|JULY 1 - AUGUST 27
Naughty, funny, dark and romantic.
The poignant, passionate and profound songs of Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel are vividly brought to life in this intense musical experience.
Jacques Romain Georges Brel
Music and Lyrics
Brel was a Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following—initially in Belgium and France, later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson. Although he recorded most of his songs in French and occasionally in Dutch, he became an influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States, including Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Andy Williams. In French-speaking countries, Brel was also a successful actor, appearing in ten films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. Having sold over 25 million records worldwide, Brel is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time. Brel married Thérèse "Miche" Michielsen in 1950 and the couple had three children. He also had a romantic relationship with actress and dancer Maddly Bamy from 1972 until his death in 1978.
Production Concept, English Lyrics and Additional Material
Blau was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on June 1, 1921 to Hungarian immigrants who were residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side. He attended the City College of New York, which he left before graduating following an argument with a professor about William Shakespeare. Blau served in Europe during World War II in the United States Army Signal Corps, where he wrote poems for French journals that he had translated into French. After completing his military service, he founded the journal Masses and Mainstream and worked as a writer and in public relations. He was a ghostwriter for sports instruction booklets on behalf of basketball player Bob Cousy and baseball's Roger Maris. Together with cartoonist Roy Doty, he created The Adventures of Danny Dee, an early show for children with animation that broadcast starting in 1953 on the New York City affiliate of the DuMont Television Network. Although the similarity was lost as he grew older, Blau had an uncanny resemblance to Groucho Marx, and would often be approached by fans of the comedian. Among the books he authored was The hero of the Slocum disaster, an historical novel exploring the infamous 1904 sinking of the General Slocum. He received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for the mystery novel The Keys to Billy Tillio.
Production Concept, English Lyrics and Additional Material
While either on his own, or teamed with songwriting partner Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman has authored some of the most lasting songs in pop music, including "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Teenager in Love." Born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents, Shuman studied at the New York Conservatory but felt rejected and alienated by his peers in Brooklyn. Identifying with the black community in Harlem, Shuman's true musical education came within that area's raucous R&B clubs, where he soaked up the sounds of Ruth Brown and others. Shuman started penning lyrics at 18 and found success when his songs such as "Surrender" were recorded by Elvis. In 1958 the songwriter met fellow white R&B devotee Doc Pomus and the two took up residence in a small Greenwich Village flat, forming a successful songwriting partnership. Together the duo signed on as writers at the Brill Building, penning hits for the Drifter's ("Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Sweets for My Sweet"), Elvis ("Little Sister") and Dion & the Belmonts ("Teenager in Love"). Those early-'60s songs represented the zenith of Shuman's creative output ( "Last Dance" alone has been played across the airwaves over four million times), but the songwriter continued to write for Janis Joplin, Andy Williams, and the Small Faces, among others. In 1966, Shuman had somewhat of an epiphany when he heard the work of Belgian composer Jacques Brel. He immediately moved to France and began translating Brel's work into English. In the early '70s, he wrote and directed a musical around his translations of Brel's songs and titled it Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Shuman also became a star in his own right in France when several of his French-language songs (filtered through a New York accent) became hits. In 1991, shortly before undertaking a musical based on his life, Shuman died at the age of 52 in a London hospital from complications due to a liver operation.
Recent directing credits include the critically-acclaimed production of Sondheim & Weidman’s Assassins at the Pico Playhouse (BroadwayWorld Award nom., StageRaw nom., Robby Award nom.), the workshop production of We're Here for You (Las Vegas, NV), the international tour of One Night Stand: An Improvised Musical for producer Marc Platt (Wicked), Steven Dietz’s Private Eyes and Nicky Silver’s The Maiden’s Prayer (The Raven Theatre), the world premier of Anthony Mora’s play Silencing Silas, HAIR (collaboration with original author James Rado,) The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee, Chicago, Company and Spring Awakening for USC’s School of Dramatic Arts, where he is on the faculty. Dan has also taught at Cal Poly Pomona, Kenyon College, Santa Monica College, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and Harvard-Westlake School, where he was head of performing arts for six years. Prior to coming to USC, Dan served as the director of The Groundlings Theatre and School. Dan is the co-founder and co-director of The Los Angeles Musical Theater Studio, a training ground for professional musical-theater actors. As a director and producer, he has worked with actors Jason Alexander, Alan Cumming, John Rubinstein, Alanis Morissette, Peter Gallagher, Alex Kingston, Wendie Malick, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Radnor, and others. In 2010 he produced An Oak Tree at The Odyssey Theatre, which was described by Variety as a “celebration of pure theater’s power.” A graduate of Kenyon College, Dan is an alumnus of the Director’s Lab West and an associate of the SDC, The Society of Directors and Choreographers.
