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Playhouse casts leads for big summer musicals

Anna Eilinsfeld Anna Eilinsfeld

Flat Rock Playhouse has announced the casting for their upcoming musicals Evita and Les Miserables, which will feature Rob Evan and Anna Eilinsfeld.

Rob Evan is returning to Flat Rock Playhouse after starring in the second ever Music on the Rock, A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was adapted into the Playhouse Mainstage hit Music of the Night. Evan and Vincent Marini, Artistic Director at Flat Rock Playhouse, worked together on the US and International Tours of Jekyll & Hyde and the recent US Premiere of The Rock Tenor.
"I am excited to be joining the Flat Rock family this summer in a show that has been such a large part of my career as an actor and singer," said Evan. "I first saw Les Miserables as a college student at the University of Georgia, while studying business and playing football for the DAWGS. The experience literally changed my career course and I drove to Nashville for an American Idol-style open audition later that year. I waited nine hours to sing a part of Bring Him Home. They flew me to New York and three months later I was in the ensemble of the national touring company. After nine months of touring, they brought it to New York and gave me my Broadway debut, and later the lead role of Jean Valjean. I am looking forward to once more tackling this epic role and I am confident that your Artistic Director, Vincent Marini, is exactly the right creative force to make this a truly special experience."
During the span of his diverse career, Evan has performed in seven leading roles on the New York stage including the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 1,000 performances worldwide. His rendition of This Is the Moment has been performed at numerous prestigious events including the 2001 Inaugural Gala for President George W. Bush, the Millennium Independence Day US Naval Revue aboard the USS JFK for President Clinton, the Millennium World Forum Conference with guest speaker Mikhail Gorbachev, the 1998 Goodwill Games, the New York City Mayor's Inaugural Gala, the 1998 and 1999 NY Yankees World Series Celebration at City Hall, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Telecast, the Today Show, and Monday Night Football. Rob also appeared on Broadway as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Kerchak in Disney's Tarzan, The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman's Dance of the Vampires. In 2009, he was chosen to reinvent his role of Jean Valjean in Atlanta, DC, Kansas City and Houston for Cameron Mackintosh's new adaptation of Les Miserables, which is the version now touring the US & Canada.
As a vocalist and recording artist, Evan is a member of the multi-platinum-selling rock band, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He can be heard on TSO's The Lost Christmas Eve (Certified Platinum - Lava/Atlantic) and their latest release, Nightcastle, which debuted at #5 on Billboard's Top 100 (currently certified Gold - Atlantic Records).
Evan has played in arenas across the country for up to 20,000 people. He has toured Europe and the US with TSO as Beethoven in their rock opera, Beethoven's Last Night. He has opened for and performed with Sir Elton John, Trisha Yearwood, Linda Eder, Phil Collins, REM, Bonnie Tyler, John Cougar Mellencamp, Joe Walsh, Usher and Michael Crawford, among others. Evan was also lead vocalist for Jim Steinman's The Dream Engine and recently released the debut album for his new progressive rock band, Menrva Realm.
In concert, Evan has been a featured soloist for many leading symphonies across the nation, including recent appearances in San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Alabama, and Indianapolis as well as recent and upcoming appearances in Bravo Broadway's Broadway Rocks with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Cleveland, Minnesota, Utah, West Virginia, National, Houston, Dayton, Maryland, Taipei and New Jersey Symphonies. His position as Creative Director at Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment has enabled him to be the one of the first Broadway performers to play Havana, Cuba in the last 50 years with the concert entitled, Broadway Ambassadors, in November 2011.
Anna Eilinsfeld is making her debut at Flat Rock Playhouse in the role of Eva Peron in Evita. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Theatre and a certificate in Musical Theatre, Anna is an actress and singer based out of New York City. Although she performed at various community theatres during her childhood in the Philadelphia area, Anna began her professional career in downtown Chicago. Upon graduating, she moved to New York were she has worked in television and Off-Broadway as well as in numerous regional shows. Most recently, she has been on the road with the second National Tour of Wicked.
"I am beyond thrilled to be portraying such an iconic role," said Eilinsfeld. "Eva has been a part I've been wanting to play since I first heard the original Broadway recording. I feel so lucky to tell her story in beautiful Flat Rock, and in my spare time I look forward to exploring the area and taking advantage of everything it has to offer - particularly the hiking trails and BBQ!"
Returning to the Playhouse are longtime local favorites Linda Edwards (Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables), Preston Dyer (Thenardier in Les Miserables), Charlie Brady (Che in Evita), Erin Mosher (Fantine in Les Miserables) and Sean Maclaughlin (Enjolras in Les Miserables and Magaldi in Evita) joined by newcomers Stephen Tewksbury (Javert in Les Miserables), Ronald Brown (Peron in Evita) and Michelle London (Cosette in Les Miserables).
"The response to the auditions for these two epic musicals was incredible both in North Carolina and New York," said Marini. "I feel like we have assembled two extraordinary casts that are led by two truly special performers. Rob is someone who I have had the pleasure of working with throughout the past decade and I know that Flat Rock audiences are going to be blown away by the power and intensity of his performance. Anna had one of those auditions that directors dream about. When she left the room I think everyone knew that we had found our Eva. Having a talented group of Playhouse alums join forces with these so many other gifted actors from around the county is going to make for a truly exciting summer!"
This is the first time in a few years that the Playhouse has had two large musicals back to back. Almost half the cast from Evita will be staying to perform in Les Miserables, which results in substantial savings to the Playhouse in transportation costs, housing, and union salaries. The shows will also feature our 16-member apprentice company, which is meticulously chosen from over 1,000 eligible young actors during a month-long audition process.
Morris Broadband presents Evita at Playhouse Mainstage June 5 - 30. Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. All tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling the Playhouse box office at 828-693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org.