Previews for the world premiere run of the Alan Menken-Glenn Slater-Janus Cercone musical, Leap of Faith, start tonight. With opening officially set for the 3rd of October, the show is playing at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
Telling the tale of a part-time reverend and full-time con artist, Jonas Nightengale (played by Raúl Esparza), whose traveling ministry breaks down in a small Kansas town, the show deals with what happens when Nightengale, along with his sister-sidekick (played by Kendra Kassebaum), quickly pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival to line his pocket with what he needs. The local sheriff, Will Braverman (played by Jarrod Emick) is determined to stop Jonas from separating the townspeople from their money, but Jonas’ real challenge arises when he meets a pretty waitress (played by Brooke Shields) and her son (played by Nicholas Barasch), whose love forces an ultimate cynic to take a real leap of faith. Other principal roles are taken by Kecia Lewis-Evans and Leslie Odom, Jr.
The ensemble comprises Brad Anderson, Bradley Benjamin, Tom Berklund, Christopher Bones, Krystal Joy Brown, Ta’Rea Campbell, Eric L. Christian, Michelle Duffy, Harvey Evans, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Jennie Ford, Bob Gaynor, Angela Grovey, Shannon Lewis, Michael X. Martin, Maurice Murphy, Anise E. Ritchie, Darcie Roberts, Bryce Ryness, Ariel Shepley, C.E. Smith, Alex Michael Stoll, Dennis Stowe, Katherine Tokarz, Brandon Wardell, Karl Warden, Natalie Willes and Charlie Williams.
Based on the Paramount Pictures film of the same name, the production is directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford. Although there have been whispers of a Broadway production to follow this one, no official announcement to that effect has been made. In the meantime, here is a preview of the show, which makes things sound like Menken is in top form:
More information can be found at the Center Theater Group website