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Jim Kierstead and Katy Lipson Partner to Develop New Musicals in New York and London

Jim Kierstead and Katy Lipson Partner to Develop New Musicals in New York and London

New York City based Tony and Olivier Award-winning theatre and film producer, Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions (Kinky Boots, Matilda, Waitress), has announced a new partnership with London's Award-winning producer, Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment (The Addams Family, Hair, The Toxic Avenger, Yank, Little Women, Pippin, and recipient of a Stage One Bursary & Start-Up Award, OFFIES 2017 Producer Of The Year and The Stage 100's Most Influential Figures 2018), who are joining forces to develop and present new and groundbreaking productions on both sides of the Atlantic in Off-Broadway/Off-West End-sized venues.

Their first co-production will be the new Bill Russell (Book and Lyrics) and Janet Hood (Music) musical, Unexpected Joy, that will receive its Off-Broadway premiere at The York Theatre Company from April 24 - May 20, 2018 before a run at London's Southwark Playhouse from September 6 - 29, 2018. Both productions will be directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, but will be individual and unique in casting and design elements. Full casting and creative team will be announced shortly.

The two producers met when Jim Kierstead joined Katy Lipson on the transfer of the musical Yank! - A World War II Love Story from the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, to London's Charing Cross Theatre, in the summer of 2017. Kierstead had been one of the original producers of the show Off-Broadway in 2010 at The York Theatre Company. The two realized that they shared the same passion for developing new musicals from the ground up and reconceiving old favorites in original and inventive ways.

Jim Kierstead says of the partnership, "From the moment I met Katy, I knew we would get along wonderfully. She has boundless energy and endless ideas. She also is a tremendous multitasker and is incredibly organized, so we get along amazingly well." He went on to add, "We can discuss ten different ideas in the span of ten minutes without getting confused. It's a rare trait. I'm looking forward to the first of many collaborations together using this new model, as Unexpected Joy is a show that's near and dear to my heart, as I've spent the past 6 years developing it with the authors. Stay tuned for our next collaboration!"

Katy Lipson had this to share about the new partnership, "This is a very exciting time in Aria's journey; Not only are we delighted to be co-presenting this incredible new musical which celebrates female empowerment with 4 great roles for women both in New York Off-Broadway and London's Southwark Playhouse, but also to be collaborating with American producer Jim Kierstead on a new relationship which will see us working on similar co-productions of new chamber musicals both in the UK and across the pond."

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air - Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she's planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman. A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected. Let the sparks and music fly!

In a time when the awareness of diversity and acceptance in society is at an all-time high, it's the perfect opportunity to examine differences within our own families. It's easy sometimes to disregard strangers who believe and live differently than the way we do, but what happens when those differences occur within our own family units?Unexpected Joy explores this concept by introducing three generations of women who have different values, dreams, and goals. After drawing strong lines in the sand about what behaviors and thoughts each deems to be acceptable and unacceptable, at the end of the day, the question really is how can people get along and be the family they were always meant to be by finding common ground. Through laughter, tears, self-discovery, and an original and compelling score, Unexpected Joy encourages its characters, as well as the audience, to take a journey of self-discovery because, at the end of the day, we really are all just one big family.

The York Theatre Company production of the Off-Broadway premiere of Unexpected Joy begins performances on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 for a limited engagement throughSunday afternoon, May 20, 2018 at the York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Opening Night is Thursdayevening, May 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

The York Theatre Company production of Unexpected Joy at The York Theatre will play the following performance schedule: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.*, Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.* & 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. (*Audience discussion follow the matinee performance.)

NOW ON SALE, York Theatre Company tickets for Unexpected Joy are priced at $67.50 - $72.50 and may be purchased by calling (212) 935-5820, online, or in person at the box office at the York Theatre at Saint Peter's (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue), Mondaythrough Friday (12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.). Senior Rush tickets are available in-person beginning one hour prior to performances for $20 cash only. Student tickets can be purchased anytime in advance at the box office during regular box office business hours. Limit one ticket per valid student ID and tickets are subject to availability. Student tickets are $20.00 cash or credit. The York Theatre also offers $25 tickets for guests aged 35 years and under. Groups of 10 or more, contact Great White Way at 212-757-9117, or

York Theatre Company offers the York! Membership Program, an exclusive membership package for as low as $75.00-with elite benefits that include up to 35% off tickets to York Theatre Productions, exclusive Member pre-sale opportunities, 50% off on all lobby concessions, 20% off on all lobby merchandise, in addition to special Member-only receptions. The York also offers a York Plus! Membership Program with additional perks, including complimentary tickets to Mainstage productions and invites to several VIP-only presentations throughout the season.

York Memberships can be purchased online at, or by visiting the York Theatre Company Box Office (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54thStreet, just east of Lexington Avenue), or by calling the Box Office at (212) 935-5820 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)

For additional information about the York Theatre Company production, please visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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