Dean McClure (Playwright/Composer)
Dean began his career as a folksinger/songwriter, performing throughout the U.S. on the same circuit as Steve Martin, John Denver, Kenny Rogers and others. Several of his songs have been recorded by country singer Donna Fargo, Pat Boone, and he also composed the musical score for the documentary “No Need To Hide” narrated and hosted by Art Linkletter. His love of story led him to writing screenplays, including work for the Disney Channel. But it was the writing of “When You Wish” that ultimately brought his love of story and music together under one umbrella.
Dean’s dream to bring the life story of Walt Disney to the stage has a rather magical beginning. It was born out of his daughter Heather’s childhood dream to one day dance in a Disneyland Parade. One summer, when she was in college, her dream came true. Dean and his wife Helen were standing on Main Street at Disneyland, watching their daughter pass by in the parade when Dean was struck by the thought: “Why hasn’t someone done a Broadway Musical on the life of Walt Disney?”
He spent the next eighteen months researching and writing the first draft of the book (the play) and composing the initial six songs. He introduced his concept of the musical to movie producer Larry Gordon (Field of Dreams), who commented that Walt Disney’s story as a musical was the greatest idea he had heard of in decades!! And so began the journey to bring When You Wish to the stage. Along the way Dean was privileged to have the late Roy Disney as his creative guide, and was also granted the blessing and permission to proceed by Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane. In 2014, Dean received two L.A. Ovation Award nominations - Best Book for a Musical and Best Score - for the Freud Playhouse workshop production of “When You Wish.”
Dean has commented,”If there’s anything I’ve learned from the life of Walt Disney, it’s that no matter what we see on the nightly news, the world isn’t all bad. And by having the courage to dream, we can make it better.
Larry Raben - Director
Larry Raben has had a lifelong fascination with the amazing films and attractions of Walt Disney. He most recently directed Sunset Blvd. at Musical Theatre West and Tru (Coyote StageWorks-current Desert Star nomination). He won the LA Ovation Award for Best Direction for Singin’ in the Rain (Cabrillo Music Theatre) and directed the world premiere of Tony winner Joe DiPietro’s Falling For Eve Off-Broadway (The York Theatre). He has directed a slew of new musicals of late: Nuttin’ But Hutton (NoHo Arts), Love Makes the World Go Round (Phoenix Theatre), and readings of The First Gentleman. He authored and directed Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein for Reprise Theatre Company. Other favorites: Hairspray; The Wedding Singer; Never Gonna Dance; The Thing About Men; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Legs Diamond; Sugar; and the Some Like It Hot Musical (all at MTW), Plaid Tidings (Walnut Street Theatre), Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas (Coyote StageWorks-Desert Star Awards Best Direction for both), Bark! (Inland Empire Award Best Direction), The Producers and Sunset Blvd. (Gateway Playhouse), Sweet Charity in Buenos Aires (Best director Ace nominee), Always Patsy Cline (Welk), The Velveteen Rabbit (Promenade Theatre New York). He was the assistant director on the original NY production of Forever Plaid and has directed numerous regional and international stagings of the piece and can be seen in the film version of the show playing Sparky. He directed and co-authored Hollywood’s Heyday (Welk) and More Magic (Canadian Tour). Larry is also an award winning actor who has appeared on Broadway and around the world. He is very happy to be once again working with brilliant choreographer Lee Martino. Larry is a very proud, recently published children’s book author of Ibby Makes A Wish which is available at Amazon.com.
Lee Martino - Choreographer
Lee Martino has worked for several years as a choreographer, having garnered numerous awards and multiple nominations for her work, including this year’s Joel Hirschorn Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre, three Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Awards, four Ovation Awards, and Garland awards. Recent credits: Life Could Be A Dream (New York), Kiss Me Kate, (Reprise), Rita Moreno’s show Life Without Makeup for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oklahoma and Hairspray for Musical Theatre West and Life Could Be A Dream (McCoy Rigby), Jenny Craig’s national TV commercial featuring Jason Alexander the NBC special, Shall We Dance on Ice, featuring Broadway dancers and Olympic Ice Dance teams, the animated feature film Alpha and Omega 3D, Falling for Eve for The York Theatre Company in Manhattan; Choreography for other shows at Reprise Theatre Company includes: Li’l Abner starring Cathy Rigby, On Your Toes, Damn Yankees, On The Town, Brigadoon, I Love My Wife, The Fantasticks starring Erik McCormack, and many more shows. Other theatre credits include: Summer of Love, (Musical Theatre World Premiere, Ogunquit, East Coast Premiere), Beehive (El Portal Theatre), The Full Monty, All Shook Up (West Coast Premieres for Musical Theatre West), I Do I Do and Side By Side By Sondheim (The Pasadena Playhouse), Cabaret (West Coast Ensemble), Grease, Titanic, Jekyll and Hyde (Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities), excerpts from The King and I starring Lynn Redgrave and Patrick Stewart (Hollywood Bowl), Man of La Mancha starring Robert Goulet, Mame starring Carol Lawrence and Sally Struthers, and the opening of the Hobby Performing Arts Center in Houston (A Tribute to Jerry Herman) for Theatre Under the Stars, Universal Studios’ New York Rascals Show, Disney’s Santa Clause 3 Stage Show (El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood). Lee has directed and choreographed Broadway Babies starring Marilyn Mayes, Mimi Hines and Karen Morrow and Best of Reprise, which Daily Variety touted the entire production as “powerhouse entertainment,” both were at the John Anson Ford Theatre. Lee has also developed a dance show, A Grand Night For Dancing, featuring the music of Richard Rodgers. Lee choreographed IMPACT AT FORD FIELD, the Gala Opening of the Detroit Lions Football Field starring Gladys Knight, the Grand Opening of the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, starring American Idol Ruben Studdard, and Disney International’s Latin American stage tour A Dream Is A Wish. Lee has directed and choreographed several large scale dance production shows for Harley–Davidson in Denver, San Diego, Dallas, Washington DC and Orlando. Lee Martino was recently seen on Bravo TV’s new dance show, “Step It Up & Dance”, choreographing and preparing contestants for a series of audition dance challenges. Other TV credits: NBC’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, the WB’s “What I Like About You”, starring Jenny Garth and Amanda Bynes, Nickelodeon’s “All That”, Warner Bros.’ animated feature “The King and I”, and Sony Pictures’ “Dark Wolf.”
Lee has directed and choreographed several benefit performances: What A Pair!, a breast cancer benefit starring the industry’s leading females; A Night At Sardi’s for the Alzheimer’s Association, working with such stars as the cast of The Big Bang Theory, the cast of Hot In Cleveland, Zach Levi, Jason Alexander, Vanessa Williams, Steven Weber, Ana Ortiz, and Kristen Bell; The Actor’s Fund starring Angela Landsbury and Carol Channing; S.T.A.G.E. (Los Angeles’ longest running AIDS benefit) starring television and Broadway celebrities; and for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Benefits (raising close to ten million dollars for the charity).