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Henshall, Chamberlin, Fitzgerald Join Chenoweth in Stairway to Paradise

Henshall, Chamberlin, Fitzgerald Join Chenoweth in Stairway to Paradise
Ruthie Henshall

Kevin Chamberlin, Christopher Fitzgerald and Ruthie Henshall will join the previously announced Kristin Chenoweth in Stairway to Paradise, an original Encores! production celebrating the great Broadway revue. The show will play for six performances, May 10 - 14, at New York City Center, including a gala benefit performance on May 14. Stairway to Paradise will be directed by four-Time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with music direction by Rob Berman and choreography by Warren Carlyle.

In addition to Chenoweth, Chamberlin, Fitzgerald and Henshall, the cast includes Jenn Gambatese, Michael Gruber, Shonn Wiley, J. Mark McVey, Holly Cruikshank, Kendrick Jones and Capathia Jenkins. The ensemble will include Timothy J. Alex, Robin Campbell, Erin Crouch, Susan Derry, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Emily Fletcher, Bob Gaynor, Laura Griffith, Dale Hensley, Renee Klapmeyer, Barrett Martin, Sean McKnight, James Patterson, Eric Santagata, Kiira Schmidt, Dennis Stowe, Sarrah Strimel, Kevin Vortmann, J.D. Webster and Teal Wicks.

The first-ever specially created Encores! production, Stairway to Paradise will be a celebration of the very best material from a half century of Broadway revues, including numbers and sketches from such Broadway shows as The Band Wagon, As Thousands Cheer, Pins and Needles, Call Me Mister, The Garrick Gaieties, New Faces of 1952 and other musicals and revues of the era. Classic songs such as "Manhattan," "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?," "This is the Army Mr. Jones," "Suppertime" and "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan" will be featured.

Between 1900 and 1950, while Broadway book musicals were morphing from operetta to musical comedy to the musical plays of Rodgers and Hammerstein, there existed a profusion of topical Broadway revues—plotless, bookless, sketch-driven shows featuring girls, gags, star comedians like Bert Lahr and Fanny Brice, and some of the finest popular songs ever written. Ziegfeld was the king of the revue, but hundreds of imitators and emulators followed his lead.

Chenoweth recently returned to Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Apple Tree, which began as an Encores! production. Other Encores! performances includeOn a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Strike Up The Band. Chenoweth won a Tony Award for You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and originated the role of Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked, which earned her a Tony nomination. Chenoweth also performed in the Broadway comedyEpic Proportions and in the Kander and Ebb musical Steel Pier, for which she won a Theatre World award. . Other theater credits include A New Brain, Dames at Sea and The Fantasticks. Television credits include The West Wing, The Music Man, Frasier, Annie, Sesame Street and her own series Kristin for NBC. Film credits include Deck the Halls, Stranger Than Fiction, RV, Bewitched, Running with Scissors and The Pink Panther. Chenoweth recently made her Metropolitan Opera concert debut and will play Samira in John Corigliano's The Ghost of Versailles at the Met in March 2010.

Chamberlin received Tony nominations for his performances in Seussical and Dirty Blonde. Other Broadway credits include My Favorite Year, Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Triumph of Love. In Los Angeles, he has appeared in Reprise's Broadway Series productions of Applause, A New Brain, Merrily We Roll Along, Company and Assassins and directed concerts of Working and Baby. He was just named co-artistic director of the Monday Night "Musicals in Concert" series at Reprise. For Encores!, Kevin appeared in One Touch of Venus and Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.

Fitzgerald was most recently seen in Gutenberg! The Musical!. His Broadway credits include Amour and Wicked. Off-Broadway credits include Corpus Christi, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Wise Guys, Saturday Night and Fully Committed. For Encores, he appeared in Babes in Arms.

Henshall first made her mark in London productions of Cats, Miss Saigon and Les Misérables and went on to star in Crazy for You, She Loves Me winning the Olivier Award as Best Actress, Oliver! and The Woman In White Her Broadway credits include Chicago, Putting It Together and Miss Saigon.

Gambatese is starring as Jane in the Broadway production of Disney's Tarzan. Other Broadway credits include All Shook Up, Footloose, Hairspray and A Year with Frog and Toad.

McVey's Broadway credits include Les Miserables, The Who's Tommy and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.

Cruikshank's Broadway credits include Movin' Out, Contact, Fosse, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Hello, Dolly!

Gruber's Broadway credits include Swing! Kiss Me, Kate, My Favorite Year, Miss Saigon, Cats and A Chorus Line.

Jenkins most recently played the "big black lady" who stops the show in the Broadway production of Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and Hattie McDaniel in the off-Broadway production of MisUnderstanding Mammy. Other Broadway credits include The Civil War, Caroline, or Change and The Look of Love. Jenkins played Effie White in national, regional and Europeans tours of Dreamgirls.

Wiley made his Broadway debut in the revival of 42nd Street, then joined the Moscow production, becoming the first American leading man to perform in an American musical in Russia. He also appeared on Broadway in Dracula, The Musical and played Younger Brother in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Ragtime.

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