TRAV'LIN Plays NYMF At The TBG Theatre 10/11-10/17
The New York Musical Theatre Festival is pleased to announce the world premiere production of TRAV'LIN by Gary Holmes and Allan Shapiro, with musical direction by John DiPinto and choreographed and directed by Paul Stancato. TRAV'LIN will play a limited engagement at TBG Theatre, (312 West 36th Street, NY, NY 10018). Performances begin Monday, October 11 and continue through Sunday, October 17.
TRAV'LIN follows the romantic travails of three couples, in their 50s, 30s and 20s, learning about love in 1930s Harlem. The tuneful and jazzy period score rediscovers the music of Harlem Renaissance songwriter J.C. Johnson, a friend and colleague of such musical icons as Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Billie Holiday. The story centers on George, unofficial mayor of 132nd Street and self-styled expert on love, who meets his match when he befriends a down-on-her-luck stranger who is not who she seems.
The production stars Tony© Nominee Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe's Café-Tony© Nominee Chicago-revival, Dreamgirls, Cats) as Billie, RAndy Donaldson (Tommy Keeler in Annie Get Your Gun, Banzai in The Lion King, Richie in A Chorus Line and Wonderful Town) as Archie, Michael Jean Dozier as Nelson, Doug Eskew (Rev. Avery in The Color Purple, Big Moe in Five Guys Named Moe?NAACP nomination and LA Ovation Award, Truly Blessed) as George, Karla Mosley (TV: Hi-5!) as Ella, and Soara-Joye Ross (Les Miserables, the revival, and Dance of the Vampires) as Ros.
Trav'lin plays the following schedule:
Monday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m. (performance not open to critics)
Tuesday, October 12 at 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 133 at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, October 15 at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 17 at 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and are available online at http://www.nymf.org/show-1382.html
Running Time: 2:15 plus intermission
John DiPinto (Musical Director) has worked extensively in the NY theatre scene as a musical director and musician. Broadway credits include: Footloose, [title of show], Laughing Room Only and Victor/ Victoria. Off-Broadway: Langston in Harlem, Nor?mal, Streakin'!, Summer Of '42, Altar Boyz, Make Me A Song, Miracle Brothers, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, A Man Of No Importance, The Best Of Both Worlds and A Good Swift Kick.
Regional musical director credits include The Blackamoor Angel at Bard Summerscape, Songs For A New World at George Street Playhouse, The Honky Tonk Angels at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Are We There Yet? At Queens Theatre in The Park.
As an actor/singer John has appeared in the New York revivals of Oil City Symphony and The Good Doctor, and regionally in Pump Boys And Dinettes, Smoke On The Mountain, King Mackerel And The Blues are Running, Billy Bishop Goes To War and A Day In Hollywood/A Night In The Ukraine. He is currently performing as half of a vocal duo with singer Mary Foster Conklin in their show Maybe It?s Because Of Love in clubs around NYC.
John is also a songwriter and composer. His environmental show Kid Power And The Planet Protectors, for which he composed the music, is currently touring schools across the country.
J. C. Johnson (Composer and Lyricist) arrived in Harlem from Chicago in the 1920s and quickly established his reputation as a composer and lyricist. He co-wrote many numbers with Fats Waller and Andy Razaf individually and as a team, starting with their 1937 hit The Joint Is Jumpin. Among his other collaborators were George Whiting, Chick Webb, Fletcher Henderson and Langston Hughes.
Many of J.C.?s songs are part of American popular music history. He wrote Ella Fitzgerald?s first three recordings and more than ten hits each for Ethel Waters (most famously Lonesome Swallow) and Bessie Smith (including the jazz standard Empty Bed Blues. Billie Holiday sang the title song for TRAV'LIN, according to legend, in the nightclub audition that launched her singing career at Pod and Jerry's, one of several of his compositions she was to record.
Many other stars of the day performed his music, such as Mamie Smith, Texas Guinan, Louie Armstrong, The Boswell Sisters, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman and Duke Ellington. He also performed and recorded with his own band, J.C. Johnson and his Five Hot Sparks. Contemporary singers who have recorded his works include Bobby Short, Bette Midler and Della Reese.
