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Scenes from the Bushnell

The Bushnell Joins Four Other Nationally-Recognized Performing Arts Organizations In Forming Five Cent Productions


September 30, 2005                                                                                               

Press contacts:
The Bushnell
Carolyn Hebert (860) 987-6085; carolyn_hebert@bushnell.org
Amanda Guay (860) 987-6068; amanda_guay@bushnell.org

Elephant Eye Theatrical
Marc Thibodeau, Bob Fennell
(212) 315-2120; mthibodeau@publicityoffice.com

The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Joins Four Other Nationally-Renowned Performing Arts Organizations
A Producing Consortium That Will Take An Active Role
In Answering The Demand For Theatrical Material Across The Country


Five Cent Productions has joinedStuart Oken and Michael Leavitt
As A Producing Partner In
A Theatrical Development And Production Company
Creating New Book Musicals For Broadway

     President and CEO David Fay has announced that the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT,   has joined four other nationally-renowned performing arts organizations in forming FIVE CENT PRODUCTIONS, a producing consortium that will take an active role in answering the demand for theatrical material across the country.  Additionally, Mr. Fay has announced that FIVE CENT PRODUCTIONS has joined Stuart Oken and Michael Leavitt as a producing partner in Elephant Eye Theatrical, a theatrical development and production company that will create new book musicals for Broadway.

      Joining the Bushnell in the formation of FIVE CENT PRODUCTIONS are: The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. of Boston, MA, Josiah A. Spaulding, President & CEO; The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. of St. Paul, MN, David M. Galligan, President & CEO; The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA, Janice Price, President & CEO; and The Pittsburgh CLO, Van Kaplan, CEO and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (shared) of Pittsburgh, PA, Kevin McMahon, President.  

    “The five performing arts centers that have joined forces to form Five Cent Productions are committed to working together to find new and innovative ways of developing material that can play not only in our theatres, but on the world stage as well,” says David Fay , President & CEO of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT and Managing Member of Five Cent.  “Joining Stuart Oken and Michael Leavitt as a producing partner in Elephant Eye is a strong demonstration of that commitment.  The company will find and initiate projects, assemble creative teams, fund the genesis and ongoing evolution of the projects, and serve as lead producer when projects are fully staged.” 

     “Our passion – our reason for founding Elephant Eye – is the creation of strong book musicals that not only entertain a wide audience but also strike an emotional chord,” says Stuart Oken, who will serve as Producer and CEO of the company.   Mr. Oken, who spent nine years at Disney Theatrical Productions where he served as Executive Vice-President and co-head of the company, also currently serves as Artistic Director of The American Music Theater Project at Northwestern University.  “Experience tells us that creating new musicals for Broadway is not an easy thing to do,” Mr. Oken continues, “and it requires a serious focus and a substantial commitment of time and resources.  Michael Leavitt, Five Cent Productions and I have created Elephant Eye to provide creative leadership and financial support throughout the entire process.”

    “The world looks to Broadway for the very best in musical theatre, and we want Elephant Eye to be considered a home for adventurous people who share our passion for creating it,” says Michael Leavitt, a Tony Award-winning producer, who spent a decade with Fox Theatricals where he served as President of its theatrical producing division, which he launched in the early 1990’s.  Mr. Leavitt, who will serve as Producer and President of the new company, has also operated numerous venues, which included overseeing a $25 million redevelopment of the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. 

   “Stuart and I feel that it’s very appropriate that we’re being joined in this venture by Five Cent Productions, an organization comprised of people and institutions who know the importance of taking an active role in answering the demand for musical theatre across the country,” says Leavitt.

      ELEPHANT EYE currently has projects in development, including:

Bruce Lee: Journey to the West, written by Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly,” “Tarzan,” “The Golden Child”), follows the mythic journey of two Chinese legends: martial arts star Bruce Lee and the beloved Chinese warrior god, The Monkey King.  Matthew Warchus (“Art,” “Lord of the Rings”) will direct.

1968, being spear-headed by acclaimed film director Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “An Officer and a Gentleman”) and Emmy nominated screenwriter and playwright Margaret Nagle (HBO’s “Warm Springs,”) tells the story of one of the most tumultuous times in our history through the experiences of one family in Berkeley, CA that is torn apart and then reconnected by events of that year.

Beauty Sleeping from writer/director Tina Landau (“Floyd Collins”) and composer Jeanine Tesori (“Caroline or Change,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”) is an adaptation of Landau’s acclaimed play Beauty, which took its own idiosyncratic look at the Grimm fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.   


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