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Asolo Rep Announces Full Casting for HAIR

Posted: October 18 / 2021

Directed and Choreographed by Josh Rhodes

Nov. 18, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022

 

CLICK HERE for cast headshots, show artwork and bios.

 

(SARASOTA, FLA) — Asolo Repertory Theatre proudly kicks off its 2021-2022 season with the thrilling rock musical that started it all – HAIR. With a Grammy® Award-winning score by Gerome Ragni (book/lyrics), James Rado (book/lyrics) and Galt MacDermot (music), HAIR marks Asolo Rep’s highly anticipated and triumphant return to the indoor stage. HAIR begins previews on Nov. 18, 2021, opens on Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 1, 2022, in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

 

HAIR is a joyous rebellion that proudly reclaims love as the heart of what it means to be American. Packed with music that is beautiful, irreverent and deeply evocative, the quirky, all-inclusive vibe doesn’t shy away from poignant social commentary. This iconic musical gets an exuberant and resonant retelling, while featuring unforgettable numbers like “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In),” “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and “Hair”! 

 

HAIR is directed and choreographed by returning Asolo Rep favorite Josh Rhodes, whose Broadway choreography credits include Bright Star, It Shoulda Been You, First Date, and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. At Asolo Rep, Rhodes previously directed and choreographed Guys and Dolls in 2016, Evita in 2017 and The Sound of Music in 2019, among other popular runs. He will also choreograph the world premiere of Knoxville, created by Tony Award®-winners Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati, at Asolo Rep in April.

 

HAIR is the perfect piece to bring us back to the theatre after the pandemic kept us out for so long,” said Rhodes. “The piece shows us the monumental change that a generation brought to this country and reminds us that a new generation is currently ushering in another tidal wave of their own. This material expresses how vital that change is to our United States. I’m really curious for multiple generations to see this show together and then speak to one another about it.”

 

Rhodes is joined by Associate Choreographer Ishita Mili, who is making her Asolo Rep debut. After extensively training in bharatanatyam, hip hop, chhau and contemporary dance, Mili founded IMGE Dance to use her cultural roots to share global stories with artists of diverse backgrounds.

 

 

Every member of the HAIR cast is making their Asolo Rep mainstage debut. Damon Gillespie (Claude) appeared on Broadway in Newsies and Aladdin and on television in NBC’s Rise and Netflix’s Tiny Pretty Things. Kaleb Wells (Berger) appeared off-Broadway in Scotland, PA. His regional and tour credits include Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell, The Who’s Tommy and RENT.

 

Nora Schell (Hud) received Drama Desk, Drama League and Clive Barnes Award nominations for their off-Broadway debut in Spamilton and made their Broadway debut in Jagged Little Pill. Jonathan Fleites’ (Woof) recent credits include A Chorus Line, directed by original cast member Mitzi Hamilton, and the national tour of Birth of the Beat. Olivia Kaufmann (Sheila) made her Broadway debut in Mean Girls as the standby for the roles of Cady and Janis, and went on to take over the role of Janis.

 

The cast also includes Becca Andrews as Jeanie, Charnette Batey as Dionne and Aubrey Matalon as Crissy.

 

Rounding out the Pack are McKynleigh Alden Abraham, Daniel Ajak, Sophia Rose Byrd, Gordia Hayes, Abby Matsusaka, Ishita Mili, Dayna Lee Playa, Sangeetha Santhebennur, Ethan Saviet, Garrick Sigl, Derek Sikkema, Matthew Skrovan and Chad Takeda.

 

“Our team has assembled an extraordinarily talented cast, and I believe there’s going to be a level of performance intensity with this show that’s informed by how isolated we’ve all been,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “HAIR is the ideal show for that, giving the artists license to let out everything that has been pent up over the last 20 months. We’re coming back in a highly emotional and celebratory and exciting way. Our audience has the opportunity to be part of that recovery, and I don’t think people want to miss that.”

 

HAIR contains mature themes and language and brief nudity, and is recommended for age 16+.