J.C. composed songs for Broadway shows and revues as well, beginning with Change Your Luck in 1927. In 1930, Bill Bojangles performed his Dancin? Way Your Sin in Brown Buddies. His Jazz Train played the West End and toured Europe for three years in the 1950s. More recently, his songs have been included in Me and Bessie, Ain't Misbehavin', and the West End's Cotton Club and Rent Party. The score of TRAV?LIN represents the rediscovery of a long-overlooked African-American artist.
GARY HOLMES (co-bookwriter) received a MFA degree from the Dramatic Writing program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and has had a number of plays produced in various colleges and small theaters. He has also worked as a stage manager and copyright attorney.
At age ten, he became J.C. Johnson's protégé and friend, spending the next dozen or so years learning not only about music but eagerly listening to the wondrous stories J.C. had to tell, many of which form the basis for TRAV'LIN. Gary's passion for J.C.'s music and legacy have become a lifetime commitment.
Most recently, he has comnpleted a play Diary of a Nobody, based on the book by George Grossmith. His newest musical project is Night Club Mamas.
ALLAN SHAPIRO (co-bookwriter) had his first experience in the professional theatre as an apprentice at the Williamstown Summer Theatre, following a string of college performances at Harvard. He went on to become an entertainment attorney, working on the development and production of a number of Broadway and Off-Broadway presentations including Sophisticated Ladies, Amen Corner, Bosoms and Neglect, Charlie and Algernon and Say Goodnight, Gracie, along with an array of other projects that never made it to opening night.
In addition, Allan represented the League of New York Theatres and Producers in successful negotiations with Actors Equity Association to renew their collective bargaining agreements. He was also an attorney for the League in multi-phase discussions with The Dramatists Guild of America regarding changes to the Approved Production Contract for Broadway and first-class productions.
In addition to his performing experience, Allan has written and directed a number of community theatre productions and is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. TRAV'LIN presents his debut as a professional playwright.
Paul Stancato (Director/Choreographer) is an award-winning director/choreographer who was the Resident Director for the National Tour of Disney?s The Lion King, 2006 -2010 (2008 Helen Hayes nomination for Best Touring Musical).
Upcoming projects include directing/choreographing Trav?lin the Musical at the 2010 NYMF Festival and Sound of Music at the John W. Engemen Theater in Northport, NY.
In 2007, he directed the First National Tour of The Wedding Singer and was also one of six choreographers selected for DanceBreak. He was the Assistant to Rob Ashford for the Broadway show, The Wedding Singer (Tony nomination for Best Musical and Best Choreography).
Other directing/ choreographing credits include: Crazy For You, Godspell, Guys and Dolls, Zombies from the Beyond, Rockshow and Heart Rising (World PremierE), Einstein?s Dreams (Best Direction award New York Fringe Festival, New York Premier).
He was co-founder and Artistic Director for critically acclaimed theatre company Aporia Players from 1996-2003.
He has taught acting and directing master classes at: Vanderbilt, SUNY Purchase NY, University of Florida and Michigan State. He taught Acting and Acting for the Camera at Marymount Manhattan College in New York.
Performance credits include, Blue Man Group (Blue Man) and De La Guarda (original New York cast member/Captain).
Member of SSDC, Lincoln Center?s Director?s Lab, AEA & AFTRA. MFA from University of Florida. He is represented by Ron Gwiazda Abrams Artists in New York. http://paulstancato.com/
Now in its seventh year, the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) is the largest annual musical theatre event in America and is widely regarded as the essential source for new material and talent discovery. NYMF provides a launching pad for the next generation of musicals and their creators to ensure the continued vitality of one of America's greatest art forms. Hailed as the "Sundance of Musical Theatre," NYMF discovers, nurtures, and promotes promising musical theatre artists and producers at all stages of development, and inspires a diverse audience through vibrant, accessible, powerful new work.
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