The Chicagoland premiere of Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America opened to an enthusiastic audience on Sunday evening, February 16. Theater im Zentrum Artistic director Linda Fortunato cast Shannon McEldowney, Steven Romero Schaeffer, Andrew Müller, Sara Geist and Tommy Malouf in the musical revue Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America at the start of its 30th anniversary season. The cast was accompanied on stage by musicians William Underwood, Malcolm Ruhl and Alison Tatum. Fortunato is the director and William Underwood is the music director. The production now recommended by Jeff will continue through March 22nd.
See photos below!
According to Variety, “the show pays homage to an artist who continues to do good at making people feel good.”
Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America, created by longtime Denver executive Harold Thau, is a musical tribute and an intimate celebration of the life and career of John Denver. From growing up in a military family to his emergence in the folk scene in the 1960s, ascent to superstar in the 1970s, and later career in the 1980s and 1990s, John Denver’s story is illustrated in this Chicago area premiere by hits like “Highways, “Rocky Mountain High”, “Annie’s Song” and “Sunshine on My Shoulders”.
Shannon McEldowney returns to TATC after working on the pajama game. Other credits include Elf and Young Frankenstein at Little Theater on the Square, Mama Mia at Drury Lane Oakbrook, and Disaster at the Chicago Theater Workshop.
Steven Romero Schaeffer returns to TATC after appearing on Big River in 2017. His Chicago credits include roles in Always, Patsy Cline at Firebrand Theater, and Into the Woods at Writer’s Theater. He also toured with Troupe America in Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Andrew Mueller makes his TATC debut. Other Chicagoland credits include Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera, Rent at the Paramount Theater, Shakespeare In Love and As You Like It in Chicago Shakespeare, Man of La Mancha at the Marriott Theater and Big River at the BoHo Theater. Off Broadway roles include Peter and The Starcatcher and Alice By Heart.
Sara Geist, who made her debut at TATC, began her professional career at The American Girl Revue at the age of 12. Since then, she has performed with Mason Street Warehouse, the Emerald City Theater, the Intrinsic Theater Co., Windy City Performs, the Next Theater, and on television in the Chicago Fire.
Tommy Malouf returns to TATC, where he last appeared as Johnny Cash in the Million Dollar Quartet. Other Chicago credits include working with Remy Bumppo, the House Theater of Chicago, Jackalope, and Steep.
The Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America creative team consists of set designer and production manager Ann Davis, lighting designer G. “Max” Maxin IV, sound designer Joe Palermo, costume designer Brenda Winstead and prop designer Melissa Geel. The stage manager is Jessica Banaszak. Linda Fortunato works with Richard Friedman, General Manager of TATC.
Founded in 1991, 410-seat TATC is a year-round professional theater in its home town: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana. TATC is an accessible venue with plenty of free parking and is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.
The performances take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. Fridays 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Single ticket prices range from $ 42 to $ 46. To purchase individual tickets, call the box office at 219-836-3255. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 people or more. Student cards are $ 20 and gift cards are also available. For more information about the Theater im Zentrum, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.
Roger Mueller and Jill Mueller as well as Paula Scrofano and John Reeger
Linda Fortunato, Sean Fortunato and Asher Fortunato
William Underwood and Alison Tatum
Tommy Malouf, Sara Geist, Steven Romero Schaeffer, Andrew Müller and Shannon McEldowney
Linda Fortunato, Tommy Malouf, Sara Geist, Steven Romero Schaeffer, Andrew Müller and Shannon McEldow
Sara Geist and Shannon McEldowney
Andrew Müller, Steven Romero, Tommy Malouf and Ben Mulgrew
Andrew Müller, Steven Romero, Tommy Malouf, Ben Mulgrew and Malcolm Ruhl
Phil Potempa and Peggy and Chester Potempa