Karen Ziemba, Chris McCarrell, Hannah Corneau, More Star in World Premiere of Prelude to a Kiss Musical Beginning April 7 | Playbill

Regional News Karen Ziemba, Chris McCarrell, Hannah Corneau, More Star in World Premiere of Prelude to a Kiss Musical Beginning April 7

David Ivers directs the musical adaptation of the Craig Lucas play for South Coast Repertory.

Karen Ziemba, Chris McCarrell, and Hannah Corneau

The musical version of Craig Lucas' 1990 Tony-nominated romantic comedy Prelude to a Kiss makes its world premiere April 7–May 4 at South Coast Repertory's Segerstrom Stage. Opening night is set for April 12.

Artistic Director David Ivers helms Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, which features lyrics by Sean Hartley and Daniel Messé, music by Messé, and a book by Lucas. The new work is produced in association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where it will appear in the 2024-2025 season.

The cast features Hannah Corneau as Rita, Jonathan Gillard Daly as Julius, Julie Garnyé as Leah, Jimmie “J.J.” Jeter as Taylor, James Moye as Rita’s Dad, Chris McCarrell (replacing the originally announced Conor Ryan) as Peter, DeAnne Stewart as Angie, and Tony winner Karen Ziemba as Rita’s Mom plus ensemble members Bella Hicks, Robert Knight, Caroline Pernick, and Tristan J. Shuler. Rachel Lykins and Robert Zelaya are the understudies.

The original Prelude to a Kiss, a 1988 SCR world premiere play, returns to the California venue as a musical that explores what happens when a mysterious guest requests a kiss at Peter and Rita’s wedding—and their lives are forever changed.

“Craig Lucas has been part of the trajectory of the theatre for a very long time, and it’s important to me to have a few touchstone, legacy playwrights re-introduced and brought back to the theatre,” Ivers said in an  earlier statement. “We did that with Richard Greenberg and—earlier this year—Octavio Solis as well. This feels particularly great that Craig is working with us again during our 60th anniversary season.”

The creative team also includes music director Wiley DeWeese, choreographer Julia Rhoads, set designer Scott Davis, lighting designer Marcus Doshi, costume designers Linda Cho and Herin Kaputkin, sound designer Andrea Allmond, projection designer Yee Eun Nam, and orchestrator Greg Pliska with casting by JZ Casting's Geoff Josselson and Katja Zarolinski and additional casting by Joanne DeNaut.

Maisie Chan is the production manager, Talia Krispel is the production stage manager, and Kathryn Davies is the assistant stage manager.

Accompanying the actors is an eight-piece band led by DeWeese and Kassoy (alternating keyboards and conducting) and featuring Greg Huckins, Jay Mason, Sorah Myung, Martha Lippi, Justin Smith, Tim Christensen, and Louis Allee.

Visit SCR.org.

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