Strike Up the Band (1927)

 The Reviews are in! The Chronicle,The Huffington Post, The Examiner, Chad Jones, Kedar Adour, and Gregory Alonzo are raving about...

Strike Up the Band

(1927 Version)

April 6 - 24, 2011
The Eureka Theatre

Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Book by George S. Kaufman
Directed by Zack Thomas Wilde

Runtime 2 hrs and 30 mins


Skulking villains! Unrequited love! A merrily madcap treatise on the follies of love, war and business!

Our Ira Gershwin celebration continues with this sublimely silly smash hit. Complete with logical insanity worthy of the Marx Brothers (for whom Kaufman wrote Broadway libretti as well as movie scripts), Strike Up The Band is a tongue-in-cheek tale of an American businessman who leads the US into war with Switzerland over... cheese.

The show received rave reviews when revived by New York’s Encores! series in 1998 — the New York Times declared it “a show that remains remarkably vital, with a score as sweet and varied as a chocolate sampler. It reminds us that Broadway musicals once had sass, wit and sex appeal.” The golden Gershwin score includes the iconic title song, The Man I Love, I've Got a Crush On You, Soon and Hangin' Around With You.

Listen to Producing Director and star of Strike Up the Band Stephanie Rhoads talk about the show and 42nd Street Moon got its start in this radio interview with Alan  Farley of Open  Air from KALW.

C A S T  
Gabriel Grilli Gabriel Grilli* (Horace J. Fletcher) is returning for his fourth show with 42nd Street Moon (The Student Gypsy, Girl Crazy and Call Me Madam). Other Bay Area appearances with Pacific Coast Rep (Emcee in Cabaret), Berkeley Playhouse (Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Fagin in Oliver), 6th St. Playhouse (Walt in Becoming Walt Whitman), Custom Made Theatre, and Woodminster Musicals. Before moving out West, Gabriel spent many years as a New York-based actor and director. MFA Directing (Penn State), BFA Acting (Hofstra). Proud member of Actors’ Equity and PlayGround, Please visit!
Michael Scott Wells Michael Scott Wells (Jim Townsend) has appeared in 42nd Street Moon’s Once in a Million Moons: A Jerome Kern Salon with Rebecca Luker and Babes in Arms (Valentine LaMar). You may have recently seen him as Huckleberry Finn in Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Contra Costa Civic Theatre), Man #2 in My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Tri-Valley Repertory Theater), Kenny Franks in Laughter On the 23rd Floor (Diablo Actors Ensemble), and Snoopy in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (Willows Theatre). Michael was part of the first national touring company of Strega Nona: The Musical!.


Stephanie Rhoads Stephanie Rhoads* (Mrs. Draper) most recently appeared in 42nd Street Moon’s And All That Jazz: A John Kander Salon. Included among her favorite Moon roles: Helen Vance in our smash production of Out of This World, Adriana in Boys From Syracuse, Ninotchka in Silk Stockings, Venus in One Touch of..., Elvira in High Spirits, Thea in Fiorello!, and Adeline in Sweet Adeline. She is the recipient of Dean Goodman Choice and Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. She appears often with many regional companies, has performed around the world, and is a concert soloist and a voiceover artist. She is also co-Founder/Artistic Director of 42nd Street Moon.
Eric Wenburg Eric Wenburg* (Colonel Holmes) started in Palo Alto with the fledgling TheatreWorks in 1972. His roles include Sheriff Reynolds in Bat Boy: The Musical, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Alceste in The Misanthrope, Scapino in Scapino!, and Sganarelle in Don Juan. At Broadway by the Bay in San Mateo he appeared as Captain Andy Hawkes in Show Boat, at Fremont Opera, Benoit and Alcindoro in La Bohème, and at West Bay Opera, Tarapote in La Péricole and Frosch in Die Fledermaus.
Samantha Bruce Samantha Bruce (Joan Fletcher) is currently working towards her BFA in Music at Notre Dame de Namur University. Her favorite roles include this, her 42nd Street Moon debut, and Katherine in Taming of the Shrew (Hannon Theatre Company), Roxie Hart in Chicago (Notre Dame de Namur), Amber in Hairspray (Woodminster), Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone and Lily St. Regis in Annie (Diablo Theatre Company).


Luke Chapman Luke Chapman (Timothy Harper) returns to 42nd Street Moon after playing Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Most recently he appeared as the Magic Foot spelling William Barfée in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Coastal Repertory Theater. He has also appeared at Moon as Sonny in Very Warm for May. Luke has appeared as Mark in Rent for The Royal Underground Theater Company, and various roles with Ray of Light Theater, Broadway by the Bay, and Diablo Theatre Company.


