Tickets sales to benefit nonprofit The Composers Showcase
Angel of Arkansas, a new show by Ka’s Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, creators of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical Bandstand, will receive a premiere concert-style presentation in the 175-seat Renkus-Heinz Theatre at Notoriety Live at Neonopolis on Sunday, Jan. 30,
The remarkable real-life experiences of Ruth Coker Burks inspired Angel of Arkansas, dramatizing the story of a young single mother in 1986 rural Arkansas. Suddenly, she was transformed into a one-woman hospice, health advocate, political activist, pharmaceutical distributor, and undertaker to thousands of young men at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Featuring a stellar cast of Broadway and Vegas talent and a live six-piece band of Las Vegas leading country rock musicians, ticket sales will benefit local nonprofit, The Composers Showcase, which provides a platform for original musical works, scholarship, and financial assistance to the Las Vegas Entertainment Community. The concert will be followed by a gala reception with the performers and creatives.
“This event is the very first complete reading of this new musical,” says Oberacker. “Because it’s a benefit for nonprofit, The Composers Showcase, we’ve been able to take advantage of the production and technical offerings of the theater at Notoriety which means a terrific sound system, lights, and other treats that will elevate a theatrical reading into more of a concert experience. Patrons of the monthly Composer’s Showcase have come to expect a certain level of production, and this event will not disappoint. The audience will have a chance to experience all the many country, pop, and theater music styles before anyone else does.”
The stellar cast lineup includes the leading role of Ruth performed by Ruby Lewis of Cirque’s Paramour, Baz, and Marilyn. The extraordinary ensemble of men includes Broadway powerhouse Brent Barrett of Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Grand Hotel, Candide, West Side Story, and Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. Additional cast members include Noah Rivera (Wicked, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, and Shrek the Musical.) Todd DuBail (Jersey Boys, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar.) Daz Weller (artistic director of the Vegas Theatre Company, Stainless Steel Rat, Beauty Queen of Leenane, and The Sandman.) Devin L. Roberts (The Lion King, Cabin in the Sky, Venice and appeared on America’s Got Talent.) Phillip Officer (Side Show.) Luke Striffler (Hairspray and Avenue Q, film and television credits East-Enders, The Morning After, and a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent.) Christopher Lash (Million Dollar Quartet as Jerry Lee Lewis, and premiere musical director in Las Vegas at Jersey Boys and Baz.) Paul Johnson (The Atomic Saloon Show, Raiding the Rock Vault, Rock of Ages, Peepshow, and Baz.) Steffan Scrogan (The Sandman, American Idiot, and Sweeney Todd.). Paul Bradley (Ragtime, Children of Eden, Big River, and lead singer of the band for Balter.) JeShaun Jackson (national tour of Church Girls, Ritchie and Blanche, Working and Smokey Joe’s Café.)
Additionally, the crucial role of The Doctor, which is voiced from offstage, will be performed by Annette Houlihan Verdolino (originated the role of Fraulein Kaeseschweiss in the American premiere of The Sandman at the Majestic Repertory Theatre, Sweeney Todd, and on the Las Vegas Strip and national tour in Menopause the Musical).
Oberacker will conduct his own score from the piano. Jake Langley will play acoustic and electric guitar. He’s a Grammy-nominated musician who has toured and recorded with such artists as The Dixie Chicks, Sheena Easton, Willie Nelson, and the Righteous Brothers, as well as in the orchestras of the Broadway musicals The Color Purple, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Mamma Mia. Paul Molloy will play acoustic and electric guitar as well as mandolin and banjo. He has played in orchestras for countless Broadway shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, Assassins, Big River, Man of La Mancha. Co-lyricist and co-librettist Taylor (The Lion King, Finding Neverland, and Sponge Bob The Musical, and with the Eagles, Marc Anthony and Lady Gaga) will play violin and viola. Tyler Williams (Le Reve, Avenue Q, and Spamalot) will play bass. Jakubu Griffin (Cirque’s Zarkana, performed and recorded with Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, and current drummer for Clint Holmes) will play drums.
A Nevada nonprofit 501(c)(3) since 2017, the mission of The Composers Showcase is to provide a platform for original music, scholarship, and financial assistance to the Las Vegas entertainment community. The Composers Showcase serves as a forum that allows local and visiting composers, lyricists, and songwriters the opportunity to present original musical material to a supportive audience in an informal cabaret-style setting. The Composers Showcase also encourages and nurtures young, developing creative talent by offering a scholarship to the Music Composition and Jazz Composition departments at UNLV. Visit thecomposersshowcase.com to donate or for more information.
Angel of Arkansas will premiere at Notoriety Live at Neonopolis, 450 E. Fremont St. on Jan. 30. Showtime is 2 p.m., and tickets can be purchased by clicking here. Convenient parking underneath Neonopolis at 4th Street and Fremont is free with validation. Visit www.notorietylive.com for more info.