Maltby & Shire's New Musical Adaptation of THE COUNTRY WIFE Gets Reading at Red Bull Theater

Red Bull Theater today announced a very special Revelation Reading: for two nights only, on Sunday, June 18th and Monday June 19th at The Duke on 42nd Street (229 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues) Red Bull will present a concert reading of THE COUNTRY WIFE, a new musical adapted from the play of the same name by William Wycherley by Richard Maltby Jr. with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and music by David Shire, and direction by Mr. Maltby.

Featured in the cast are Louis Butelli, Lilli Cooper, Ed Dixon, John Edwards, Carson Elrod, Kim Exum, Ann Harada, Maria-Christina Oliveras, T. Oliver Reid, Donald Webber Jr., LaVon Fisher-Wilson, and more to be announced.

Tickets are available at or by phone at (212) 352-3101.

In this, the most deliciously bawdy of Restorations comedies. a licentious London rake has been transformed into a Louisiana libertine-although what Harry Horner wants is still a piece of overripe fruit...or all of them. The award-winning team of Maltby and Shire (Closer Than Ever, Baby) stir up this delectable gumbo of Caribbean, Creole, and Cajun-inspired culture in a musical retelling set in Antebellum New Orleans. Don't miss this all-star concert presentation of a new work-in-progress. The upper-class rake Harry Horner begins a campaign for seducing as many respectable ladies as possible and devises and unique and hilarious way to do it. But his scheme gets derailed by the arrival of an inexperienced young "country wife."

"Ever since creating Ain't Misbehavin', based on Fats Waller, I've been intrigued by the thought of doing an American version of a Restoration comedy -- since they share the same comic sensibility. I wanted a setting where there was a culturally diverse population -and hit upon New Orleans, well before the Civil War, like 1840, when the Mississippi had just been opened, when businessmen were making fortunes, and acquiring trophy wives who they then neglected, and whose population was a bouillabaisse of French settlers, Southern aristocrats, American adventurers, French Arcadians - the Cajuns -- from Canada, Creoles, mulattos, educated refugees from the revolution in Haiti, and wealthy blacks who actually owned plantations - all brought together in this, the most European city in America -- where the morals were high and the actions ignored them. The play I chose was the raunchiest of all the restoration comedies, The Country Wife, written by William Wycherley, " said Mr. Maltby.

"Red Bull is thrilled to present its first reading of a new musical, especially this one written by the living legend team of Maltby & Shire! I love the idea that Richard and David Are adapting the most hilarious, fun and sex-filled Restoration Comedy ever written, of course a natural for Red Bull. When Richard shared their first sketch for it with me, I knew we had to do it. The results are sure to be an absolute delight, and I can't wait to enjoy it with audiences this spring," said Mr. Berger.

Richard Maltby Jr. BROADWAY: Conceived and directed two Tony Award winning musicals: Ain't Misbehavin' (1978: Tony, N.Y. Drama Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards -- also Tony Award for Best Director); Fosse (1999: Tony, Outer Critics, Drama Desk Awards); as well as Ring of Fire (2006). With composer David Shire: director/lyricist: Baby (1983, seven Tony nominations); lyricist: Big (1996, Tony nomination: Best Score). With Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, co-lyricist: Miss Saigon (Evening Standard Award 1990; Tony nomination: Best Score, 1991; London WhatsOnStage Award 2015 Best Musical); co-lyricist: The Pirate Queen (2007). Director: The Story Of My Life (2009). Director/co-lyricist: Song & Dance (1986 Tony Award for star, Bernadette Peters.) OFF-BROADWAY: director/lyricist Starting Here, Starting Now (1977, Grammy nomination) and Closer Than Ever (1989, two Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Musical, Best Score; also Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Best Musical Revival 2013; and London Jermyn Street Theatre 2014,), both written with composer David Shire. Director: Just Jim Dale, Roundabout Theatre 2014, also London 2015. REGIONAL: Lyricist/conceiver, Take Flight (Menier Chocolate Factory, 2010; McCarter Theatre 2012); book and lyrics, Waterfall, Pasadena Playhouse and Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre (2015); director, Mask (2008, Pasadena Playhouse); director, The 60's Project (2006, Goodspeed). CURRENTLY: Lyrics, new musical Sousatzka, March 2017 in Toronto. FILM: Screenplay, Miss Potter, (2007: Christopher Award, best screenplay.). Contributes cryptic crossword puzzles to Harpers Magazine. Son of well-known orchestra leader; five children: Nicholas, David, Jordan, Emily and Charlotte.