Sharon Rietkerk Sharon Rietkerk* (Anne Draper) is making her 42nd Street Moon debut. She was last seen as Janet Van De Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone at Diablo Theatre Company, where she has also played Judy Haynes (White Christmas) and Nikki Harris (Curtains). Credits: She Loves Me-CenterREP; My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle) and Iolanthe (Phyllis)-Lamplighters; Lucky Stiff (Annabel Glick)-Contra Costa Civic Theatre; The Music Man (Marian Paroo)-South Coast Symphony; Sweeney Todd (Joanna), and Seussical (Gertrude McFuzz). Sharon received a BA in Theatre, Honors in Musical Theatre, from UC Irvine.


Ben Euphrat Ben Euphrat (C. Edgar Sloane) counts his roles as Stephen Bellamy in Farragut North, Radames in Aida, Dan in Closer, and Oedipus in Oedipus among his more notable performances. He has also shot a variety of films, web-series and commercials and has performed as an improviser for years, studying with The Groundlings and IO West. Ben also writes for stage and screen, produces films and plays with his company Opentab Productions, plays the drums, guitar and piano and even has studied to be a corporeal mime.
Samantha Bartholomew Samantha Bartholomew (Nestlé) has a BA in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University. Most recently at the Eureka Theatre she was seen as Julia in the Upmarket Production's Workshop Performance of Shadows of Pompeii. Recent productions include: Tapioca (Joanie) [Staged Reading]; La Rondine (Chorus), Opera San Jose; A Christmas Pudding, Busbarn Stage Company; The Student Gypsy (Dresden) and Plain and Fancy (Rachel), 42nd Street Moon; Wise Women (Rose), City Lights Theater Company; The Threepenny Opera (Lucy Brown) and Kiss Me Kate (Lois Lane/Bianca), The Western Stage.
Zachary Franczak Zachary Franczak* (Private Hobart) is a local of the San Francisco Bay Area who has been performing on a stage since the age of 12. Most recently, he was seen as Curly McLain in Contra Costa Musical Theatre's production of Oklahoma! (Shellie Award Nomination for Outstanding Actor, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award Nomination for Male Principal Performance), Tommy in Ray of Light Theatre Company's production of The Who's Tommy (BATCC Award winner for Male Principal Performance), and recently here at 42nd Street Moon as Lee Calhoun and Réné Flambeau in Babes in Arms.
Megan Amanda Hopp Megan Amanda Hopp (Lindt) is back on the 42nd Street Moon stage after having played May Graham in last season's Very Warm for May. Regional: 42nd Street Moon, Diablo Theatre Company (The Drowsy Chaperone, Annie). A graduate of San Francisco State's Theatre Arts Department, she appeared in such roles as Helen Jones (Machinal, directed by Mark Jackson) and Alice (Vinegar Tom). Other favorites include Puck (Midsummer), Sally (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Ado Annie (Oklahoma!), Little Red (Into the Woods), Miss Adelaide (Guys and Dolls), and Peggy Sawyer (42nd Street).
Benjamin Knoll Benjamin Knoll* (George Spelvin) was seen last season at 42nd Street Moon as Bertie Basset in Lady, Be Good!, and Sheriff Gore in Wildcat. Ben was most recently seen as Simone in Oscar Wilde’s Florentine Tragedy, and Dave in The Full Monty at Santa Rosa Rep. He has worked with Marin Shakespeare, Stanford Summer Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, TheatrePub, The Willows, PianoFight, No Nude Men, and others throughout the Bay Area and his hometown, St. Louis. A new musical, Crazy, Just Like Me, in which he originated the character, Dr. Headman, will be produced off-Broadway later this year.
BenjaminPither Benjamin Pither* (Private McNally) returns for his fifth production with 42nd Street Moon. Recent appearances: Rags (Saul) with Willows Theater, Taming of the Shrew (Hortensio) with Virago Theatre Company, Port Out, Starboard Home (Mack) with Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Nice Work If You Can Get It, 42nd Street Moon’s Ira Gershwin tribute, starring Donna McKechnie. Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and Shellie Award nominations for the role of Dennis in All Shook Up at CenterREP. Honored to receive the TITAN Award this year through Theatre Bay Area. This summer, Benjamin will play Horton the Elephant in Seussical at Berkeley Playhouse.
Jack Sale Jack Sale (Private Vale) is a recent graduate of UCLA’s Ray Bolger musical theater program - Summa Cum Laude. Seen earlier this season in 42nd Street Moon’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Favorite roles include Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Arpad in She Loves Me, Jack in Into the Woods, and Matthew in Corpus Christi. Jack has appeared in independent films, various commercials, is a published playwright, an improvist, and aspires to be a professional actor.
Amie Shapiro Amie Shapiro (Muesli) is making her debut at 42nd Street Moon and in San Francisco. A recent North Bay transplant from Orange County, Amie has appeared at several theater companies. Some Bay Area credits include I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Joseph...(Narrator), and Once Upon a Mattress (Winnifred). Amie was Assistant Director of Rent in Healdsburg, and co-created the North Bay's Sounds of the Season Caroling Ensemble.
C R E A T I V E  
Zack Thomas Wilde Zack Thomas Wilde (Director) has provided stage direction for the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus at Davies Symphony Hall, the Regency Ballroom, the Brava Theater, and the Theater Rhinoceros locally, and in Miami at the Ziff Music Hall and the Arsht Center for Performing Arts. He has also lent direction and choreography to various musical productions in New York City, Florence, and Arezzo. He choreographed three shows for 42nd Street Moon this past year, and played Eric Dare in Moon's production of Cole Porter’s Jubilee last season.

