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‘Cats’ and ‘Hamilton’ choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler coming to La Jolla Playhouse

Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, photographed in 2017.
Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, photographed in 2017.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Storm Lever, Lincoln Clauss also announced as stars of production, directed by ‘Hamilton’ producer Jeffrey Seller; Stephanie Klemons will co-choreograph

Director Jeffrey Seller is bringing on a familiar collaborator as right-hand man for his production of the musical “Fly” at La Jolla Playhouse: “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.

Seller, best-known as the lead producer of “Hamilton,” actually is bringing aboard yet another dance-maker from that Broadway juggernaut to team with Blankenbuehler (who also choreographed the upcoming “Cats” movie): Stephanie Klemons, who was associate choreographer on “Hamilton” and will be co-choreographer on “Fly.”

The Playhouse also just announced that the “Peter Pan"-centered musical, which begins performances in February, will feature Storm Lever as Wendy and Lincoln Clauss as Peter. (The complete cast and creative team will be announced next month.)

Lever had a key role as one of the three Donnas in both the Playhouse and Broadway productions of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” She also was a prominent part of the Playhouse’s “Freaky Friday,” and was seen most recently in the world-premiere musical “Almost Famous” at the crosstown Old Globe Theatre.

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Storm Lever
(Courtesy photo)

Clauss appeared on Broadway last year in “Bat Out of Hell,” and happens to be starring as Peter Pan right now in the holiday “panto” show “Peter Pan & Tinker Bell: A Pirate’s Christmas” at Laguna Playhouse in Orange County.

“Fly,” based on the novel “Peter and Wendy” by “Peter Pan” creator J.M. Barrie, was first produced six years ago at the Dallas Theater Center. Its writer and co-lyricist is Rajiv Joseph, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” (Joseph’s “Guards at the Taj” was staged at the Playhouse in 2016.)

The music is by Bill Sherman, who won a Tony Award in 2008 for orchestrating “In the Heights,” the first big hit by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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Joseph is teaming on the lyrics with Kirsten Childs, who won multiple awards for her 2000 off-Broadway musical “The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” and has performed in two Broadway shows.

In announcing the show last January, Playhouse artistic chief Christopher Ashley said “Fly” recasts the “Peter Pan” saga “through the lens of Wendy’s experience.”

He also said Seller’s production will boast extensive aerial effects — the most since Ashley’s own staging of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” back in 2010.

“Fly” runs Feb. 18 to March 29. For more info for ticket/subscription purchase, call (858) 550-1010 or go to lajollaplayhouse.org.


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