Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Barksdale's Sky Shines Over Hollywood Bowl

Posted by Bruce Miller
Jody Ashworth, the leading man who dazzled Richmond audiences last summer as a particularly full-voiced Sky Masterson in Barksdale’s mega-hit revival of Guys and Dolls, is about to be one of the Guys again—this time at the legendary Hollywood Bowl.

This all new, high wattage, star-driven production of Guys opens July 31 in what is arguably the world’s most famous outdoor amphitheatre. The Hollywood Bowl seats an amazing 17,680 people, and was built in 1919 from a design by Lloyd Wright, son of renowned architect and namesake father Frank.

Jody was cast in this production of Guys by director Richard Jay-Alexander (Associate Director and Executive Producer of Broadway’s Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Five Guys Named Mo) and Tony-winning choreographer Donna McKechnie (Broadway’s original Cassie in A Chorus Line).

This time out, Jody plays Lt. Brannigan. Starring in the production are stage and screen luminaries including Scott Bakula (Tony-nominee for Romance/Romance, Golden Globe-winner for Quantum Leap, pictured to the left) as Nathan Detroit, Ellen Greene (Audrey in the original cast of Little Shop of Horrors) as Adelaide, Tony-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (star of Broadways’ Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Jelly’s Last Jam) as Sky, Jessica Biel (star of 7th Heaven, the longest-running family drama in television history) as Sarah Brown, Ken Page (star of the original Broadway productions of The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Cats) as Nicely-Nicely Johnston, Jason Graae (star of the original Broadway productions of Falsettos and A Grand Night for Singing) as Benny Southstreet, and three-time Emmy Award-winner Beau Bridges (part of Hollywood royalty, pictured to the right with his brother Jeff) as Arvide.

“It’s great returning to Guys and Dolls in a cast with so many wonderful actors,” writes Jody, “but I hope to have the opportunity to return soon to Richmond for another show at Barksdale. This new production of Guys is great. I’m proud and honored to be sharing the stage with such a landmark cast. But I don’t see how this Guys could top the great production we had last summer at the Empire.”

We wish Jody all success in his new endeavor—further evidence that the best of Broadway can be found right here at Barksdale. Like Jody, we too hope he’ll be joining us on one of Barksdale’s Richmond stages sometime soon.

--Bruce Miller

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