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Lilli Cooper, Rebecca Luker and More Set for Breaking Bread Theatre's Invitation-Only ELLA MINNOW PEA, 10/25 & 26

New York's newest theater company Breaking Bread Theatre, under the leadership of Co-Artistic Directors Joe Calarco and Jen Waldman, with Third Coast Creative, present a developmental lab of the new musical Ella Minnow Pea by Larson Award-winning writers Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel. The invitation-only presentations will be held October 25 – 26.

Breaking Bread Theatre was founded by Joe Calarco, Jen Waldman, Wendy Dann and Steve Pacek.

Directed by Joe Calarco, Ella Minnow Pea is based on the 2001 novel by Mark Dunn. Dominick Amendum (Wicked) is music director and Matthew Doebler (Wicked) is associate music director.

In this compelling and smart new musical, the island of Nollop is thrown into chaos when letters start tumbling from a revered saying emblazoned in the town square. Taking it as a sign, the local government forbids the use of each letter as it falls. As infractions are met with harsher and harsher punishments, one brave woman leads the fight to save the English language from shrinking into prehistoric grunts.

The Ella Minnow Pea lab cast features Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening) as Ella, three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins), Steven Skybell (Wicked), Donna Lynne Champlin (NYSF's As You Like It), Tommy McDowell (American Idiot national tour), Sherry Boone (Lost in the Stars), Heidi Blickenstaff (title of show), Nehal Joshi (Les Miserables revival), Michael Di Liberto (Annie national tour), Aaron Serotsky (The Blue Flower), Joseph Medeiros (Guys and Dolls), Mariand Torres (Wicked), Glory Curda, and Wolgang Scheitinger.

Scott Burkell (Book and Lyrics), Paul Loesel (Music) Scott and Paul's songs have been premiered by Kristin Chenoweth (Carnegie Hall), Rebecca Luker (The Kennedy Center, Symphony Space), Marin Mazzie (Lincoln Center), Jason Danieley (Joe's Pub), Stephanie J. Block (Birdland), and Liz Callaway (Chicago Humanities Festival.) They have received the Jonathan Larson and Burton Lane Awards and recordings of their work appear on Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley's Opposite You, Stephanie J. Block's This Place I Know, and Rebecca Luker's Greenwich Time. (Sorta) Love Songs, their debut CD, is on the Sh-K-Boom Records label. Their musical The Extraordinary Ordinary received a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant, an ASCAP workshop, a CAP21 workshop, and productions at the Philly Fringe Festival, Farmers Alley Theatre, and Off-Broadway's Clurman Theatre. Musical revues: Love Songs and Other Crap (MAC Award nomination) and Sorta Love Songs (Birdland).

Joe Calarco (Director/Co-Artistic Director) New York: Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Second Stage, the Lucille Lortel, The Transport Group, and Lincoln Center. Regional: Signature Theater, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage Company, the O'Neill Music Theater Conference, Berkshire Theater Festival, 11th Hour Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company. As a writer his published works include Walter Cronkite is Dead, In the Absence of Spring, and Shakespeare's R&J. He is a Drama League Directing Fellow and sits on the Executive Board of the directors union SDC. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, 2 Barrymore Awards, and 4 Helen Hayes Awards.

Jen Waldman (Co-Artistic Director) Direction, Choreography, and Movement Direction: George Street Playhouse, Alley Theatre, York Theatre, Joe's Pub, Cape Playhouse, Merry Go Round Playhouse, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Depot Theatre, Worcester Foothills Theatre. Acting credits include - Broadway: Wicked (also National Tour – Nessa Rose), Titanic (also National Tour). Off Broadway: Heat Lightning, Dreams This Way, and John and Paul. Regional: North Shore Music Theatre, TUTS, Westport Country Playhouse, Pioneer Theatre, Weston Playhouse, Bay Street Theatre, and more. BFA Ithaca College. Owner – Jen Waldman Studio in NYC.

Third Coast Creative is a Houston based Production Company established to pursue uniquely talented stage and film artists and support them in creating and producing new works. The goal is to achieve critical artistic acclaim as well as commercial success. The company, led by founders Deborah and Monte Stavis, seeks out talented writers, musicians, performers and directors across the country and provides them with the opportunity to showcase their work. Third Coast Creative embraces collaboration among artists and producers to create awe-inspiring art onstage and onscreen. In the fall of 2010, Third Coast Creative, in association with Dreamlight Theatre Company presented a developmental production of Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel's The Extraordinary Ordinary at New York's Clurman Theatre.

Breaking Bread Theatre is dedicated to nurturing new works for the theatre. Developmental workshops, world premiere productions of plays and musicals, and mentoring programs for emerging writers are the cornerstones of their mission. The company says yes to the unknown artist and yes to the "unproduceable." Breaking Bread strives to make theatre a social event: an opportunity for people to come together and discover their common humanity.

Follow Breaking Bread Theatre on Facebook and Twitter or go to their website at

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