LORTEL NOMINATED BEST MUSICAL
WE THE PEOPLE: AMERICA ROCKS!
BY JOE ICONIS, ELI BOLIN, DOUGLAS LYONS & MORE
PRODUCED AND RECORDED
AT PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE
ON OCTOBER 4, 2020
Issa Rae meets the Backstreet Boys in WE THE PEOPLE: AMERICA ROCKS!,
a wildly inventive pop rock musical
about owning the power of your voice – and your vote!
New York, New York (October 6, 2020) – TheaterWorksUSA (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Michael Harrington, Executive Director) has mounted a fully staged, socially distanced live production of their hit, Lortel nominated Off-Broadway musical, WE THE PEOPLE: AMERICA ROCKS! Filmed live (without an audience) on the Paper Mill Playhouse stage on October 4, and produced in association with Paper Mill Playhouse, the capture will be streamed to families across the country prior to Election Day and made available to schools and theaters through the academic year. The recording will premiere on Stars in the House at 8pm ET on October 24.
Rock out with America's original "boy band" -- The Founding Fathers! Join George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin as they trade in their powdered wigs for power chords to help an ambitious teen. On a quest to win her school election, Dawn cares more about padding her college applications than making her school a better place. With the help of these Fab Four, she discovers that "We the People" have the power to raise a patriotic ruckus and make a difference!
Directed by Gordon Greenberg (Holiday Inn, Guys & Dolls West End) and choreographed by Michele Lynch (Dirty Dancing), WE THE PEOPLE: AMERICA ROCKS! features a book by Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) and songs from Brad Alexander and Kevin Del Aguila (Dog Man: The Musical); Sam Forman and Eli Bolin (Coop); Joe Iconis; Tommy Newman; Adam Overett; Erik Weiner, Mark Weiner, Jordan Allen-Dutton – and a brand-new finale from Douglas Lyons & Ethan Pakchar (Beau).
This recording of WE THE PEOPLE: AMERICA ROCKS! stars Rashidra Scott (Company, Ain’t Too Proud) with Zachary Noah Piser (Dear Evan Hanson) as John Adams, Josh Breckenridge (Come From Away) as Thomas Jefferson, Orville Mendoza (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Benjamin Franklin, and Dan Rosales (Godspell) as George Washington. The production features lighting design by Tony Award winner Jeff Croiter (Peter and the Starcatcher), scenic design by Adam Koch, costume design by Lora LaVon, wigs and hair by Ashley Rae Callahan, music direction by Miriam Daly, orchestrations by Greg Pliska (War Horse). Video capture and editing is by Super Awesome Friends with additional audio mixing by Dan Rudin. Brendan J. O’Brien was production coordinator and Ryan Juda was COVID compliance officer.
Barbara Pasternack, TheaterWorksUSA’s Artistic Director said “Though the show originally premiered in 2008, the topics of how the American government is structured, the Electoral College, and the importance of each and every vote certainly resonate today! We were thrilled to bring together this incredible team and update the finale to remind us all that the success of our democracy depends on every person understanding how to participate and how each voice can make a difference.”
Michael Harrington, Executive Director of TheaterWorksUSA, added “This recording of WE THE PEOPLE is TheaterWorksUSA’s latest effort to create exceptional, transformative theatrical experiences for young and family audiences during a global pandemic. We send a special thank you to the Screen Actors Guild, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and Paper Mill Playhouse for collaborating on a health and safety plan that made this possible.”
“We rehearsed a week on Zoom, which was a good start, but the true collaboration began when we were all together – in a tent in the parking lot at Paper Mill. Even behind masks, you could sense the palpable excitement to be occupying the same space. And when we finally went into the building for tech, there were tears of joy everywhere. It was like spending a week in a past life and, hopefully, a not-too-distant future life. Revisiting this insanely buoyant, witty, and tuneful show was a profound pleasure. This filmed version, the whole thing feels like a cross between The Monkees, The Sack Lunch Bunch, and Hamilton!” said director, Gordon Greenberg.
The project was made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts’ Regional Economic Development Council Initiative with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
To learn more about how to watch the stream in your classroom, theater, or home visit TheaterWorksUSA’s official website.
TheaterWorksUSA has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. Since 1962, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 130 original plays and musicals. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), and Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America), among others. A virtual benefit to raise funds to support TheaterWorksUSA’s mission will take place this October 8, 2020 at 7pm ET on Broadway on Demand.
Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Michael Stotts (Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the country’s leading regional theaters. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. For additional information, please visit www.PaperMill.org.