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Kathryn Gallagher, Drew Gehling, Rebecca Naomi Jones & More To Star in EMPIRE RECORDS: THE MUSICAL Industry Reading

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Empire Records: The Musical is based on the cult-hit 90s film starring Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, and more.

Kathryn Gallagher, Drew Gehling, Rebecca Naomi Jones & More To Star in EMPIRE RECORDS: THE MUSICAL Industry Reading

Empire Records: The Musical will receive a private industry reading helmed by Obie Award-winning director Trip Cullman (Choirboy) on December 7, 2021 at Roundabout Studios in NYC. The musical features original music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson Grant winner Zoe Sarnak, and a book by the film's screenwriter Carol Heikkinen (Center Stage),

The cast of the reading features Tony Award nominee Kathryn Gallagher (Jagged Little Pill, Deaf End's Spring Awakening), Drew Gehling (Waitress, Jersey Boys), Drama Desk Award nominee Rebecca Naomi Jones (Oklahoma!, American Idiot), Lorna Courtney (Dear Evan Hansen, West Side Story), Hilary Fisher (Cyrano, Pamela's First Musical), Ilan Eshkenazi (Sing Street), newcomer Brody Grant, De'Lon Grant (Come From Away), Veronica Otim (Jagged Little Pill), J Daughtry (Ain't Too Proud, The Color Purple), Sam Poon (Sing Street, The King and I), Eric Weigand (Plaza Suite), Gabe Violett (Spring Awakening), and Ashley Perez Flanagan (Freestyle Love Supreme, ...The Great Comet of 1812). The reading has music direction by Grammy Award Nominee Bryan Perri, casting by Stephen Kopel & Carrie Gardner, and stage management by Narda E. Alcorn.

Empire Records, the last of the independent small-town record stores, employs a tight-knit group of music-savvy youths. Hearing that the shop may be sold to a big chain, slacker employee Lucas places a big bet with a chunk of the store's money, hoping to get a big return and save the store. When plans go awry, Empire Records falls into serious trouble, and the teens must find a way to fend off the encroaching Music Town overlords.

Released in 1995 by New Regency, the film Empire Records starred Liv Tyler, Renée Zellweger, Anthony LaPaglia, Robin Tunney, Rory Cochrane, Ethan Embry and Johnny Whitworth, directed by Allan Moyle. The film quickly cemented its status as a cult classic, and 25 years later, it is still hailed by BuzzFeed as "the film of a generation" and "the teen-movie equivalent of the mid-'90s alt-rock zeitgeist... a film that managed, however oddly, to capture the ineffable feeling of being a quasi-alienated teenager in a very specific time."

"The movie was really about a family that formed among these minimum-wage record clerks," said Carol Heikkinen. "There's a lot of nostalgia now for those old record stores where you could go and talk to people who loved the same music you loved, and discover new bands. We hope the musical will capture the memory of what it was like to be young in a time before iTunes and Spotify - music is such an important part of the youth experience, and it's what brings these characters together. Zoe's the perfect partner for this; the movie was part of her adolescence and she not only gets the music, but the themes of friendship and family."

"I first saw Empire Records when my older sister brought it home on VHS - I remember sneaking into the TV room while she was watching it with her friends," said Zoe Sarnak. "Over the years, I watched it again and again because that cast - those characters - were my idea of the coolest misfits. Teenagers who loved music as much as I did, and still do. The film's music so iconically captured the sound of that decade - a sound that has indelibly shaped my own aesthetic."

Bill Weiner, who jumpstarted New Regency's theatrical stage business and served as the studio's Executive Vice President and General Counsel for 23 years, said "I am beyond thrilled to bring this iconic film to the Broadway stage. As a film, Empire Records captured the hearts of millions of Americans, and I am so excited for Carol's words to be brought together with Trip's vision, and Zoe's incredible music and lyrics. This team has such a passion for this story, and the time in our culture that it encapsulates so wonderfully."

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