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Press Release

ODYSSEY, A MUSIC THEATER EVENT CELEBRATING THE OLD GLOBE'S
75TH ANNIVERSARY, WILL FEATURE A CAST OF 200


Odyssey is the culmination of a two-year project with the community and
is a part of the Globe's Southeastern San Diego Residency Project

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 1, 2011)—Executive Producer Lou Spisto today announced the San Diego Community Partners with which director Lear deBessonet and writer Todd Almond have developed a new music theater event, Odyssey, in celebration of The Old Globe’s 75th anniversary.  Commissioned by the Globe, the new work reimagines Homer’s epic poem as seen through the lens of contemporary San Diego.  Conceived and directed by deBessonet with music, lyrics and book by Almond, Odyssey will be performed through a unique collaboration between professional artists and members of the community.  Odyssey will be presented on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Globe’s Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

Featuring a cast of over 200 performers, Odyssey chronicles the trials and adventures that the ancient Greek hero Odysseus faces on his long journey home from the war at Troy.  Along the way, he encounters a one-eyed giant, confronts the horrifying monsters Scylla and Charybdis, visits the Underworld and resists the intoxicating Circe.  Odysseus finally returns home disguised as a beggar and must win back his wife, Penelope, and take revenge on the suitors who have been circling her in his absence.

“Lear and Todd’s retelling of this iconic story on such a grand scale is the perfect way to celebrate the Globe’s 75th anniversary and its contributions to our San Diego community,” said Spisto. “I am delighted that our partners in Southeastern San Diego and so many people from the community at large are taking part in our theatrical celebration.”

“Todd Almond and I were excited about featuring people and groups who can only be found in San Diego as characters from the classic Odyssey story,” said deBessonet.  “When we heard the St. Stephen’s Church Choir sing, we thought ‘Well, who better to be the voice of heaven?’  Culture Shock San Diego will play the Phaecians, the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory will score a dream ballet of Odysseus' homecoming, Valhalla High School Percussion will play the Palace Guard and the children from San Diego Junior Theatre will play the Voices of the Underworld.”

Odyssey is part of the Globe’s Southeastern San Diego Residency Project supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation’s Artistic Innovation Fund.

Professional actors Alvin Crawford and Shelley Thomas will star as Odysseus and Penelope, respectively, along with Todd Almond as The Singer.

The creative team includes Tony Caligagan and Maria Caligagan (Movement), Justin Townsend (Scenic and Lighting Design), Paul Carey (Costume Design), Paul Peterson (Sound Design) and Evangeline Whitlock (Stage Manager).

The nonprofessional cast, comprised of members of the San Diego community, includes Darlene Gould Davies (Eurynome), Kim Duclo (Penelope’s First Suitor), Michael Garcia (Prince), Dylan Hoffinger (Odysseus’ Captain), Troy Johnson (Cyclops), Martín Martiarena (Dude with Guitar), Alex Monge (Telemachus), Davina Van Dusen (Nausicaa) and Victoria Matthews, Jordon Scowcroft and Katie Ward (The Calliopes) with Diana Bahena, Anay Barajas, Jessica Brandon, Dalaysia Cannon, Ashley Dixon, Richard Dobbs, Deja Fields, Renée Gándola, Zyanya Hernandez-Grant, Carson McCalley, Karen Olinga, Elliott Sephus, Al Simmons, Hannah Trujillo, Katherine Zamora and Ayerton Zoutendijk (Ithacans); Karen Bahena, Lina Bien, Katleen Dugas, Paola Kubelis and Stephanie Plascencia (Penelope’s Women); Eduardo Bravo, Kenn Burnett, Leland Campbell, Eduard Cao, André A. Carter, William Herrera, Lorenzo Martinez, Leonel Roman and Lamine Thiam (Odysseus’ Men); members of Salsa Inferno (Circe’s Lair); Donna Blochwitz, Jane Klofkorn, Yvonne Lindroth Silva and Amara Marsden (Sirens); and Kim Dulco, Kent Gándola, Craig Hunter, Terrence Johnson and Mark Keller (Penelope’s Suitors).

Odyssey will also feature performances by the following five Community Partner Groups, who have been woven into the narrative of the show:

Culture Shock San Diego (The Phaecians) – Culture Shock San Diego is a not-for-profit hip-hop dance troupe dedicated to innovative performance, artist development and community enrichment.  www.cultureshockdance.org/sandiego

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (The Dream Ballet) – San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students through rigorous and inspiring musical training experiences, enriching the community through programs and collaborations that increase access to and appreciation of classical music.  www.sdys.org

San Diego Junior Theatre (Voices of the Underworld) – The San Diego Junior Theatre provides engaging, innovative, high-quality theatre education and productions for children of all cultural heritages, ages, abilities and levels of interest.  www.juniortheatre.com

St. Stephen’s Church Choir (Athena) – The St. Stephen’s Church Choir performs at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in San Diego.  www.ststephenscogic.org

Valhalla High School Percussion (Palace Guard) – Valhalla High School Percussion performs with the school’s Concert and Symphonic Bands as well as the Marching Band and in percussion ensembles and solos throughout the school year.  www.vhsmusic.org/home

