RITA McKENZIE
Ethel Merman
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Launched off-Broadway at New York’s John Houseman Theater, Rita McKenzie’s personal success with Ethel Merman’s Broadway triggered an international tour, taking her throughout America to Carnegie Hall, Pasadena Playhouse, Atlantic City, Las Vegas and on an SRO eight-city tour of Japan.  The production is currently planning a limited Broadway engagement.  Ethel Merman’s Broadway has been dubbed the longest running one-woman show in theatrical history alongside its countpart, Hal Holbrook’s longest running one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight.

Ms. McKenzie recently completed a critically acclaimed 10-week run of Ethel Merman’s Broadway at the Nederlander’s Broadway Series at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.  In the Fall of 2010 she played the show at the Laguna Playhouse where critics hailed the production and performance as one of the tops of the season.  Ms. McKenzie has performed in the national tour of Neil Simon's female version of The Odd Couple. Co-starring with Barbara Eden, McKenzie was honored for her outstanding portrayal of Olive Madison with a National Broadway Theatre nomination as Best Actress in a Touring Play.  McKenzie and Eden had previously completed a successful tour of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She starred in the Los Angeles premiere of the off-Broadway musical Ruthless! at the Cannon Theatre and can be heard on the original cast album.  She created the role of Phoebe Farber in Sam Harris' production of Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood! in Los Angeles, and she played Maggie Jones in 42nd Street with Mariette Hartley.  Her other starring roles include Aldonza in Man of la Mancha, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Belle Poltrine in Little Me, Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, Widow Corney in Oliver!, and Nurse Custer in Whoopee!  In addition, Ms. McKenzie also toured the country in Merman’s signature role as Annie Oakley in the 50th anniversary production of Annie Get Your Gun opposite Glenn Yarbrough.  She has also played Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes and of course, Mama Rose in Gypsy.
An accomplished TV and film actress, Ms. McKenzie played Alice, the housekeeper, on Fox’s "The Brady Bunch: The Final Days," has guest-starred on NBC’s "Caroline in the City," and will be recalled for her roles as Mrs. Littlejohn on NBC’s "Frasier," Rita Marcus on the Family Channel’s "Big Brother Jake," and her recurring role on "Daddy Dearest," starring Richard Lewis and Don Rickles.

 

Rita is absolutely the best and it’s a thrilling night and I want everybody out there to come see this.  It will never get any better than this.Jerry Herman, Composer of Hello Dolly!, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles
CHRISTOPHER POWICH
Director co-writer/creator
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Christopher conceived and directed both the Off-Broadway production of Ethel Merman’s Broadway at the John Houseman Theater and the Pasadena Playhouse production. Powich also wrote and directed McKenzie’s nationally acclaimed Symphony Pops tribute to Ethel Merman. He directed McKenzie and Carole Shelley in the reenactment of Ethel Merman and Mary Martin’s famous 1955 television medley at Rainbow and Stars Nightclub in New York. Powich directed the world premiere of the comedy Snap Shots by Ralph Fredericks at the O’Neill Theater in Waterford, Connecticut, as well as the Boston company. He will direct Snap Shots for an Off-Broadway run in 2011. He recently was Tour Director for the American Idols show American Stars In Concert and Assoc. Producer for Ballroom With A Twist. He created, directed, and performed in Class Act, a nightclub revue that toured on the East Coast. In that show, Powich continued his association with McKenzie, which started with their featured roles in The Most Happy Fella and Showboat. He also directed McKenzie’s nightclub act at Palsson’s in New York. He has directed Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman, Hal Linden, George Chakiris, Dick Van Patten and Steve Allen in Love Letters. He performed regionally in lead roles in The Music Man; Oklahoma!; The Most Happy Fella; My One and Only; Man of La Mancha; Oh, What a Lovely War, Hello Dolly!; Guys and Dolls; Forty Carats; Jazz Babies; A Face Worth Saving; and Oliver!.

RANDY SLOVACEK
Choreographer
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Randy Slovacek's choreography has been seen across the country, from the 11,000 seat Muny Theater in St. Louis to 99 seat off-Broadway theaters in NYC. Credits include the off-Broadway World Premiere of Plane Crazy, choreographing and supervising the National touring company of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing, many companies of A Chorus Line from Texas to Massachusetts and regional productions of They’re Playing Our Song, Promises Promises, and Chicago among others. He has contributed choreography for star-studded benefit performances such as “Lerner, Loewe, Lane & Friends” for the S.T.A.G.E. benefit in Los Angeles, “Donna McKechnie In Concert” in NYC, as well as “One Singular Sensation” celebrating the genius of Michael Bennett in Kansas City. He has had the great opportunity to collaborate with Tony Award winners such as Jerry Herman, Donna McKechnie, Leslie Uggams, Randy Graff and Thommie Walsh. In addition, his choreography was showcased in the feature film “Slammed.”

ERIC WINTERLING
Costume Designer
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Eric Winterling is the owner of Eric Winterling, Inc. which has been making custom costumes for the entertainment industry for over 20 years. His association with Ethel Merman’s Broadway began in 1990 and his designs for that show have been featured ever since. Costumes that his company has made have been featured in such shows as Wicked, The Addams Family, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, for Broadway, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina, and La Traviata for opera, “Mamma Mia” and “The Good Shepherd” for film, and The Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney On Ice for Feld Entertainment.