- Ace (musical)
name= ACE :The New Musical Adventure
caption= Show logo
music= Richard Oberacker
lyrics= Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
book= Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
productions= 2006 Regional productions2008 Signature Theatre
"ACE" is a musical with a book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker, and music by Oberacker. The story is about a boy, separated from his mother, who discovers his past and himself through a series of dreams [Diaries, in the 2008 production] about a flying ace. It was inspired by Robert Taylor's father training to be a pilot, and his mother having a near-fatal bout with depression.
The musical premiered the
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Missouri, in 2006 and has played in several regional productions.
Background and productions
Taylor and Oberacker met and began to discuss the show while touring in 2003 with "The Lion King". [ [http://www.theoldglobe.org/pdf/Ace%20Program%20Notes.pdf Information about the background of the show] ]
Parts of "Ace" were shown at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's (NAMT) Festival of New Musicals in New York in September 2005.
Cheyenne Jacksonstarred as Ace, with Christiane Nollfeatured. [Gans, Andrew [http://www5.playbill.com/news/article/94605.html "Cheyenne Jackson and Christiane Noll Cast in Ace Musical",] playbill.com, August 18, 2005]
The musical debuted at the
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Missouri, September 6 - October 1, 2006. It was directed by Stafford Arimaand choreographed by Andrew Palermo. [ [http://www.repstl.org/productionhistory/detail/ace Information from The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis website] ] It then played at Playhouse in the Parkin Cincinnati, Ohio, from October 17 - November 17, 2006. This production was als directed by Arima and choreographed by Palermo. [ [http://www.cincyplay.com/archive/0607/m2/index.php Information about the Cincinnati production] ] Another production by the same team played at the Old Globe Theatrein San Diego, Californiafrom January 13 - February 18, 2007. The cast included Michael Arden as John Robert and Darren Ritchie as Ace. [Hernandez, Ernio. [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/104980.html "Ace Soars at Old Globe as Aviation Musical with Michael Arden Opens Jan. 18",] playbill.com, Jan. 18, 2007] ] [Welsh, Anne Marie. [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070120/news_1c20globe.html Review from SignOnSanDiego.com,] January 20, 2007]
Signature Theatrein Arlington, Virginiarevived the musical from August 26 - September 28, 2008. The production was directed by Eric D. Schaefferand choreographed by Karma Camp. The cast featured Jill Paice, Emily Skinner, Jim Stanekand Christiane Noll. [ [http://www.sig-online.org/ace.htm Signature Show Information] ] [ [http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=30123 "Signature Theatre Announces Full Cast of 'Ace' Including Jill Paice",] broadwayworld.com, July 17, 2008] In the Signature production, the boy Billy is renamed Danny, and the past is revealed through diaries rather than through dreams.
St. Louis, Missouri, in 1952, ten-year-old Danny Lucas telephones for help because his mother won't wake up. His mother, Elizabeth Lucas, has swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and is taken to the psychiatric ward. The caseworker from social services, Mrs. Crandall, places an angry Danny in foster care ("It's Better This Way"). Mrs. Crandall informs Elizabeth that contact with Danny will be limited to gifts and letters. Elizabeth returns home determined to correct her past mistakes and get Danny back ("Fill In The Blank"). She writes to Danny asking him to follow her clues to their conclusion ("Letter From Elizabeth").
Danny's foster family is the Milligans, a childless couple awaiting a baby. Mrs. Crandall delivers, from Danny's mother, a model plane and instructions to speak with the elderly Harold Bixby. Through Mr. Bixby's remembrances, we are introduced to John Robert Anderson - a WWI fighter pilot ("In These Skies") who meets ("In This Moment") and falls in love with Ruth Whitlow ("In These Skies" (Reprise)).
Elizabeth sends Danny the diaries of Ruth Whitlow. Through the diaries, we see that Ruth's relationship with John Robert Anderson leads to marriage ("Be My Bride"). John Robert is stationed in France. Ruth writes of her longing for him and her pride in his service ("Ruth's Letters"). John Robert challenges a hostile airman to a bet and teaches him a lesson ("Anique's Tavern Song"). Another letter from Ruth reveals that she is pregnant ("I'm Going To Have This Child"). John Robert continues his service in France ("The Dogfight") and his life ends there ("Act I Finale").