The following Community Partners played host to the scores of San Diegans who came to audition for Odyssey:

Harbor Church – Harbor Church is located in mid-city San Diego and bridges cultures through understanding.  www.harbormidcity.org

The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA – The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA works to offer a critical foundation to young people through sports and character development.  www.jackierobinson.ymca.org

Globe Guilders – The Globe Guilders provides funds towards The Old Globe’s artistic and education programs, promotes membership in the theatre and encourages service in the volunteer activities essential to the operation and growth of the Globe.  www.globeguilders.org

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts – The San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts is the San Diego Unified School District's premier college-prep arts-focused school for students in grades 6 through 12.  www.sandi.net/scpa

UrbanLife – UrbanLife is an organization dedicated to serving middle, high and college students in San Diego.  www.urbanlifesd.org

LOCATION:  The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way.  There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park.  Valet parking is also available ($10).  For additional parking information visit www.BalboaPark.org.

CALENDAR:  Much Ado About Nothing (5/29-9/24), The Tempest (6/5-9/25), Amadeus (6/12-9/22), Odyssey (9/30-10/2), Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (9/15-11/6), Somewhere (9/24-10/30), Twelfth Night (11/6-11/13), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (11/19-12/31), Some Lovers (11/26-12/31).

PHOTO EDITORS:  Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available at www.TheOldGlobe.org/pressroom.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for 75 years.  Under the direction of Executive Producer Louis G. Spisto, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, which are both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival.  More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater's education and community programs.  Numerous world premieres such as The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Catered Affair, and the annual holiday musical, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theaters across the country.

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CAST BIOGRAPHIES

ALVIN CRAWFORD (Odysseus) has been heard on Broadway as Mufasa in The Lion King directed by Julie Taymor, Lion in Candide directed by Harold Prince, John in Miss Saigon directed by Nicholas Hytner and Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story directed by Robb Bettinson.  His regional and tour credits include Famous Orpheus (Geva Theatre), Martin Guerre (Guthrie Theater), the Andrew Lloyd Webber – Music of the Night Tour directed by Kathleen Marshall and Street Scene directed by Edward Berkley (Willow Cabin Theatre Company).  On the operatic stage he has been heard as Sarastro in The Magic Flute (Vienna), The Loudspeaker in The Emperor of Atlantis (Los Angeles Philharmonic and Ravinia Festival) and The Grand Inquisitor of Spain in Don Carlos and Alvise in La Gioconda (Germany).  He also performed as Pistola in Falstaff and Sourin in The Queen of Spades (Canadian Opera Company).  His television and film credits include It Runs in the Family starring Michael Douglas, “Degrassi High,” Clarence and “Pray for Me, Paul Henderson” for “C.B.C.’s Magic Hour.”

SHELLEY THOMAS (Penelope, Circe) had the pleasure of working with Lear deBessonet and Todd Almond on the LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater production of On the Levee last summer.  Some of her favorite credits include Rent (National and International Tours), Brooklyn the Musical (Broadway), Zanna, Don't! (Original Cast Recording), Sheila’s Day (Market Theatre in South Africa, Crossroads Theatre), the World Premiere of The Women of Brewster Place (Arena Stage, Alliance Theatre), The Bluest Eye (Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage) and Carmen (La Jolla Playhouse).  Her television and film credits include NBC’s “Kings” and the independent films New Brooklyn and Immaculate Misconception.  She is also a touring background vocalist for Vanessa Williams.

LEAR DeBESSONET (Director) has created large-scale site-specific theatrical events pairing artistic excellence with community organizing in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Kazakhstan and Cambodia.  In 2006 she was named one of Time Out New York’s 25 People to Watch, and in 2008 she was honored with the first annual Presidential Award for Artistic Excellence by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Edward Albee.  She most recently conceived and directed On the Levee for Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 (seven Audelco nominations, Time Out Best of 2010).  In May 2009, her site-specific Don Quixote, a community-based collaboration with homeless shelter Broad Street Ministry and the punk-gypsy ensemble The Psalters, premiered in Philadelphia and was named in “Best Shows of 2009” by Philadelphia Weekly.  Other recent work includes a country-blues adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Saint Joan of the Stockyards at PS122, transfigures, produced Off Broadway by Women’s Project, and Death Might Be Your Santa Claus, a site-specific work performed at an abandoned bank next to the New York Stock Exchange.  Other credits include In the Dark Ages (National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Kazakhstan), The Scarlet Letter (Intiman Theatre), Monstrosity (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc.), My Fair Lady (Ten Thousand Things), Oliver! (New York University Experimental Theatre Wing) and When I Was a Ghost (Guthrie Theater).  She has worked with writers Marcus Gardley, Naomi Iizuka, Deborah Stein and Lucy Thurber.  She has assisted Martha Clarke, Anne Bogart, Bartlett Sher and Theatre du Soleil and is an alumna of the Drama League Director’s Project, the Women’s Project Directors Lab and the Soho Repertory Theater Writer/Director Lab.  A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Director’s Fellowship, she has also acted as a visiting professor at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

