FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY: A MUSICAL REVUE (OF SORTS) to Continue Journey with Stage Reading
SandRico Productions will present a musical theatre work-in-development with a public reading of "From the Bodoni County Songbook Anthology: A Musical Revue (of sorts)" with original text and lyrics by Frank Gagliano and music by the late Claibe Richardson. This free reading, featuring a cast of seven and directed by Melissa Martin, will be held on Monday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Stage (off the WALL productions), 25 West Main Street, Carnegie, PA 15106.
The concept for "...Bodoni..." began when Mr. Gagliano, a Benedum Professor of Playwriting at West Virginia University's Division of Theatre, began writing poems, a la "Spoon River Anthology." Frank revealed, " I soon realized that they could possibly be set to music and that they each seemed to be coming from the same town. Or County. My Bodoni County - which I had invented for other works - came to mind." To move the project further along, Frank Reached out to an earlier collaborator, Broadway composer Claibe Richardson (Congo Square). After a presentation at Carnegie Mellon's first season of The Showcase of New Plays, the two writers realized they had the making of a show. The piece was moved further along to The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference in Connecticut and later as a workshop at New York's Vineyard Theatre. At the Pittsburgh City Theatre-Hamburg Theatre, the show was produced by then Pyramid Productions (Ted Hoover, Melissa Martin and Tammy Ryan). "My presenting it now is because the roller coaster view of the US, when I first wrote the piece, resonates, I think, even more today, in these fragmented, surreal times," said Frank. He added, "I also felt it was time to bring attention to the great melodic musical gifts of my late composer collaborator, Claibe Richardson. He was a genius at setting theatre lyrics with melodies that dramatize the dramatic moment and that stick in the need-to-leave-the-theatre-humming-the-melody part of your brain."
Reservations encouraged: Event Page to RSVP is https://www.artful.ly/store/events/11690
FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY is a 21st Century combination of Our Town/Spoon River/and Jacques Brel, in which the inhabitants of a mythical American County (most of whom want to get out) step out and sing their angst away. Overseeing it all is the Master of Ceremonies, Jonathan Overview, who chronicles the fables and foibles of Bodoni's inhabitants.
About The Cast
The cast of seven features Jeffrey Howell as Jonathan Overview and Pittsburgh musical theatre stand-outs Joe Jackson, Jill Keating, Christine Laitta, Connor McCanlus, Corwin Stoddard and Magan Dee Yantko. Full bios folllow:
Jeffrey Howell* (Jonathan Overview, Benjamin Bernhard) Most recently seen at Pittsburgh CLO in South Pacific, Aida, Damn Yankees and at the REP in Choir Boy and Souvenir. Some favorite CLO shows include Man of La Mancha, 42nd Street, Singin' in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jekyll & Hyde, A Musical Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit), Beauty and the Beast, Bells are Ringing, Pajama Game, and The Most Happy Fella. Other credits include Candide, Tigers Be Still, Chicago and "Tribute to Lerner and Lowe" with Marvin Hamlisch and the PSO.
Joe Jackson* (Harry Grunding, Tom Anderson) Recent theater credits at the Pittsburgh Public Theater include Guys & Dolls, My Fair Lady, Camelot and Superior Donuts. Locally he has enjoyed performing in Parade (Front Porch Theatricals), A Musical Christmas Carol, Hairspray, Oliver, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Sunset Boulevard, The Producers, Jekyll & Hyde, The Sound of Music, and Jesus Christ Superstar (Pittsburgh CLO). Joe was also fortunate to work regionally at Arena Stage, Walnut Street Theatre, Fulton Opera House, North Shore Music Theatre, and he toured nationally with Tommy Tune in Doctor Doolittle. This Atlanta native earned his B.F.A. from Ole Miss, currently teaches at Sewickley Academy, and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
Jill Keating* (Mary Beth Scott, Mrs. Carrington, Nurse Vivian Grady) Dance: National Ballet School (Toronto), B.A. Point Park University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Musicals: Big River (National Tour), Miss Hannigan in Annie (Bucks County Playhouse), Frenchy in Grease (Theatre-By-The-Sea, RI), Roxie in Chicago (City Line, Philadelphia), Doris in Damn Yankees (Pittsburgh CLO) Plays: Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir (Point Park The REP), Miss Dee in Sharon's Grave (PICT), Mrs. Hedges in Born Yesterday (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Shirley in Shirley Valentine (Webb's NY) and In The Raw (Bricolage).
Christine Laitta* (Florence Coldwell, Marian Axelbean, Mary Esposito) CLO Cabaret: Girls Only, I Love You You're Perfect..., Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Broadway SVU. Favorites: The Diary of Anne Frank, Lazarus, Annie, Singin' in the Rain, Fiddler on the Roof, Carousel, To Kill A Mockingbird, On The Town, The Sound of Music, PBS pilot "Scientastic!" Chris originated the role of Ms. Frizzle in The Magic School Bus Live!, created "TV Tunes Sing-A-Long!" and co-authored "The Dramatically Different Classroom.
