Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast and creative team of
A New Musical
Music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson
Book by Bekah Brunstetter
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Choreographed by Katie Spelman
Directed by Michael Greif & Schele Williams
A World Premiere Musical based on the bestselling novel that inspired the iconic film
Performances begin September 6
Chicago—June 29, 2022—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today the cast and creative team for the highly anticipated world premiere of The Notebook, a new musical based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film. Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, share a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. Broadway directors Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, RENT) and Schele Williams (Aida, Motown the Musical) team up with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson on music and lyrics, book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC's This Is Us), and choreography by Katie Spelman. Performances begin September 6, 2022.
Portraying Allie and Noah across their lifetimes are Jordan Tyson (off-Broadway The Street of New York, Folk Wandering, Sweetee) as Younger Allie, Joy Woods (Broadway’s SIX, off-Broadway Little Shop of Horrors) as Middle Allie, and Tony Award-winner Maryann Plunkett (Broadway’s Me and My Girl, Sunday in the Park with George, The Crucible, Saint Joan) as Older Allie; John Cardoza (Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill, world premiere The Karate Kid – The Musical) as Younger Noah, Ryan Vasquez (Broadway’s Waitress, Wicked, Hamilton) as Middle Noah, and John Beasley (Kennedy Center’s Fences, Goodman Theatre’s Two Trains Running, WB’s “Everwood”) as Older Noah.
The company of The Notebook also features Yassmin Alers (Broadway’s On Your Feet!, Paul Simon’s The Capeman, RENT), Andréa Burns (Broadway’s On Your Feet!, In The Heights – Drama Desk Award), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Parade at Writers Theatre – Jeff Award), Dorcas Leung (Broadway’s Miss Saigon, Hamilton 1st National Tour), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Jesus Christ Superstar 50th Anniversary Tour, Broadway’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown, American Idiot), Sophie Madorsky (Nice Work If You Can Get It and Rock of Ages at Summer Repertory Theatre), and Liam Oh (Next to Normal at Writers Theatre). Understudies include Alex Benoit, Mary Ernster, Jerica Exum, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, RhonniRose Mantilla, and Carson Stewart.
Known for her distinctively soulful folk-pop style, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson is a force in the music industry, with four Top 20 albums and two platinum singles: “The Way I Am” and “Girls Chase Boys." Michaelson’s nine studio albums have been released on her own independent label Cabin 24 Records and her original songs have soundtracked important moments in hundreds of television series and feature films. Michaelson made her Broadway debut as Sonya in Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 in 2017.
Bookwriter Bekah Brunstetter was a supervising producer and writer on NBC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series This Is Us. An accomplished playwright, her work has been produced at major regional theaters, including Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, Atlantic Theater Company, and The Old Globe. Her new musical A.D. 16, written in collaboration with Cinco Paul (Schmigadoon), recently premiered at Olney Theatre in a production directed by Stephen Brackett (A Strange Loop, Be More Chill). She was also a writer and producer on the acclaimed Netflix series Maid, garnering the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Long Form – Adapted program.
The World Premiere musical of The Notebook is directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams. A four-time Tony Award-nominee, Greif’s Broadway credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, and Grey Gardens—as well as the landmark 1996 original production of RENT, among others. The multi-Obie Award-winner has staged a host of off-Broadway productions at Second Stage, Signature Theatre, and The Public Theater, and directed FOX’s RENT: Live telecast. Williams is currently directing the upcoming Broadway revivals of Aida and The Wiz, as well as the premieres of Mandela the Musical and Indigo. She will be helming Disney’s upcoming musical Hidden Figures, currently in development. She has directed at regional theaters and festivals across the country and has a long history of work on Broadway in RENT, Aida, and Motown: The Musical.
Choreographer Katie Spelman is a Chicago native with credits at theaters across the country, including A.D. 16 at Olney Theatre, The Who’s Tommy at Denver Center, Oklahoma! at Goodspeed, and the Jeff Award-nominated Cabaret at Paramount Theatre. Spelman was one of five choreographers awarded the SDCF Agnes de Mille commission. She was also the associate choreographer for the Boston, Broadway, and Australian companies of Moulin Rouge.
The production’s music supervisor is Carmel Dean, who is also collaborating on arrangements with Ingrid Michaelson and on orchestrations with John Clancy (Broadway’s Fun Home, Tuck Everlasting, Shrek the Musical). Dean’s music direction and arrangement credits include Broadway productions of If/Then, American Idiot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Hands on a Hardbody. She also composed the score for The Transport Group’s world premiere musical Renascence based on the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which debuted off-Broadway in 2018.