TODD ALMOND (Music, Lyrics and Book/The Singer) is a composer, lyricist and playwright.  His musicals include We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Yale Repertory Theatre, with playwright Adam Bock, directed by Anne Kauffman), On the Levee (Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, directed by Lear deBessonet), Girlfriend (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, with songwriter Matthew Sweet, directed by Les Waters, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Book of a Musical), People Like Us (directed by Gus Kaikkonen), Ahraihsak (Theater Mitu, directed by Ruben Polendo) and Kansas City Choir Boy (directed by Sam Gold).  Almond served as Music Director for the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Tres Niñas, and he has written musicals for both The Juilliard School and The Graduate School of Arts and Science of New York University. He has also music-directed and reconceived classic works, most notably Hair at the Skirball Cultural Center.  In addition to having some of the theater world's top singers perform his music (Sherie Rene Scott, Victoria Clark, Cheyenne Jackson, Jayne Houdyshell, Laura Benanti and more), Almond regularly performs his own material in New York City's top venues and he recently released a CD of original songs entitled Mexico City.  He has been an Artist-in-Residence at Sundance (both the Utah Playwrights Conference and the Ucross Playwrights’ Retreat), Vassar College (with New York Theatre Workshop) and The Orchard Project.  Almond is currently collaborating with Warren Leight and Stafford Arima on a musical adaptation of John Knowles' novel A Separate Peace.

TONY CALIGAGAN AND MARIA CALIGAGAN (Movement) met in the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.  The Broadway smash hit won six Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1989.  They have also appeared in national commercials and have produced plays Off Broadway.  From 1988 to the present, his show choreography has been seen around the globe. They have been a part of over 1,000 corporate events, fundraisers and special event shows.  Their company, Event Entertainment, has received accolades from clients, organizations and institutions.  Their other Globe credits include dance sequences in Kingdom and The Taming of the Shrew in last year’s Shakespeare Festival.  As directors and choreographers for Salsa Inferno Dance Company, they are entering their 17th year on faculty at UC San Diego in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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FACT SHEET

ODYSSEY
Music, Lyrics and Book by Todd Almond
Conceived and Directed by Lear deBessonet

RUNS:  Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2011
Lowell Davies Festival Theatre

TICKETS:  $15.

SYNOPSIS:  Odyssey is a music theater event that chronicles the trials and adventures that the ancient Greek hero Odysseus faces on his long journey home from the war at Troy. World Premiere.

CREATIVE TEAM:  Tony Caligagan and Maria Caligagan (Movement), Justin Townsend (Scenic and Lighting Design), Paul Carey (Costume Design), Paul Peterson (Sound Design) and Evangeline Whitlock (Stage Manager).

CAST: Todd Almond (The Singer), Alvin Crawford (Odysseus) and Shelley Thomas (Penelope, Circe); and Darlene Gould Davies (Eurynome), Kim Duclo (Penelope’s First Suitor), Michael Garcia (Prince), Dylan Hoffinger (Odysseus’ Captain), Troy Johnson (Cyclops), Martín Martiarena (Dude with Guitar), Alex Monge (Telemachus), Davina Van Dusen (Nausicaa) and Victoria Matthews, Jordon Scowcroft and Katie Ward (The Calliopes) with Diana Bahena, Anay Barajas, Jessica Brandon, Dalaysia Cannon, Ashley Dixon, Richard Dobbs, Deja Fields, Renée Gándola, Zyanya Hernandez-Grant, Carson McCalley, Karen Olinga, Elliott Sephus, Al Simmons, Hannah Trujillo, Katherine Zamora and Ayerton Zoutendijk (Ithacans); Karen Bahena, Lina Bien, Katleen Dugas, Paola Kubelis and Stephanie Plascencia (Penelope’s Women); Eduardo Bravo, Kenn Burnett, Leland Campbell, Eduard Cao, André A. Carter, William Herrera, Lorenzo Martinez, Leonel Roman and Lamine Thiam (Odysseus’ Men); members of Salsa Inferno (Circe’s Lair); Donna Blochwitz, Jane Klofkorn, Yvonne Lindroth Silva and Amara Marsden (Sirens); and Kim Dulco, Kent Gándola, Craig Hunter, Terrence Johnson and Mark Keller (Penelope’s Suitors); and members of the Globe’s Community Partners: Culture Shock San Diego, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, San Diego Junior Theatre, St. Stephen’s Church Choir and Valhalla High School Percussion Ensemble.

REGULAR PERFORMANCES:
Sep 30 FRI 8pm
Oct 1 SAT 8pm
Oct 2 SUN 7pm

BOX OFFICE WINDOW HOURS:  Noon to final curtain Tuesday through Sunday. American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA accepted.  (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623]

LOCATION:  The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way.  Free parking is available throughout the park.  Valet parking is also available ($10).  For parking information visit www.BalboaPark.org.

PRESS CONTACT:
Jeffrey Weiser (619) 238-0043 x2352 jweiser@TheOldGlobe.org
Mike Hausberg (619) 238-0043 x2355 mhausberg@TheOldGlobe.org