Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Multimedia: Lauren Molina, Bri Sudia and More in WONDERFUL TOWN at the Goodman Theatre, Opens Sept. 20

Bri Sudia (Ruth) and Lauren Molina (Eileen) (center) with ensemble members Kristin Villanueva, Jordan Brown, George Andrew Wolff, Jody Reynard, Jeff Parker, Ian Saunders, Lainie Sakakura, Wade Elkins and Mark David Kaplan. Photo by Liz Lauren

Bri Sudia (Ruth) and Lauren Molina (Eileen) (center) with ensemble members Kristin Villanueva, Jordan Brown, George Andrew Wolff, Jody Reynard, Jeff Parker, Ian Saunders, Lainie Sakakura, Wade Elkins and Mark David Kaplan. Photo by Liz Lauren

Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman’s revival of WONDERFUL TOWN – Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical that with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and book by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov, runs now through October 16 at Goodman Theatre’s Albert Theatre (Opening Night is September 20).

Lainie Sakakura (Ensemble), Lauren Molina (Eileen) and ensemble members Erica Stephan, Ian Saunders and Kent M. Lewis. Photo by Liz Lauren

Lainie Sakakura (Ensemble), Lauren Molina (Eileen) and ensemble members Erica Stephan, Ian Saunders and Kent M. Lewis. Photo by Liz Lauren

A whimsical love letter to Manhattan, WONDERFUL TOWN follows the adventure of sisters Eileen and Ruth, who leave Columbus, Ohio in search of success in the Big Apple. Lauren Molina, who appeared as Cunegonde in Zimmerman’s acclaimed production of Candide (2010/2011 Season), portrays the beautiful actress and hopeful romantic, Eileen; and breakout Chicago star Bri Sudia (Far From Heaven, Porchlight Music Theater) makes her Goodman debut as Ruth, an aspiring, romantically challenged journalist.

Bri Sudia (Ruth) sings 'Swing' along with ensemble members. Photo by Liz Lauren

Bri Sudia (Ruth) sings ‘Swing’ along with ensemble members. Photo by Liz Lauren

Joining Molina and Sudia in the 26-member cast are Chicago favorites Karl Hamilton as Robert Baker, the isolated editor of The Manhatter newspaper; Wade Elkins as Frank Lippencott and Steven Strafford as Chick Clark-two of Eileen’s love prospects and residents of the bohemian 1950s town; and Jordan Brown (Wreck), Amy J. Carle (Mrs. Wade), Matt DeCaro (Appopolous), Christina Hall (Violet), James Earl Jones II (Speedy Valenti), Kristin Villanueva (Helen) and George Andrew Wolff (Lonigan).

Karl Sean Hamilton (Robert Baker) sings 'What A Waste' along with ensemble members James Earl Jones II, Jeff Parker, George Andrew Wolff, Karl Sean Hamilton, Kent M. Lewis and Russell Mernagh. Photo by Liz Lauren

Karl Sean Hamilton (Robert Baker) sings ‘What A Waste’ along with ensemble members James Earl Jones II, Jeff Parker, George Andrew Wolff, Karl Sean Hamilton, Kent M. Lewis and Russell Mernagh. Photo by Liz Lauren

Ensemble members include Nathaniel Braga, Ariana Cappuccitti, Sherriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Mark David Kaplan, Tiffany Krause, Kent M. Lewis, Russell Mernagh, Jeff Parker, Jody Reynard, Todd Rhoades, Lainie Sakakura, Ian Saunders and Erica Stephan.

Jordan Brown (Wreck), Kristin Villanueva (Helen), Bri Sudia (Ruth) and Lauren Molina (Eileen). Photo by Liz Lauren

Jordan Brown (Wreck), Kristin Villanueva (Helen), Bri Sudia (Ruth) and Lauren Molina (Eileen). Photo by Liz Lauren

Under music director Doug Peck and associate music director/conductor Ben Johnson, the 18-member orchestra brings to life 20 of Bernstein’s songs-including “Ohio” and “One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man.” Chicago native and choreographer Alex Sanchez, whose work has been described as “spectacular-wildly ingenious and playful from start to finish” (Chicago Sun-Times), makes his Goodman debut. The creative team also includes Todd Rosenthal (sets), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), T.J. Gerckens (lights) and Ray Nardelli (sound).

For tickets and more information, visit GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

Erica Stephan (Ensemble), James Earl Jones II (Speedy Valenti) and Tiffany Krause (Ensemble). Photo by Liz Lauren

Erica Stephan (Ensemble), James Earl Jones II (Speedy Valenti) and Tiffany Krause (Ensemble). Photo by Liz Lauren

Ensemble members Erica Stephan, Steven Strafford, Sharriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Nathaniel Braga and Todd Rhoades perform 'Christopher Street'. Photo by Liz Lauren

Ensemble members Erica Stephan, Steven Strafford, Sharriese Hamilton, Aaron Holland, Nathaniel Braga and Todd Rhoades perform ‘Christopher Street’. Photo by Liz Lauren

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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