Lincolnshire, IL. – The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, presents the World Premiere of the new musical OCTOBER SKY, previewing August 19, opening August 26 and running through October 11. Written by Aaron Thielen, with music and lyrics by Michael Mahler, OCTOBER SKY is directed by Jeff Award-winner Rachel Rockwell. Music Direction is by Ryan T. Nelson. Presented in association with Universal Stage Productions (Billy Elliott, Wicked, Bring It On), and from the writing team that brought audiences HERO (Jeff Award, Best New Work, 2012), OCTOBER SKY is based on the beloved Universal Pictures film October Sky and the bestselling novel Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
It was 1957, and Sputnik lit up the October sky over the small Appalachian mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia. Homer Hickam, the teenage son of a coal miner, is determined not to end up like generations before him. Inspired by the world’s race to space, Homer and his buddies begin to light up the starry skies with their homemade rockets and dreams of glory. This rich and emotional story is for anyone who ever dreamed of something better and reached for the stars.
“This is a story set in a town that lives and dies by the coal mine, with real struggles and real triumphs,” Director and Choreographer Rachel Rockwell said. “These boys were intrigued by something that most people in America had no experience with and somewhat feared – rockets going into space. We want to make audiences feel like they are part of this community as they experience this volatile time in small town America. It is a really inspirational story.”
“As a team, it’s always exciting to work on a World Premiere; providing that first step in the life of a new musical. At its core, OCTOBER SKY is an American story,” writer Aaron Thielen said. “The idea that with hard work, grit and determination, the seemingly unattainable dream isn’t beyond your reach.” The original score by Michael Mahler features a combination of Appalachian mountain music, early rock and roll, and folk rhythms, layered on a musical theatre storytelling style.
The cast is led by Nate Lewellyn as “Homer Hickam” (Godspell at The Marriott Theatre; Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Jeff Award-winner David Hess as “John Hickam” (The Marriott Theatre’s La Cage aux Folles and Shenandoah; Broadway: Sweeney Todd and Annie Get your Gun), Jeff Award-winner Susan Moniz as “Elsie Hickam” (The Marriott Theatre’s La Cage aux Folles, Mary Poppins and 9 to 5; Grease on Broadway), Johanna McKenzie Miller as “Miss Riley” (The Marriott Theatre’s On the Town and Cats; World Premiere of Shining Lives: A Musical at Northlight Theatre), Jeff Award-winner Alex Weisman as “Quentin” (The History Boys at TimeLine Theatre), Ben Barker as “O’Dell” (Les Misérables at Paramount Theatre) and Patrick Rooney as “Roy Lee” (Les Misérables at Paramount Theatre; Camelot at Drury Lane Theatre). The cast also features Jameson Cooper, Neil Friedman, Terry Hamilton, Derek Hasenstab, David Lively, Liam Quealy, Caleb Baze, Dara Cameron, J Michael Finley, Jess Grider, Joan Hess, James Earl Jones II, Patrick Lane, Eliza Palasz, Jonny Stein, Betsy Stewart and Elizabeth Telford.
The production will feature set design by Tom Ryan, costume design by Theresa Ham, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Bob Gilmartin, properties design by Mealah Heidenreich, dialect coaching by Jill Walmsley Zager, musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood and orchestrations by David Siegel.
The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Ticket prices range from $50 to $55, including tax and handling fees. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, there are a limited number of Dinner and Theatre tickets available, which can only be purchased through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. On Friday and Saturday evenings, dinner reservations can be made at the King’s Wharf restaurant. Additionally on Sundays, dinners in the Fairfield Inn are available. To make a reservation at either of these two restaurants, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information.