CONNOR McCANLUS* (William Kinsolving, Sonny, Ziggy Kellmer, Eubie Copocolo) was most recently seen in Lights Out at Pittsburgh Playwrights. Previous credits The Merchant of Venice at PICT Classic Theatre, Wig Out at The REP, The Hound of the Baskervilles at Kinetic Theater, as well as productions with CLO Cabaret, Bricolage, Barebones, Unseam'd Shakespeare, and Prime Stage. He is an improv comedian and musical improviser who hosts the weekly Pittsburgh Improv Jam at Cabaret at Theater Square with his team Well Known Strangers. He can be seen later this summer as Snyder in Disney's Newsies at Pittsburgh CLO.
CORWIN STODDARD (David, Remo Cramer, Ensemble) Recently appeared in Big River (Strand Theater) and Floyd Collins (Front Porch Theatricals). A Point Park University graduate, Pittsburgh credits include Assassins (John Hinckley) with Stage 62, Viva Los Bastarditos! with No Name Players, as well as The Wild Duck, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Playboy of the Western World with the Conservatory Theatre Company. Much love and thanks to all his teachers over the years and his incredible family. Proud alumni of HSPVA and Perry-Mansfield.
Magan Dee Yantko (Lori, Joy, Ensemble) graduated from Point Park with a B.F.A. Degree in musical theatre. She has been working with Pittsburgh companies such as CLO, Barebones, Playhouse Jr., Prime Stage, and Carrnivale Theatrics. She has been honored to play many different characters and some of her favorites include Little Red in Dreamcatchers' production of Into The Woods in Miami, FL, Natalie in Next to Normal, and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. Magan is excited to be a part of this reading and grateful for the support of her friends and family.
*Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association, the labor union representing American Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
The Creative Team
Frank Gagliano (book and lyrics) was part of the 1960's group of Off-Broadway playwrights that revitalized American drama. Edward Albee produced two of Frank's plays, Conerico Was Here To Stay and Night of The Dunce, at NY's legendary Cherry Lane Theatre. Frank's break-through play, Father Uxbridge Wants To Marry, was produced at NY's American Place Theatre. Frank has given reading performances around the world of his solo play, My Chekhov Light - including the Chekhov Museum, Yalta. In 2007, Frank's play, Big Sur, was produced in Beijing, China. Musicals include Paradise Gardens East (Off Broadway), The Prince of Peasantmania (Milwaukee Rep), The Resurrection of Jackie Cramer (Off Broadway) and (with composer Claibe Richardson) Congo Square (Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company). For 12 years, Frank was Artistic Director of Carnegie Mellon's Showcase of New Plays. In 2013, at the Kennedy Center, Frank was inducted into The College of Fellows of The American Theatre.
Claibe Richardson (music) was an American composer spanning four decades. Richardson's first and most notable Broadway theatre score was for the 1971 adaptation of Truman Capote's The Grass Harp. Other Broadway credits included incidental music for the revival of The Royal Family with RoseMary Harris and Eva Le Gallienne, the revival of The Philadelphia Story with Blythe Danner, and the original play The Curse of an Aching Heart with Faye Dunaway. Three months before his death in 2003, his final composition, a suite based on The Grass Harp and arranged by Jonathan Tunick, Stephen Sondheim's orchestrator, was performed by Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Melissa Martin (Director) is an award-winning producer/writer/director working in independent film, and theatre. She is the Producer/Writer/Director of The Bread, My Sweet. An award winner on the film festival scene, The Bread, My Sweet screened at more than twenty festivals, was a featured film in Chris Gore's Film Festival Survival Guide, and was released theatrically nation-wide. It was distributed world-wide by Fox International, on DVD by Universal/Screen Media, and on ShowTime, Starz, The Sundance Channel, and network television. Martin is a writer, the director, for both Dog Bytes, a web series which screened at more than twenty film festivals, among them Berlin, Cape Fear, LAWEBFEST and Cannes. Martin also directed Flour Baby, Paper Umbrellas-both short films. A pilot, Come With Me, based on the web series she directed, I'll Call You. Next is a short, The Cookie Table and then Summerlings a feature film. She is delighted to be working on Frank Gagliano's delightful musical with such a talented group!
Douglas Levine (Music Director) is a pianist, composer, arranger, music director and teacher based in Pittsburgh. His original scores for theater and dance include: Mercy Train(Microscopic Opera Company), Eastburn Avenue, Mother Courage and Peer Gynt (Playhouse, REP), Deadend (Attack Theatre), Mimoun (Pennsylvania Dance Theatre), Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and The Shaughraun (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre), Colorfast (Pittsburgh International Children's Theater Festival) and Shakespeare Street(Playhouse Junior). He has written music or arrangements for companies including the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, City Theatre, The Warhol, Dreams of Hope, Gateway to the Arts, The Junior Mendelssohn Choir, Renaissance City Women's Choir, Pittsburgh Musical Theater and Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh. Honors include selection for the 2011 Prague Quadrennial and the Frankel Award for artistic achievement. www.levinemusic.com
Molly Elizabeth McCarter* (Stage Manager) is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama where she teaches Stage & Production Management. Her credits include work with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Blue Man Group, The Guggenheim's Works & Process Series, The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, The New Victory among others. Molly is a proud member of Actors' Equity.