Anthony is a bi-coastal music director, pianist, and composer, based in New York City and Los Angeles. Recent music direction credits: Assassins (nominated for Best Musical Direction - Stage Raw Theater Awards) (Red Blanket Productions), Into the Woods, Floyd Collins, Songs for a New World, Merrily We Roll Along (Musical Theatre Repertory), ShowSearch 2017, Futurefest and Musi-CAL (Foundation of New American Musicals). Composing credits for TV/film: Life on Mars, Slice! The Musical (Youtube), Dinnr (Funny or Die). Orchestration credits include The Music Box (Minnesota Fringe Festival) and TakeTen (MTR). Anthony is currently resident music director for National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
Marc received his BFA in theater and music from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He worked professionally in Chicago as an actor, writer, and composer. He toured nationally with Child’s Play Touring Theater, was a founding ensemble member of the renowned Free Associates Improvisation Company, and worked in Chicago and regional musical theater doing A Chorus Line, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, 42nd Street, and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, to name a few. After moving to Los Angeles, Marc turned his focus to music. He founded and created two popular club bands that were regulars on the Hollywood music circuit: Marc Francoeur & the Motha Fizzies and The Butterflyman Band.
Marc Francoeur’s Skanky Me from Kankakee, an original rock musical about one boy’s passage to self-love and acceptance, set against the backdrop of the Sexual Revolution and the picturesque rural cornfields of the Midwest, premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015 to rave audience reviews. Marc is thrilled to be a part of the Odyssey Theatre’s Jacque Brel cast.
Susan is a hard-working writer, actress, composer, and recording artist in southern California. Recent films: Daisy’s Chain and Searching Skies. As a songwriter, her focus is writing music for children, including an original one-act musical called A Delicate Light, from which her song Lullaby received a GASC 2016 finalists award. New CD releases: My Romance and Wide Open Heart, the Songs of Rupert Waites. She has recently added to her creative ‘palette’ developing programs that train communication strategies with daily caregiving for families caring for loved ones with dementia. Her training is known to reduce the burden of care for families and create meaningful connections between the cared-for and the caregiver. Susan is delighted to be back at the Odyssey Theatre performing this timeless work by Jacques Brel.
Keep up with Susan and her projects at www.susankohler.com.
Miyuki is excited to be making her Los Angeles debut at the Odyssey. Before moving to Los Angeles, Miyuki was based in New York, where she worked with Ensemble Dance and Dixon Place. Favorite roles include Anne in A Little Night Music (Princeton Summer Theater), Gabriella in Boeing-Boeing (PST), Olivia in The American Plan (PST), and Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Favorite venue: the streets of Galway with Macnas Parade This Fierce Beauty (Galway Arts Festival). Miyuki attended CAP 21’s Pre-College Conservatory at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Politics and certificates in Theater and Environmental Studies. Miyuki has been grateful for this opportunity to dive deep into the world of Jacques Brel.
Michael is a Los Angeles native and recent USC graduate who is thrilled to be working with this fantastic company of artists at the Odyssey Theatre. His work at USC included You Can't Take It With You, The Country Wife, Romeo and Juliet, Company, and Mr. Burns: a post-electric play. Michael has also completed the conservatory program at the Second City Hollywood and can solve a Rubik's Cube in less than three minutes (that has yet to come in handy professionally, but hey--ya never know!). When he's not frantically reviewing music for Jacques Brel, Michael can be found chugging water in his kitchen and proofreading emails fifteen times before he sends them.
