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Twist-An American Musical

Jun 28, 2011
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Boston (Matthew Johnson, center) and his boys in a scene from Twist - An American Musical. Photo: Playbill.com

The Pasadena Playhouse stormed back onto the scene this year and rounds out this season’s schedule with Twist, a new American musical inspired by the Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist. If Saturday night’s SRO opening is any indication, this show will be a quick sellout and on its way to Broadway in no time—so see it now and enjoy bragging rights for years to come.

Set in Jazz Era New Orleans on the eve of the Great Depression, Twist tells the story of a young orphan boy born of a white mother and a talented black father who navigates the colorful and rough waters of street life and racial intolerance in his quest to find his family and love. Twist’s score features the musical pulse of New Orleans in the 1920s and is highlighted by a tapestry of soaring ballads, hot jazz, blues, gospel and tap-infused dance numbers.

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Tamyra Gray as Della with Alaman Diadhiou as Twist. Photo: Jim Cox

Twist stars American Idol’s Tamyra Gray (you’ll also recognize cast members Cliff Bemis and Diane Delano) and boasts a cast of 30 Broadway-caliber singer/actor/dancers from around the country, including 12 children from the ages of 10 to 16 that are not to be missed. You’ll recognize many of the classic Oliver Twist characters like Fagin and the Artful Dodger, reimagined for the prohibition era, and the dancing and big production numbers are simply stunning. Add to all this that we just might be witnessing the breakout moment of the next great child star — Annie-style — in 10-year-old Alaman Diadhiou, who plays the title character. After sitting in the front row (which I would not recommend – too close), I can confirm that he was absolutely on and in character every minute of the performance.

Directed and choreographed by Golden Globe and multi-Emmy Award–winner Debbie Allen, Twist features a book by Tony Award-nominee William F. Brown (Broadway’s The Wiz – winner of seven Tony Awards), music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner Tena Clark (Natalie Cole’s Still Unforgettable), and music by Gary Prim (songwriter for Dionne Warwick and CeCe Winans).

Click here for a video preview of the show.

The Pasadena Playhouse Presents Twist – An American Musical
June 28 – Sunday, July 24
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
$39 – $100; pasadenaplayhouse.com; 626.356.7529

Click here to purchase tickets online.




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