Selections from New Yorker-Inspired Musical FINAL ACT Premiere at NYTB Tonight, 5/14
Drama Desk-nominated composer Robert Waldman (The Robber Bridegroom) and librettist/lyricist Marjorie Duffield premiere selections from their musical-in-process Final Act at New York Theatre Barn's monthly platform for new musicals, NYTB in the D-Lounge (at the Daryl Roth Theatre) tonight, May 14, 2012.
Based upon a short story from the New Yorker, Final Act is a different kind of coming-of-age story. Fresh off the train from New York City, a successful Broadway and cabaret star is forced to return to her roots in the country to tend to her ailing mother. Against her will, she rediscovers herself in the remote landscape and country ways she fled many years ago. Artistic Director Joe Barros directs with musical direction by Virginia Pike.
NYTB in the D-Lounge Producer Jason Najjoum said Final Act is the sequel to a well-known story. "Everyone is familiar with the story of the underdog coming from Podunk, USA to New York City to become a star," Najjoum said. "But then what happens? What kind of person does the underdog become and how does stardom change her?"
A protégé of Frank Loesser, Waldman is best known for his Drama Desk-nominated music in the landmark Broadway musical The Robber Bridegroom which opened on Broadway in 1975. The show was the first musical to heavily incorporate a country/folk score. Waldman also composed for the World Premiere/Tony Award-Winning production of Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo and also for the Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York/National Productions of Driving Miss Daisy (Chicago's Jefferson Award for Best Music in a Dramatic Work).
The score for Final Act is different from Waldman's previous work. "Final Act is more of an investigation of a night club," Waldman said. "The showmoves between two worlds: a highly theatrical musical framework and scenes that are very slice-of-life and frighteningly real." Waldman and Duffield began collaborating in the fall of 2002. They were both involved in a show that allowed high school students to share their experiences from 9/11. "The producer decided they needed a song to tie the piece together," Duffield said. "Bob and I ended up writing a lovely lullaby together that was used in the show. That experience made us both think we should try our hand at something else."
Duffield is a New York based librettist, playwright and screenwriter. Her Off-Broadway/regional work includes Ice Island: The Wait for Shackleton (The Melting Pot Theatre Company), Sit-In at the Five and Dime with composer Janice Lowe (New Harmony Project, Barrington Stage, Voice & Vision), and In A Lake of Fire (Williamstheatre - winner of the Moss Hart Award and Finalist for the Richard Rodgers Awards) with composer Greg Pliska.
The cast for Final Act includes Anastasia Barzee (Jekyll and Hyde, Miss Saigon, I Married Wyatt Earp), Michael Winther (Songs From An Unmade Bed), Diane Findlay (Tales of the City), Kiley McDonald (The Legend of Julie Taymor), James Sasser and Sarah Corey.
NYTB in the D-Lounge will also feature favorites and new material from multiple award-winning composer and industry darling Peter Mills, who recently won the 2011 Cole Porter Award recognizing an outstanding composer/lyricist. Mills is the resident writer of Prospect Theatre Company, which he co-founded in 1998. Mills wrote lyrics for Iron Curtain, which within the last year has been produced at the Village Theatre in Seattle and at Prospect Theater Company in New York City. His bluegrass musical, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, was showcased at the 2011 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals, and he is currently writing lyrics for the up-coming musical The Honeymooners.
Rewrites and remounts are common occurrences in Mill's work. He said this reexamination strengthens his projects. "Whether it's for a concert reading, a developmental workshop, or even a second production at Prospect, it's an opportunity to apply what was learned from the first production and make the necessary changes," he said. "My writing process always seems to require some concrete 'thing,' like a workshop or a reading, to inspire me to dive into the writing, whether it is the initial creation of the piece or returning to it to make those improvements."
The cast for Mills' set includes David Abeles, Melody Berger, Jason Edward Cook (With Glee), Matthew Duré, Carol Hickey, Dennis M. Keefe, Anika Larsen (Xanadu, Myths and Hymns, Zanna Don't), Jaygee Macapugay, Mark Mozingo (Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge), Robby Sharpe, and Courter Simmons.
The May 2012 installment of NYTB in the D-Lounge will take place tonight, May 14 at 7:30 PM in the D-Lounge of the Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th St. Cover is $10, plus a two-drink minimum. Tickets may be purchased at the door by cash or credit, and the doors will open at 7:15 PM. For more information and to learn more about New York Theatre Barn, visit: www.NYTheatreBarn.org.
New York Theatre Barn is a non-profit theatre company founded in 2007 and dedicated to the investigation, development, and advancement of new works. The company is attracted to new work that mirrors our society so that the world can better understand itself. Productions include the all-female musical I Married Wyatt Earp (59E59 Theatres/Prospect Theater Co.) with Heather Mac Rae and Carolyn Mignini, the musical Wood (New York Musical Theatre Festival/Emily Miller) with Cady Huffman, and Bridget Bailey's award winning solo play Child of Hungry Times. New York Theatre Barn has been instrumental in the development of Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days, the musical parody Hey, You Know What Movie Would Make A Good Musical?, Cait Doyle's Hot Mess in Manhattan, and Katie Thompson's R.R.R.E.D. The company's monthly platform for new work, NYTB in the D-Lounge, provides a community and a home for artists to discover and grow within their art form. New York Theatre Barn is a proud member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.