;Act IIDanny is learning to trust his foster parents, the Milligans ("Now I Know"). Another package arrives from his mother. Through Ruth's diaries, we meet her young son Charlie Anderson, nicknamed "Ace". She sings of her dream for her son to be the aviator and hero that his father was. Charlie dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer ("Soaring Again"). Also in this package is a letter from Elizabeth and her yearbook from St. Louis University 1935, and a photo. Through these items, Elizabeth Lucas and Charlie "Ace" Anderson are shown as they meet ("It's Just A Matter Of Time"; "I Know It Can Be Done") and fall in love ("Missing Pieces"). The photo of Ace is the first time that Danny has seen his father; his mother has previously refused to speak about him ("So That's Him").
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Charlie, fueled by his mother's desires for him, joins the Air Force. Elizabeth opposes this but agrees to marry him before he leaves. While in training, Charlie feels the spirit of his father John Robert ("Father And Son"). Charlie is asked to join the "Flying Tigers" - a voluntary assignment. Elizabeth is furious that Charlie would put himself in danger for a voluntary mission. Charlie feels connected to the father he never knew and believes that he is making the best choice. Elizabeth, on the other hand, feels that the stories of John Robert's heroism have led Ace to make a bad choice. They argue and separate in anger.
Ace joins the Flying Tigers in China ("We're The Only Ones"). Ruth, Elizabeth, Ace and Danny each consider the emotional changes they are experiencing. Elizabeth reveals that she is pregnant ("Seeing Thing In A Different Light"). Ace perishes in the skies over Siam. Elizabeth sings of her overwhelming shock, anger and inability to forgive ("That's What It Should Say"). Ace" speaks to Danny. He tells Danny that he can "Choose To Fly" in many ways, in his heart and mind, not necessarily or only in a plane.
Danny is reunited with his Mother. He understands his past and their relationship is healed ("Chose To Fly"; "Finale").
:"This summary is based on the 2008 Signature Theatre version of the musical."
Characters and cast
*Billy - Noah Galvin
*Mrs. Crandall/Clara Whitlow - Traci Lyn Thomas
*Louise - Amy Bodnar
*Emily - Gabrielle Boyadjian
*Edward/Stampley - Duke Lafoon
*Ace - Matt Bogart
*John Robert - Chris Peluso
*Ruth - Heather Ayers
*Lt. Sanders/Tim Sullivan - Richard Barth
*Colonel Whitlow/Chennault - James Judy
*Tennaman/Stein - Kevin Reed
*Cooper/Myron - Danny Rothman
*Teacher/Ensemble - Susan Kokot Stokes
*Nurse/Ensemble - Kelli Barrett
*Anique/Ensemble - Gabrielle Stravelli
*School Bully/Young Charlie - Jimmy McEvoy
2008 cast at the Signature Theatre
*Danny - Dalton Harrod
*Mrs. Crandall/Clara Whitlow - Florence Lacey
*Emily - Angelina Kelly
*Edward/Stampley - Duke Lafoon
*Ace - Matthew Scott
*John Robert -
*Lt. Sanders/Sullivan - Richard Barth
*Col.Whitlow/Chennault - George Dvorsky
*Tenneman - Jason Reiff
*Harold Bixby/Cooper/Myron - Danny Rothman
*Mrs.Gebert/Clara - Tracy Lynn Olivera
*Nurse/Librarian - Elizabeth Share
*Anique - Gabrielle Stravelli
*Sidekick - Brooke Bloomquist
*Young Charlie - Ari Goldbloom-Helzner
*Bully - William Beech
Musical numbers (2006-07)
*In These Skies
*Life Can Be Cruel
*It Took This Moment
*Make It From Scratch
*Be My Bride
*Letter From The Front
*It's Just A Matter Of Time
*I Know It Can Be Done
*Sooner Or Later
*In The Skies (reprise)
*We're The Only Ones
*Seeing Things In A Different Light
*That's That It Should Say
Awards and nominations
"ACE" was nominated for twelve 2006
Kevin Kline Awards, winning six: Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, Outstanding New Play or Musical; Marie Anne Chiment, Outstanding Costume Design; Chris Akerlind, Outstanding Lighting Design; David Korins, Outstanding Set Design; John H. Shivers and David Patridge, Outstanding Sound Design; and Noah Galvin, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. It also won the Mickey Kaplan New American Play prize.
* [http://origintheatrical.com.au/detail.php?prodid=479&catid=1 Official website 2006-7]
* [http://acethemusical.com/index2.html Official Website 2008]
* [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117932502.html?categoryid=33&cs=1 Review from Variety.com, San Diego]
* [http://baltimore.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=31940 Review from Broadway World]
* [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117938192.html?categoryid=33&cs=1&query=ace Review from VARIETY]
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