THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE,
IN ASSOCIATION WITH SUZI DIETZ,
THE OFF-BROADWAY HIT
“HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR”
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY SAM HARRIS
MUSICAL DIRECTION BY TODD SCHROEDER
DIRECTED BY KEN SAWYER AND BILLY PORTER
3 PERFORMANCES ONLY!
JULY 9 AT 2 PM & 8 PM AND JULY 10 AT 2 PM
AT THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE
PASADENA, CA (June 7, 2016) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director), in association with Broadway producer Suzi Dietz, announced today that they will present Tony Award-nominee and multi-platinum recording artist Sam Harris’ critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR. Directed by Ken Sawyer (Founding Member of The Road Theatre Company) and Billy Porter (Tony Award-winner for Kinky Boots), the musical comedy takes us from a conflicted childhood in Bible-Belt Oklahoma to the dizzying roller coaster ride of a life in show business and the precarious balancing act of fatherhood. The production features musical direction by Todd Schroeder. HAM will play a limited engagement of three performances only on Saturday, July 9 at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday, July 10 at 2 pm at The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Avenue).
“I had the pleasure to see HAM several months ago and I was entertained, delighted, and very moved by the show,” said Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. “It is a pleasure to welcome Sam to The Playhouse for this special presentation. In song and story, the show wittily and movingly depicts the journey that has created a dazzling performer who so generously shares his gifts with his audiences.”
Writer and actor Sam Harris said, “I’ve never written or performed anything this personal. The book, HAM, is stories about my life. The show, HAM, is playing it out – all the characters, the original music, humor and pathos and search that we all go through in our lives — it’s a show for everyone.” He added, “And The Pasadena Playhouse is the dream theater for this show. I couldn’t be more excited.”
HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR received critical acclaim both Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles. The New York Times said, “Mr. Harris pulls out all the stops and proves himself a winner one more time,” and Theater Mania adds, “Sam Harris was born to be onstage.” Named a Los Angeles Times “Critics’ Choice,” David C. Nichols wrote, “Buoyantly entertaining. Captivating. HAM? More like filet mignon! An unmissable experience.”
Based on Harris’ book HAM: Slices of a Life (Simon & Schuster), the musical originally opened Off-Broadway at Ars Nova in January 2015. It later played at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre in January 2016.
The limited engagement of HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR plays at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. Performances are Saturday, July 9 at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday, July 10 at 2 pm. Tickets are $27 – $82 and are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-PLAY (7529) or in person at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, 39 South El Molino Avenue. The Box Office is open Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Sunday. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
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SAM HARRIS (Writer/performer), the Tony-nominated, multi-million selling recording artist, playwright, composer, director and best selling author, first burst onto the scene as the premiere winner of Ed McMahon’s Star Search. Before American Idol, before The Voice, 25 million viewers tuned in every week to watch Sam beat back the competition and triumph each time. Sam became the first singer since Judy Garland to claim “Over the Rainbow” as his own. Jimmy Fallon called this legendary performance, “One of the best musical performances I’ve ever seen ever aired on television ever!”
Harris went on to tour the country, selling out prestigious engagements at Carnegie Hall and with The Boston Pops. Broadway called and Sam answered. He starred in Cy Coleman’s The Life (Tony nomination), the smash hit The Producers, the revival of Grease and has also starred as Jesus, Emcee, Pippin, Joseph and Jolson. He has appeared on talk shows from Leno to Fallon to Oprah – the last, on her historical “Music to Heal Our Hearts” show right after 9/11. Oprah said, “Sam could make Jesus walk through the door!” Sam returned to New York and co-wrote Liza’s at the Palace, which received a Tony Award for best special theatrical event. Sam co-produced the PBS special Love Letter to New York and was a musical supervisor on the Michael Jackson’s 30 Year Anniversary Special at Madison Square Garden. He has written several musicals, created a television sitcom, and has toured the globe in concert. He has nine studio CDs to his credit – gold records included. Sam is listed as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Sam Harris is a national treasure.
KEN SAWYER (Director) is an award-winning director whose work spans a wide range of venues with projects that include musicals, plays, and experimental theatre. The majority of his directing career has focused on developing new works.
Sawyer is a founding member and former artistic board member of The Road Theatre Company, one of the first companies to reside in the now flourishing NoHo Arts District. Expanding his work to other producing companies, he continues his interest in developing new and exciting work. Highlights include collaborating with Emmy Award winner Paris Barclay on the Vietnam era musical One Red Flower, with rock icons Charlotte Caffey (the GoGos) and Anna Waroonker (That Dog) on Lovelace: The Rock Opera, with Stephen Schwartz and David Stern on the development of Snapshots, and with Colin Escott on development of the Broadway hit The Million Dollar Quartet.
Sawyer is also an accomplished award-winning sound designer and continues to look for opportunities to explore and create exciting theatre with like-minded collaborators.
BILLY PORTER (Director) is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer, composer, actor, playwright, and director. He won the 2013 Tony Award for Lead Actor in a Musical for his performance in Kinky Boots. Other Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe’s Café, and Dreamgirls. Porter’s off-Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America, Romance in Hard Times, The Merchant of Venice, House of Lear, Radiant Baby, Birdie Blue, Going Native, Jelly’s Last Jam, Topdog/Underdog, Songs for a New World, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line and Chicago. His solo show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater in 2005. Directing credits include The Wiz and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie Wonder, and Being Alive, a musical celebration mixing the canons of Sondheim and Shakespeare and combining them with musical styles of the African-American experience. He won a NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director of a Musical for Once on This Island at Reprise in Los Angeles, where he also conceived and directed a musical revue entitled The Soul of Rodgers. Last spring he directed George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum at Boston’s Huntington Theatre. Other directing credits include Five Guys Named Moe, Altar Boyz, and Rent.
TODD SCHROEDER (Music Director) began playing piano at the age of four. His musical family introduced him to everything from Claude Debussy to Neil Diamond to Ray Charles to Elton John to Jerry Lee Lewis. This variety of influences led to a wide range of musical accomplishments as composer, producer, arranger, musical director, and performer. Schroeder has musically directed for Harris for over 20 years including appearances at Carnegie Hall, The White House, with The Boston Pops, and at many other prestigious venues. His original music has been featured in films and on television. He co-wrote Roter Mond: The Braveheart Musical and he co-composed music and lyrics for Unbeatable: A Bold New Musical (which he also directed in 2013). Schroeder has recorded four of his own CDs. In addition to his work with Harris, Schroeder has musically directed/written/arranged for and performed with such artists as Angela Lansbury, Nell Carter, Jason Alexander, Rita Coolidge, and David Burnham. He is the musical director for Universal Studios Japan and is the founder of The Todd Schroeder Young Artist Grant, an annual scholarship presented to graduating high school students wanting to pursue careers in the arts.