Bay Bridge Productions, Chris Bensinger, & Deborah Taylor Join NYMF's STREET LIGHTS' Producing Team

By: Oct. 12, 2009
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The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Mass Street Productions and Ryan J. Davis have welcomed Bay Bridge Productions, Chris Bensinger, and Deborah Taylor to the Street Lights team of producers.  Street Lights is a contemporary musical drama by Joe Drymala featuring a groundbreaking score that uses modern hip hop, R&B, and pop to tell a story in the musical language of today's youth, while creating a bridge to earlier generations by incorporating samples of old civil rights anthems within the modern songs and beats.

Ryan J. Davis directs a cast of 14 including Carla Duren* (Bway: 110 in the Shade, Hairspray), Chad Carstarphen (Off-Bway: The Conscientious Objector), Miguel Jarquin-Moreland*, Kevin Curtis* (NYMF: Twilight in Manchego, Maccabeat), Gayle Turner* (Bway: The Wiz), Jim Stanek* (Bway: Story of My Life, Lestat, Little Women), Virginia Cavaliere (Regional: High School Musical), Joy Lynn Matthews* (Bway: The Music Man; Marie Christine), Roberto Araujo, Claudeen Benoit, Geri Brown, Jay Garcia*(Off-Bway: Altar Boyz), Ejyp Johnson, and Melissa Joyner all of whom are dedicated to supporting new musicals and whose credits encompass every major regional theater in the country, along with significant achievements in film, television and cabaret. Performances will be held at American Theatre of Actors (Chernuchin), 314 West 54th Street, (bet. 8th & 9th Avenues) in New York City from October 13th-18th. *Member, AEA

Street Lights is a new musical about a group of inner city teenagers who fight to save their high school music program from being shut down; in the process, they discover the power of music to unite their community and bring new hope to the residents of their troubled housing projects. The talented singer and songwriter Monique, her academically gifted brother Rocky and their beat-making DJ friend X-Ray all use organizing techniques pioneered during the civil rights movement to help rally the people around them to protect the neighborhood music that has helped sustain the community through thick and thin. When Monique begins to fall in love with Damon, a local drug dealer with a Robin Hood streak, she must choose between accepting the hard realities of the world she lives in or trying to change her neighborhood for the better.

Director and Co-Producer Ryan J. Davis conceived & directed the award-winning White Noise at the 2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival, and was featured on Good Morning America and Primetime Live. Other NYC projects include My Life on Craigslist & the annual Broadway Beauty Pageant. He recently directed Vote! the musical at FringeNYC and My Broken Brain at MITF. He serves on The Board of Directors of The Deconstructive Theatre Project, where he co-directed the play, Lilies. As a politico, Davis served in NH as GOTV Triage Lead at Obama's State Headquarters and was a member of the Obama Pride NYC Leadership Committee. He is a veteran of Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 Presidential Campaign and writes for The Hill & Huffington Post. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn. For his activism, Davis has been honored by The American Association Of Political Consultants and awarded a Nightlife Award by The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. He blogs daily.

Composer and Writer Joe Drymala is the original composer and original bookwriter for the satirical musicAl White Noise, which received its premiere at the 2006 NYMF and which received a Summer Theater Award for Outstanding Score that year; White Noise was subsequently optioned for Broadway, and recently was mounted in New Orleans as a tryout for the Broadway production. In 2003-4, he was the primary speechwriter on Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign where he wrote a feature-length article in Vanity Fair magazine on poverty in America on behalf of Gov. Dean, as well as writing a speech on race relations that was hailed by The Black Commentator magazine as "the most important statement on race in American politics by a mainstream white politician in nearly 40 years." He performs indie folk/country under the name Blueyed Son around Brooklyn and Manhattan (www.blueyedson.com).

Street Lights opens Tuesday, October 13 and runs through Sunday, October 18 for six performances on the following schedule: Tuesday, Oct. 13 @ 8pm; Wednesday, Oct. 14 @ 8pm; Friday, Oct. 16 @ 7pm; Saturday, Oct. 17 @ 1pm; Saturday, Oct. 17 @ 5pm; and Sunday, Oct. 18 @ 1pm.

Street Lights is 2 1/2 hours with one intermission.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.nymf.org/Show-1218.html, where more information can be found on the show, or by calling (212) 352-3101.

