City of Angels

About the Director

Fr. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.

Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A. (Director) is chairperson of the Villanova University theatre department and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in dramaturgy, musical theatre, and theatrical experience. He has received five Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Parade, Children of Eden, Into the Woods, Evita, and Chicago, which received nine nominations and three 2002 Barrymore Awards, including Outstanding Direction of a Musical. Other directing credits at Villanova include City of Angels, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, West Side Story, Candide, and Once on This Island. His recent appearances on the Vasey stage include Twelfth Night, Don Juan, The Trojan Women, and The Passion of Christ.

Press Release

VILLANOVA THEATRE PRESENTS CITY OF ANGELS

Barrymore Award-winner Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., directs the hit musical comedy March 25­April 13, 2003

Villanova Theatre ends its 2002-2003 season with the six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy City of Angels. Lauded for its “smart, swinging, sexy” style (Newsweek), City of Angels is directed by Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., chairperson of the Villanova University theatre department and winner of the 2002 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for last season’s hit musical Chicago.City of Angels performs March 25­April 13, 2003, at Vasey Hall on the Villanova University campus. Show times are 8:00pm Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday. Tickets are priced $18­$22 and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474.

City of Angels is set in 1940’s Los Angeles where a fledgling screenwriter named Stine is adapting his detective novel into a film for an egomaniacal producer. While Stine struggles to transform his words from the page to the screen, the action moves back and forth between two worlds: Stine’s technicolor “real” world, a post-War Hollywood populated with overbearing producers, saucy secretaries, and self-serving starlets, and the black and white “reel” world of Stine’s imagination, a film noir entitled City of Angels that stars Stine’s alter ego, a sardonic Private Investigator named Stone.

Paying hilarious but heartfelt homage to the pulp fiction novels and detective films of the ‘30s and ‘40s, City of Angels premiered on Broadway in 1989, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical, Book, Score, Scenic Design, Featured Actress, and Lead Actor. City of Angels features an uproarious script by Larry Gelbart, snappy lyrics by David Zippel, and a jazzy musical score by Cy Coleman that is loaded with popular songs that range from show stoppers to torchy ballads.

“As soon as City of Angels starts, people will know what they’re in for,” said Donohue. “Audiences are familiar with the archetypes of film noir and they will immediately recognize the characters on stage. They will appreciate the quick pace of the show and the great humor in it. The dialogue is very funny; there is a lot of sophisticated sexual innuendo. The creators have done a very nice job of spoofing film noir.”

Donohue feels audiences will especially enjoy the music because of its unique blend of jazz and pop styles. “The songs have a real ‘40s feel to them and people will be able to take themselves back to another time period,” he said. “The lyrics are clever and the music is well-written in a style that is not typical of modern musical theatre.” An onstage quartet dubbed the “Angel City Four” provides tight four-part harmonies as underscoring throughout, providing dramatic cues and moving the action forward, “much like the musical scoring used in film,” explained Donohue.

One hallmark of the Broadway production was the ingenious scenic design by Robin Wagner that used full-color costumes, sets, and lighting for Stine’s real-life scenes in Hollywood and a cool black and white palette for Stone’s on-screen adventures.

“The show is written for a proscenium stage and it was originally designed to have these two worlds living together side by side,” explained Donohue. “But in our space that is impossible because we have a thrust stage surrounded by seats, so we decided to use detailed scenic projections against the back wall of the set. These projections will not only provide a very clear and immediate sense of location for the audience, they will also maintain the wonderfully inventive idea of placing Stine in a Technicolor world and Stone in the black and white world of film noir.”

The members of City of Angels’ creative team are veterans of stage, screen, and television. Composer Cy Coleman’s many honors include three Tony Awards, three Emmys, two Grammys, election to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Musical Theater. In addition to City of Angels, his numerous Broadway credits include Little Me, Sweet Charity, On the Twentieth Century, The Will Rogers Follies, and The Life. Coleman’s film scores include Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks and Family Business, and he wrote Shirley MacLaine's television specials, If My Friends Could See Me Now and Gypsy in My Soul.

Lyricist David Zippel has received a Tony Award, two Academy Award nominations, two Grammy nominations, and three Golden Globe nominations. His songs appear on over 25 million CDs around the world. His Broadway show, The Goodbye Girl with music by Marvin Hamlisch and book by Neil Simon, received a Tony nomination for Best Musical and earned him an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Lyrics. Off Broadway shows include A...My Name is Alice, Hal Prince's Diamonds, Just So, and 5,6,7,8...Dance! For Disney, he wrote the songs for Hercules with Alan Menken and Mulan with Matthew Wilder, earning Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for both. His lyrics for the animated feature The Swan Princess were nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Zippel wrote the theme song lyrics for the sitcom Veronica's Closet and the end title song to the Jennifer Lopez film The Wedding Planner. A revue of his work, It’s Better With a Band, was staged at the Prince Music Theatre last fall.

Bookwriter Larry Gelbart began his career in high school as a sketch writer for Danny Thomas’ radio series "Maxwell House Coffee Time with Danny Thomas." He later wrote for such radio shows as "Duffy's Tavern" and "The Eddie Cantor Show,” and provided gags for Jack Paar and Bob Hope. In the 1950s, Gelbart’s work for television included "The All-Star Revue," "Caesar's Hour," and "The Art Carney Show." Gelbart’s stage credits include The Conquering Hero, Sly Fox, Mastergate, City of Angels, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Screenplay credits include The Notorious Landlady, The Thrill of It All, The Wrong Box, Movie Movie, Rough Cut, Tootsie, Blame It on Rio, and Oh God!, for which he received an Oscar nomination. In the early ‘70s, Gelbart turned Robert Altman's 1970 black comedy M*A*S*H* into a weekly television series that ran 11 seasons. Other television series include United States, AfterMASH, Barbarians at the Gate, and Weapons of Mass Distraction.

