A venue has been announced for the remount of Refuge Theatre Project’s enormously successful 2016 production of High Fidelity: The Musical. As in 2016, the company has secured a space in which to create the record store setting of the musical based on Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel and on Stephen Frears’ 2000 feature-film. The company’s found space for the remount is at 1415 N. Ashland and will be named “Refuge Records” for the run, which will begin in late January and play through early March.
This will be the first production of the musical to be performed in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, the setting of the movie adaptation that starred Chicago natives John Cusack, Joan Cusack and Lili Taylor. Refuge’s High Fidelity: The Musical will open to the press on Sunday, January 29 at 6 pm, following previews Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 pm. After opening weekend, it will run Thursdays through Sundays as well as two Mondays, through March 5, 2017.
The musical, with a score by Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, Bring It On The Musical, If/Then), book by David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Shrek the Musical, Good People) and lyrics by Amanda Green (Bring It On The Musical, Hands on a Hardbody) is the story of Rob, the owner of a vintage record shop called Championship Vinyl. Rob tries to make sense of his recent split with girlfriend Laura by reviewing the “top five breakups” of his life.
High Fidelity will again be directed and choreographed by Christopher Pazdernik, recently named Artistic Director of the two-year-old company founded by Ross and Morgan Egan. Pazdernik’s previous credits include directing and choreographing Wicked City by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar for Chicago Theatre Workshop, and Anyone Can Whistle and Miracle on 34th Street for Porchlight Music Theatre. He has also choreographed Bailiwick Chicago’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and produced and directed a series of successful cabarets at Davenport’s saluting Broadway’s greatest songwriters. Jon Schneidman will be music director.
Most of Pazdernik’s cast from the 2017 production will return for the remount. Max DeTogne, who earned a Jeff Award nomination in 2015 for the title role in Theo Ubique’s Jesus Christ Superstar will again play record-store owner Rob. Laura will again be played by Chicago singer/songwriter/actress Liz Chidester, whose debut album "People Pumping Pedals" was released in 2014 under the Chicago Acoustic Underground's label CAU Dog Records. She was nominated for “Best Female Vocalist” in the Chicago Music Awards 2015. Also returning are Nick Druzbanski, Caitlin Jackson, Lewis Rawlinson, Noah Berman, Lizzie Schwarzrock, Amy Stricker, Britain Gebhardt, Bradley Halverson and Jacob Fjare. Joining the cast are Jameson Wentworth and Janelle Villas.
The design team and production staff include Michelle Manni (set and props design), Richard Schroeder (sound design), and JC Widman (stage manager).
Preview performances will be Friday, January 27, 2017 and Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 pm both nights. Press opening will be Sunday, January 29 at 6 pm. All seats are $30 plus applicable ticketing fees. Performances will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 6 pm. through March 5th. Tickets may be ordered online atwww.refugetheatre.com.
Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with "a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals" (NewCity Stage). Christopher's recent Chicago credits include The Rink, Anyone Can Whistle, City of Angels and Applause (Porchlight Revisits), Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Planted (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), Make Me a Song (Eclectic Theatre Co.), High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre Project), Story of A Story (The Untold Story) (Underscore Theater Co.), Bette, Live at the Continental Baths (Hell in a Handbag) and a Jeff Award nomination for co-choreographing Spamalot with Nightblue. An openly HIV+ artist, Christopher was named a 2016 Windy City Times 30-Under-30 honoree for his contributions to Chicago's LGBT community.
Book by David Lindsay-Abaire, Music by Tom Kitt, Lyrics by Amanda Green
Directed and Choreographed by Christopher Pazdernik
Music Direction by Jon Schneidman
January 27 – March 5, 2017
PRESS OPENING SUNDAY, JANUARY 29 AT 6 PM
Performances Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 6 pm and Mondays February 6 and February 20 at 7:30 pm
1415 N. Ashland Avenue
All seats are $30 for previews January 27-28 and regular run January 29 – March 5, 2017
Tickets available online at www.refugetheatre.com
Street parking is available. Public transportation – Nearest El: Blue Line Division St. station. Nearest buses: #9 Ashland, #56 Milwaukee and #70 Division.
ABOUT REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT
Refuge Theatre Project was founded in 2015 by Ross Egan and Morgan Egan with the goal of utilizing the appeal of musical theatre to foster a broader and more accessible theatre community. We aim to further our mission by producing contemporary musical theatre that is free from anything extra. We tell stories about people dealing with life in a way that is meaningful and fun. Musical theatre for real people. www.refugetheatre.com
The company’s previous productions include the musicals Next Thing You Know, produced in February, 2015; Glory Days, in August-September, 2015, High Fidelity in January-February 2016 and bare: a pop opera in October-November 2016. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune, in awarding 3-1/2 stars to that production, said of it “…what matters most in the musical theater — truth, vulnerability, promise — are all on display in abundance…. (it’s) tribute to a very powerful idea from its artistic leadership that really enhances the material… If you like pop musicals and young casts, this should be enough to get you to church for one of those cool, exciting, affordable, only-in-Chicago theatrical experiences.”
Refuge Theatre Project’s 2017 season will also include Things to Ruin: The Songs of Joe Iconis. Described as a “theatrical rock concert,” the production will be directed in summer 2017 by Refuge Theatre Project Associate Artistic Director Matt Dominguez. The season will conclude in fall with the Chicago professional premiere of Lysistrata Jones, by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn. The musical will be directed by Justin Brill and choreographed by Shanna VanDerwerker. Dates and venues will be announced later.