Tuning In - creative team

Larry Kass was born in Toledo, OH, and trained as a classical pianist beginning at a young age. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, he wrote, directed, and produced two prize-winning musicals. He has recorded 29 albums of solo piano and theater pipe organ music, comprising more than 1,000 songs by composers Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers to name only a few. He has also recorded 160 popular songs on seven albums for QRS Music Technologies utilizing their Pianomation technology for automated pianos. Since 2004, he has recorded more than 150 original songs in eight albums featuring professional musical theater and cabaret singers. Since 1993 he has been pianist and organist on the "Mighty Wurlitzer Radio Hour," a live musical variety show that recreates the era of radio’s Golden Age. Since 2001 he has been producer, scriptwriter, musical director, vocal arranger, pianist, and organist on this program, broadcast on WCLV 104.9 FM, Cleveland’s award-winning fine arts radio station. Celebrating the Great American Songbook, the program is a full-scale musical variety show with 13 performing professionals broadcast four times a year, coast to coast and around the world. Larry has written music and lyrics for nearly 4,000 songs — including ballads, blues, duets, show tunes, cabaret songs, political songs, holiday songs, operatic arias, operetta numbers, and theme songs for local television programs. He is a proud member of ASCAP.

Ron Newell was born in Cleveland, OH, and has been associated with the theater for more than 50 years. He started his acting career at the Halle Brothers Department Store in Cleveland, where he was a member of a theatrical troupe called the Halle Players. Soon, he learned the craft of set design and construction as an apprentice to the scenic designer of the display department. Before long, he designed and executed animated windows for the holidays for nearly 30 years. During that time, he wrote, directed, and produced many of the segments of the popular television program called The Mister Jing-a-ling Show, featuring a Christmas character associated with the department store. As he honed his skills as a scriptwriter, he began starring in many local productions at the Dobama Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, Berea Summer Theater, Cleveland Opera, and Clague Playhouse to name only a few. In many of these productions, he was also set designer and director. A popular character actor, Ron has had featured roles in several Hollywood movies, including Shawshank Redemption, The Jesse Owens Story, Houseguests, and television dramas The West Wing and ABC Movie Of The Week. He has been seen on many nationally televised commercials. He has also had starring roles in many musicals over the years, and in some of these shows was also set designer and director. Two of his favorite and award-winning roles were in musical revues at the Palace Theater, both of which contributed to the saving of the historic theaters in Playhouse Square. Ron brings nearly a lifetime of skills as an accomplished actor to his present role as co-librettist for Tuning In, and is a proud member of Actors Equity, AFTRA, and Screen Actors Guild.

pjl creative team 6/1/12

Back row, left to right: Terry LaBolt, musical director; Larry Kass, composer, lyricist, librettist, and arranger. Front row, left to right: Ron Newell, librettist; George Pinney,director/choreographer.

"Tuning In" team

George Pinney was nominated for a 2001 Tony Award and National Broadway Theatre Award in choreography, and received an Emmy Award for outstanding choreography for the PBS broadcast of Blast! He was a member of the creative team, acting director and one of three choreographers for Cyberjam, which opened in the West End of London. He has directed and/or choreographed more than 150 musical theatre productions for national and international tours and regional and university theatres. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a B.S. in Music Education from Illinois State University. He is a professor of stage movement and head of the Musical Theatre Program at Indiana University-Bloomington, where he has been recognized for teaching excellence.

Terry LaBolt has studied piano performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, conducted on Broadway, had brunch at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis, strolled on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles and worked with all the celebrities and artists he admired in his youth. Terry’s career as a Broadway conductor flourished in the 1980s conducting shows such as 42nd Street, Hello, Dolly! (with Carol Channing), George M. (with Joel Grey), and Sugar Babies (with Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney). He is co-author of The Wonder Years — the Musical, which enjoyed success Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Endeavors at the keyboard include The Fantasticks (original Off-Broadway production) and tough touring shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Aida and most currently Mamma Mia. He was the music director of musical theatre for the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music for more than 10 years, conducting and supervising 30-plus productions there. He now is the musical director for the Musical Theatre Program at Indiana University-Bloomington.

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