AVENUE Q Cast Members in RESCUE RUE, A New Musical Fairytale with Puppets at Signature Center, 7/8-20

AVENUE Q Cast Members in RESCUE RUE, A New Musical Fairytale with Puppets at Signature Center, 7/8-20

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in association with Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter, LLC present Rescue Rue, a new musical fairytale with puppets; Concept, Book and Additional Lyrics by Stacey Weingarten, and Music and Lyrics by Kate Steinberg & Joshua Zecher-Ross. Stacey Weingarten directs a cast of seven including Jennifer Barnhart* (Bway: Avenue Q), Nate Begle(Off Bway: John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean), Sarah Liz Haines* (Off Bway: Freckle Face Strawberry), Jason Jacoby* (Off Bway: Avenue Q), Lisa Helmi Johanson* (Off Bway: Avenue Q), Brendan Malafronte (Nat. Tour: John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean), and Gretchen Wylder* (Off Bway: 'Til Divorce Do Us Part). Rescue Rue will be staged at the Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street (bet. 9th and 10th Avenues) in NYC for five performances from July 8-20, 2014. A special TDF Autism-Friendly performance will be held at July 20th at 11am. The Pershing Square Signature Center is the official hub of The New York Musical Theatre Festival. *Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

Find Your Happily Furever After! When a little dog named Rue wishes for a "Happily Ever After" from her Fairy Dogmother, she soon embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery and belonging. Kicked out of her home, Rue meets new friends and enemies alike on the street and at the pound before finding her "Furever" home in NYC and realizing life is really about finding your happy beginnings, not endings! Based on a true adoption story, this family-friendly pop musical is told by a colorful cast of puppets and people. Fun for all ages! For kids and kids at heart... especially animal lovers. There's no place like (Furever) home!

Stacey Weingarten (Director, Book, Add'l Lyrics) wears many hats, often between bookwriting, puppetry, and producing (as EP of Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC). She's currently the Puppet Wrangler/Wardrobe Head for Avenue Q Off-Broadway and Professor of Puppetry at Pace University-these, after making her Off-Broadway debut as Bubbles in the original cast of John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean. Stacey's first work as a bookwriter premiered at NYMF '11, a collaboration with David Levinson and Donna Drake now titled 5eme République. Other projects include Jarreau's, 20/42, Ludo's Broken Bride, as well as webseries "Monica's Mixing Bowl." Up next? A concert of Ludo's Broken Bride at the Cutting Room on June 23rd. FCLC '10. staceyweingarten.com

Kate Steinberg (Music and Lyrics) is a New York City-based performer, composer, songwriter, and session vocalist. As a performer: NYC: Broken Bride: A Rock Opera (Ars Nova), concerts at The Bitter End, New York Theatre Barn at The Cell, Rockwood Music Hall, and others. Chicago: Concerts at The Empty Bottle, Reggie's Rock Club, and Schuba's. Kate's arrangements, vocals, and compositions have been featured in artist recordings, jingles, film, television shows, video games, advertisements, and viral videos for clients such as Hefty, Marvel, Coors Light, Brother, UPS, McDonald's, and KFC. Kate holds a Bachelor of Music in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music.

Joshua Zecher-Ross (Music and Lyrics) is an NYC-based music director, composer, accompanist, and vocal coach. NYC: Work on Avenue Q, A Night with Janis Joplin, various shows at 54 Below, Joe's Pub, The Laurie Beechman, and others. Most recently: Celebrating the Music of William Finn at Merkin Hall with Mr. Finn and many original cast members of his shows. Regional: over 75 productions at various theatres in NY, CT, and IL. Also composer of Rescuing Rapunzel, a country western retelling of the tale for young audiences. Joshua holds a bachelor of music from the Steinhardt School at New York University.

Rescue Rue is produced by The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC. Music Direction: Andrew Wheeler; Assistant Music Direction: Andrew Hall; Choreographer: Rhonda Miller; Puppet Designer/Fabrication: Andy Hayward; Costume Designer: Bree Perry; Lighting Designer: Kate Devine; Set Designers: Mitchell Ost, David Goldstein; Sound Designer: Gordon Heal; Props: TBD; Hair/Makeup: Jamie Bednarchick; General Management: Corey Gosselin (GM), Sammy Lopez (AGM)/Your Theatrics; Public Relations: Paul Siebold.

Performances for Rescue Rue will be held from July 8-20, 2014 on the following schedule: Tues., 7/8 @ 8p; Thurs., 7/10 @ 5p; Friday, 7/11 @ 1p; Sat., 7/19 @ 12p; Sun., 7/20 @ 11a (TDF Autism-Friendly Performance); and Sun.7/20 @ 1p.

