Seven Musicals to Premiere in Kansas City Fest, 7/15-7/22

Theater League, Inc., the Kansas City, MO-based national musical theater presentation and production company, will present seven new musical theater productions as part of the inaugural Kansas City Crossroads Musical Theater Festival, taking place over two weekends with performances on July 15 and 22.

Selected from more than 60 submissions both domestic and international, seven (7) new musical theater pieces have been selected for staged readings for the festival.

The selected works include: The Count of Monte Cristo, Dakota Sky, Frog Kiss, Maccabeat, Route 66, Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class, and Too Good To Be True.

Artistic teams for the festival include Linda Ade Brand and Andy Anderson, Amy Coady and Molly Jessup, Steven Eubank and Chris Leavy, and Ernest Williams and Anthony Bernal. Readings will be staged in four spaces around the city: Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Ballet, Just Off Broadway Theater, and the Little Theater at Penn Valley Community College.

"Staged readings are musical theater at its most basic: a talented cast of Kansas City actors will read and perform the songs from the show with a piano...These readings offer audiences the opportunity to hear new works before their full-staged premieres and give authors and composers critical feedback on the road to Broadway," state press notes.

The Count of Monte Cristo, with book and music by Philip de Blasi and lyrics by Jane Landers, will be directed by Linda Ade Brand, with musical direction by Andy Anderson. It will be presented on Saturday, July 22nd at 2 PM and 8 PM at the Kansas City Ballet (16th & Broadway).

"Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo tells the tale of the promising young sailor Edmond Dantes who is falsely accused of treason by his jealous rivals. Imprisoned on the island of Chateau D'if for 13 years, Edmond loses everything, but plots revenge on those who betrayed him."

Dakota Sky, with music by Deborah Wicks La Pama and a libretto by Kathleen Cahill, will be directed by Amy Coady, with musical direction by Molly Jessup. It will be seen on Saturday, July 22nd at 12 PM and 5 PM at the Little Theater at Penn Valley Community College (31st St. and Southwest Trafficway).

"Although lost to common history, 12% of homesteaders in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado between 1887 and 1908 were single women. Dakota Sky was inspired by the letters and diaries of these single women who homesteaded the great plains at the turn of the century. On the night before the last land lottery in the American land rush at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, five single women are crammed into a tiny back room awaiting their fate...When the night is over, they know their loves will never be the same."

Frog Kiss: An Unlikely Musical Romance, features book and lyrics by Charles Leipart and music by Eric Schorr. Directed by Steven Eubank and with musical direction by Chris Leavy, it will be presented in collaboration with Daniel B. Brambilla on Saturday, July 15th at 12 PM and 5 PM at the Just Off Broadway Theater (Penn Valley Park).

The show is based on the novel The Frog Prince by Stephen Mitchell, and is "an adult twist on the classic fairy tale of the Princess and the Frog. The princess must marry, but no suitor suits her. However, she finds the 'yang' to her 'yin' in a talking frog. Although they try the age-old method of turning him into a prince with a kiss, it doesn't work and the zany kingdom unites as they try to free the prince of his affliction," state notes.

Maccabeat features music by Harvey Shield; lyrics by Richard Jarboe and Chayim Ben Za'ayev, and a book by Mr. Ben Za'ayev. From a story by M. Edelman, the show will be diirected by Steven Eubank, with musical direction by Chris Leavy. It will be presented on Saturday, July 22nd at 2 PM and 8 PM at the Just Off Broadway Theater.

The show is based on portions of the 1st Book of Maccabees (Apocrypha), and is a pop rock musical based on the Biblical story of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. "Judah Maccabee and his brothers sing doo wop, chase girls and try to remain true to their faith and traditions in a world where it's cool to be Greek. When Judah and the lovely Allura, a 'heathen,' fall for each other, two very different cultures are forced to confront-- and learn from--one another."

Route 66 features a book by Jerold Goldstein and William Squier, music by Fred Stark and lyrics by William Squier; it will be directed by Ernest Williams, with musical direction by Tony Bernal. The production will be seen on Saturday, July 22nd at 12 PM and 5 PM at the Kansas City Public Library (10th & Baltimore).

"Liz Mitchell is a big-city journalist, a career woman in need of a jumpstart. Drew Garrett is a bohemian photographer who lives life as it comes. They are both assigned to work on a photo essay on historic Route 66 a journey that takes them through the heart of America where they learn important lessons about life in America, local color, and eventually themselves."

Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class, with book and lyrics by Charles Leipart, and music by Richard B. Evans, will be directed by Ernest Williams,with musical direction by Tony Bernal. It will be presented on Saturday, July 15th at 2 PM and 8 PM at the Kansas City Ballet.

"It's New York City, 1900 and out-of-work economics professor Thorstein Veblen takes his 'Theory of the Leisure Class' to the Fifth Avenue Vaudeville Theatre stage. He announces that to facilitate the promotion and sale of his recently published economic treatise, he has engaged several unemployed actors to present a musical demonstration of his socio-economic theory."

Too Good To Be True, with lyrics and book by Amy Coady, and music and book by Gerald Stockstill, will be directed by Coady with musical direction by Molly Jessup. It will be seen on Saturday, July 15th at the Little Theater at Penny Valley Community College.

"Loosely based on the life of Elmyr de Hory, one of the most notorious art forgers of the 20th century, the musical pieces together facts and fables of the infamous imposter by those who knew him or thought they did. The musical chronicles the adventures of Elmyr and his partner in crime, the actress Helka Rosika, from the time they meet as starving artists through their nefarious rise to fame and fortune. Along the way, philosophical questions about the meaning of art, truth, and talent are revealed."

Founded in 1976, Theater League is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, community-based performing arts organization dedicated to the development of professional legitimate theater, both as a cultural and an educational resource. Visit www.theaterleague.com for more information on the Kansas City Crossroads Musical Theatre Festival.

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