Old Globe names News-hands for its Huey Lewis-centered ‘Heart of Rock & Roll’ musical


The latest news on the Old Globe’s world-premiere Huey Lewis musical: The theater has just announced casting for the jukebox show that begins performances in September.

The Broadway veterans Matt Doyle and Katie Rose Clarke will star in “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” the production built around the songs of ‘80s-era hitmakers Huey Lewis and the News.

Doyle, who will take on the role of Bobby, has appeared on Broadway in “Sweeney Todd,” “The Book of Mormon,” “War Horse” and “Spring Awakening.”

Katie Rose Clarke, who will play Cassandra, has Broadway credits that include “Miss Saigon,” “The Light in the Piazza” and “Wicked,” whose touring version she appeared in when the show played San Diego in 2009.

Clarke also had a major role in the Globe-bred Broadway musical “Allegiance” in 2015, although she did not appear in the original world-premiere staging here.

The cast of “Heart” also includes Lindsay Nicole Chambers (“Kinky Boots,” “Legally Blonde,” “Hairspray”), as Nina, Patrice Covington (“The Color Purple,” “Motown The Musical,” “The Book of Mormon”) as Roz , John Dossett (the Globe’s “The First Wives Club,” “Newsies,” “Chicago,” “War Paint”; Tony Award-nominated for “Gypsy”), as Stone, Paige Faure (title role in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Bullets Over Broadway”), as Paige, F. Michael Haynie (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Wicked,” “Holler If Ya Hear Me”) as Glenn, Orville Mendoza (“Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Pacific Overtures,” plus “The Wiz” and “The Orphan of Zhao” at La Jolla Playhouse) as Fjord, Lucas Papaelias (“Once,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “The Knick”) as JJ, Zachary Noah Piser (“Wicked,” “Sweeney Todd” off-Broadway) as Eli, Christopher Ramirez (“Icon” Off Broadway) as Wyatt, and Billy Harrigan Tighe (revivals of “Sweeney Todd” and “Pippin,” “The Book of Mormon” on the West End) as Tucker.

The show’s ensemble includes Nicolette Burton, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, James Royce Edwards, Oyoyo Joi, Lucas Papaelias, Robert Pendilla, Christopher Ramirez, MiMi Scardulla, Salisha Thomas and Josh Tolle, as well as swings Bryan Banville and Katie Banville.

The “Heart of Rock and Roll” — titled after one of Lewis and Co.’s 19 Top 10 songs — will run Sept. 6 to Oct. 21 on the Globe’s Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, as the first show in the Balboa Park theater’s 2018-19 season. Its official opening is Sept. 14.

While “Heart,” originally announced in February, is a jukebox musical, it’s not actually about Lewis and his band. Here’s the Globe synopsis of the show:

“Mainstays on the Chicago dive bar circuit, Bobby and his band are hustling for their big break. But after their latest rejection, Bobby decides it’s “Hip to Be Square,” trades in his guitar, and starts ‘Workin’ for a Livin’’ in corporate America.

“His boss, Cassandra, has struggles of her own, having sacrificed her personal life for the company. When they both get a shot at their dreams—for Bobby, another crack at rock stardom, and for Cassandra, a chance to become CEO—they must decide ‘If This Is It for their careers, or if ‘The Power of Love’ triumphs over all.”

The show’s director is Gordon Greenberg, whose Broadway directing credits include “Holiday Inn”; he was previously at the Globe with “Working” in 2009.

The book is by Jonathan Abrams (A&E Network’s “Bishop”), from a story by Tyler Mitchell (senior vice president of Imagine Entertainment and a producer of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and other films) and Abrams. Choreography is by Lorin Latarro (Broadway’s “Waitress”), with music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Brian Usifer.

The creative team also includes Derek McLane (scenic design), UC San Diego grad Paloma Young (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), John Shivers (co-sound design), David Patridge (co-sound design) and Anjee Nero (production stage manager). McLane, Young, Binkley and Shivers are all Tony Award winners.

The show is presented by special arrangement with Mitchell, W. Leo Kiely, Bill Kiely, Whitney Kiely Moehle and Tamar Climan.

Huey Lewis and the News made their biggest splash with the 1983 album “Sports,” which spawned four Top 10 singles: “If This Is It,” “Heart and Soul,” “I Want a New Drug” and “The Heart of Rock & Roll.”

The New York-born, Marin County-raised Lewis, lead vocalist and harmonica player for the News, also fronted the band on the No. 1 hit “The Power of Love” from the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.”

That song was nominated for an Oscar, and the song “Back in Time” became the second Lewis hit from the movie.

Tickets for “Heart” are currently available by subscription only; they’ll go on sale to the public at noon Aug. 5.

Details and purchase: (619) 234-5623 or

Twitter: @jimhebert