Casting Announced For Transport Group's World Premiere Of New Musical RENASCENCE

Transport Group has announced casting for its world premiere musical, Renascence, which begins performances Friday, October 5 at 7:30pm, at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street. Renascence has music by Carmel Dean (musical director If/Then, American Idiot), book by Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture), and lyrics from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The musical is directed by artistic director Jack Cummings III and Dick Scanlan. The opening is set for Thursday, October 25 at 7:30pm.

The cast of Renascence features Mikaela Bennett (The Golden Apple), Hannah Corneau (Hedwig and the Angry Inch national tour), Jason Gotay (Bring it On), Danny Harris Kornfeld (Rent national tour), Katie Thompson (Giant, Pump Boys and Dinettes) and Donald Webber Jr. (Hamilton, Whorl Inside a Loop).

Renascence is the story of the radical, reckless, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, who lived one hundred years ago, a hundred years ahead of her time. At eighteen she writes a staggeringly profound poem that rocks the literary world and transforms her from rural Mainer into a virtual cause célèbre. Vincent captivates everyone in her orbit-male and female-and is hero-worshipped for her unabashed intellect and frank sensuality. She works her newfound fame, leaving in her wake broken relationships with those who believed in her before anyone else.

Carmel Dean has been the musical director and/or vocal arranger of If/Then, American Idiot, Hands on a Hardbody, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She performed on the Grammy Awards with Green Day, has worked with jam-band Phish, and has music directed/arranged for Broadway legend Chita Rivera. She is a proud graduate of NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and is a member of BMI's Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop. Renascence marks Carmel Dean's professional debut as a composer.

Dick Scanlan wrote the book and lyrics for Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award Best Musical), co-wrote the book for Everyday Rapture (Tony nomination), and served as script consultant to Berry Gordy for Motown: The Musical. He co-wrote with Sherie Rene Scott and co-directed with Michael Mayer Whorl Inside a Loop at Second Stage. His reinvented version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown had its world premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company and was produced by the Muny in St. Louis. With Jeanine Tesori, he wrote the song "The Girl in 14G" for Kristin Chenoweth. In 2015, he directed Jake Gyllenhaal and Ellen Greene in Little Shop of Horrors at Encores! Off-Center. His novel, Does Freddy Dance, was published by Alyson Publications.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 - October 19, 1950) was an American poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923 and was known for her feminist activism. She was one of the most famous women in America in the 1920s and 1930s. Edna (who called herself "Vincent") was born in Rockland, Maine and her childhood was spent with her divorced single mother and two sisters living in poverty. Millay's fame began in 1912 when she entered her poem "Renascence" in a poetry contest in The Lyric Year. The poem was widely considered the best submission, and when it was ultimately awarded fourth place, it created a scandal that brought Millay publicity.

The first-place winner, Orrick Johns, was among those who felt that"Renascence" was the best poem, stating that "the award was as much an embarrassment to me as a triumph." In the immediate aftermath of the Lyric Year controversy, wealthy arts patron Caroline B. Dow was so impressed with Millay that she offered to pay for her education at Vassar College. After graduating, Millay moved to New York City and while establishing her career as a poet, she worked with The Provincetown Players and was one of the founders of the Cherry Lane Theater. In 1925, Millay moved to Steepletop, a former blueberry farm, near Austerlitz, New York, which today is part of a state forest preserve, is open to the public as a museum, and serves as home to the Millay Colony for the Arts.

The scenic design for Renascence is by Brett J. Banakis; costume design is by Ásta Bennie Hostetter; lighting design is by Jen Schreiver; sound design is by Kai Harada. Geraldine Anello serves as musical director; Scott Rink as choreographer. Orchestrations are by Michael Starobin. The production stage manager is Joanna Muhlfelder; production manager is Sean Gorski. Casting is by Nora Brennan Casting. Renascence is produced in association with Anne L. Bernstein.

Transport Group is the recent recipient of a special citation from New York Drama Critics' Circle and has also received a special Drama Desk Award recognizing its "breadth of vision and presentation of challenging productions." The company has also received a special citation from the Obie Awards as well as numerous other awards and award nominations from the Outer Critics' Circle, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Off-Broadway Alliance, Drama League, and others. Founded in 2001, Transport Group stages new works and re-imagined revivals-both plays and musicals-that explore the challenges of relationship and identity in modern America. Currently headed by founder Jack Cummings III (Artistic Director) and Lori Fineman (Executive Director), Transport Group most recently produced the critically acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke with Classic Stage Company starring Marin Ireland and Nathan Darrow, Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude starring David Greenspan (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance as well as an Obie Award for Greenspan, Cummings and Transport Group), and Picnic & Come Back, Little Sheba: William Inge in Rep, which received two Drama Desk nominations and three Obie Awards (Jack Cummings III for direction, Heather Mac Rae for performance, Dane Laffrey for scenic design).

Additional recent productions include the first off-Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress, starring Jackie Hoffman and John "Lypsinka" Epperson; Three Days To See, a world premiere theatrical exploration of Helen Keller through her own writings; the critically acclaimed revival of John Cariani's modern classic Almost, Maine; and a re-imagined revival of the John Van Druten classic I Remember Mama which was included in the New York Times' Top Ten productions of 2014 and The New Yorker's top cultural moments of 2014. In addition to mainstage productions, Transport Group also produces one-night-only, star-studded concert events, often featuring the productions' original orchestrations performed by as many as 60 actors and musicians. Concert titles have included Baby (2012), Once Upon a Mattress (2013), The Music Man (2014), Peter Pan (2016), A Man of No Importance (2016), Man of La Mancha (2017) and Promises, Promises (2018).

Renascence plays Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3:00pm through November 17, 2018 at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street (F to Delancey Street; J or M to Essex Street; D or B to Grand Street). Tickets are $59-$79 and available by visiting transportgroup.org or by phoning 866-811-4111. For complete schedule and more information, visit transportgroup.org.

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