On Sunday night, I caught the world premiere opening night of “My Very Own British Invasion” at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. The Tony Award-winning regional theater rolled-out the red carpet for the evening’s star, Peter Noone, the singer/songwriter of Herman’s Hermits whose memories of the famous 1960s British Invasion inspired the musical fable.
Tony Award-winning book writer Rick Elice tapped two-dozen of the era’s most iconic hits, and seamlessly wove a compelling narrative that followed three main protagonists caught in a love triangle as they navigated Great Britain and America on the path to success, love, heartbreak, trauma, and everything in-between!
And in case you missed it, last month, we went to a NYC Meet & Greet with the cast and creative crew for a special preview.
I thought the musical was a fresh, thrilling, and relatable tale of the British Invasion, merit to a graceful book, dynamic choreography and naturalistic direction by Jerry Mitchell, a strong cast, and three principals who brought raw, generous talent and extremely vital voices to their roles. (I’m talking about you, Jonny Amies, Erika Olson, and Conor Ryan!) I’m absolutely catching this again before its last performance on March 3rd.
The show is a testament to life’s rewarding journeys, and reminds us that it’s not the destination but the trip in-between that counts the most.
The Paper Mill Playhouse’s gift shop had an amazing selection of media featuring Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, including DVDs, records, books, and CDs. There were also some books on 1960s fashion.
Above: me in the Paper Mill’s mezzanine gallery! That’s hot!
Below: curtain call snap (and my amazing seats)!
At the cast party, I did interviews with some of the cast, and we managed to get photos of just about everyone, except one of the ensemblists, Trista Dollison, so I wanted to give her a special shout out here!
Above: Peter Noone!
Above: Jen Perry, who played Peter’s mum, with her special Union Jack minaudière.
Above: Bryan Fenkart, who played John Lennon, wore a 1960s-inspired cut.
Emma Degerstedt who played Suki, and was the Dance Captain.
Above: John Sanders who played Fallon and Brian Epstein.
Above (l-r): Fenkart who played John; Douglas Goodhart who played Paul; Graham Scott Fleming who played Ringo; Cory Jeacoma who played George; Sanders who played Fallon/Epstein; and Travis Artz who played Ed Sullivan.
Above: Fleming who played Ringo and Gemma Baird who played Mary Quant.
Above: Daniel Stewart Sherman who played The Hammer/Pam’s Dealer.
Sage Melcher was a swing and in the ensemble.
Above: Daniel Yearwood, an understudy for Geno and an ensemblist.
Above: Kyle Taylor Parker who played Geno.
Above (l-r): Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director; Erika Olson who played Pamela; Peter Noone; Jonny Amies who played Peter; Conor Ryan who played Trip; and Michael Stotts, Paper Mill’s Managing Director.
Above (l-r): Amies, Olson, and Ryan, the three star protagonists. Ryan was still wearing his kohl eyeliner from the show for a very worn-in rock’n’roll look.
Above and below: I had the pleasure of interviewing Amies and Olson for a forthcoming video, and these two brought so much spirit, joy, and energy!
Above: I interviewed Kyle Taylor Parker who played Geno.
Above (l-r): Rick Elice, Craig Haffner, Hal Luftig, Peter Noone, Jerry Mitchell, Yasuhiro Kawana, Mark S. Hoebee, Rodney Rigby and Sherry Wright — the dream team that made it all possible!
My Very Own British Invasion runs in a limited engagement through Sunday, March 3, 2019 at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. The production is generously supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and produced by Hal Luftig, Craig Haffner and Rodney Rigby, and Yasuhiro Kawana and Sherry Wright with the theater’s producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee.