Hunter Foster to Helm NYC Readings of FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Musical

Hunter Foster to Helm NYC Readings of FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Musical

Jayne Ackley Lynch Productions today announced staged readings for the new American musical Far From the Madding Crowd, directed by Hunter Foster with choreography by Lorin Latarro. Far From the Madding Crowd has music by Gary Schocker with book and lyrics by Barbara Campbell. Paul Masse will provide music direction.

Featured in the cast are Laura Darrell, Joe Dellger, Mark DiConzo, Michael Halling, Katherine Henly, Leah Horowitz, Polly McKie, Will Reynolds, Elena Ricardo, Aaron Riesebeck, Austin Scott, Hansel Tan, Julius Thomas III, and Alexandra Zorn.

The by-invitation-only readings will take place in New York City on November 17th & 18th.

Adapted from Thomas Hardy's novel, Far From the Madding Crowd charts the journey of Bathsheba Everdene, a young woman struggling to make her own way in a world that rigidly dictates women's roles and behavior. Orphaned as a girl, Bathsheba lives with her aunt on a remote farm. Although she longs for a better life, she is too independent to accept a marriage proposal from Gabriel Oak, a neighboring farmer. In the space of a few days, their lives undergo radical changes: Bathsheba inherits The Farm of her father's brother and Gabriel loses his. Bathsheba dismisses her dishonest bailiff and resolves to manage The Farm herself. She must cope with a suspicious fire and the skepticism of her laborers and fellow landowners about a woman's ability to handle her own affairs. She is assisted by Gabriel, who swallows his pride to accept a position as shepherd on her farm. While The Farm prospers, Bathsheba is less successful with her personal life. In a moment of mischief, she sends an anonymous valentine to her neighbor, William Boldwood. Although she regrets her behavior, Bathsheba can't bring herself to accept Boldwood's subsequent offer of marriage. Her actions lead to a bitter quarrel with Gabriel who leaves The Farm. Another man enters Bathsheba's life - Sgt. Frank Troy - who was engaged to one of her servants, Fanny Robin. After first courting then abandoning Fanny, Troy now relents and comes to Weatherbury in search of her. He meets Bathsheba and after a whirlwind courtship, they elope, crushing the hopes of both Gabriel and Boldwood. The honeymoon is brief. Troy proves no more responsible as a married man than he was as a bachelor, running up gambling debts and squandering Bathsheba's money. Only Gabriel's intervention saves her harvest from being ruined in a storm. Grateful for his help, she asks Gabriel to return to The Farm and he agrees. Troy encounters Fanny, penniless and pregnant with his child. He promises to help her, but Fanny dies before he can bring her the promised money. In a moment of rage and grief, Bathsheba discovers the truth about Troy and Fanny. Troy deserts Bathsheba and is presumed dead when his clothes are discovered on a beach. In the months that follow, Bathsheba attempts to put her life back together. Gabriel's guidance and friendship prove invaluable. Boldwood presses Bathsheba to become his wife. A beleaguered Bathsheba finally assents. At Boldwood's celebratory Christmas party, Troy returns and threatens Bathsheba. Boldwood kills him and is imprisoned. The following spring, Gabriel tells Bathsheba that he has decided to seek his fortune in America. Faced with his departure, a more mature Bathsheba recognizes that Gabriel is the man she needs and loves. Finally, they are united.

JAL Productions optioned the show for Broadway in 2014. Hunter Foster, Lorin Lorarro and Paul Masse joined the team this year.

For more information visit maddingcrowdmusical.com.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM:

Hunter Foster is an Artistic Associate at Bucks County Playhouse where he has directed Company, Ain't Misbehavin', The Buddy Holly Story, National Pastime, The Rocky Horror Show (2013, 2014 and 2016), Summer of '42, and It's a Wonderful Life. His other directing credits include Cabaret, My Fair Lady (Cape Playhouse), Grease (North Carolina Theatre), Spamalot (Casa Manana) and has directed productions of Million Dollar Quartet for the Ogunquit Playhouse, Gateway Playhouse and Westchester Broadway Theatre. This spring he will direct the play adaptation of the movie Clue for Bucks County Playhouse. As a book writer he has written the book to the musical Jasper in Deadland, which played at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle in Spring 2015 following its world premiere at Prospect Theater Company in NYC. Hunter also wrote the book to the Off-Broadway musical Summer of '42 which opened at the Variety Arts Theatre in New York City and was nominated for an Outer Critic Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical. Other recent book writing credits include The Circus in Winter (Goodspeed Musicals), Clyde and Bonnie: A Folktale (New York Musical Theatre Festival, Aurora Theatre), The Hollow (Signature Theatre) and Blue Ridge Sky. As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway in The Bridges of Madison County, Hands on a Hardbody, Million Dollar Quartet, The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors (Tony nomination), Urinetown, Les Miserables, Footloose, Grease and King David. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BFA in Musical Theatre).

Lorin Latarro recently choreographed Broadway's Waitress, the Broadway transfer of Donmar Warehouse's Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and is the Associate Choreographer of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Other choreography includes Lin-Manuel Miranda's This American Life: 21 Chump Street - BAM, Shaina Taub's Twelfth Night and Lear, DeBessonet's The Odyssey at the Delacorte - Public Theater, Queen of the Night (Drama Desk Award), Dear Mr. Rosewater and Fanny at Encores, Best Is Yet To Come (Drama Desk Award) 59E59, Beaches The Musical - Drury Lane. Peter and The Wolf - BAM, Green Day's Grammy Performance, Kiss Me Kate - Barrington Stage Co, Bruce Hornsby's SCKBSTRD - Signature, PBS Live From Lincoln Center, Die Zauberflote and Love For Three Oranges - Juilliard Opera. Ingmar Bergman's Nora-Westport Playhouse, Jasper In Deadland - Prospect Theater Company, My Fair Lady - Cape Playhouse, City Club - Minetta Lane. Lorin was the Associate Choreographer of American Idiot and The Met's Rigoletto. Upcoming Choreography: Monsoon Wedding at Berkeley Rep, As You Like It with music by Tom Kitt, and a world premiere of an updated La Traviata at The Met with Michael Mayer.