 

HAIR runs Nov. 18, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022. Previews are Nov. 18 – 19. Visit asolorep.org for a full performance schedule. Orchestra and Mezzanine seats start at $57 and Balcony seats start at $33. Tickets are available now in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org.

 

Asolo Rep is proud to be a part of #SafeArtsSarasota. Learn more about our Health and Safety Protocols.

 

 

CAST

(in alphabetical order)

 

McKynleigh Alden Abraham*…………Pack

Daniel Ajak……………………………...Pack

Becca Andrews*……………………...Jeanie

Charnette Batey*…………………….Dionne

Sophia Rose Byrd………….…………..Pack

Jonathan Fleites*………………………Woof

Damon Gillespie* ……………………Claude

Gordia Hayes*………………………….Pack

Olivia Kaufmann*…………………...…Sheila

Aubrey Matalon*……………………....Crissy

Abby Matsusaka*……………………....Pack

Ishita Mili………………………………...Pack

Dayna Lee Palya…………………….…Pack

Sangeetha Santhebennur*……………Pack

Ethan Saviet*………..Margaret Mead, Pack

Nora Schell*……………………………..Hud

Derek Sikkema…………………………Pack

Garrick Sigl……………………………..Pack

Matthew Skrovan*……………………..Pack

Chad Takeda*…………………………..Pack

Kaleb Wells*…………………………..Berger

***

Ryland Marbutt, Sam Pearson…….Swings

 

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

 

 

SELECT CREATIVE TEAM

 

Director and Choreographer………..…..……………Josh Rhodes

Associate Choreographer………………………………...Ishita Mili

Scenic Designer………….…….……......Anna Alexandra Louizos

Costume Designer…….………………...………………Dede Ayite

Lighting Designer……...………………………..…..Adam Honoré

Sound Designer……………………………...Joanna Lynne Staub

Projection Designer……………….……………….…Aaron Rhyne

Hair/Wig & Make-up Designer………………………Michelle Hart

Music Direction……………………………...Christie Chiles Twillie

Music Supervisor & Additional Arrangements………Sinai Tabak

 

 

 ENHANCED EXPERIENCES

 

The Scoop (FREE)

This popular program that explores the ideas and inspiration behind the making of the show will now be available digitally. Ticket holders will receive a video link via email prior to their performance.

 

Tuesday Talkbacks (FREE)
December 7, 14 and 21

Attendees can enhance their experience with this post-show discussion following select Tuesday performances.

 

Inside Asolo Rep: HAIR

Thursday, Nov. 18, at 10:30 a.m.

Cook Theatre

$5; free for donors and Asolo Rep Guild members

 

Attendees get a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain in this special series featuring the artists from the production, as well as special guest experts from the community. 

 

Inside Asolo Rep is sponsored by Observer Media Group.

 

HAIR IllumiNation Event

Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Pre-show reception and post-show community conversation

For series package information and single performance tickets, contact the box office.

 

IllumiNation explores the social, political and cultural themes threaded throughout the show, while examining issues of race, gender, identity, and cultural intersection.

 

The IllumiNation series is made possible, in part, by support from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Koski Family Foundation, Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering and Observer Media Group.

 

OUT@AsoloRep: HAIR

Wednesday, Dec. 15

Pre-show reception

For subscription and ticket information, contact the box office.

 

OUT@AsoloRep is Sarasota’s premier cultural event connecting local LGBTQIA+ communities with fantastic theatre.

 

OUT@AsoloRep is sponsored by Sabal Palm Bank and Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering.

 

*All activities are subject to change or modification based on CDC recommendations.

 

 

SPONSORS

 

Asolo Rep is able to present HAIR because of the generosity of its sponsors. The corporate sponsors for HAIR are Plumbing Today, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasota Magazine, ABC 7, WUSF, and The Resort at Longboat Key Club, with additional support from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

 

Asolo Rep 2021-2022 Major Season Sponsors are Florida State University, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Huisking Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, The Exchange, Sunset Cadillac of Bradenton, and Asolo Rep’s Artistic Excellence Society. Asolo Rep’s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.

 

 

ABOUT ASOLO REP

 

Entering its 63rd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season, including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.