The cast boasts A-list Chicago actors Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (In the Heights), Travis Turner (Bud, Not Buddy), Alexis J. Rogers (Jeff Award-winner, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill), and Bear Bellinger (Miss Saigon).
CHICAGO, IL -Â Chicago Children’s Theatre announced casting for its world premiere of Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, an all-new, rhythm and blues family musical playing January 18 – March 2, 2014 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago.
Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Benny in Paramount Theatre’s fall opener In the Heights andÂ currently playing the Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol at Theatre at the Center, leads the A-list cast of Chicago’s top professional musical theater performers as 10-year old Steven. Ashley Elizabeth Honore, seen in Southbridge at Chicago Dramatists and Home at Court Theatre, plays Steven’s friend Richelle. Travis Turner, who played the title role last season in CCT’s Bud, Not Buddy, and appeared in Porgy and Bess, Tartuffe and The Misanthrope at Court Theatre, will play Steven’s friend Russell. Acclaimed Chicago soul singer Yaw Agyeman is cast as Mr. Chickee. Alexis J. Rogers, 2013 Equity Jeff Award winner as Billie Holiday in Porchlight’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, will play dual roles – Steven’s mother Lynetta and Madame Director. Bear Bellinger, who appeared in Paramount’s Miss Saigon and Court’s Porgy and Bess, will play Steven’s father, Elmwood. Elena Flores, Lisa in the Broadway production and national tour of Mamma Mia, will play Agent 2. Brian Grey, recently in The Wheel at Steppenwolf and a veteran of CCT’s Bud, Not Buddy, plays Agent Fondoo. Puppeteer Sam Deutsch (Redmoon’s The Cabinet) will bring fun, funky life to Steven’s loyal dog, Zoopy.
CCT’s newest family musicalÂ is adapted from the best-selling young adult book of the same name by Christopher Paul Curtis, who also penned Bud, Not Buddy, the Newbery Award-winning book which spawned Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2013 smash hit play Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money features music and lyrics by Motown legend Lamont Dozier and his son, co-music writer/lyricist Paris Dozier. The book is by David Ingber, with musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Brian Usifer. Kevin Iega Jeff (co-founder and artistic director of Deeply Rooted Dance Company) will choreograph. Derrick Sanders (director of CCT’s recent smash hits Bud, Not Buddy and Jackie and Me) will direct.
Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money follows the misadventures of 10-year-old Steven, a self-proclaimed spy and presidentÂ of the “Flint Future DetectivesÂ Club.” At the heart of this whimsicalÂ story is a highly intelligent, out-of-the-box thinker, and entrepreneurial boy, who discovers thatÂ family, friends, imagination and determination are the true keys to success and that sharing theÂ spotlight with others can make one even richer.As Steven and his friends plot to save Flint from financial ruin, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money grooves to a diverse new set list of original songs all played by a live band and so high-energy and entertaining that kids won’t even know they’re being treated to a celebration of contemporary African American music through the decades, including Motown, disco, rap, rock, soul, jazz and hip hop. Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money brings generations of music lovers together in an adventurous story of mystery.
Single tickets to Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money are on sale now, and start at $25. To purchase, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555. For information on discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting organizations, visit GroupTix.net or call (773) 327-3778.Â Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money is recommended for ages 6 and up.