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Luba Mason & Karen Kohler to Lead Robert Sickinger's NICHOLAS NICKLEBY at TNC, 4/17-5/5

Theater for the New City, Crystal Field, Executive Director presents Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical based on the classic Charles Dickens novel with book by Robert Sickinger, music and lyrics by Alaric Jans. Performances will be staged Off-Broadway at the Joyce and Seward Johnson Theater at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (bet. 9th and 10th Streets), New York, NY 10003 from April 17-May 5, 2014.

Lissa Moira will direct a cast of 35, including Broadway star Luba Mason* (Chicago, Jekyll & Hyde, How to Succeed, Sunset Blvd.), Cabaret luminary Karen Kohler* (Das Cabaret, Vienna to Weimar w/ KT Sullivan), Becca Gottlieb* (Nat. Tours: Damn Yankees, The Wedding Singer), and Douglas McDonnell (Metropolitan & New York City Operas), with Rachel Daye Adams, William Broderick*, Jonathan Powers, David F. Slone, Jose Amor, Sage Bachalter, Anik Baker, Malin Barr, Alex Baturin, Rachel Baum, Sam Benedict, Thom Brown, Autumn Nia Fore, Virginia Franks, Carlos Gomez, Hannah Granik, Chloe Himmelman, Larry E. Johnson, Patrick Kenner, Stephanie Leone, Gloria Makino*, David "Zen" Mansley, Rita McCann, Tanner Murray, Chris Neher, Nia Nichole, Elisa Nikoloulias, Holly Rae Phillips*, Robert Charles Russell, Mary Elizabeth Schneider, and Amanda Yachechak. *Member, Actors' Equity Association. AEA Showcase.

Join the Crummles Troupe in protest mode as they bring The Nickleby Family, The Squeers, The Cheerybles, Smike, Newman Noggs and an array of early Victorian era characters to life. Left penniless after his father's death, teenage Nicholas, his mother and sister embark on a journey to London to seek help from their Uncle Ralph, who immediately dislikes Nicholas and finds work for him in The Squeers' boarding school. Run like a prison, Nicholas is horrified by the school's conditions and escapes with crippled friend Smike back to London. Reunited with his family, Nicholas finds himself defending the honor of his family and friends against his Uncle's deceptions. With a cast of 36, including six children, Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical, has all of the comedic satire and memorable characters of Dickens' famous romantic 1830's novel with themes of class inequality and social injustice still relevant today.

Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical is suitable for all ages.

Lissa Moira (director) AEA, SAG, AFTRA is also a playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, poet and artist. Out of 5,000 world-wide submissions, Ms. Moira's play TIME IT IS was chosen as a top ten finalist in the prestigious Chesterfield/Paramount screenwriting competition. Ms. Moira's 2007 play Before God Was Invented was an American nominee for the Susan Brownell-Smith International Playwrights Award. Ms. Moira co-wrote "Dead Canaries," a feature film starring Charles Durning, Dan Lauria, Dee Wallace Stone and Joel Higgins. With co-writer Richard West, Lissa's well known for Sexual Psychobabble and The Best S*x of the XX Century Sale. Both ran over a year and each enjoyed critical and popular success. The Moira/West team's DaDa noir musical, Who Murdered Love? featured Broadway's Luba Mason and Tracy McDowell as well as William Broderick. It originated at Theater for the New City and ran at the Players Theatre as part of the 2012 FringeNYC (Ms. Moira directed as well). Other directing/co-writing credits include Sirens Heart: Norma Jeane and Marilyn in Purgatory (which enjoyed a 14-month Off-Broadway run at The Actor's Temple), and Tom Jones a new musical (Bloomberg Radio declared the directing "beautiful, fine and fresh"). Of her directing work on Cocaine Dreams, a play about Freud at The Kraine Theatre, the New York Post raved "inspired."

Robert Sickinger (book) 1926-2013, was a director, actor and widely considered "the father of Chicago's Off Loop theater movement," a key figure in creating a network of theater companies equivalent to New York's Off-Broadway and Off Off Broadway. He introduced audiences to writers like Athol Fugard, Edward Albee, and Harold Pinter. He is described by The New York Times as having seeded a Chicago theater scene that evolved into one of the country's greatest. Sickinger made his mark as a director in Philadelphia where he created several theater companies before moving to Chicago in 1963 at the age of 35 at the invitation of the Hull House executive director Paul Jans. From Hull House, he built several theater companies, a touring company, a "chamber theater" for staged readings in private homes, acting classes and a writers' workshop. He was a Samuel Beckett aficionado and mounted nontraditional productions of classic works by Sophocles' Electra and Camus' Caligula to name a few. Playwright and screenwriter David Mamet called Sickinger "one of the greatest directors I've ever known.... He invented the Chicago theater of today," which now boasts over 200 theatres. Sickinger moved to New York City in 1969, and in the 1970s, he directed the feature film "Love in a Taxi" and others. He served as executive director at the Manhattan Theatre Club where in 1972 he directed his controversial "rockumentary" 22 Years, about convicted multiple-murderer Charles Manson. This production of Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical represents a culmination of Robert Sickinger's love of literature, music and theatre. One of Robert Sickinger's final projects, it is presented as a tribute to him and his work.

Alaric "Rokko" Jans (music and lyrics) is Chicago's most noted composer for theater and film, where he first started working with the late Robert Sickinger in 1965. He has composed over thirty scores for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where he held the Bob Tilles chair, and is a company member of Provision Theater. Jans is a six-time Joseph Jefferson Award Winner for his work in Chicago theater, as well as an After Dark Award winner. Broadway credits include music for The Water Engine (in which he appeared as "the Musician") and music and lyrics for Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (with James Quinn). His family musical, The Adventures of Captain Marbles & His Acting Squad has been presented off-Broadway. Several films directed by David Mamet feature Mr. Jans's music: House of Games, Things Change, Homicide, and The Winslow Boy. His music has been performed around the world, from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the U.S Army Chorus.

Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical is presented by Theater for the New City. Co-Producer: Jo-Ann Sickinger; Director: Lissa Moira; Music Director: Alaric Jans; Choreographer: J. Alan Hanna; Costume Designer: Jennifer Anderson (The Lion King); Set Designer: Mark Marcante; Sound Designer: Roy Chang; Props Designer: Lytza Colon; Lighting Designer: Alex Bartenieff.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling 212-868-4444.

Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue (bet. East 9th and East 10th Streets), New York, NY 10003.

Photo by Peter Welch

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