Jim Stanek(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Jim Stanek
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
The leading roles in the upcoming production of the musical Carnival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. will be played by Ereni Sevasti (Lili) Jim Stanek (Paul), Natascia Diaz (Rosalie), Sebastian LaCause (Marco), Seán Martin Hingston (Jacquot), and Jonathan Lee Iverson (Schlegel). The show is scheduled to run at the Eisenhower Theater from February 17 through March 11 and to open officially on February 24.

Robert Longbottom will direct the production, which will feature sets by Andrew Jackness, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Ken Billington, puppets by Edward Christie, and magic by Eddie Joe Fairchild. Longbottom's Broadway credits include Flower Drum Song, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Side Show; he also directed the Kennedy Center's 2005 production of Mister Roberts.

With a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Bob Merrill, Carnival is based on Helen Deutsch's screenplay for the 1953 MGM motion picture Lili, which was in turn based on a story by Paul Gallico. The musical tells the story of a lonely girl from a small village in France who joins the Grande Imperial Cirque de Paris, falls for the troupe's manipulative magician, and enchants a disillusioned puppeteer, who can only show his love for her through his whimsical creations. The original 1961 Broadway production of the show, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, starred Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jerry Orbach, James Mitchell, and Kaye Ballard.

Sevasti has performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse, the George Street Playhouse, and the Chatham Playhouse in such shows as The Sound of Music, All the King's Horses, and Little Shop of Horrors. Stanek's Broadway credits include Lestat, The Rivals, and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum; he is currently appear alongside Diaz Off-Broadway in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. She has appeared on Broadway in Man of La Mancha, Seussical, The Capeman, and Carousel.

LaCause has been seen on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Show, Minnelli on Minnelli, Once Upon A Mattress, and Chicago, and will be making his D.C. stage debut this month in the Arena Stage production of She Loves Me. Hingston has performed on Broadway in Contact, Swing!, and Crazy for You. Iverson began his career singing with the Boys Choir of Harlem and later became the first African-American ringmaster at the age of 22 when he joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.