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Lesli Margherita, Max von Essen, and More Preview Chasing Rainbows

The new Judy Garland musical will be presented at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The company of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Paper Mill Playhouse met the press on September 12. The production will run September 26-October 27.

The company of Chasing Rainbows.
(© David Gordon)

Directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Denis Jones, with music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the production 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.

Lesli Margherita plays Ethel Gumm.
(© David Gordon)

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 cast and creative team of Chasing Rainbows.
(© David Gordon)

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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