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Cast Complete for World Premiere Musical FOLK WANDERING Off-Broadway

Dec. 14, 2017  

Pipeline Theatre Company has announced the cast, creative team and schedule for the world premiere production of Folk Wandering, a new musical conceived by Jaclyn Backhaus (Men on Boats) and Andrew Neisler (Clown Bar), featuring a book and lyrics by Backhaus and music and additional lyrics by collaborating composers Blake Allen (Boston|Nebraska), Mike Brun (Music Director, Mr. Burns), Andrew R. Butler (Finn the Fearless), Joel Esher (PharmaBro: an American Douchical!), Alex Fast (The Drawer Boy), Jo Lampert (Joan of Arc: Into The Fire), Barrie Mclain (Hundred Days), Annie Tippe (Director, Ghost Quartet), and Dominique Toney ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"). Andrew Neisler will direct.

Folk Wandering will play the Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T/ New York Theatres (502 West 53rd Street) and will begin previews on February 23, 2018, and officially open on March 4, playing a limited engagement through March 18, 2018. Preview tickets can be purchased at at the highly limited $20 pre-sale rate.

Tickets to all other performances will be available for purchase beginning January 2, 2018. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will available on a first come, first serve basis. Pre-sale tickets range from $20 to $55. Regular tickets range from $25 to $65.

The cast of Folk Wandering includes Kim Blanck (Little Match Girl Passion), Andrew R. Butler (The Skin of Our Teeth), Seth Clayton* (The Madrid), DeMone (Ragtime), Adrian Blake Enscoe (Billy and the Killers), Lena Hudson (You on the Moors Now), Laura Shoop (She Loves Me), Morgan Siobhan Green (Sweetee), Dan Tracy* (Once National Tour), Jordan Tyson (Sweetee), and Nicole Weiss (Pinkalicious).

In 1911, Rosealia dreams of a better life.

In 1933, Kai struggles to keep her daughter safe.

In 1955, Hannah finally fights for herself.

Folk Wandering is a sweeping new musical conjured from the hearts and minds of Jaclyn Backhaus, Andrew Neisler*, and nine emerging singer-songwriters. This expansive story investigates the making and breaking of the American dream across three bygone generations. Join Pipeline Theatre Company and their band of troubadours this spring for an awakening of the hope, heartache, and longing that binds us all together.

Backhaus began developing Folk Wandering with Neisler in 2010, and it was created collectively alongside an ensemble of nine of New York's most exciting emerging songwriters and in collaboration with actors Jessie Barr ("Manhattan Romance"), Kim Blanck, and Lena Hudson. Since then, workshops have been presented at Joe's Pub, Ars Nova, Fresh Ground Pepper, and the Polyphone Festival in Philadelphia, culminating in its 2018 world premiere production with Pipeline Theatre Company.

Folk Wandering will feature arrangements by Brun and Esher, with orchestrations by Brun, and additional orchestrations by Allen. Folk Wandering will feature music direction by Ellen Winter (36 Questions), set design by Carolyn Mraz (Thomas Paine in Violence), lighting design by Christopher Bowser* (Secret Supper: The Musical), costume design by Heather McDevitt Barton (Of Government), sound design by Jim Petty of Five Ohm Productions (Noise), production management by Jenny Beth Snyder (Beardo), and stage management by Kristy Bodall (Ghost Quartet). Casting is by Telsey + Company / Lauren Harris.

Folk Wandering is made possible, in part, thanks to a producing partnership with Triumph Productions, Christopher Schout and Wayne Zink.


Jaclyn Backhaus (Co-Conceiver, Book and Lyrics) is an Indian-American playwright and a creative director for Fresh Ground Pepper. Her play Men on Boats was a NYT Critics' Pick for its productions in Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks and Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. It was named a Kilroys play in 2015 and received its Chicago premiere at ATC in early 2017. Other works include People Doing Math Live! (Under The Radar Festival's INCOMING! Series at The Public Theater), The Incredible Fox Sisters (Live Source), and You on the Moors Now (Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, The Hypocrites in Chicago). She has received commissions from Playwrights Horizons, MTC, EST and Ars Nova and is the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Clubbed Thumb. Her work has been developed and showcased with the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Playwrights Horizons, The Public and Joe's Pub, The Ice Factory Festival, (not just) 3 New Plays, The Civilians R&D Group, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Ars Nova's ANTFest, and The Falcons. BFA: NYU. She hails from Phoenix, Arizona.

