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Niagara professor choreographs new Eddie Money musical

The world premiere of a new musical created by and starring legendary rocker Eddie Money is being choreographed by Niagara University associate professor Terri Filips Vaughan.

"Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical,” will take the stage Feb.14-18 at the Kodak Center in Rochester.

Vaughan, who has taught at NU since 2000, has been working on the production with Money since September. It’s an autobiographical production featuring the Grammy-nominated musician.

The cast also includes several NU alumni. Following the Rochester production, the show will be considered for a national tour, and the current cast would receive the first offer to tour, according to Vaughan.

Heather Casseri, Matthew Divita, Shelby Ehrenreich and Peter Raimondo – all 2017 graduates of NU – are among the ensemble cast who dance and sing through Money's life story. Another 2017 Niagara alumnus, Matthew Dell'Olio, is assisting Vaughan with choreography and serving as hair and makeup designer.

The show includes Money classics like "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Baby Hold On," "I Wanna Go Back" and "Take Me Home Tonight," plus new songs that were written by Money for the musical.

The wheels were set in motion for Vaughan’s involvement with the productionwhen Money tapped one of his good friends, Rochester native John Campbell, to be the show's executive producer. Campbell then reached out to Jim Vollertsen, CEO and board president of the Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA), to begin assembling a production team. Since Vaughan had choreographed four previous productions for RAPA, she was Vollertsen's first choice.

"It really timed out perfectly, like it was meant to be," said Vaughan, who was on sabbatical from her position as an associate professor of dance at NU.

The Grand Island resident commutes six days each week to Rochester. She called the process "exciting and nerve-wracking," noting that when she typically starts working on a musical, she researches previous iterations as a springboard to generate dance ideas.

"With this, I'm starting from scratch," she said.

Tickets and more information can be found at www.rapatheatre.org.

To learn more about Niagara University's theater programs, visit www.niagara.edu/theatre or call 286-8685.

 

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