Jay Armstrong Johnson, Alysha Umphress, Krysta Rodriguez, Natalie Toro and More Set for AFTERLAND, CLOUDS ARE PILLOWS FOR THE MOON at Yale, June 2014

Jay Armstrong Johnson, Alysha Umphress, Krysta Rodriguez, Natalie Toro and More Set for AFTERLAND, CLOUDS ARE PILLOWS FOR THE MOON at Yale, June 2014

The Yale Institute for Music Theatre announces the creative teams and casting for the two original book musicals, Afterland, music and lyrics by Benjamin Velez and book and lyrics by Kathryn Hathaway, and Clouds are Pillows for the Moon, music by Tidtaya Sinutoke and book and lyrics by Ty Defoe, which will be developed in an intensive lab setting in New Haven, June 3-15. The Institute culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, on June 14 and 15.



Music and Lyrics by Benjamin Velez

Book and Lyrics by Kathryn Hathaway

Directed by Mark Brokaw

Music Direction by Kimberly Grigsby

Cast: Christy Altomare, Nathaniel Janis, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Theresa McCarthy, Jacob Ming-Trent, Emily Skeggs, Steven Skybell, Alysha Umphress

Open Rehearsal Readings: June 14 at 1PM; June 15 at 5PM

A moving story of renewal and regeneration, Afterland takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and follows two eccentric, wayward tribes as they stake out their territory and attempt to create a new civilization and world order where none exists.

Benjamin Velez (Music and Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist and recent graduate of Columbia University, where he studied film and wrote music and lyrics for the 114th Annual Varsity Show. He is a member of the Advanced BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he received the Jerry Harrington Musical Theatre Award for the 2nd-year workshop. His work has been featured at New York Musical Theatre Festival, New Emerging Outstanding!, and the Cutting Edge Composers concert series. Originally from Miami, Benjamin now lives and composes in Brooklyn.

Kathryn Hathaway (Book and Lyrics) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Her plays and musicals have been performed and developed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Flea Theater, New Dramatists, The Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, The Prelude Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, Joe's Pub, and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. She is a MacDowell Colony fellow, an alumna of Barnard College, and received her MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.


Music by Tidtaya Sinutoke

Book and Lyrics by Ty Defoe

Directed by Leigh Silverman

Music Direction by Jason Loffredo

Cast: Chris Bannow, Christopher Geary, Meghan McGeary, Megan McGinnis, Elia Monte-Brown, Diane Phelan, Krysta Rodriguez, Eliseo Roman, Natalie Toro, Carly Zien

Open Rehearsal Readings: June 14 at 5PM; June 15 at 1PM

Two outsiders-17-year-old Ella, from the Ojibwe reservation in Wisconsin, and P., an exchange student from Thailand-embark on a rite-of-passage road trip that will leave their childhoods behind forever. Clouds are Pillows for the Moon features a haunting score that mixes contemporary American sounds with music from the Ojibwe and Thai cultures.

Tidtaya Sinutoke (Music) is a New York City-based composer, writer, and musician originally from Thailand. Her music has been featured at the Signature Theatre, 54 Below, The Duplex, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Goodspeed, Lincoln Center's Songbook Series, National Dramatist Guild Conference (Chicago), and Central Square Theatre. Tidtaya has performed at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Thailand Cultural Arts Center (Bangkok), among other venues. She won second prize in the Thailand National Youth Music Contest. Tidtaya is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston (BM) and NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch (MFA) and is an adjunct faculty member at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Ty Defoe (Book and Lyrics), of the Oneida and Ojibwe tribes, received a Grammy Award for his work on Come to Me Great Mystery: Native American Healing Songs. Other work: Heather Henson's Flight: A Crane's Story, TICK-TICK (Prospect Theater Company's Musical Theater Lab), and Wounded Knee (Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals). He has been recognized by the Indigenous Heritage Festival, the NEA, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (artist residency), and TCG (Leading the Charge: Diversity and Inclusion Fellow). Ty is a graduate of CalArts (BFA), Goddard College (MFA), and NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch. He serves as mentor at the Alaskan Cultural Heritage Center and the Pine Ridge Playwrights Project and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Tickets for each open rehearsal reading are $20 and can be purchased online at www.artidea.org, by phone at (203) 562-5666, and in person at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Box Office (Shubert Theater, 247 College Street).

YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE: Established in 2009, the Yale Institute for Music Theatre is a program of Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre that bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, book writers, and lyricists. The Institute seeks distinctive and original music theatre works by emerging composers and writers to be developed in an intensive lab setting. During a two-week summer residency at Yale School of Drama, the Institute matches the authors of the selected works with collaborators, including professional directors and music directors, as well as a company of actors and singers that includes professionals and current Yale students. The residency culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of New Haven's International Festival of Arts & Ideas. www.drama.yale.edu/YIMT.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski

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