New Musical '13 ALABAMA GHOSTS' Gets Reading in NYC
On Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5 p.m., Open Doors Productions & Theatricals will present an industry reading of 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, the Musical - a ghostly original Off-Broadway-bound musical that was originally built to be like the blockbuster musicals harking back to the days of Zeigfeld - with book by Alabama playwright and actor Don Everett Garrett and music by Kevin Francis Finn.
The haunting tale, set in 1990s Selma, Alabama, boasts a spirited cast of 13. Post-Civil Rights, a southern storyteller captures the imagination of neighborhood tricksters one Halloween night as she uses her gift to take them on a spellbound journey exploring 13 chilling events from the history books of Alabama, ones where the spirits aren't at rest.
When Glen Kinnaird and Don Everett Garrett were introduced in 2015, they had no idea of the supernatural journey they would soon take. Kinnaird, an Alabama native and New York resident created Open Doors Productions and Theatricals in 2006 hoping to nurture and develop new plays and musicals by lesser known playwrights and composers. Garrett, an Alabama playwright, native, and resident, met Kinnaird in 2015 while Kinnaird was installing custom designed decorations at the historic Alabama Theatre for their Christmas film season. Both bonded quickly as they discovered they were both Alabama playwrights sharing a love of theatre, especially new works. Garrett mentioned to Kinnaird that he had written a musical adaptation of the beloved book, 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey with composer Kevin Francis Finn. 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, written by iconic storyteller and Alabama Women's Hall of Fame inductee, Kathryn Tucker Windham is a collection of 13 "true" ghost stories documented from across the state of Alabama. Kinnaird knew the book well, as he had enjoyed it as a child and asked Garrett if he could read the libretto. Once Kinnaird read it and heard the score he knew he wanted to produce it through his New York production company.
Garrett had always wanted to adapt a book for the stage, and it wasn't difficult for him to select source material. "I remember checking out 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey from the library over and over as a child," said Garrett. "I'd see the book jacket displaying the author's name, Kathryn Tucker Windham, and wondered about this woman. Garrett wrote Windham a long letter, explaining the musical adaptation he imagined for the book and mailed it to her Selma address. Weeks later, he received a postcard in the mail that had the image of Jeffrey the ghost on it. According to Windham, Jeffrey is the ghost who moved into her house in 1966 and encouraged her to record the ghost stories from across Alabama. Garrett flipped the card over and it read, "I stay up late. Call me. Kathryn Tucker Windham." Garrett contacted the 91-year-old Windham, and she said, "I don't know how you're going to do it, but if you think you can, go for it." He wrote a draft of the script and mailed it to Windham. After several agonizing weeks of waiting, Garrett received another ghostly postcard in the mail. This one read, "I love it!"
Red Mountain Theatre Company's Executive Director, Keith Cromwell, approached Garrett and Padilla about the new musical and agreed to produce its first production in 2010. 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey received praise by Windham and audiences alike. The new musical has been already been successfully produced by a few regional theatre companies across the state of Alabama, resulting in 5 Broadway World Theatre Award nominations in 2015.
Producer Kinnaird optioned the musical, which is now possibly destined for an Off-Broadway run, beginning with this Industry Reading on March 27th at 5pm, location at the John Cullum Theatre (2nd Floor) inside the American Theatre of Actors building at 314 West 54th Street. David Vaughn is serving as director and Austin Nuckols is taking the helm as musical director.
Music Director Austin Nuckols is an NYC-based pianist and composer-lyricist from Mechanicsville, Virginia. He was educated at University of Richmond with a B.A. in Music and Mathematics, and New York University, with an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing. Austin is excited to bring this new, exciting work to life, especially the undead parts.
Director, David F.M. Vaughn is an award-winning actor, director, and writer. Recent directing credits include Shrek the Musical at Pittsburgh CLO, Beauty and the Beast at Musical Theatre West, and Legally Blonde for 3-D Theatricals. As an actor, David's credits include Broadway, off Broadway, national tours, and regional theatres across the country. He's tap danced with Tommy Tune, belted with Sutton Foster, warbled with Sheena Easton, and shuffled off to Buffalo with Gregory Hines. In addition, he is currently developing a new TV series. David has taught professionally at the Broadway Theatre Project (headed by Ann Reinking), Broadway Classroom, Camp Broadway, and master classes at various universities throughout the country. IG/Twitter: @DavidFMVaughn
The Ghostly Cast announced for the Reading are; