**JEFF RECOMMENDED** – ‘The Book of Merman’ Now At The Apollo!

Pride Films and Plays Jeff Recommended production of The Book of Merman continues at Apollo Studio Theatre through May 17.

The new musical comedy by Jeff Award-winning author Leo Schwartz has been playing to sellout crowds at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville since its opening on January 17, 2015.

  • Showtimes at the Apollo are 7:30 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; and 3:30 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $30 for all performances, with $5 discounts for seniors and students and are on sale through Ticketmaster and the Apollo box office (773-935-6100).The final performance is May 17.

When two Mormons ring a doorbell marked E.M. in a small town, they have no idea that a certain Ethel will open the door. With some dazzling parody music and Schwartz’s original songs, you will laugh throughout The Book of Merman and leave smiling, as it takes you beyond parody and into a sweet story of self-awareness and acceptance.

Jeff Award-winner David Zak directs with Jeff Award-winner Robert Ollis musical directing.  Sam Button-Harrison and Dan Gold as the two Mormon missionaries who happen upon Merman. Luke Meierdiercks is a regular understudy.

Details: The Book of Merman by Leo Schwartz, directed by David Zak, musical direction by Robert Ollis, and featuring Libby Lane as Ethel Merman.

*Denotes a member of Pride Films and Plays Artistic Ensemble.

[toggle type=”white” title=”About Sarah Blevins” active=””]

SajaSarah Blevins is very happy and very honored to be working with Pride Films and Plays for the first time.  Some of Sarah’s past show credits include Patsy Cline in ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE, Annis in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Trix, The Aviatrix-THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, and Doris – DAMN YAKNESS and The Widow  Corney-OLIVER for Light Opera Works. Sarah would like to thank everyone from staff to crew to cast for all of their support and patience.  And to my Queen Mum & Prince Bob…”And it’s all because of you.”


[toggle type=”white” title=”About Sam Button-Harrison” active=””]

Sam New HeadshotSam Button-Harrison is a member of PFP’s Artistic Ensemble and Artistic Associate of Underscore Theatre Company.  He played the role of Jon Phillips in PFP’s Jeff-Award winning new musical Under a Rainbow Flag, various roles in the Jeff Recommended PFP show Some Men, as well as roles in many smaller PFP projects.  Other Chicago credits include Assassins as the Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald presented by Billy Pacholski, various characters in the Waltzing Mechanics production of EL Stories: Rainbow Train, as well as originating the roles of Eddie Buonocazzo in Pr0ne: A Casting Couch Musical Comedy and Brandon Milford in Liberal Arts: The Musical for Underscore Theatre Company. www.sam.buttonharrison.com


[toggle type=”white” title=”About Dan Gold” active=””]

Dan Gold-HeadshotDan Gold makes his Pride Films & Plays debut in The Book Of Merman. He was recently seen in Light Opera Works’ Fiddler On The Roof and Damn Yankees. Other recent Chicago credits include Jersey Shore: The Musical (Vinny), Tony N’ Timmy’s Wedding, and It’s A Wonderful Pro-Life with 4 Days Late Productions.


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Luke Meierdiercks - HeadshotLuke Meierdiercks is a Vermont native and recent graduate of The Second City Improv Conservatory. Chicago credits include; L’Imbecile [Babes with Blades], Wish Upon a Star [Vera Productions], and Read the Room [The Second City]. In August, Luke will be seen as Greg in the Chicago premiere of The Boy From Oz. 


[toggle type=”white” title=”About Robert Ollis” active=””]

Robert-Ollis-332pxMusic Director Robert Ollis was nominated for Jeff Awards for his music direction of Pride Films & Plays’ Songs from an Unmade Bed and Under A Rainbow Flag. Robert received a Jeff Award for his musical direction of Kiss of the Spider Woman. His favorite productions with Bailiwick Chicago have included Elton John’s AIDA, Violet, A Season of Change: Holidays in the Sixties, and Show Us Your Love. He has also music-directed several Chicago Casting Auction productions, most recently The Drowsy Chaperone. Other notable projects have included Assassins, A Man of No Importance, My Favorite Year, The Who’s Tommy and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Robert has accompanied cabaret performers at Feinstein’s in New York City, Davenport’s in Chicago and countless local theatre benefits.


[toggle type=”gray” title=”About Leo Schwartz” active=””]

Leo Schwartz Color HeadshotThe works of Jeff Award Winner Leo Schwartz (Under A Rainbow Flag – Best New Work, 2103; renamed HONOR!) have been performed Off-Broadway, in Chicago, and in Europe. His musical, NAUGHTY! was the Director’s Choice of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Me and Capone – Or How I Died in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was featured at the SONY search for New Musicals in Cardiff, Wales. His film scores and films have won awards in numerous festivals. He is Composer-In-Residence for the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble. Leo receives frequent commissions and makes his residence in Chicago, Illinois.


[toggle type=”white” title=”About David Zak” active=””]

David Zak, Executive DirectorDirector David Zak has won 7 Jeff Awards in Chicago, including four for Directing (Animal Farm, Dr. Sex, Parade, Pope Joan), two for writing (The Hiroshima Project, The Count of Monte Cristo) and a special Jeff for “Fostering Diversity in Chicago Theater.” He has directed in London (The Irish Curse), Seoul (Dollhouse, Fanta Stick, The Ghost’s Cookbook), Dublin (Oh, Holy Allen Ginsberg, At The Flash), Boston (Sin: A Cardinal Deposed), Los Angeles (Dr. Sex, At The Flash) and New York (Marlowe, Poseidon: An Upside Down Musical). His productions of the American Premieres of Jerry Springer – The Opera and Sir Peter Hall’s Animal Farm were named Best Musical, as were his productions of Parade, Pope Joan, and Dennis DeYoung’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. His most recent Chicago productions have included: the world premiere of Martin Casella’s Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead, Sochi: Three Short Plays About Gay Athletes and Some Men (co-directed with Derek Van Barham) by Terrence McNally. In 2013, the world premiere of Leo Schwartz’s Under A Rainbow Flag won 2 Jeff Awards for Best Musical Production and Best New Work.  For Vermont Pride Theater he has directed many productions and readings, including the World Premiere staging of Will Fellow’s Farm Boys in 2014.  He was Artistic Director of Bailiwick Repertory for 27 years, and is an educator and journalist, and was inducted into the City of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013. David is Executive Director of Pride Films and Plays.