Geoffrey Ko is The Notebook’s music director. He was the associate music director for Broadway’s Be More Chill, and has worked off-Broadway on Broadway Bounty Hunter, Baby (with Richard Maltby Jr.), Billy and the Killers, Generation Me, and Renascence. Other projects include Ride on the West End and Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.
The Notebook features scenic design by David Zinn (Broadway’s The Minutes, SpongeBob SquarePants – Tony Award, The Humans – Tony Award, Fun Home) and Brett J. Banakis (The Devil Wears Prada, Broadway’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Cher Show), costume design by Paloma Young (Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher – Tony Award, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, West End’s & Juliet – Olivier Award nominee), lighting design by Ben Stanton (three-time Tony Award nominee – Junk, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, Fun Home), sound design by Nevin Steinberg (Broadway’s Hadestown – Tony Award, Tina, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton), and wig and make-up design by Mia Neal (Academy Award-winner for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Broadway’s Shuffle Along, A Raisin in the Sun). Casting is by The Telsey Office/Patrick Goodwin, CSA, with Chicago casting by Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Associate/Casting Director Bob Mason. Also featured on the creative team are Asmeret Ghebremichael (Associate Director), Anna Ebbesen (Associate Music Director), Emily Madigan (Associate Choreographer), Sasha Smith (Intimacy Director), Matthew Buttrey (Associate Scenic Designer), Annie Le (Associate Costume Designer), Wilburn Bonnell (Associate Lighting Designer), Daniel Lundberg (Associate Sound Designer), Erica Maholmes (Assistant Lighting Designer), and Emily Hayman (Assistant Sound Designer). Victoria Navarro is the Production Stage Manager.
Chicago Shakespeare makes its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for The Notebook include:
- ASL Duo-interpreted Performance – Friday, October 7, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.
All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
- Audio-described Performance – Sunday, October 9, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.
A program that provides spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.
- Open-captioned Performance – Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.
More information at www.chicagoshakes.com/notebook or on social media at @chicagoshakes with #NotebookMusical.
The Notebook will be presented September 6–October 16, 2022, in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets ($41–$125) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com. Chicago Shakespeare’s most up-to-date health protocols can be found at www.chicagoshakes.com/health.
PRINCIPAL CAST BIOS
Jordan Tyson (Younger Allie) made her off-Broadway debut in the title role of Signature Theatre’s world premiere musical Sweetee and has also appeared off-Broadway as Dixie Puffy in the Irish Repertory Theatre’s The Streets of New York and as Alma in Folk Wandering at A.R.T. Tyson can be seen as Capri in the Netflix series The Chair starring Sandra Oh and as Jenny in the Netflix feature film, Vampires Vs. the Bronx.
Joy Woods (Middle Allie) joins the company direct from the award-winning Broadway production of SIX, where she is currently thrilling audiences as the Queen who survived, Catherine Parr. A Chicagoland native, Woods has previously appeared off-Broadway as Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors and in the ensemble of the viral sensation, Ratatouille: TikTok Musical.
Tony Award-winner Maryann Plunkett (Older Allie) has a slew of Broadway credits spanning 40 years, including Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Sally in Me and My Girl (Tony Award for Best Actress), Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Masha in The Seagull, Joan in Saint Joan, and Alice More in A Man for All Seasons. Plunkett has also appeared in the entire 12-play cycle of Richard Nelson's epic “Rhineback Panorama.”
John Cardoza (Younger Noah) made his Broadway debut in Jagged Little Pill, and most recently took the stage as Daniel LaRusso in the world premiere production of The Karate Kid – The Musical at STAGES St. Louis. His regional credits include A.R.T., The Old Globe, and TheaterWorks Hartford.
Ryan Vasquez (Middle Noah) was part of the original Broadway cast of Waitress and has also appeared on Broadway in Wicked and Hamilton—where he performed the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, and Hercules Mulligan/James Madison. Vasquez was most recently seen on-screen in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut film, tick, tick...BOOM!.
John Beasley (Older Noah) is a veteran of stage and screen. He has notably appeared as Troy Maxon in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Huntington Theatre, the New American Theatre, and the John Beasley Theater, of which he is founder. Regionally, he has been seen in Goodman Theatre’s Two Trains Running, directed by Lloyd Richards and Alliance Theatre’s production of Jitney, directed by Kenny Leon. He has starred in over 35 films, including The Apostle, Rudy, and The General’s Daughter, and appeared on television for four years on the WB's series "Everwood."
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire. www.chicagoshakes.com
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