Kate Shindle to Star in NYMF's 'Sympathy Jones'
Kate Shindle, the current co-star of Broadway's Legally Blonde, will play the title role in Sympathy Jones, a new musical which will debut at this year's New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). The musical is written by newcomers Masi Asare (music and lyrics) and Brooke Pierce (book), directed by Sarah Gurfield (I Do! I Do! at Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Tutor for Prospect Theatre/NYMF) and choreographed by Christine O'Grady (High School Musical at Barrington Stage Co.). It will play six performances at the Julia Miles Theatre (424 West 55th Street) September 24 – October 4, 2007.
"The musical tells the story of Sympathy Jones, an overqualified receptionist at a prestigious intelligence agency, who dreams of becoming a super spy. When Sympathy is passed over – yet, again – for a promotion to agent, she decides to take matters into her own hands and steals a top-secret file. She quickly sets out to stop evil mastermind Katherine 'Kitty' Hawk, the leader of the Secret Coalition for Revenge, Assassination, Terrorism, Counterintelligence and Heists (S.C.R.A.T.C.H.). From gadgets to henchmen and bombs to bombshells, the quirky heroine braves it all and, in the process, discovers there is more to being a spy than putting on a catsuit in this funny and heartwarming musical adventure," state press notes.
Sympathy Jones will be part of NYMF's Next Link Project, and is one of only 18 shows selected from over 400 entries. The full cast and design team will be announced shortly.
Shindle (Sympathy Jones) is currently co-starring as Vivienne in Legally Blonde. Broadway credits include Cabaret (Sally Bowles) and Jekyll & Hyde (Lucy). Other NYC credits include: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), The Woman Upstairs and the World AIDS Day Concerts of Children of Eden, Pippin and The Secret Garden. Regional work includes After the Fall (Maggie) at The Alley, Himself and Nora (Nora Barnacle) at The Old Globe, Into the Woods, Gypsy, First Lady Suite, and The Mousetrap. Film/TV work includes: Capote, The Stepford Wives, and "As the Word Turns." Shindle recently wrote her first novel, worked as a correspondent for NBC's "Today" and has done recordings and concerts all over the place. She was Miss America 1998.
Asare's (Music, Lyrics, Concept) work has been performed in New York City at the Ohio Theatre, Ars Nova, HERE, LaMaMa, the Dixon Place Not For Broadway Festival, and Galapagos; and at the Brisbane Theatre Festival in Australia and the Neuropolis Festival in Berlin. She was a co-founder, with writer/director Eamonn Farrell, of the NYC-based Anonymous Ensemble, an experimental performance group. She wrote music and lyrics for the ensemble's productions Oracle, The Emperor's New Vestments, Lysistrata and The Best—a long- form experimental rock theatre project. Other projects include a musical adaptation of the children's book The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark, commissioned by the Pocket Full of Tales theatre company (Boston, L.A.); the original musical Dances for a Journey, and a several year stint as Associate Artistic Director of Raw Impressions Music Theatre, where she co-produced the Music Theatre Marathon and consulted on the Ripfest Movie Musicals initiative. She is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, where Sympathy Jones was developed.
Pierce (Book) graduated in 2002 from NYU, where she double majored in Dramatic Writing and Religious Studies. Her play Misread was a Top Ten Finalist in the Kernodle New Play Competition, and she's received both first and second place in the Tomorrow's Playwrights Competition. Pierce has had staged readings of her plays and musical theatre projects at Stage One Theater in Louisville, New Jersey Dramatists & The Waterfront Ensemble in Teaneck and Jersey City, Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival's PlayFest 2005 in Orlando, and at both Ensemble Studio Theatre and the American Theatre of Actors in NYC. She is currently writing a play based on Indian folktales for eyeBlink Entertainment. She is a member of the Drama Desk and the Dramatists Guild of America.
Hailed as "the Sundance for musical theatre," the New York Musical Theatre Festival (Kris Stewart, Founder & Executive Director; Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Executive Producer) has premiered 99 new musicals since its inception in 2004. The largest musical theatre event in the world, NYMF takes over midtown each fall with a slate of more than 30 full productions and some 100 special events, including readings, workshops, concerts, parties, seminars and master classes. NYMF has been the launching pad for more than a dozen commercial productions in its three-year history, generating off-Broadway runs for Altar Boyz, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, Captain Louie, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Gutenberg! The Musical!, Shout! The Mod Musical and [title of show].
Sympathy Jones will play the following performance schedule: September 24 at 8:00 p.m., September 25 & September 27 at 1:00 p.m., September 29 & October 1 at 8:00 p.m., and October 4 at 4:30 p.m. Membership packages for the New York Musical Theatre Festival go on sale on August 1, 2007. Single tickets for Sympathy Jones go on sale September 1, 2007 and can be purchased by visiting www.nymf.org. Visit www.kateshindle.com for more on Shindle.
Photo of Kate Shindle by Linda Lenzi