'Slug Bearers' New Musical with Friedman & Steggert, Begins 1/25 at Vineyard

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The Tony Award-winning Vineyard Theatre continues its 2007-08 Season with the unique new musical The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island (Or, The Friends of Dr. Rushower) with libretto and drawings by Ben Katchor and music composed by Mark Mulcahy, with previews to begin January 25, prior to its official press opening on February 12 at Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15th Street), it has been announced by Vineyard Theatre Artistic Director Douglas Aibel.

Bob McGrath is set to direct the ensemble cast led by Tony-Award nominee Peter Friedman (Ragtime, the film "The Savages") as Dr. Rushower, Bobby Steggert (110 in the Shade), Stephen Lee Anderson (Footloose), and Tom Riis Farrell (Coram Boy). John Carrafa (Urinetown) will choreograph.

"Ben Katchor's drawings form the animated background for The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island, set in and around Manhattan and on a tropical factory-island of exploited workers. For this unique new musical, Mr. Katchor was inspired by the tradition of the 'picture reciter,' a form of live entertainment from 17th-century India. Updating and exploring this tradition, he has created original, hand-drawn still and animated sequences which complement Mark Mulcahy's indie-rock score," explain press notes.

The cast of The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island includes Stephen Lee Anderson, Tom Riis Farrell, Jody Flader, Peter Friedman, Matt Pearson, Bobby Steggert and Will Swensen.

The production features set and projections by Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg; costume design by Mattie Ullrich; lighting design by Russell H. Champa; sound design by David Arnold and Brett Jarvis; choreography by John Carrafa (Urinetown), and musical direction by Erik James.

Ben Katchor is the recipient of a MacArthur ("Genius Grant") Foundation Fellowship. His books include: "Cheap Novelties," "Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories," "The Jew of New York," and "The Beauty Supply District." His comics and strips appear in Metropolis Magazine, The Forward, The New Yorker, and newspapers around the country. Mr. Katchor's other awards include a Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant. He has been a fellow at American Academy in Berlin, and in 2007, The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He currently teaches at Parsons, The New School for Design in NYC.

The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island, Katchor's first collaboration with composer/performer Mark Mulcahy, was first presented in NYC at The Kitchen in March, 2004. The Rosenbach Company, his second collaboration with Mark Mulcahy, is currently touring the US. Katchor's first musical, The Carbon Copy Building, with composers David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe, was a collaboration with Bang on a Can and the Ridge Theater, and received an OBIE Award for Best New American Production, 1999-2000 season.

Performances of The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island run January 25 through March 2; Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $60; 2 hours prior to curtain, students may purchase any available seats for $20 each. Valid student ID required; limit 2 tickets per ID. For reservations and additional information about Vineyard Theatre, call 212-353-0303 or visit www.vineyardtheatre.org

Peter Friedman: photo by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd

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