Jung, and Lynne Walder, Esq, and instigator Geoff Bland, this group of doers have pooled their hard earned pennies and shared their kind hearts to back a dream. The Empire team is very grateful to all of them, especially the first to put in her nickel: Suzanne “Hello Mrs.” Propp, who represents all of the great elementary school music teachers who seed the skills and desires that make musical theater possible.

 The Cast for EMPIRE features (in alphabetical order): Michael Baxter, Chassey Bennett, Tommy Bracco, Ricky Bulda, Juan Caballer, Caitlyn Calfas, Kevin Earley, Fatima El-Bashir, Tory Freeth, Stephanie Gibson, Joe Hart, Charlotte Maltby, Tony Sheldon, Michael McCormick, Katharine McDonough, Gabriel Navarro, Rachel Osting, Caleb Shaw, Cooper Stanton, Michael Starr, Christine Tucker, Rodrigo Varandas, Josh Walden and Justin Michael Wilcox.

The Design Team for EMPIRE is as follows: Scenic and Projection Design by David Gallo; Lighting Design by Jared Sayeg; Sound Design by Phil Allen; Costume Design by Leon Wiebers; Flying Sequences Choreographed by Paul Rubin; Co- Projection Design by Brad Peterson; Hair/Make-Up/Wig Design by Rick Geyer; and Props Design by Terry Hanrahan. Casting is by Julia Flores, and the Production Stage Manager is Jill Gold.


EMPIRE will preview on Friday, January 22, 2016 (with a press opening on Saturday, January 23) and run through Sunday, February 14, 2016.

Performances are 7:30pm on Wednesdays & Thursdays; 8pm on Fridays; 2pm and 8pm on Saturdays; and 2pm on Sundays. There will be no matinee performance on Saturday, January 23. Talkbacks with the cast and creative team will be on Wednesday, January 27 and Wednesday, February 10.

Tickets range from $20 – $70 and can be purchased at La Mirada Theatre’s website, www.lamiradatheatre.com or by calling the La Mirada Theatre Box Office at (562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310. Student, Senior, Child and group discounts are available.

LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is located at 14900 La Mirada Boulevard in La Mirada, near the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue where the 91 and 5 freeways meet. Parking is free.

Winner of the L.A. Stage Alliance OVATION AWARD for 2012-2013 “Best Season of the Year,” LA MIRADA THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, now in its fourth decade, has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the best Broadway-style houses in Southern California.”  This beautiful state-of-the-art theatre has been producing quality productions for its Southern California audiences since 1977.  The theatre has produced several national tours and is the recipient of many accolades including Ovation and Emmy Awards and Tony Award nominations.  Brian Kite is the theatre’s Producing Artistic Director. The theatre is located at 14900 La Mirada Boulevard in La Mirada, California, near the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue. Parking is theatre-adjacent and free. For further information call 562-944-9801 or visit  www.lamiradatheatre.com

Celebrating its 21st Anniversary season at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, McCOY RIGBY ENTERTAINMENT (MRE), is one of the world’s premier theatrical production companies. Headed by Executive Producers Tom McCoy and Cathy Rigby, MRE has produced over one hundred musicals, plays, and concerts featuring some of the biggest stars in the industry today.

In addition, MRE has launched several Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated Broadway, international, and national touring productions including: Peter Pan, Seussical the Musical, and Annie Get Your Gun, all starring Cathy Rigby; Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde starring American Idol contender and Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis along with Grammy Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox; Jesus Christ Superstar starring Carl Anderson and Sebastian Bach; Camelot starring Michael York and Lou Diamond Phillips and Happy Days written by Gary Marshall and Paul Williams. Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby has made four stops on Broadway and received four Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. The A&E TV network premiere of “Peter Pan,” starring Cathy Rigby, received one Emmy Award and four Emmy Award nominations. MRE’s other credits include numerous award-winning documentaries and stadium events.




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