Charlie Johnson, Cayman Ilika, and Connor Russell star in Asolo Rep's production of Beatsville, directed by Bill Berry.
Charlie Johnson, Cayman Ilika, and Connor Russell star in Asolo Rep's production of Beatsville, directed by Bill Berry.
(© John Revisky)

The world premiere production of Beatsville begins performances at Asolo Repertory Theatre tonight. Bill Berry directs the new musical, which features a book by Tony and Academy Award winner Glenn Slater and music and lyrics by Wendy Wilf.

A co-production with Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, Beatsville is described as follows: "Hang on to your berets — we're headed to Beatsville — the world of subterranean coffee shops, goateed artists, turtle-necked poets, and bongo-playing jazzbos. Tragically square busboy Walter Paisley wants nothing more than to be one of the beatniks, but he has no artistic talent whatsoever. When he accidentally kills a cat and hides it in a lump of clay, 'Dead Cat' is declared a masterpiece, and Walter a genius. More 'sculptures' bring more acclaim — but will the world discover Walter's secret?"

Max Crumm leads the cast as Walter alongside Lauren Marcus as Carla, his love interest. They are joined by Ann Morrison (Mrs. Zwicker, Mrs. Greenberg), Cayman Ilika (Natasha), Charlie Johnson (Claude 1), Connor Russell (Claude 2), Sarah Rose Davis (Betty, Uptowner), Billie Wildrick (Naomi, Alice, Uptowner), Clifton Oliver (Thelonious, Uptowner), Taryn Darr (Naolia, Uptowner), Andrew Chappelle (Lou, Diego, Guy, Newsboy), Brandon O'Neill (Brock, Uptowner), and Michael Thomas Holmes (Leonard). Kevin Pariseau and Ann Morrison complete the ensemble.

The creative team includes JoAnn M. Hunter (choreography), Steve Orich (orchestrations), Steve Orich (vocal and dance music arrangements), Kat Sherrell (musical director), David Gallo (scenic design), David C. Woolard (costume design), Mike Baldassari (lighting design), Justin Stasiw (sound design), and Michelle Hart (hair, wig, and make-up design).

Performances continue through May 27.

For tickets and more information, click here.