Jennifer Damiano returns to the stage in ‘Venice’

Jennifer Damiano

Jennifer Damiano

Welcome back to theatre, Jennifer Damiano! It was announced earlier this week that Damiano, the actress best known for her role as Natalie Goodman in Next to Normal, would star in the Public Theater’s new off-Broadway musical Venice, starring alongside Claybourne Elder (Bonnie and Clyde) and Leslie Odom Jr (Smash) from May 28 to June 23. The show is part of the Public Theater’s LAB series and will mark Jennifer’s return to the stage after she departed from Spiderman: Turn of the Dark in 2011.

After Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, many fans wondered why Jennifer seemed to disappear. It wasn’t until she started entertaining us on Twitter with her wit and sarcasm that any of us even knew her plans. Recently tweeting “hahahaha…cut to me eating hummus on the couch” in response to being called a big name in theatre on Smash, it seemed as though all hope was lost for seeing Jennifer on stage any time soon.

But here she is, back and in an unconventional musical!

Venice, loosely based on Othello, co-written by Claybourne Elder’s husband Eric Rosen and Matt Sax, is a musical that incorporates hip-hop and rock music, set in a dystopian future where a revolution is starting. With the political structures of the city in the water, the children of fallen heroes are the only ones who can change where the city is headed. In the Kansas Rep version Willow (Jennifer), a refugee, is set to marry Venice (Haaz Sleiman), and Markos (Odom Jr.) fights so they can get married, though it is unclear if that is still the main plot, as the show now features another brother Michael (Elder).

Though this sounds a little like The Hunger Games with musical numbers, it could be exactly what theatre needs. It’s very different than productions that are currently running and it’s about time theatre had a rock opera in their midst. And nothing screams rock opera like a near dystopian future, right? Even if the plot may be played out in books, nothing like this has ever hit the stage.

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2 Responses

  1. Ah, this sounds exciting! And being as far behind on Broadway as I am, I wasn’t aware she had been in Spiderman. Cool stuff. Good luck to the beautiful and talented Jennifer Damiano!

  2. I’m so excited for this! Claybourne Elder, Leslie Odom Jr. and Jenn Damiano, where could you possibly go wrong? Definitely on my list to see this Spring.