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Lesli Margherita, Max von Essen, and More Join Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz

The Judy Garland biomusical will open this fall at Paper Mill Playhouse.

Lesli Margherita will play Judy Garland's mother, Ethel Gumm, in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz.
(© David Gordon)

Paper Mill Playhouse has announced the cast and creative team for its fall production of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, running September 26-October 27.

Directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Denis Jones, with music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the principal cast features Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot) as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, Tony nominee Max von Essen (An American in Paris) as Frank Gumm, Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!) as Ma Lawlor/Kay Koverman, Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods) as Louis B. Mayer, Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Mickey Rooney, and Colin Hanlon (ABC's Modern Family) as Roger Edens.

Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Grace Brown, Lamont Brown, Joe Cassidy, Clara Cox, Tessa Grady, Sophie Knapp, Molly Lyons, Kimberly Immanuel, Christina Maxwell, Kevin B. McGlynn, Allsun O'Malley, Samantha Joy Pearlman, Drew Redington, Joshua J. Schwartz, Parker Slaybaugh, Sean Thompson, Violet Tinnirello and Kathy Voytko.

The production is described as follows: "Before she burst onto the big screen as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was a young vaudeville trouper named Frances Gumm. In this highly anticipated new musical chronicling Garland's early career from vaudeville baby to MGM teen star in the making, the road to Oz is paved with adversity. At its heart a story of love between a father and daughter, featuring such legendary songs as 'Over the Rainbow,' 'You Made Me Love You,' and 'Everybody Sing,' Chasing Rainbows is a poignant coming-of-age tale about 'the little girl with the big voice,' who went on to become one of the world's most beloved entertainment icons."

Chasing Rainbows is conceived by Tina Marie Casamento (who also contributes additional lyrics), and features a book by Marc Acito, and musical adaptation and additional music by David Libby.

The creative team includes scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Matt Kraus, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and makeup design by Dena Olivieri. John Fricke serves as creative consultant. The production stage manager is Bonnie Panson.

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