Cyrus is a bassist studying jazz at USC Thornton School of Music. Originally a classical cellist, Cyrus switched to bass at the age of fourteen to expand his musical horizons. He has played in different bands,including the acclaimed San Francisco High School All-Stars, California Jazz Conservatory, Brubeck Jazz Colony and the California All-State Orchestra.
Conor is a drummer, composer, percussionist and educator currently residing in Los Angeles. He has studied with Billy Hart, Peter Erskine, Bob Sheppard and Vince Mendoza. Conor has most recently been a member of Alan Pasqua new trio, performing at the Jazz Bakery, the Moss Theater in Santa Monica, and Alva’s Showroom. He has also performed with Bob Sheppard, Kathleen Grace and Dave Stryker, to name a few.
Max Wagner is a Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based freelance guitarist, bassist and songwriter. Max is in demand as a sideman, studio player and theater pit musician. His extensive theater credits most recently include After Hours Theatre Company’s “splendid” - (LA Times) production of Dogfight, as well as Celebration Theatre’s multiple Ovation Award-winning The Boy From Oz. Selected LA theater credits: tick, tick…BOOM! and I Love You Because (After Hours Theatre Company); Cruel Intentions: The Musical and A Walk to Remember: The Musical (Prospect Theatre); American Idiot (glory/struck productions); Assistants the Musical (LA Fringe Festival; ENCORE Producer’s Award Winner); The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill (Rockwell Table & Stage). Follow Max online at: maxwagnerguitar.com and www.facebook.com/
A Los Angeles based drummer and percussionist Ryan is a recent graduate of USC Thornton School of Music, where he had the great fortune to study with Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Roy McCurdy and Russell Ferrante, among others. Ryan has had the opportunity to perform with Criss-Cross recording artist Walter Smith III, Tony Williams Lifetime keyboardist Alan Pasqua, and has toured throughout the United States as a member of acclaimed jazz guitarist Bruce Forman’s band.
William is a lighting designer and cinematographer based in Los Angeles. His most recent production at the Odyssey was An Oak Tree. Will’s dance lighting for Jacob Jonas The Company, where he is a founder and resident designer, has been on stage at the Kennedy Center, Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Wallis, and Jacob’s Pillow, among others. His most recent film as cinematographer, Secondary, premiered at the 2016 Dance Camera West film festival. Will is also an active feature film producer and executive, with recent post-production credits including Hello, My Name Is Doris (Sally Field), Dean (Dimitri Martin), Between Us (Olivia Thirlby), Burning Bodhi (Kaley Cuoco, Cody Horn), and 400 Days (Dane Cook). He served as associate producer of Buster’s Mal Heart starring Rami Malek, which premiered in 2017. Will holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute.
Los Angeles native Imani G. Alexander studied directing and physical theatre in London, earning an MA in text and performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Birkbeck College (University of London). She has trained in ballet, modern and dance theatre and has taught high school dance and choreography in Los Angeles. Also a performer, singer-songwriter and storyteller, Imani is currently developing her solo show, Bone Woman, for the Hollywood and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals this summer. She is honored and delighted at the opportunity to put movement to the timeless songs of Jacques Brel. This is her Odyssey Theatre debut.