Andrew Neisler (Co-Conceiver, Director) is a Georgia-raised, Brooklyn-based theatre director and producer. He is a Creative Director at arts incubator Fresh Ground Pepper (, where he has curated and presented work from over a thousand New York City writers, directors, actors, dancers, musicians, and more. Select directing credits include Cesar Alvarez's The Elementary Spacetime Show (FringeArts), NY Times' Critics Pick The Rise and Fall of Marcus Monroe (Ars Nova/Williamstown Theatre Festival), Andrew Farmer's critically acclaimed The Gray Man (Pipeline Theatre Company), NY Times' Critics Pick Clown Bar (Pipeline/The Box), and Drama Desk nominated Charlatan (Ars Nova). Currently, he is under commission at Ars Nova developing Bull's Hollow, a trilogy of theatre and music, with frequent collaborators Jaclyn Backhaus and Mike Brun; working with Cesar Alvarez on his new musical NOISE; and collaborating on a joyful jazz-theatre show with Sammy Miller and the Congregation as part of Ars Nova's 2017 Makers' Lab. He has developed new theatre with Naked Angels, Primary Stages, New York Theatre Workshop, Williamston Theatre Festival, The Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYU, University of the Arts, Playwrights Horizons, and more. He is a Teaching Artist at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, The Civilians R&D Group, and Ars Nova's Director Residency.

Blake Allen (Collaborating Composer) is a composer and violist. Blake made his classical debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has had a solo show at 54 Below. Shows include Folk Wandering (Soho Rep/Ars Nova/Joes Pub) shards, HOCKET, Boston|Nebraska. Other credits: Ring them Bells (Live from Lincoln Center/PBS), 2014 artist in residence at the Banff Centre, ...Very Marti Christmas (54 Below), Carnivorous (Magic Future Box) and five years under Rob Fisher. In development: To the Lighthouse, Marnie, 7 Swans.

Mike Brun (Collaborating Composer). Theater credits include: Music Director/Onstage Musician for Mr. Burns (Playwrights Horizons, 2013); Orchestrator/Onstage Musician for Twelfth Night (Delacorte, 2016); Music Director/Arranger/Onstage Musician for Tumacho (Wild Project 2016); Co-Arranger/Onstage Musician for Old Hats (Signature, 2016; American Conservatory, 2014). Composer of Bull's Hollow (in development as a commission for Ars Nova). 2014-15 Civilians Research & Development Group. 2014 Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. Upcoming: Orchestrator/Onstage Musician for As You Like It (Delacorte, 2017).

Andrew R. Butler (Collaborating Composer) is a composer, writer and performer. With Andrew Farmer he has written Finn the Fearless (Theatre Aspen, Polyphone Festival), Blessing (PHTS commission), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (TheatreWorksUSA commission), and American Cryptids (Civilians R&D); With Anna Kerrigan: The Dixon Family Album (Williamstown Theater Festival). Also, (Parkland/Weathers) (FGP). Founding member of experimental theater company harunalee; alumnus of Ars Nova's Uncharted Group, FGP's PlayGround PlayGroup, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Yale Institute for Music Theater and NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing.

JOEL ESHER (Collaborating Composer) is thrilled to be a part of the collaborative creative team on Folk Wandering. Off-Broadway: PharmaBro: an American Douchical! (music, additional lyrics; Players Theater, w/Lauren Gundrum). New York: Sammy Spider (music; Kauffman Concert Hall w/Rebecca Schoffer), Superhots! (Soundbites Festival w/Blair Bodine). Joel is a participant in the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, and is the music supervisor for the Story Pirates. Education: B.M. in Music Direction and Opera from Northwestern University, where he contributed music/lyrics annually to the Waa-Mu show.

Jo Lampert (Collaborating Composer) is a Brooklyn-based performer, producer, and DJ (going by the moniker: dj over easy). Selected NYC credits: Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (The Public Theater, directed by Alex Timbers, music by David Byrne); The Lucky Ones (upcoming 2018, directed by Anne Kauffman, music by The Bengsons); Hundred Days (Under the Radar Festival, directed by Anne Kauffman, music by The Bengsons, Jan 2017); Jo Lampert in the Lounge - a solo cabaret (Ars Nova); Rimbaud in NY (BAM, directed by Steve Cossons for The Civilians); New York Animals (Directed by Eric Tucker/Bedlam, new music by Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater); Iphigenia in Aulis (CSC, directed by Rachel Chavkin). In 2014, Jo toured the world with the band tUnE-yArDs. Civilians Associate Artist; BFA, NYU Tisch.