Director Donohue chairs the Villanova theatre department and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in dramaturgy, musical theatre, and theatrical experience. His directing credits at Villanova include Children of Eden, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Into the Woods, Evita, West Side Story, Candide, and Once On This Island. In 2002, Donohue received the Hal Prince Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for Villanova’s production of Chicago.

City of Angels’ 23-member cast features Villanova theatre graduate student Gregg Pica as the embattled writer Stine and fellow graduate student Joe Leduc as Stine’s tough-guy hero, Stone. Other members of the cast, composed of Villanova graduate and undergraduate students and guest artists, perform two roles, each appearing as characters in both Stine’s “real” world and in the “reel” world of Stone.

Nina Donze portrays Stine’s wife Gabby and Stone’s ex-wife Bobbi; Jason Michaels appears as the egomaniacal producer Buddy Fidler and his on-screen alter ego, Irwin S. Irving; Cheryl Mazzarini is Buddy’s secretary Donna and Stone’s secretary Oolie; and Dana Tretta is Buddy’s wife Carla and the mysterious femme fatale Alaura Kingsley who hires Stone to find her missing step-daughter.

David Wetzel, Joseph Cutalo, Melissa Dryslewski, Juan M. Bertrán-Astor, Thomas Gelo, Erica Mapes, Nick Falco, Mike Kleba, John Galla, Rafael Dueno, Jennifer Kulick, Margaret Kuronyi, Daniella Vinitski play a variety of characters throughout the musical. The musical quartet, Angel City Four, is made up of Nicholas Martorelli, Nicole Mancino, Lea Montalto-Rook, Paul Recupero.

The production team assembled for City of Angels includes Scenic Designer Dirk Durossette, Costume Designer Janus Stefanowicz, Lighting Designer Jerold R. Forsyth, Properties Designer cdavid hall-cottrill, Sound Designer Matt Callahan, Choroegrapher Barby Hobyak-Roche, and Dramaturg Abby Jill Suchting. Music Director Jim Ryan leads an orchestra of 13 musicians.

City of Angels performs March 25­April 13, 2003. Press Opening is Wednesday, March 26, 2003, at 8:00pm. Performances are held in Vasey Hall, Lancaster & Ithan Avenues, on the Villanova University campus. Showtimes are 8:00pm Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday. Tickets are priced $18-$22, with discounts for seniors, groups, and students. For tickets and information, call the Villanova Theatre Box Office at 610-519-7474 or visit http://www.villanova.edu/artsci/theatre/productions/tickets.htm.

Production Photos

"Without me, you're nothing...you're nothing without me at all..."  Gregg Pica (right) as Hollywood screenwriter Stine and Joe Leduc (left) as his fictional alter ego Stone.

"Without me, you're nothing...you're nothing without me at all..."

Gregg Pica (right) as Hollywood screenwriter Stine and Joe Leduc (left) as his fictional alter ego Stone.

"Without me, you're nothing...you're nothing without me at all..."  Gregg Pica (right) as Hollywood screenwriter Stine and Joe Leduc (left) as his fictional alter ego Stone.

Cast of Characters

The "Real" World

STINE, a writer of fiction: Gregg Pica
GABBY, Stine's Wife: Nina Donze
DONNA, Buddy's Secretary:  Cheryl Mazzarini
BUDDY FIDLER, movie producer: Jason J. Michael
CARLA HAYWOOD, Buddy's wife: Dana Tretta
WERNER KRIEGLER, an actor: David Wetzel
GERALD PIERCE, an actor: Joseph Cutalo
AVRIL RAINES, a starlet: Melissa Dryslewski
PANCHO VARGAS, an actor:  Juan M. Bertrán-Astor
GENE, an assistant director: Tom Gelo
STAND-IN: Erika Mapes
GILBERT, a barber: Nick Falco
JIMMY POWERS, a movie crooner: Mike Kleba
STUDIO COP: John Kiefer Galla
STUDIO COP: Rafael A. Dueno
DEL DACOSTA, a songwriter: Jennifer Kulick
MASSEUSE: Margaret Kuronyi
HAIRDRESSER: Daniella Leah Vinitski

The "Reel" World     

STONE, Stine's creation; a private eye: Joe Leduc
BOBBI, Stone's ex-wife: Nina Donze
OOLIE, Stone's secretary: Cheryl Mazzarini
IRWIN S. IRVING, movie mogul: Jason J. Michael
ALAURA KINGSLEY, femme fatale: Dana Tretta
LUTHER KINGSLEY, Alaura's husband: David Wetzel
PETER KINGSLEY, Alaura's stepson: Joseph Cutalo
MALLORY KINGSLEY, Alaura's stepdaughter: Melissa Dryslewski
LT. MUNOZ, a police detective: Juan M. Bertrán-Astor
OFFICER PASCO/ORDERLY: Tom Gelo
MARGARET, a maid: Erika Mapes
DR. MANDRIL, a religious leader: Nick Falco
JIMMY POWERS, a movie crooner: Mike Kleba
BIG SIX, a thug: John Kiefer Galla
SONNY, a smaller thug: Rafael A. Dueno
MAHONEY, a reporter/NURSE: Jennifer Kulick
BOOTSIE, a hooker: Margaret Kuronyi
MARGIE, a madam: Daniella Leah Vinitski
ANGEL CITY SOPRANO: Lea Montalto-Rook
ANGEL CITY ALTO: Nicole Mancino
ANGEL CITY TENOR: Paul Recupero
ANGEL CITY BASS: Nicholas Martorelli