THEATER BOYS to Premiere at 13th Street Rep this Fall
Casting has just been announced for the 13th Street Rep's production of ASCAP Award-winning playwright Chip Deffaa's new musical comedy "Theater Boys." The show, which opens September 21st, will run in repertory this fall at the 13th Street Repertory Theater (50 W. 13th Street, NYC,,www.13thstreetrep.org), along with Deffaa's musical play "One Night with Fanny Brice" (starring Chloe Brooks), and Israel Horovotz's "Line" (now in its 40th year at the theater), which is New York's longest-running production. A cast album for "Theater Boys"--now in the works--will be released in October. And the Rep, according to founder/artistic director Edith O'Hara, has plans to present two additional shows by Deffaa, following "Theater Boys."
With book, music, and lyrics by Deffaa, "Theater Boys" will co-star Michael Czyz and Joseph Spitale, with other principals including Andrew Lanctot, Matt ZanFagna, Sam Donnenberg, Philip Louis Calabro, Ben Orlando, Joris DeGraaf, Danny Coelho, Matthew Meyers, and Taylor Martin. Supporting players and swings include Mark Andrew Garner, Elliot Ross Halperin, Will Meredith, Travis James, Hawkins Davis Gardow.
Music director Richard Danley, choreographer Tyler DuBoys, and assistant director Peter Charney--who served this summer on Deffaa's last production at the theater, "Irving Berlin's America"--will return for this production, joined by co-choreographer Alex Acevedo, according to the theater's producing artistic director, Sandra Nordgren. Writer/director Deffaa-the author of 15 published plays and eight published books--notes: "Just as with my previous shows, I've looked beyond the USA to find the right actors. For example, I sent copies of the script to the Dutch actor Joris DeGraaf in the Netherlands, and to Danny Coelho in Brazil, and they said yes. DeGraaf is flying in from Amsterdam to join us in rehearsals, which have just begun. I'm getting used to looking beyond the US for talent. Jon Peterson, who starred in my Off-Broadway show 'George M. Cohan Tonight!' at the Irish Repertory Theater in 2006-and is still playing it on the road-was born and raised in England. Giuseppe Bausilio, the co-star of my most recent show 'Irving Berlin's America'--and currently featured on Broadway in 'Newsies'-is a Swiss citizen."
The most popular audition song this year, according to Deffaa, seems to be Stephen Schwartz's "Corner of the Sky," from "Pippin." "I don't need to hear that song again for a while," Deffaa remarked. "I kept hearing it at auditions. The hardest casting decision I had to make was between two Canadians, Michael Czyz and Ken Adams, who both sang 'Corner of the Sky' equally brilliantly, and were amazingly identical in terms of other talents as well. I almost had trouble telling them apart. I flipped a coin and offered Czyz the starring role in this show, and am offering Adams a role in the next show of mine that we'll be mounting at the 13th Street Repertory Theater, immediately after this one opens--'Mad About the Boy.'"
An earlier version of "Theater Boys" premiered a few years ago at the Fresh Fruit Festival (Carol Polcovar, artistic director; Louis Lopardi, technical director). The show's popularity in its festival tryout eventually led to the 13th Street Rep's decision to present a new version of the show for a longer run at their theater.
A cast album of "Theater Boys," recorded by Slau Halatyn at BeSharp Studios, is in preparation and is scheduled to be released in October by Original Cast Records.
The first regional production of "Theater Boys" is set for this winter, when Stageworks Theater, under the direction of Don Brown, will mount their own production of Deffaa's show, with Drew Smith, Devon Darrow and company, in Rochester. Deffaa reflects: "It will be fun to see how the Rochester production might differ from our New York production. It'd be great if we could bring the Rochester company down to NYC for a weekend, to strut their stuff in a guest appearance at the 13th Street Rep," Deffaa remarked. "I love giving audiences chances to see different performers interpret the same role. We've had several different actresses, ranging in age from 17 to 45, star in my show 'One Night with Fanny Brice' in New York City, since it first opened Off-Broadway in 2011. This past summer, Patricia Dell, a seasoned pro in her 60s, starred in the show up in the Catskills; we're going to present her for one night in September, in New York City, just so people can see another interpretation."