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“Last Stop on Market Street” arrives at South Coast Repertory

Hop aboard the No. 5 bus and join South Coast Repertory (David Ivers, Artistic Director and Paula Tomei, Managing Director) on a musical joyride with the season’s only Theatre for Young Audiences and Families production: Last Stop on Market Street. Cheryl L. West’s adaptation of Matt de la Peña’s and Christian Robinson’s Newbury- and Caldecott-award-winning book runs Jan. 8 through 23 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.

Tickets are on sale for this limited, six performances run at scr.org.

“This is our first in-person Theatre for Young Audiences and Families offering in almost two years and we look forward to welcoming back our youngest theatregoers,” said Tomei. “They represent our future—not only as potential audience members, but as artists and other theatre lovers. We are committed to engaging them in stories and productions that bring meaning to their world and spark their imaginations. And we know adults enjoy them too.”

Last Stop on Market Street takes you on a journey with CJ, a young boy from the suburbs. He’s staying with his Nana in Santa Ana and everything is different in the city. The food, the people, the noise—all of it is too much. He wants to stay inside, comforted by his electronic gadgets. But Nana has other ideas. She wants CJ to see the world around him.

So they board the bus for a musical joyride that opens CJ’s eyes to more than video games and animal videos. Through this journey, CJ learns lessons in kindness, gratitude and appreciating the good in others.

“Last Stop on Market Street is a truly special theatre experiences, brimming with discovery, heart and joyous music,” said Ivers. “The story is particularly relevant for people of all ages right now. In CJ, we see a boy who chooses to exist in his own bubble, isolating from the world that surrounds him. It takes a grandmother’s love and patience for him to realize that everything and everyone around him can be interesting, exciting and beautiful in its own way.”

Christopher Mosley, a Cal State Fullerton theatre graduate, plays CJ. Karole Foreman (42, Rebirth, NCIS, Good Trouble) stars as Nana. The cast also features Kelley Dorney (Madame Butterfly/Grandma Posey), Klarissa Mesee (Teen Girl 1/Mrs. Chow), Monika Peña (Teen Girl 2/JoJo), Tony Sancho (Tatman/Vernon) and Dony Wright (Mr. Dennis).

Oanh Nguyen returns to SCR to direct. The founding artistic director of Chance Theater in Anaheim, Nguyen was a producing associate at SCR for three years and served as associate director for SCR’s productions of The Happy Ones, Misalliance, Chinglish and Abundance. He directed the Theatre for Young Audiences production of The Night Fairy. Nguyen’s directing credits include productions at East West Players, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Chapman University, Cal State Fullerton and Azusa Pacific University, among others.

de la Peña is a New York Times-bestselling author of young adult novels such as “Mexican WhiteBoy”, “We Were Here” and “Superman”. His six children’s books include “Last Stop on Market Street” and “Milo Imagines the World”. In 2016, de la Peña received the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. The San Diego native received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State and his BA from the University of the Pacific. He played on the UOP basketball team.

Robinson illustrated numerous children’s books, winning a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for “Last Stop on Market Street” and for “Josephine”, by Patricia Hrubey Powell. Robinson has worked with the Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios and among his collaborations is “The Bench”, which was written by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. He and de la Peña collaborated on three books: “Last Stop on Market Street”, “Milo Imagines the World”, and “Carmela Full of Wishes”. Robinson is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts.

This is West’s first SCR production since Jar the Floor in 1994. Two years later, West won a National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Award. An accomplished adaptation writer, West’s play Before It Hits Home was optioned by Spike Lee and West was asked to write the screenplay. She was commissioned to write a dramatic adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel “Native Son”. In 2000, Showtime aired a film version of her play Holiday Heart, starring Ving Rhames and Alfre Woodard. A former social worker and teacher, West earned a degree from the University of Illinois.

Lamont Dozier, and his son, Paris Dozier, wrote the music and lyrics. A 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Lamont Dozier is one of the most prolific songwriters and composers of the late 20th century. As part of the songwriting and producing team Holland-Dozier-Holland, he played an integral role in creating the sounds of artists such as The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas and The Isley Brothers. Lamont Dozier co-wrote and produced 14 Billboard No. 1 hits in the U.S.

Paris Dozier has written songs for Disney Music Group’s Hollywood Records, along with Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels’ Above Average Productions, among others. Along with Last Stop on Market Street, he composed the music, lyrics and original scores for In the Blood, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Girlhood, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money and X Marks the Spot.

The creative team includes Shammy Dee, musical director; Kelly Todd, choreographer; Fred Kinney, set design; Adriana Lambarri, costume design; Tom Ontiveros, lighting design; Jeff Polunas, sound design; Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting; and Leia Crawford, production stage manager.

Last Stop on Market Street received generous support from Honorary Producers Leona Aronoff Sadacca and Peter and Joy Sloan.

Tickets are now on sale and range in price from $26-$38 for children ages 4-12 and $32-$44 for adults and anyone 13-and-over. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (714) 708-5555. More information is available at www.scr.org.

This article was released by South Coast Repertory.