Edward Watts and Roz Ryan will star alongside previously announced two-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello and two-time Tony winner George Hearn in Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson. Featuring a book and lyrics by Today co-host Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, the new musical will begin Broadway previews October 13. Directed by David Armstrong, opening night is set for November 15 at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Watts is set to take on the dual roles of Robert Semple and David Hutton, while Ryan will star as Emma Jo Schaeffer. Carmello will portray McPherson and Hearn will play the dual roles of James Kennedy and Brother Bob. Ryan, Watts and Carmello are reprising their roles from the musical’s pre-Broadway production at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre in 2011.
Watts appeared on Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow and off-Broadway in The Fantasticks. His additional theater credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Girl in the Frame and The Selfish Giant. Ryan’s Broadway credits include Chicago, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dreamgirls, One Mo’ Time, The Pajama Game and A Christmas Carol. Her film and TV credits include Amen, Barbershop and Good News.
Set in 1920s Los Angeles, Scandalous is based on the life of the first superstar evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson—a woman whose passion for saving souls equaled her passion for making headlines and attracting crowds. McPherson rose to fame amid scandalous love affairs and controversy, which ended in a publicized fall from grace.