It’s a classic fairy tale — kind of. McCarter Theater’s final production of the season is “Sleeping Beauty Wakes.” The musical centers around a young beauty whose father claims she’s been sleeping for centuries. He brings her to a sleep disorder clinic, where all the patients begin to find themselves sharing a familiar fairy tale dream. Two members of the pop trio GrooveLily (whom McCarter audiences will remember from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) have collaborated with Tony Award-winning book writer Rachel Sheinkin to transport theatergoers into a magical space between dreaming and waking.
Kecia Lewis-Evans appears as the doctor. Her Broadway credits include “Chicago,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Once on This Island,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” “The Gospel at Colonus,” “Big River,” and “Dreamgirls.” Television appearances include “Law & Order,” “Kate Brasher,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “The Hughleys.” She made her Carnegie Hall debut this past November in the gospel version of Handel’s Messiah, “Too Hot to Handel.”
Bryce Ryness plays the orderly. Commonly known for his Drama Desk-nominated portrayal of Woof in the Tony Award-winning revival of “Hair,” he most recently appeared in the world premiere of “Dangerous Beauty” at the Pasadena Playhouse. In New York, he was also seen in “Legally Blonde.” In 2006 he toured the country as Roger in the 10th anniversary national tour of “Rent.” His original music with his band, Ryness, can be found on iTunes.
Bob Stillman, who plays the king, was seen most recently on Broadway as George Gould Strong in the musical “Grey Gardens.” He has been nominated twice for Tony Awards — as an actor in Claudia Shear’s “Dirty Blonde” and as a songwriter for “Urban Cowboy: The Musical.” He graduated from Princeton University, Class of 1976.
Aspen Vincent plays the lead role of Beauty. She is a veteran of both the stage and recording studio, having been a professional actress, singer, and voice-over artist since childhood. She has played arenas across the globe as Meat Loaf’s duet partner on several world tours, and starred in the documentary “Meat Loaf — To Hell and Back.” She appeared on Broadway in “American Idiot” (Swing; understudy, Extraordinary Girl), the first national tour of “Dirty Dancing” (lead vocalist; understudy, Baby), and in Las Vegas in “We Will Rock You” (Scaramouche). Her voice-over work includes “Rugrats,” Cover Girl, Disneyland, Iams, Chevrolet, Petco, Kodak, American Airlines, Burger King, Ringling Brothers Circus, Disney on Ice, and Sesame Street Live.
“Sleeping Beauty Wakes,” Berlind Theater at the McCarter, 91 University Place, Princeton. Previews begin Friday, April 29. Opening night is Friday, May 6. Runs through Sunday, June 5. Musical by Rachel Sheinkin, music by Brendan Milburn, and lyrics by Valerie Vigoda. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. 609-258-2787 or www.mccarter.org.