Tickets are available now for NYMF Members and Patrons and will be on sale to the general public beginning June 16. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at nymf.org or by calling 212-352-3101. For more information, please visit nymf.org.

The runtime for Rescue Rue is approximately 55 minutes with no intermission.

For information about booking tickets contact (212) 352-3101 or visit nymf.org.

This show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production included reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. The theatre lobby will have a quiet/activity area, staffed with autism specialists, for those who needed to leave their seats during the performance.

Downloadable social stories (in Word format), with pictures of the theatres and productions, will be made available in advance of the performances. These are designed to personalize the experience for each attendee with ASD. As with all NYMF performances, tickets are only $25, which includes one fidget per seat.

Special thanks to Theatre Development Fund's Autism Theatre Initiative for serving as consultant, www.tdf.org/autism

For information about booking tickets contact (212) 352-3101 or visit nymf.org.

If you have questions about the performance or the Autism Theatre Initiative please contact autism@tdf.org

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.

Now in its eleventh year, the Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in 48 states, and in more than 20 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work "creating and nurturing new musical theatre, ensuring the future of this essential art form."

NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF 2014 is presented in association with Fuzzrocket, TheaterMania, and Production Resource Group. NYMF is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

NYMF Memberships, which combine charitable contributions with valuable, flexible ticket packages and perks like early seating and tickets to individual events, are currently available for purchase at (212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org/member.

For more information, please visit: www.nymf.org

Meet the Cast

Jennifer Barnhart* (Squish & Others (Pekingnese Mix)) was an Original Cast Member of Avenue Q and remained with it for its six-year run on Broadway (and she still occasionally gets to play at New World Stages). She also played the title role in the musical The Legend of Julie Taymor at the Fringe Festival in 2011, for which she won an Award for Overall Excellence in Performance. Other recent roles include Lady Macbeth, Veronica in God of Carnage, and Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, all at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. TV credits include "Between the Lions," "Johnny & the Sprites," and "Sesame Street," as well as two stints on "Law & Order: SVU," once playing a puppeteer.

Nate Begle (Prissy & Others) was most recently a featured puppeteer in Lone Wolf Tribe's Hobo Grunt Cycle, and was also seen in Noel MacNeal's Beasts Of The Magical World! You may have also seen his face/puppeteering in Ludo's Broken Bride at the Ars Nova Ant Fest 2013! www.natebegle.com

Sarah Liz Haines* (Alex the Narrator) has most recently been in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Freckleface Strawberry, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Spelling Bee. Sarah is currently working on her one woman show ...And Juliet.

Jason Jacoby* (Apollo & Others) is currently appearing Off-Broadway in Avenue Q as Nicky/Trekkie/Bear, Jason's credits include: Rubble (with Bruce Vilanch, FringeNYC), G.B.S. (Clockwork Theatre), Le Hot Blu (New York Theatre Workshop), Avenue Q (Skylight Music Theatre, Smithtown PAC), Cabaret, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast (Park Playhouse), The Piper (Capital Repertory Theatre), Reckless (The Gallery Players).

Lisa Helmi Johanson* (Rue/Chiweenie) is currently in Avenue Q at New World Stages. New York/Tour credits: Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (National/International Tour), Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theater), Ghost Girl (Workshop Theater). Select Regional Credits: 4,000 Miles (St. Louis Repertory Theatre), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse). Workshops: Bruce Lee the musical (Broadway Asia/Elephant Eye Productions), Bathory (SeeSAW & D3 Productions). Film: "Waystation in the Stars," "Helena's Flushing." Grateful performer with Musical Magic with the Ronald McDonald House of New York. www.LisaHelmiJohanson.com

Brendan Malafronte (Artemis & Others) is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. He has had one foot in musical theatre, and the other in professional puppetry and puppet design. Favorite credits include John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean, Losing It: With John Stamos, The 39 Steps (Clown 2), Singin In The Rain (Cosmo Brown), Lend Me a Tenor (Max). www.brendanmalafronte.com

Gretchen Wylder* (Fairy Dogmother & Others) is happy as a pup to be joining the cast of Rescue Rue as part of the NYMF this year! She was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Til Divorce Do Us Part, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Revue. She's thrilled to be breaking out her puppet skills again after playing Kate Monster/Lucy in Avenue Q, directed by Rick Lyon. Other off-off New York credits include The Wild Party (Madelaine True), Urinetown (Pennywise), and Lesbian Love Octagon (Wendy). Selected regional credits include Tick Tick Boom, 1776, Assassins, and The Musical of Musicals: The Musical. Gretchen will be debuting her first cabaret in the fall. www.GretchenWylder.com

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