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News Section: Arts and Entertainment

Hero: The Musical Opens May 2 at Asolo Rep

Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:03 am

SARASOTA — Asolo Rep's brand new production of the of the 2012 Jefferson Award for Best New Musical winner, Hero: The Musical, opens May 2 with previews April 29, 30 and May 1. The production will be directed and choreographed by David H. Bell, winner of 11 Jefferson Awards and writer/director of Asolo Rep's 2012 production of Fanny Brice, America’s Funny Girl.

Hailed by The Chicago Sun-Times as "Instantly engaging and wholly accessible. Emotionally smart yet wonderfully playful. Young, funny, real and full of heart," Hero includes a dynamically fresh pop-rock score, Broadway's brightest young stars and an inspirational story of perseverance. The musical had its world premiere in 2012 at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago and was created by the theatre's Artistic Director, Aaron Thielen. Thielen, who also wrote the book and concept for the show, and Michael Mahler, who wrote the music and lyrics, have revamped Asolo Rep's production, expanding upon and enhancing their original smash hit.

Hero Batowski is a 28-year-old comic book artist who hasn't moved out of his childhood home. He lives vicariously through his art, suppressing his own dreams and reality. Hero's inability to let go of a painful incident from his past is his own kryptonite. When his life takes an unexpected twist, he is forced to evaluate his uncertain future and choose a new path. With a little help from his sidekicks – his wise-cracking cousins, loving dad, and his beautiful high school girlfriend who he thought he had lost forever – he slowly awakens what was there all along: his inner superhero.

"It definitely is not a comic-book musical," Thielen said. "It's really about a guy trying to find himself. That is a universal thing. But even if you're not a comics fan, you know who Superman is. You understand that duality of being yourself and embracing the super power you have – whatever it is you are gifted with."

Brian Sears (The Book of Mormon on Broadway) and Laurie Veldheer (Mamma Mia! on Broadway) lead this all-star cast. Andrew Boyer, who played Alfred P. Doolittle in Asolo Rep's beloved 2011 production My Fair Lady and Benjamin Franklin in the theatre's 2012 hit musical, 1776, will star as Hero's kindhearted father, Al.

"With an utterly fresh new book and score, Hero: The Musical is about the most American cultural phenomenon: comics, and the people who love them," said Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep. "It is an upbeat, hilarious, surprisingly touching musical that simply can’t be missed.”

"Hero is a contemporary story with immense heart," said Director/Choreographer David H. Bell. "It was created by a team that loves its characters, story and, above all, loves musical theatre. It explores how we can keep ourselves from our dreams by living for the expectations and approval of others. Hero teaches us that in love, art, and life sometimes the thing you need most is courage."

Hero: The Musical runs through June 1 at the Mertz Theatre in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. For ticket information, as well as details on special events surrounding the production, visit the Asolo Rep website.

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