close
close

‘The Last of the Red Hot Mamas’ World Premiere Opens in New Hope

‘The Last of the Red Hot Mamas’ World Premiere Opens in New Hope

NEW HOPE, PA – Bucks County Playhouse presents the world premiere of the musical “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” on stage beginning Thursday, July 11, and running through July 27 at the historic New Hope venue. “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” is the second production of the Playhouse’s 2024 season.

Previews of the musical began June 27, and it is the 11th world premiere at the theater since it reopened in 2012. It is part of the Playhouse’s commitment to creating new work. The show is directed and choreographed by Shea Sullivan and has a book by Susan Ecker, Harrison David Rivers and Lloyd Ecker.

Rheaume Crenshaw, Ryann Redmond, Kelly Liz Bolick, Natalie Bellamy and Hannah Hubbard in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Stephanie Gibson as Nora Bayes in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Rheaume Crenshaw as Mollie Elkins and Stephanie Gibson as Nora Bayes in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

In 1973, while students at Ithaca College, Susan Denner (now Ecker) and Lloyd Ecker went on their first date to a Bette Midler concert. The couple quickly fell in love—with each other and with “Divine Miss M.”

Midler’s hilarious banter about “Soph” piqued their curiosity about her origins as pioneering vaudeville performer Sophie Tucker, prompting the duo to publish the fictional memoir I Am Sophie Tucker and create the acclaimed documentary The Outrageous Sophie Tucker.

The big new musical was the next step in Ecker’s more than 50-year fascination with the spicy, sassy comedienne Sophie Tucker. To make their dream a reality, the Eckers joined forces with Sullivan and award-winning playwright Harrison David Rivers.

Before Mae West, Bette Midler, and Queen Latifah, there was Sophie Tucker. With the help of two former Harlem stars, Tucker rose from a delicatessen to a full-fledged star. Tucker was known for singing songs including “After You’re Gone,” “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” and “Some of These Days.” The musical will feature those songs, as well as other classics of the era, performed with plenty of tap dancing and a healthy dose of Sophie’s groundbreaking, sassy humor.

Ryann Redmond (Broadway’s first female role as Olaf in Disney’s Frozen and most recently in Once Upon a One More Time) stars as Sophie Tucker, opposite Rheaume Crenshaw (Broadway’s Shucked, Groundhog Day, Caroline or Change) as Mollie Elkins, DeWitt Fleming Jr. (A Wonderful World tour and Encore’s The Tap Dance Kid) as Bojangles
Robinson and Stephanie Gibson (BCP’s “The Rocky Horror Show” and “National Pastime” and the Broadway musical “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) as Nora Bayes.

DeWitt Fleming Jr. in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

DeWitt Fleming Jr. and cast in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Ryann Redmond as Sophie Tucker in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The cast also includes Willie Clyde Beaton II (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at Walnut Street), Lincoln Belford (national tour of “Chicago”), Natalie Bellamy (Playhouse debut), Kelly Bolick (“Southern Comfort” at the Public Theater), Jonathan Hadley (Broadway’s “Jersey Boys”), Jenny May Hoffman (national tour of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Hannah Hubbard (“Something Rotten” at the Fulton Theater), Daniel Lopez (“Into the Woods” at the Hollywood Bowl), Bobby MacDonnell (currently in “Boy Band Evolution”), Michael Persson (national tour of “42nd Street”), Danny Rutigliano (“I Need That” and “Beetlejuice” on Broadway) and Rachel Stern (“Girl from the North Country” and “Shrek” on Broadway).

The creative team for the production includes Nate Bertone (set design), Jeanette Christensen (costume design), J. Jared Janas (hair, wig and makeup design), Kirk Bookman (lighting design) and Jeff Sherwood (sound design). Merrick AB Williams is the production designer. Musical arrangements by Sam Davis with orchestrations and additional arrangements by Greg Jarrett. Musical direction by Evan Zavada, cast by Paul Hardt.

“Last of the Red Hot Mamas” officially opens Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. Beginning with the 2024 season, show times have changed, with performances starting 30 minutes earlier than in 2023. All evening performances now begin at 7:30 p.m., and all matinees at 1:30 p.m. “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” will perform Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and matinees on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Student tickets are also available for all performances, subject to availability.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121 or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope.

Ryann Redmond as Sophie Tucker and Rheaume Crenshaw as Mollie Elkins in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

DeWitt Fleming Jr. and cast in “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” at Bucks County Playhouse through July 27. (Photo: Joan Marcus)