Dave Dobrusky (Musical Director) is celebrating his 15th season with 42nd Street Moon! Favorite productions include Lady, Be Good!, Jubilee, Call Me Madam, High Spirits, Girl Crazy, The Student Gypsy, Plain and Fancy, Mack and Mabel, Minnie’s Boys, Can-Can, Finian’s Rainbow, Paint Your Wagon (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award), By Jupiter, Leave It to Me! (recorded), Dear World, and Louisiana Purchase.  He has also appeared with Karen Ziemba, Noah Racey, Donna McKechnie, Cady Huffman, Nancy Dussault, Andrea McArdle, Marni Nixon, Rebecca Luker and Leslie Caron.  Other Bay Area credits include:  Marry Me a Little, tick, tick…Boom! (Theatre Rhinoceros); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Ray of Light); Man of LaMancha (BATCC Award-San Francisco Playhouse); The Fantasticks (Shakespeare at Stinson); Passion, and Chess (New Conservatory Theatre).


Alex Hsu (Choreographer) National Tours: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas directed by Walter Bobbie, The King and I with Stefanie Powers. Regional: Miss Saigon (Westchester Broadway), Gypsy (American Musical Theater of San Jose), Pacific Overtures (TheatreWorks), Me and My Girl (Marin Theatre Company), Best Little Whorehouse... (Willows Theatre Company), A Chorus Line (Broadway by the Bay). He has choreographed for various companies and schools in the Bay Area, and will soon be seen in the world premiere musical Tales of the City at American Conservatory Theater.

  Tanya Telson* (Stage Manager) is a Bay Area native and also recently stage managed 42nd Street Moon’s production of Babes in Arms. Other credits include stage management for Jerry Springer the Opera and Baby (Ray of Light).  Previously, she was a stage manager for foolsFURY’s production of Monster in the Dark. Other shows include assistant stage management for the American Conservatory Theater’s productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, Middle Class, Luminescence Dating, Red Scare on Sunset and Cider House Rules.
  Robert Ted Anderson (Lighting Designer) has worked in the Bay Area for over ten years. Companies include West Bay Opera, The Lamplighters, Livermore Valley Opera, The Willows Theatre, Oakland Opera, Berkeley Opera, St. Mary’s College, City of Pleasanton, Tri Valley Rep Company, Hillbarn Theatre, Ron Guidi Dance Company, Western Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Magic Theatre, Basoti, Oakland Ballet, Crossroads Theater, Savage Jazz Dance Company, and Lily Cai Dance Company.

Scarlett Kellum (Costumer) holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of California, San Francisco and has been designing costumes for the last 10 years. Previous work includes: Meadowland, The Women in Black, Ashes to Ashes, and The Tender King (Second Wind Productions) and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Custom Made Theater Co.) Upcoming projects include Candide of California and with Custom Made. In addition to her theatrical work, Scarlett has designed costumes for short and future films.


Sarah Phykitt (Set Designer) Credits include: Babes in Arms with 42nd Street Moon, Our Body Remembers (Scenic and Lighting Designer) with Levy Dance, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Scenic Design and Production Manager) with Custom Made Theatre, The Jewish Theatre San Francisco (Production Manager), the Duke on 42nd Street (Technical Manager).  Other recent SF productions include Sketchfest 2010, Stateless: A Hip Hop Vaudeville Experience, The Sisters Rosensweig, and The Floating Light Bulb.  NYC productions include Black Nativity, My Dead Mother Is Funnier than You, Altar Boyz, Slava’s Snow Show, Anton: Scenes from the Family Life of Anton Chekhov, Trailerville, and several pieces for the Central Park Zoo’s Wildlife Theater.


Sarah Spero (Prop Master) is just getting settled into a professional theatre career as a props artisan and scenic painter. Her work has recently been seen in Lost in Yonkers with The Jewish Theatre; Scrooge and Jekyll and Hyde with Town Hall Theatre; Cinderella with The Berkeley Playhouse, and in the 2010 Season with the California Shakespeare Theater. She enjoys building and painting all sorts of things, and is perpetually covered in paint and sawdust.


* Member Actor's Equity Association (AEA), founded in 1913, represents more than 49,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.  Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.  AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence.