After much anticipation, the new show Banana Shpeel will begin preview performances on April 29, 2010 at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway).
Banana Shpeel is the latest show from producer extraordinaire Marty Schmelky and features a colorful array of slapstick comedy, eclectic dance and unique acrobatic acts. The larger-than-life personality presents the diverse talent he has gathered from around the world, as zany characters spread chaos throughout the theatre.
In his long and illustrious career, Schmelky has created such unforgettable hits as The Phantom of the Banana; Annie Get Your Banana; Fiddler on the Banana; The Best Little Banana in Texas; Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Banana; and Gentlemen Prefer Bananas.
With Banana Shpeel, Schmelky is moving in a new direction from his previous shows. “I’m mixing together lots of different ingredients in a big blender that will combine dance, comedy and circus arts in the fancy schmancy Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side.”
Banana Shpeel features an international cast of 38 performers including the main character of Schmelky, played by Broadway veteran Danny Rutigliano, best known for his role as Timon in The Lion King. Assisting Schmelky are two slapstick sidekicks performed by Daniel Passer and Wayne Wilson and his wacky assistant Margaret played by Shereen Hickman. As Schmelky works to complete his latest show, he is disrupted by a comedic trio: Claudio Carneiro, Patrick de Valette and Gordon White. The show offers incredible acrobatic performances, including Russian hand balancer Dmitry Bulkin; Vietnamese hat juggler Tuan Le; Spanish foot juggler Vanessa Alvarez; Canadian Hand to Hand duo Preston Jamieson and Kesley Wiens; and Russian contortionists Tsybenova Ayagma, Tsydendambaeva Imin and Zhambalova Lilia. Banana Shpeel features diverse dance elements, including brother-sister tap dance duo Joseph and Josette Wiggan and a talented ensemble comprised of Robyn Baltzer, Kassie Brown, Adrienne Jean Fisher, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Karida Griffith, Luke Hawkins, Kathleen Hennessey, Adrienne Reid, Anthony J. Russo, Melissa Schott, Josh Scribner, Alexis Sims and Steven T. Williams.
Under the direction of Band Leader Petros Sakelliou, the Banana Shpeel original score is performed live on stage by Roland Barber (trombone), Bobby Brennan (bass), Mario Hébert (guitar), Iohann Laliberté (drums), Jean-François Ouellet (saxophones), Roger Squitero (percussion) and Scott Steen (trumpet).
The Creative Team
Schmelky has gathered the best “Go To” team to help him create Banana Shpeel: Artistic Guides Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil Founder) and Gilles Ste-Croix; Writer and Director David Shiner; Director of Creation Serge Roy; Composer and Arranger Simon Carpentier; Choreographer Jared Grimes; Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux; Set Designer and Props Co-Designer Patricia Ruel; Props Co-Designer Jasmine Catudal; Lighting Designer Bruno Rafie; Sound Designer Harvey Robitaille; and Make-up Designer Eleni Uranis.
Banana Shpeel Writer and Director David Shiner started out as a mime in Paris. His career took off in 1984 when he was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. Shiner later teamed up with Bill Irwin to create the wordless two-man show Fool Moon, which played from 1992 to 1999, including three Broadway runs. Fool Moon picked up numerous prizes, including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2007, Shiner directed his first Cirque du Soleil production, the big top touring show KOOZA.
Performance Schedule & Pricing
April 29 – May 18, 2010:
Tickets range from $35 to $89
• Wednesday thru Saturday at 8pm
• Sundays at 3pm
• Performance on Tuesday, May 18 at 8pm
May 21 – August 29, 2010:
Tickets range from $45 to $110, with a limited number of premium seats available.
• Wednesday at 2pm & 8pm
• Thursday & Friday at 8pm
• Saturday at 2pm & 8pm
• Sunday at 2pm & 6pm