A cast of Broadway veteranss has been announced for White Noise, the new, Whoopi Goldberg-backed musical inspired by Prussian Blue, a neo-Nazi bubble gum pop group that marketed White Supremacy to the Hanna Montana demographic.
As pre-teens in the early 2000s, blonde-haired, blue-eyed sisters Lynx and Lamb Gaede began performing infectious pop hooks with Klan-worthy lyrics. Prussian Blue is no more; The Gaede sisters gave up their chart topping careers several years ago, and have disavowed their White Supremacist affiliations. But their story – of how hate speech came to draw sold-out ‘tween crowds – forms the basis of White Noise, slated to open in previews at the Royal George Theatre April 1.
Goldberg (birth name Caryn Elaine Johnson ) is no stranger to producing successful Broadway shows. Her previous producing credits include the Tony-winning 2002 revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 2004’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (which she also starred in.) She’s also a producer of Sister Act, slated to open in previews this month.
White Noise, (which had a limited run in New Orleans last year), may focus on singing sisters, but it’s no Nunsense. The production (book by Matte O’Brien, music and lyrics by Robert Morris, Steven Morris and Joe Shane.) tells the story of Eva and Eden, a musical sibling duo discovered by a powerful record producer, and – as the press release summarizes – “groomed into a well-packaged rock/pop band, (that) mixes irresistible harmonies with coded rhetoric into chart-blazing hits.” The piece was originally conceived by Ryan J. Davis with a story and characters by Joe Drymala.
Broadway veteran Sergio Trujillo, last in Chicago in 2010 creating the choreography for The Addams Family Musical, has been tapped to direct White Noise. Trujillo was also the choreographer for The Jersey Boys, Next to Normal, and the 2010 Best Musical Tony winner, Memphis.
The cast for White Noise stars MacKenzie Mauzy as Eva and Emily Padgett as Eden. Mauzy comes to the production from Broadway’s Next to Normal, and has years on the soaps (The Bold and the Beautiful, The Guiding Light) under her belt. Padget was most recently seen on Broadway as Sherrie, the female lead in Rock of Ages. She was also featured in Grease and Legally Blonde. The cast also includes Patrick Murney (The Abingdon Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Eric Morris (Mama Mia!, Coram Boy, As The World Turns) as the boys in the white supremacist band. The “Bloodbrothas” rap duo in White Noise will be played by Wallace Smith, who joins the cast from Broadway’s American Idiot ensemble and Rodney Hicks, most recently seen in the critically acclaimed musical The Scottsboro Boys.
Also featured in White Noise are John Hickok (Little Women, Aida), Luba Mason (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Chicago) and former Chicagoan Michael Buchanan, who won a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for his work in Urinetown.The 21-member ensemble includes Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kelli Eileen LaValle, ess Soltau, Ashley Adamek, Erin McGrath, John Arthur Greene, and Constantine Rousouli. The musicians featured in White Noise include Jesse Vargas (Musical Director, keyboard), Matt Hinkley (keyboard), Hannah Ford (drums) and Ben Mason (bass) .
The design crew includes set designer Robert Brill, costumier Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Jason Lyons, sound designer Garth Helm, and multi-media design by Raj Kapoor.
In a prepared statement, Goldberg lavished praise on Chicago audiences.
“White Noise smacks you in a challenging, emotional and entertaining way,” she said, “The producing team looks forward to bring(ing) this unflinchingly honest new production to Chicago where audiences are sophisticated, aware and open to a musical that will certainly remind them of today’s headlines and might awaken a new awareness of current social issues.”
White Noise is slated to run April 1 – June 5 at the Royal George, 1641 N. Halsted St. Tickets are available by phone at (312) 988-9000 or online at www.whitenoisetickets.com.