Musical ‘Beaches’ by Iris Rainer Dart to wash ashore in Chicago starring Shoshana Bean

U.S. News
By MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer
May 11, 2015


NEW YORK (AP) – Chicagoans, get out your hankies – a stage musical of “Beaches” is coming.

The show, based on Iris Rainer Dart‘s 1985 novel about two best girlfriends, will begin previews in June at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. It made its world premiere last year at Virginia’s Signature Theatre.

The film version of “Beaches,” directed by Garry Marshall and released in 1988, starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as women whose friendship is tested by a love triangle, failed marriages, single parenthood and a fatal illness. It featured the song “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

The stage version is written by Dart and Thom Thomas, with music by David Austin and lyrics by Dart. Eric Schaeffer will direct. Previews start June 24.

The latest version of the musical stars Shoshana Bean and Whitney Bashor. Bean’s Broadway credits include “Hairspray” and “Wicked.” Bashor was in the musical “Bridges of Madison County” and on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

Dart’s first foray on Broadway – “The People in the Picture,” based on her Jewish European forebears – starred Donna Murphy but got mixed reviews in 2011.

The “Beaches” musical will be choreographed by Lorin Latarro, have scenic design by Derek McLane, lighting design by Howell Binkley, costume design by Alejo Vietti and sound design by Kai Harada.

Chicago Tribune
Shoshana Bean will lead ‘Beaches’ at Drury Lane
By Johnny Oleksinski
Tribune reporter
May 11, 2015

Shoshana Bean
Shoshana Bean

“Beaches, A New Musical” has found the wind beneath its wings. Drury Lane Theatre’s summer show that is being billed as a pre-Broadway production announced its cast on Monday.

The musical based on Iris Rainer Dart’s 1985 novel about a decades-long friendship will be led by actress Shoshana Bean, who played Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway for a year following Idina Menzel’s departure in 2005. In “Beaches” Bean will play Cee Cee Bloom, the Bette Midler role.

And her co-star is Whitney Bashor, recently seen in “The Bridges of Madison County” on Broadway, who will play Bertie White. In the 1988 film this character, played by Barbara Hershey, was re-named Hillary Whitney Essex.

The cast also includes Travis Taylor as John Perry, Nancy Voigts as Leona Bloom, Kelly Anne Clark as Rose White, Jim DeSelm as Michael Barron, Michael Accardo as Nathan Bloom, Andrew Varela as Arthur, Samantha Pauly as Teen Cee Cee and Olivia Renteria as Teen Bertie. Presley Ryan and Brooklyn Schuck will play Little Cee Cee and Little Bertie/Nina, respectively.

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They will be joined by William Carlos Angulo, Heather Brorsen, Josh Kohane, Christine Mild and Holly Stauder.

The musical, with a score by David Austin and Iris Rainer Dart and a book by Dart and Thom Thomas, will be directed by Eric Schaeffer, currently represented by “Gigi” on Broadway. Choreography is by Lorin Latarro (“Scandalous”) and Brian Nash (“Silence!”) will provide music direction.

Although “Beaches” is being billed as “pre-Broadway,” no New York theater or opening night has been announced. A previous version of the musical was seen last year at the Signature Theatre in Virginia.

“Beaches” begins performances on June 24 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace, and continues through Aug. 16.

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