David Shire, an Academy Award and two-time Grammy winner and multiple Tony and Emmy nominee, has composed prolifically for the theatre, films, television and recordings. On Broadway, he and lyricist Richard Maltby wrote the scores for the musicals Baby (Tony nominations for Best Score and Musical) and Big (Tony nomination for Best Score). His off-Broadway scores, also written with Maltby, include Starting Here, Starting Now (Grammy nomination), Closer Than Ever (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and Score), Urban Blight at the Manhattan Theater Club, and the off-Broadway musical The Sap of Life. He also wrote the incidental scores for As You Like It (NY Shakespeare Festival), Peter Ustinov's The Unknown Soldier and His Wife (Lincoln Center), Donald Margulies' The Loman Family Picnic (MTC), Schmulnick's Waltz and Visiting Mr. Green. Maltby and Shire's most recent project, the musical Take Flight, with book by John Weidman, has been workshopped at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, presented in concert versions in Russia and Australia, and produced in London, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and in Japan in 2007. It had its first American production at Princeton's McCarter Theatre in the spring of 2010. A Stream of Voices, a one-act opera written with librettist Gene Scheer and commissioned by the Colorado Children's Chorale, premiered in Denver in 2009. Shire is collaborating with Maltby and playwright Craig Lucas on another large-scale musical, Madame Sousatzka, first try out in Toronto and London. Shire's many feature film scores include Norma Rae (Academy Award for Best Song, lyrics by Norman Gimbel), Francis Coppola's The Conversation, All the President's Men, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, Short Circuit, 2010, Farewell, My Lovely, The Hindenberg, Return to Oz and Saturday Night Fever, for which his work earned him two Grammy Awards. He most recently scored David Fincher's Zodiac and Peter Hyams' Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. His numerous television scores have garnered five Emmy nominations and include Glenn Close's Sarah Plain and Tall, Christopher Reeve's Rear Window, Raid on Entebbe, Oprah Winfrey's The Women of Brewster Place, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, and Neil Simon's Jake's Women and Broadway Bound. He also composed the theme song, with lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, for the long-running Linda Lavin NBC series "Alice."

Red Bull Theater's OBIE Award-winning Revelation Readings present staged readings of new and rarely performed classic plays from all eras and cultures. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as the cornerstone of our mission, Red Bull Theater is dedicated to the rediscovery and re-investigation of classics from all eras and cultures, and to the development of new plays of heightened language and classical themes. Revelation Readings provides a unique opportunity to hear these plays performed by many of the finest actors in New York.

Tickets for The Country Wife are $52, with Premium Seats available at $74. To order tickets or for more information, visit

Red Bull Theater is the not-profit Off-Broadway theater company specializing in plays of heightened language. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, Red Bull Theater embraces the imagination of theatergoers through intimate, imaginative productions of great classic stories from all eras and cultures.

Red Bull Theater has previously staged productions of Pericles, The Revenger's Tragedy, Edward the Second, Women Beware Women, The Duchess of Malfi, The Witch of Edmonton, The Maids, The Dance of Death, Loot, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Volpone, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, The Changeling, an award-winning revival of The School For Scandal as well as a hit election-year production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus earlier this season! The company's work has been hailed as "the most exciting classical theater in New York" (Time Out New York), "Dynamite!" (The New York Times), "Triumphant" (Associated Press), and "Proof that classical theater can still be surprising after hundreds of years" (Variety).

Red Bull Theater's work has been recognized with multiple Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, Callaway and OBIE Award nominations and awards, including the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival in the 2015-'16 season (School for Scandal). The company has staged nearly 150 Revelation Readings, named by the Village Voice "Best Play Reading Series," also developing new plays of heightened language and classical adaptations through workshops and offering educational programs for students of all ages. Post-play Bull Session discussions with scholars following select Sunday matinees and Readings are free and open to the public.

Red Bull Theater offers Master Classes throughout the year. Taught by top working professionals including Kathleen Chalfant, John Douglas Thompson, Olympia Dukakis, Heidi Griffiths, and Patrick Page, Red Bull Theater's intensives and workshops cover a variety of disciplines, including auditioning, text, voice, movement, clowning, stage combat, and acting Shakespeare. Classes are open to adults at all levels of training or experience. They range from one to four days with limited class sizes to allow one-on-one attention. You can enroll in any combination of classes, or take the whole series for a year-long training experience.

Built as part of the NEW 42ND STREET Studios to support performing artists in the creation of their work, The Duke on 42nd Street is a premier venue in the heart of the theater district. Along with the NEW 42ND STREET Studios and The New Victory Theater, The Duke on 42nd Street is a project of The New 42nd Street, the independent nonprofit organization charged with the continuous cultural revival of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Committed to the transformational power of the arts, the dedicated Board and Staff of The New 42nd Street build on the foundation of seven historic theaters to make extraordinary performing arts and cultural engagement part of everyone's life. The Duke on 42nd Street, a NEW 42ND STREET project, is located at 229 West 42nd Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.

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