Alex has designed rides and themed architecture in Las Vegas. His architecture projects include New York, New York Casino, Buffalo Bill Casino and Whiskey Pete Casino, and he designed the rides "Lost Silver Mine" at MGM Grand and "Treasure Island," among others. His design work for performing arts includes scenery for the Neil Diamond World Tour, as well as countless MTV music videos. Alex has designed scenery for TV commercials and industrial shows, among them The Water Park for the U.S. high diving team, AT&T Telephone Company, Miller Brewing Corporation, Lexus and the LA Gear Industrial Show in Munich, Germany
Denise Blasor is a Puerto Rican director, actress and designer who moved to Chicago to be part of Steven Schacter, William H. Macy and David Mamet's St. Nicholas Resident Theater Company. In 1995 she became artistic director of the multi-cultural theatre alliance LADiversified Theater Company where she served as executive producer, director, designer, adapter and performer. She was a founding member of Latin Actors and a Few Others, KOAN and ELAC Theater, and is now associate artistic director of Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. Costume design credits include A Taste of Honey, Tempest Redux, Life Is A Dream, Blood Wedding, La Casa De Bernarda Alba, Pedro Infante Y La Viuda Triunfante, The Greeks, La Posada Magica, Princess Of Burgundia, Faust, The Three Sisters, Wild in Wichita, Good Woman Of Setzuan, Cumbia De Mi Corazon, The Wide Wide Sea, No Exit. Her next production is at the Skylight Theatre, directing The Stolen Child.
Rachel is an upcoming senior at The University of Southern California studying theatre acting in the school of dramatic arts. She has a strong love for both acting and directing, and has participated in over forty theatrical productions. Some of her directing credits include Rabbit Hole (USC), School House Rock (Waldorf Elementary School), We Are Monsters (The Attic Community Theater) and Alice in Wonderland (CMHS). Some of her acting roles include Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Princess Winnifred in Once Upon A Mattress and Emma in Mockingbird. Rachel would like to thank her loving family and friends for all of their support and Dan Fishbach for this incredible opportunity.
Dara Weinberg works with ensemble-based forms and choruses. Previous theatre: Baltimore, Bath, the Bay Area, Berlin, Budapest, Chicago, DC, Indianapolis, Lodz, Los Angeles, Krakow, Phoenix, Portland, Warsaw. Through Bath Spa University's remote PhD program, she is writing a memoir about living in Poland and working in post-Grotowski Polish theatre (Teatr Chorea). She is an LA native and an associate member of Theatre of NOTE, where she directs the resident chorus.
Producer/Artistic Director/Founder of the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Ron received the LA Weekly Career Achievement Award in 2013. He has also received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Margaret Harford Award for “demonstrating a continual willingness to experiment provocatively in the process of theatre” and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Ron Link Award for “consistent quality of direction.” Recent OTE directing projects include Beckett5, My Sister, Oedipus Machina, Theatre in the Dark (LA Weekly nomination Best Production of the Year), Way to Heaven (LA Weekly and LADCC nomination for Best Production of the Year), Adding Machine: A Musical, The Arsonists (LA Weekly nomination for Best Direction) Sliding Into Hades (Best Production of the Year, LA Weekly), Kafka Thing!, Far Away and The Threepenny Opera. Ron has led the Odyssey throughout its 48-year history.
Nina Wrona is excited to join Jacques Brel for her first production at The Odyssey Theatre. Although she works primarily in film, theatre has always been her first love. She would like to thank the Odyssey Theatre for the opportunity, and her husband for his love and support.
INTERVIEW ON KPFK
"I can tell you what this show definitely is: TERRIFIC"
"TOP NOTCH... It’s no wonder why [Brel’s] songs connect with people; he bares his soul at all times and communicates in a deep, fervent way."
"URGENT, POWERFUL... fast-paced direction by Dan Fishbach, who gets the most out the emotional content of the show... An impeccable band"
© 2013 THE ODYSSEY THEATRE | 310-477-2055 EXT. 2
310-477-2055 EXT. 2
Box Office Hours
Wed/Thurs - 1pm - 6pm or curtain
Fri/Sat - 1pm - 8pm
Sunday - 12pm - 4pm
June 28 - 30
July 1 - August 27
Every Friday & Saturday 8pm
Every Sunday 2pm
July 13 & 27
Wednesday & Thursday $27
Saturday & Sunday $36
Under 30 tix $22
SAG/AFTRA/AEA $17 on Friday nights.
Tix for $10
July 7, 13, 27
Meet the cast, FREE wine
July 21 & August 18
Jacques Brel will be performed with an intermission.
Running time: two hours