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Morton Led Private Industry Reading Of CALIGULA Will Feature Six Piece Band

Rich Affannato in association with Meri Krassner will present a special invitational reading of the new musical, CALIGULA, with book, music & lyrics by Eric Svejcar, for two performances next Monday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 14 at 3 p.m. at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). Under the direction of Chris Presley, the cast features Euan Morton (Taboo) in the title role, with Autumn Hurlbert (MTV's Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods), Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys, Aida), and Anastasia Barzee (White Christmas, Urinetown). These presentations of CALIGULA will be backed by a six-piece band led by Musical Director David Andrews Rogers.

CALIGULA is placed in an ancient rock-and-roll theatre somewhere between the years 41 and 1973 (or perhaps both simultaneously). This particular ancient theatre just happens to somehow have electricity, a bitchin' sound system, a light show, a rock band, and costumes more in the world of Ziggy Stardust than Julius Caesar. History's most notorious tyrant takes the audience on a musical journey of murder, sensuality, heartbreak, world domination, immortality, and absurdly unmitigated ego.

Also featured in the cast of CALIGULA are Nehal Joshi, David Edwards, Tiffani Barbour, Darrel Blackburn, Christina DeCicco, Christy Faber, Lucia Giannetta, Brian Golub, Kyle Harris, Todd Alan Johnson, Andrew Kober, John Eric Parker, Steve Routman, Sheri Sanders, Molly Sorohan, and Mathenee Treco.

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Eric Svejcar (Composer, Lyricist & Book Writer) is the creator of the musical Caligula, winner of the Audience Award at the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival and a finalist for the 2003 Richard Rodgers Award; composer/lyricist of The Murder of Isaac (CenterStage, Baltimore); screenwriter/composer of the musical short film Didn't This Used To Be Fun; and a contributing songwriter for White Noise (NYMF, special citation for Outstanding Original Theatrical Score). He arranged, conducted, and performed in the acclaimed revival of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at the Zipper Theatre, and co-produced the production's cast album for Sh-K-Boom records. He made his Broadway debut conducting the Roundabout/Deaf West revival of Big River and currently plays in the orchestra of The Little Mermaid several times a month. Other off-Broadway credits include Slut (musical direction and orchestrations) and Evil Dead: The Musical (arrangements and orchestrations). As a pianist, he has performed in concert with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the baton of Erich Kunzel, served as musical director/pianist for the legendary Jennifer Holliday, played piano and sung backup for Deborah Gibson at casinos all along the eastern seaboard, and accompanied thousands of hours of auditions for Broadway shows over the past decade. Currently he serves as music director and arranger for Broadway's original Jersey Boys, most recently in concert at Trump Atlantic City.

Euan Morton (Caligula), a native of Scotland, received an Olivier Award nomination for originating the role of Boy George in the musical Taboo. He moved to New York to reprise the role on Broadway, earning Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award nominations, as well as the Theatre World Award. He earned a 2006 Obie Award for his appearance in Measure for Pleasure at The Public Theatre. His other stage appearances include title roles in Tony Kushner's adaptation of Brundibár at the New Victory Theatre and Berkeley Rep, The Who's Tommy at the Bay Street Theatre, and Caligula for the inaugural season of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Off-Broadway, Euan appeared opposite Alfred Molina in Howard Katz at the Roundabout Theatre. Most recently Euan was seen in the Broadway revival of Cyrano De Bergerac, then at Playwrights Horizons in Leaves of Glass. On film, Euan can be seen in the documentary Show Business: The Road to Broadway, which follows the history of a Broadway season and is now available on DVD. Euan has released his debut solo CD NewClear and has appeared in concert in New York City at the Oak Room, the Algonquin, Town Hall, the Metropolitan Room, the Zipper, Joe's Pub and Birdland, as well as at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. In addition, he has conducted master classes in the craft of acting and singing around the country.

Chris Presley (Director) began his career in Texas as the Producing Artistic Director of Deep Ellum Opera Theatre and Executive Director of The Classics - Theatre & Art for Children. Upon moving to New York, he was the SSDC Observer to Michael Mayer on the Tony-winning revival of A View From the Bridge, later traveling to London to work on Miss Saigon and returning to assist Carlin Glynn and Ed Sherrin on Broadway. In addition to numerous plays, musicals and operas around the country and the UK, his New York directing credits include productions at The Actors Studio, EST, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Primary Stages, New Jersey Rep, Epic Rep, HERE/p.s. NBC and Connection Theatre at Cherry Lane. Also in New York, Chris has worked on the teams of such shows as the long-running Off-Broadway hit I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and six editions of the Tony-honored Forbidden Broadway, among many others. As a producer, he helped capitalize All Shook Up on Broadway, and is currently developing the first Broadway revival of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas as well as the new musical Pure Country, to be directed by Peter Masterson and starring Joe Nichols. As a teacher, Chris has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and taught workshops and seminars at Baruch College, NYU, Pratt Institute, The New School and the University of Texas School of Law. Through his company, Basis Stages, he consults for corporate clients such as State Farm, Bank of America and AT&T. He holds a BS in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School where he currently serves as Director of Professional Development. Chris is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.

Rich Affannato (Producer) was a member of the management team for Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Epic Proportions on Broadway (with Kristen Chenoweth), and Menopause the Musical. He was an investor in the original Broadway production of All Shook Up. His extensive experience as an actor includes the Broadway and National Touring productions of The Producers, Les Misérables and The Civil War. Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Floyd Collins at The Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C. Rich was born in Texas and raised on the road. Both of his parents were jazz musicians, who played with the likes of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Jake Hanna, and Doc Severenson. His Production Company, Tower of Quarters, Inc. is dedicated to developing new works for theatre, television and film. Other projects include a new musical based on Athol Fugard's Blood Knot and a forthcoming novel titled Being Home.

Meri Krassner (Associate Producer) began her career in production with Gene Wolsk on Forever Plaid working on group sales, marketing and promotions. That little show at The Triad on West 72nd Street turned into a multimillion dollar Off-Broadway phenomenon. She then went on to be the press representative for Forever Plaid on the first National Tour, then press assistant to Susan Schulman on the National Tour of State Fair prior to its Broadway debut. She handled the marketing for the New York hits Party and Forbidden Hollywood before forming SRO Marketing. Meri is currently working on The Toxic Avenger. SRO Marketing has been responsible for the marketing and audience development for all Forbidden Broadway editions since 1996; I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; Over the River and Through the Woods; Mr. President; The Gorey Details; The Thing About Men; The Last Five Years; Bingo; Menopause the Musical; My Kitchen Wars; Five Course Love; and Dai. She was a producer of Broadway's All Shook Up and also produced a staged reading of Love Inc., and has served as consultant on a number of different theatrical ventures. In addition, she is active on behalf of disabled children, serves on the Parent Advisory Committee on Special Education for the Department of Education and is on the board of AHRC.

Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski

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