Mass Street Productions and Ryan J. Davis are co-producers of Street Lights. Director: Ryan J. Davis; Music Director: Sonny Paladino; Choreographer: Todd L. Underwood, SDC; Scenic Director: Hilary Noxon; Lighting Design: Brian Tovar; Costume Design: Nicky Smith; Sound Design: Andy Leviss; Consulting Producer: Martin Giannini; Company Manager: Jennifer McKnight; Music Coordinator: Howard Joines; Stage Manager: Ana Mari de Queseda*; Casting: Daryl Eisenberg, CSA; Marketing Director: Karen Rusch; Publicist: Paul Siebold.

Co-founded by Nathan Vernon and Marissa Rosenblum, Mass Street Productions recently associate produced the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway musical ROOMS A Rock Romance at New World Stages. Nathan, a graduate of the University of Kansas, has created his own Broadway group sales and marketing firm, Stage Seats, Inc. Marissa, also a graduate of the University of Kansas, has worked for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre since 2007. Member: 2008-2010 Women's Project Producers Lab.

Street Lights is an official selection of the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
The New York Musical Theatre Festival, now in its sixth year, has premiered more than 175 new musicals since 2004. The largest musical theatre event in America, NYMF has been hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," and is widely regarded as the key source for new material and talent discovery. NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF 2009 is presented in association with BroadwayWorld.com, Production Resource Group and TheaterMania.com, and is supported by Back Stage, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, BroadwayBox.com, BroadwayInsider.com, Broadway.TV, Clear Channel Spectacolor, DFD-TV, Frank & Camille's Fine Pianos, King Displays, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, New World Stages, NASDAQ OMX, Next Magazine, PMD Promotions, Queerty.com, Reuters, Sweet Caroline's, Tekserve, TheMenEvent.com, The Tank, and Times Square Squared. Major supporters include The ASCAP Foundation, BMI Foundation, Inc., The Broadway League, The BWF Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation with the support and encouragement of Jamie Mayer, The Charlie & Jane Fink Charitable Fund, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Theater League. NYMF is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. NYMF's programs are made possible with public funds 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 available for purchase at (212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org.

Bay Bridge Productions, founded by Jean Strong and Laura Wagner, produces independent film and Theatre Projects and creates web sites and interactive marketing campaigns for films and theatrical productions. Bay Bridge is currently producing Marc Spitz's Up for Anything at the Kraine Theatre in New York City, and recently produced Union Squared by David Singer (FringeNYC), Saving the Greeks by Jason Pizzarello (14th Street Theater), and How Love is Spelt by Chloe Moss (Summer Play Festival). Bay Bridge has created Web sites and interactive campaigns for many Broadway and National Touring shows including Irena's Vow, 33 Variations, The Story of My Life, American Buffalo, Cry-Baby, A Bronx Tale, Company, Grey Gardens, Jay Johnson: The Two and Only, and The Good Body. Off-Broadway: Fuerza Bruta, Beebo Brinker Chronicles, Jacques Brel..., The Fantasticks, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Bay Bridge produced the feature film Memorial Day, which recently premiered at the IFC Center and the CineVegas Film Festival. Other films include the short film Kill the Day, and the horror movie Candy Stripers.

Chris Bensinger is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine and The National Theater Institute and the CTI Producers program at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. After seeing the staged reading of the Richard Rodgers award winning musical "The Princess and The Black Eyed Pea" at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago he acquired its rights and went on to co produce the show with and at The San Diego Repertory Theater to sold out performances and rave reviews where it garnered multiple NAACP nominations. Along with producers Allan S. Gordon, Adam S. Gordon, and Elan McAllister, the show continues its trajectory towards a commercial production. Chris comes to professional theater first as an actor; Forbidden Broadway, Naked Highway, On The Brink and others.

Deborah Taylor invests in and produces projects on both coasts. She produced the seven-month critically acclaimed hit The Last Schwartz at The Zephyr on Melrose in Los Angeles, where she created the Zephyr reading series. She is the theatre's producing director. She is on the producing team for the AURORA THEATRE's new works program, The Gap, in Berkeley, CA, NY On/Off Broadway productions include Eve Ensler's The Goodbody, Cultural Industry's Shockheaded Peter, and Stomp/Las Vegas. Tracy Lett's Killer Joe, at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and Jocasta Rising in Cape Town, South Africa. She is the former Producing Director of Marin Theatre Company's New Works Program. A member of NYWIFT, BAWIFT, SF Film Arts Association and auxiliary board member of the San Francisco Ballet. She is a graduate of DSL in London and a recent graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institutes 2009 Producer Conference in New York, as well as CTI's producer conference at The O'Neill this summer. She is currently producing Slasher by Allison Moore opening at the ZEPHYR on MELROSE Oct. 29.

 




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