American Heartland Premiere, Flight of the Lawnchair Man at CCP

American Heartland Premiere, Flight of the Lawnchair Man at CCP

The American Heartland Premiere of the award-winning new musical Flight of the Lawnchair Man opens at Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, TN on May 15th and runs through July 11th. Sponsored by international ceramic tile company Crossville, Inc., the production is the first professionally mounted outside the New York and Los Angeles areas. The hit of the Festival of New Musicals presented in New York by the National Alliance for Musical Theater, Lawnchair Man was just released by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, the new major licensing agency.

Lawnchair Man sings the funny, amazing story of Jerry Gorman, who tires of his cookie-cutter neighborhood, his Wal-mart smiley job, and hitches weather balloons to his lawnchair, floating 16,000 feet to startle macho airline pilot Big Jack! Jerry’s mama tries to keep him earthbound, but girlfriend Gracie says “Go! Follow your dreams!”

New York Playhouse newcomer Ashley Pankow brings her powerful pop-star belt voice to the Mainstage as Gracie, helping Daniel Black as Jerry fly over pompous jetliner pilot Big Jack, played by Nathaniel Hackmann, world-class young baritone from San Francisco Opera. Jack tries to get the government – FAA, NASA and more! – to keep Jerry down where meddling mama (Carol Irvin) wants him. But Jerry and Gracie’s spirits soar with the show’s music, as he encounters air-pioneer spirits Lucky Lindy in his Spirit of St. Louis (Jason Ross), Amelia Earhart (Nicole Begue, forever in flight) and the visionary, very Italiano Leonardo DaVinci himself.

Guest director Bari Newport, whose sellout Playhouse production of First Baptist of Ivy Gap has been held over for an additional four-month run through October, stages Lawnchair Man. Scenic designer Curtis Phillips and choreographer Michele Colvin (Carousel, Beauty and the Beast), bring vivid imaginations to the show, based on a true story.

Ms. Newport, for five seasons Assistant Director of the Florida Repertory Theater, now freelances nationally, with productions upcoming in West Virginia and Utah. She has staged the regional theater premieres of Steve Martin’s comedy The Underpants, and Nathan Sanders’ The Sugar Bean Sisters, for which she originated revisions for the published edition. She was one of a half-dozen leading young directors selected for the prestigious Lincoln Center Director’s Workshop

Also in rotating rep at CCP are First Baptist of Ivy Gap, sponsored by Crossville Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, and Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, sponsored by First National Bank of Tennessee. Tickets can be purchased from the Playhouse Box Office at (931) 484 – 5000. Visit us online at to view our full season schedule and additional information.
Posted 4.29.08

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