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NY City Center Announces Pre-Show Events for VIOLET, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK & More!

The Lobby Project, a series of free performances, art exhibits, performances, conversations and readings by groundbreaking artists, poets, authors and performers, will be presented in conjunction with New York City Center's new Encores! Off-Center series, running July 10 - 27 at City Center. The events will place each Off-Center musical in the context of its legacy and provide insightful explorations of the work the audience is about to experience.

Encores! Off-Center, under the artistic direction of Jeanine Tesori, is City Center's newest series, featuring seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's most innovative artists. The season includes three shows: The Cradle Will Rock (July 10 - 13), Violet(July 17), and I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road (July 24 - 27). In keeping with City Center's founding mission to make the arts accessible to all, the majority of tickets are $25. The Lobby Project events will take place 45 minutes before each curtain* and are free for ticket holders.

* There will not be a Lobby Project event before the one-night-only concert performance of Violet on Wednesday, July 17.

Art Exhibits will be on display throughout the Encores! Off-Center season.

GOT EYES: Works by female artists that challenge the status quo and expand the boundaries of both personal and public space, featuring works by Zeljka Blaksic (aka Gita Blak), Kate Gilmore, Katya Grokhovsky, Monica Rodriguez Medina, Allyson Ross, Allison Schlegeland Myriana Todorova.

An exhibit of Lee Wexler's black-and-white photos of New York City in the 1970s, from the subway to Washington Square. Wexler is the founder and artistic director of Images for Innovation, a non-profit association of photographers and videographers dedicated to advancing innovative theater and performance art for social change.



July 10 at 6:45 p.m. - Opening Night Celebration: Exhibition artists will be on hand for informal discussions.

July 11 at 6:45 p.m. - Oskar Eustis in Conversation with Sam Gold and Amy Herzog

Marc Blitzstein, whose politics ran to the hard left, believed that The Cradle Will Rock would incite a revolution. Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater, will talk with The Cradle Will Rock director
Sam Gold (Picnic, Seminar) and playwright Amy Herzog (After the Revolution, Hungry) about how personal politics impacts art.

July 12 at 7:15 p.m. - Taylor Mali: Performance and Talk
Taylor Mali, four-time National Poetry Slam champion, is the author of three books, including What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.

July 13 at 1:15 p.m.- Blitzstein Rarities: Performance and Talk
Jeanine Tesori will present two rarely heard vocal works by Marc Blitzstein, creator of The Cradle Will Rock: "Lex Express," part of 1957's This Is the Garden, a Cantata of New York, and "The Whole Shoe," an aria from Sacco and Venzetti, a long-lost opera that re-emerged in 2003.

July 13 at 7:15 p.m. - The Legend of The Cradle Will Rock: Performance
The story of the production, as dramatic as the show itself, will be told in Marc Blitzstein and John Houseman's own words. Performers TBA


July 24 at 6:45 p.m. - Ted Chapin: Reading and Talk
Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company, will read from his award-winning book, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies, with a Q&A to follow.

July 25 at 6:45 p.m. - Idina Menzel: Performance and Talk
Actress, singer and songwriter Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked), will talk about A BroaderWay Foundation, a camp she co-created in 2010 to offer girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity through arts-centered programs. She will also perform a song from the camp's most recent show.

July 26 at 7:15 p.m. - Empowering Voices: Performance
Performances by poet, actor and teacher Farasha Baylock, soprano Renay Peter Joubert, spoken-word poet Holden Contreras and actress and poet Amber Tamblyn, with sign language by Siena Rafter.

July 27 at 1:15 p.m. - Manhattan Girls' Chorus: Performance
The Manhattan Girls' Chorus, a nurturing community of young women in grades five through twelve, will perform a selection of uplifting and empowering works.

July 27 at 7:15 p.m. - Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford with Jon Cryer: Talk

Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, the writers of I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, remain one of the only successful female songwriting teams in musical theater.

Program and Artists subject to change.


"The goal of Encores! Off-Center is to connect the innovators of today to the shows that expanded creative boundaries in the past," said Jeanine Tesori. "We want to find out what happens when contemporary artists meet this material. How will today's directors, musicians, actors and audiences relate to these stories?"

"I strongly believe that we need to build a new generation of musical theater lovers," said New York City Center President & CEO Arlene Shuler. "That's why the $25 ticket for Off-Center is so important. We want young people and people who have never been to a musical theater performance to fall in love with it and discover something in this art form that speaks to them."

The Cradle Will Rock, with music, lyrics and book by Marc Blitzstein, is a powerful political document, a funny, potent satire, and an extraordinary piece of theater history. Set against the backdrop of a steel strike and peopled with fat-cat capitalists, brutal policemen, heroic union organizers, and a warm-hearted prostitute, Blitzstein's 1937 battle hymn to the proletariat feels remarkably fresh. Directed by Sam Gold and choreographed by Chase Brock, July 10 - 13.

Violet, Jeanine Tesori's first musical, was one of the most acclaimed off-Broadway shows of the 1990s. Based on the short story "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, the show follows a young woman who embarks on a religious pilgrimage in hopes of being healed of her disfiguring scar. This one-night-only concert will showcase a gorgeous, energetic score filled with gospel, country, rock, rhythm and blues.Directed by Leigh Silverman, starring Sutton Foster, July 17 only.

I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, with book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer and music by Nancy Ford, created a sensation when it premiered in the late 1970s. In it, a former pop star ditches the romantic songs of her past and attempts a comeback by performing personal songs that reflect women's changing roles and attitudes. The show stoked the fires of feminism, not only with its joyous rock score proclaiming empowerment for women, but because of its female songwriting team-a rarity in musical theater then and now. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, July 24 - 27.

New York City Center gratefully acknowledges the Leadership support of Stacey and Eric Mindich and Stacy Bash-Polley. Additional support for Encores! Off-Center has been provided by Alec Stais and Elissa Burke and Larry Hirschorn and Melissa Posen.

New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city for nearly 70 years. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 with a mission to make the best in music, theater and dance accessible to all audiences. Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including City Center's Principal Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as New York City Opera and Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as "one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York." Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start, and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival, remain central to City Center's identity. City Center is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to New York City students and teachers with

programs such as Encores! In Schools and the Young People's Dance Series. City Center completed an extensive renovation in October 2011 to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.

All Lobby Project events are free and available to Encores! Off-Center ticket holders. Tickets for all Encores!Off-Center productions start at $25 and can be purchased online at, by calling CityTix at 212.581.1212, or at the City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).

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