West Coast Premiere of musical ‘Cagney’ celebrates everything great about America

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A show about Hollywood’s ‘tough guy in tap shoes’— actor James Cagney

If you love Hollywood history and cheer for the underdog, you don’t want to miss this West Coast Premiere musical “Cagney” about Hollywood’s tough guy in tap shoes, playing on the Debbie Reynolds Mainstage at the historic El Portal Theatre for a special limited engagement from October 5th to 29th.

Robert Creighton as James Cagney in “Cagney” which The New York Times calls “stupendous.”
Photos by Carol Rosegg.

This show celebrates what’s great about America through the true story of Hollywood legend James Cagney. Inspired by his life and legacy, everyone will leave the theatre uplifted. Even though he’s from an age gone by, Cagney’s underdog story resonates with audiences of all ages. Stepping into the tap shoes of the iconic big screen star is Robert Creighton, a dazzling tap dancer and Broadway veteran set to star in Disney’s upcoming Broadway musical “Frozen.”

Creighton said, “This is my dream come true, creating this show and having it become such a success during its 14-month run at New York’s Westside Theatre. We have the original cast of the acclaimed New York City production and doing the show with such talented people adds to the joy.”

Bringing to life all the major players in Cagney’s life is a tiny but mighty cast. Bruce Sabath embodies studio boss Jack L. Warner whose battles with Cagney are legendary. Jeremy Benton, one of the best tap dancers in NYC, plays comedian Bob Hope and a host of others. Danette Holden makes a strong Ma Cagney. Josh Walden plays Cagney’s brother, and Ellen Zolezzi Wright portrays Cagney’s wife. All are superb tap dancers and singers who take on multiple roles — you’ll think there’s a huge ensemble for the musical numbers.

In addition to all-American classic George M. Cohan tunes like “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” there are original songs written by Christopher McGovern and Creighton, including showstoppers “Tough Guy” and “How Will I Be Remembered?”

James Cagney started on the streets of New York and took a turn as a hoofer in vaudeville before becoming a legend on the silver screen. His ascension to stardom, his tough guy image, other obstacles he had to overcome, and his desire to champion the underdogs in life, make Cagney’s life a story worth telling.

Born to play the role, look-alike Creighton explained, “The fun part is connecting with people who think they know James Cagney through his movies, but are surprised and inspired after seeing the show. You don’t have to be an old movie fan to engage with this amazing guy. Cagney was a true Hollywood titan and it is exciting to showcase the musical at the El Portal Theatre because it is just a stone’s throw from where Cagney started making Hollywood history at Warner Brothers.”

“Cagney” features a book by Peter Colley, direction by Bill Castellino and choreography by Tony Award-nominee Joshua Bergasse and runs from Thursday, October 5th to Sunday, October 29th only. For tickets, visit CagneyTheMusical.com or the El Portal Theatre at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, or call the box office at 818-508-4200.


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