Barrie Mclain (Collaborating Composer). NYC-based performing artist and creator. 1/3 of the band Plastic Angel, currently recording with Brooklyn indie hip-hop producer Willie Green. Onstage: Siren in Kansas City Choir Boy starring Courtney Love and Todd Almond (Prototype NYC; A.R.T. Boston; C.T.G. LA; Arsht, Miami), backup singer for Julie Klausner Live (Joe's Pub, The Bellhouse), choir leader/producer for Sherie Rene Scott's All Will Be Well and Lovestream, vocalist for Sonya Tayeh and The Bengsons' you'll still call me by name (Judson Memorial Church, NYLA), featured soloist with Fresh Ground Pepper's Camp Over There (Bonnaroo), chanteuse Lillian O'Malley in Punchdrunk's Sleep No More. Recent performances at Lincoln Center, the Feminist Power Awards, La MaMa, Ars Nova. BFA NYU Tisch. #BLM.

Annie Tippe (Collaborating Composer) is a director and creator of new work. Directing includes Dave Malloy's Ghost Quartet (The Bushwick Starr, etc); Anne Washburn's When the Tanks Break (Drama League); Washeteria (Soho Rep); Aaron/Marie (w/Rachel Chavkin, Incoming! @ Under the Radar); Far Away (Harvard University); Cowboy Bob (Ars Nova); I Heard Sex Noises (Ars Nova) and Blue Plate Special (ANT Fest). Creator/Director of web series BASIC WITCH. Performance includes Folk Wandering and I'm Miserable but Change Scares Me (New Saloon). Ars Nova's 2016 Director-in-Residence, Drama League Fall Directing Fellow, WTF Directing Corps, New Georges Audrey Resident.

DOMINIQUE TONEY (Collaborating Composer) is an actress, singer, & songwriter from Los Angeles. Her debut album "A Love Like Ours" was in the Top 10 selling soul albums on Amazon during its debut month. She has appeared on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (The CW) and "The Late Late Show with James Corden" (CBS) & can be found in various national commercials, including spots for McDonald's, the NBA, Sony, Walmart, & Payless Shoes. Dominique is an avid dog lover, amateur gourmet chef, and proud NYU Alum.

*Denotes Pipeline Ensemble Member

In 2017, Pipeline Theatre Company presented the acclaimed New York premiere of Jason Craig & Dave Malloy's Beardo. Featuring book and lyrics by Jason Craig (Beowulf - A Thousand Years of Baggage), music by Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), and direction by Ellie Heyman (The Traveling Imaginary), Beardo opened February 12, 2017 and ran through March 5, 2017 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music.

Pipeline Theatre Company (Artistic Director, Ari Schrier; Producing Director, Natalie Gershtein) believes that an unbridled imagination is a force of magic with the power to provoke a more courageous and compassionate world. Pipeline's most recent productions, CLOWN BAR, THE GRAY MAN, and BEARDO are clear examples of how Pipeline goes big to create spectacular one-of-a-­kind events. CLOWN BAR by Adam Szymkowicz was named a New York Times Critics' Pick and completely sold out it's extended run at The Box. Reviewers called it "a perfect storm of ridiculousness," "unabashedly silly but also shrewd," and added "the team responsible should be hired by everyone for everything all the time immediately." Of Andrew Farmer's THE GRAY MAN, The New York Times said " ambitious, the production values are exceptional, if you see a lot of theater, you'll admire the chances it takes." Of Jason Craig and Dave Malloy's BEARDO, Pipeline's most recent production, TheaterMania declared: " unforgettable theatrical experience. The score is both tuneful and daring resulting in stunning performances and the most breathtaking first act finale this side of Les Misérables."

The A.R.T./New York Theatres are a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), which provide state-of-the-art, accessible venues at subsidized rental rates, plus free access to top-line technical equipment, so that the city's small and emerging theatre companies can continue to experiment, grow, and produce new works. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York is the leading service and advocacy organization for New York City's 375+ nonprofit theatres, with a mission to assist member theatres in managing their companies effectively so that they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. We accomplish this through a comprehensive roster of real estate, financial, educational, and community-building programs, as well as research, advocacy, and field-wide initiatives that seek to improve the long-term health and sustainability of the industry. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has received numerous honors, including an Obie Award, an Innovative Theatre Award, a New York City Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture, and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Suzi Sadler


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