Paul Masse is thrilled to collaborate with Hunter on this project, after successful productions together of Cabaret (Cape Playhouse), The Buddy Holly Story and Summer of '42 (Bucks County). Broadway conducting credits include The Scottsboro Boys, Holler If Ya Hear Me, It Shoulda Been You, Fun Home, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Avenue Q, Wicked. Over 20 other Broadway shows as a pianist and accordionist. Musical Supervisor for London's West End premiere of The Scottsboro Boys. Off-Broadway: The Landing, Inner Voices ("Borrowed Dust"), Jacques Brel.... Regional: Sense and Sensibility, First You Dream (Kennedy Center, and subsequent PBS broadcast). 1st National/LA: Wicked. Various film/TV soundtracks. Original cast albums: The Landing, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, It Shoulda Been You, She Loves Me (2016 Revival), The Scottsboro Boys (Original Cast and West End Cast), Noel and Cole. Concert performances with NY Pops, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and NY Philharmonic (PBS "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast of Show Boat).

Gary Schocker is a multi-talented musician of remarkable versatility. A notably prolific composer, he is recognized worldwide as a flutist and also performs as a pianist and harpist. Schocker often performs his own works, many of which have become standard concert repertoire for flutists around the world. His compositions appear on many commercial recordings including the all-Schocker CDs "Garden In Harp" and two Christmas collections for solo harp, performed by harpist Emily Mitchell. Schocker's recordings of his own flute music include the CDs "Airborne," Regrets and Resolutions," "Dream Travels" with guitarist Jason Vieaux, "For Dad," and "Flute Forest," as well as two Music Minus One collections performing his own works. Schocker has also performed solo recital CDs of the Mozart flute quartets, and baroque repertoire by Bach, Handel, and Telemann. His musicals Far From the Madding Crowd and The Awakening can both be heard on the Original Cast Recordings label and have been performed in New York, Cardiff, Christchurch, and Edinborough. Both shows were winners of the Global Search for New Musicals in the UK. Schocker is also involved in the design of flutes, and the Gary Schocker Headjoint was created together with flutemaker David Williams. As a flute teacher Schocker has a reputation worldwide for an incisive and sensitive approach which helps connect and free players through examining their underlying physical choices, based in part on the Alexander Technique of which he is a longtime student. He maintains busy private teaching studios in New York City and his home town of Easton, PA. Schocker is also on the faculty at New York University. Schocker's popular flute retreats have been given since 2003 at Holy Cross Monastery on the Hudson River in upstate NY. Please visit www.garyschocker.com for more.

Barbara Campbell began her musical theater career as an actress, performing in summer stock and dinner theatre. She met composer Gary Schocker while attending the Lehman Engel/BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City. She has written more than a dozen musicals for children and families. Her choral pieces have been published by Theodore Presser, Warner/Chappell Music, Columbia Pictures/Belwin Mills, Coronet Press, and Falls House Press. They have been performed throughout the U.S. and as part of Lincoln Center's "Meet the Artist" series. With composer Byron Janis, she wrote "A Hero Passing By," the theme from the TBS television special "Gary Cooper: American Life, American Legend." Her first full-length musical, Far From the Madding Crowd, has been showcased at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the Global Search for New Musicals, the Edinburgh International Festival, and Theater League's Festival of New Musicals. The Awakening, her second full-length collaboration with Mr. Schocker, was showcased at the Global Search for New Musicals and received a concert reading at Theatre Building Chicago. In addition to writing for the musical theatre, Barbara is the author of the epic fantasy trilogy Trickster's Game published by DAW Books (Heartwood, Bloodstone, Foxfire), 2010 finalist for the Mythopoeic Award for Fantasy Literature. As Barbara Ashford, she wrote the award-winning "Spells at the Crossroads" series ("Spellcast," "Spellcrossed"), a romantic fantasy based in part on her experiences in summer stock theatre.

Jayne Ackley Lynch has been an entertainment industry professional for over thirty years, with extensive experience on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in National Tours, and regional theater company productions as an actor/singer. She has always had a great interest in producing theater as well and has produced many concerts, staged readings and a multi-cultural music festival with 100 performers. In 2012 Jayne was accepted into the Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) mentorship program for emerging producers. This led to her first commercial producing experience on Broadway, with Grace, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Ed Asner. Through TRU she also met the multi-Tony award winning producer, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, who became her mentor and friend and who continues to mentor her to this day. "I first became aware of Gary and Barbara's musical adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd when it was done in the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF). I had been intrigued with the story since seeing the 1967 John Schlesinger film, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terence Stamp, and Peter Finch. It resonates with me because it revolves around a strong and complex young woman, who chooses to make her way in the world running a farm by herself at a time when women's options were limited to marriage or servitude. It is a story rich with complex characters endowed with both nobility and defects, a story of love, obsession, greed, and ultimately happiness and harmony. So I decided it was time for this adaptation to have a commercial production and began the journey to Broadway."

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