Constantine Maroulis, Mel Johnson, Jr., Grasan Kingsberry and More Sign on for WEARING BLACK Reading

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NewYorkRep and The Telling Company have announced casting for their upcoming staged reading of WEARING BLACK, the new musical featuring book, music and lyrics by Riley Thomas.

The cast will feature Mel Johnson, Jr. (The Lion King, Jekyll & Hyde), Grasan Kingsberry (The Color Purple, Motown The Musical), Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages, Jekyll & Hyde), Erin Maya (The Donkey Show), and Nora Schell (Spamilton).

Directed by Markus Potter, WEARING BLACK will play two performances on Monday, January 23, at 3PM and 7PM, at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street. Casting is by McCorkle Casting Ltd. Industry professionals who wish to attend one of the Jan. 23 WEARING BLACK presentations, e-mail RSVP@NewYorkRep.org (and indicate 3PM or 7PM).

Death ends a life, not a relationship. ...Set to a lush, contemporary musical theatre score, WEARING BLACK explores how addiction impacts families, how people grieve, and the different ways they accept and reject love. When his twin brother, a drug addict, suddenly passes away from his reckless life, all Evan wants to do is forget their complicated relationship and move on, but the tangled relationships his brother left behind keep Evan from truly letting go. As he slips into a spiral of his own self-destruction, Evan must make a stark decision: either accept and forgive his dead twin brother, or become him.

WEARING BLACK was first performed as a 15-minute snapshot at the 2011 West Village Musical Theatre Festival, then the full first act as part of the 2013 FRIGID Festival where it was awarded Best Original Score. WEARING BLACK was further developed at the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival event Riley Thomas: Looking Forward before a full production was presented at the 2015 NYMF. The score garnered critical attention praising Riley's "unique and exciting musical style" (TheaterMania), "gorgeous songwriting" (Talkin' Broadway), and recognizing "Riley Thomas is someone to watch" (Times Square Chronicles).

The musical received further development in 2016, while in residence at the Weston Playhouse with director Markus Potter.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Mel Johnson, Jr. (Hugh) Broadway: Jekyll and Hyde, Hot Feet, The Lion King,Big Deal, The Rink, Eubie!, On The 20th Century. National Tours: Frederick Douglass/In The Shadow of Slavery, Jelly's Last Jam. Off-Broadway: Road to Damascus, Road Show, Two Gentleman of Verona, Venus, Hamlet, Rap Master Ronnie. Film: Total Recall, American Bluenote, Hedious. Television: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, On The Air. Plus Numerous Regional Theatre Productions.

Grasan Kingsberry (Evan)Most recently appeared in the critically acclaimed 2016 Best Revival of The Color Purple. Broadway: Motown: The Musical, Nice Work...Get It, Leap Of Faith, On A Clear Day...Forever, Catch Me If You Can, Finian's Rainbow, The Color Purple, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aida;Tour: Motown The Musical (u/s Smokey Robinson), The Color Purple. Regional: Dreamgirls(Curtis; Northshore). One Night In Miami (Sam Cooke; Center Stage). TV: "Mozart in the Jungle" (Ben), "Z: The Beginning of Everything," "Royal Pains." Film: I Am Legend. Juilliard alumnus.

Constantine Maroulis (Nate) is an accomplished actor, producer, singer and songwriter best known for his Tony-nominated performance in Rock of Agesand his epic run as a finalist during the heyday of "American Idol." Currently, Constantine is developing a number of creative projects in TV and film, including Tony Nominated work as a producer of Broadway's revival of Deaf West's Spring Awakening, as well as recently releasing the singles, "Here I Come" and "She's Just Rock N Roll," from his upcoming album. Constantine recently closed out his starring role in the critically acclaimed Second Stage Theatre production of Friend Art. Find all his social media and tour dates at www.ConstantineMaroulis.com

Erin Maya (Kristin)has played the role of Kristin in Wearing Black since its workshop at the Frigid Festival, and in both the concert version and full production at NYMF. Favorite credits include: Helen in The Donkey Show (Boston original cast) directed by Diane Paulus at A.R.T., Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors at The Hangar Theatre, Janis Joplin in Beehive at Greenbrier VAlley Theatre, and making magic with Transcendence Theatre Company. B.F.A. Boston Conservatory. Proud AEA member. www.erinmaya.com

Nora Schell (Alyssa) graduated last May from The University of Michigan with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a minor in Gender, Race and Nation. She hails from Atlanta, GA and was seen in the original Off-Broadway production of Spamilton, for which she received a Clive Barnes nomination. She has recently been a part of several new works at such places as Playwrights Horizons, NAMT Festival and more. Big thanks to her fabulous agents at CGF and endless love to her supportive family.

Riley Thomas (Book, Music, Lyrics) is a New York based playwright/composer. Thomas's musicals Stuck and Wearing Black each had sold-out extended runs in the 2012 and 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festivals (respectively) and went on to collectively win five accolades, including recognitions for music, lyrics and book. Stuck has since been made into a full-length Hollywood feature film starring Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan and Ashanti with an expected winter 2016 release. Thomas is a 2016 Weston Playhouse Invited Artist, and has been awarded the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust Grant and the Johnny Mercer Songwriter's Certificate. www.RileyThomasWriter.com

Markus Potter (Director)is a NYC based, international director. Credits include Stalking the Bogeyman (New World Stages, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination, NY Times critics pick), Lost Boy Found In Whole Foods by Tammy Ryan at The Portland Stage Company, Why You Beasting by David Don Miller (Best of FringeNYC, transferred to the Players Theatre off-Broadway), North Carolina Stage Company, New Jersey Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, and Luna Stage. As actor: Guthrie Theatre, Long Wharf, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, San Francisco Shakespeare, Cherry Lane Theatre, Tour of Death of a Salesman with Christopher Lloyd, Studio Theatre DC, Denver Center. MFA: Columbia University. MarkusPotter.com

NEWYORKREP & THE TELLING COMPANY (Producers) was founded by Artistic Director Markus Potter and Executive Director Gayle Waxenberg with the passion to be a propelling force in the awareness of human, social issues through art. Their productions honestly and creatively address social and moral issues. Recent recognition: Outer Critics Circle Award nomination 'New American Play", Off-West End award nomination 'Best Production", and Bergen Record Top 10 productions of the year. www.NewYorkRep.org, www.TheTellingCompany.org

McCorkle Casting, LTD. (Casting Director). Over 55 Broadway productions including On the Town, Amazing Grace. High, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, The Glass Menagerie, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Stalking The Bogeyman, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Amadeus, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers, A Few Good Men. Notable Off-Broadway projects include; Clever Little Lies, Falling, Freud's Last Session, Almost Maine, Ears On A Beatle, Down The Garden Paths, Killer Joe, Mrs. Klein, Driving Miss Daisy. Over 50 feature films and 60 projects for television and new media.



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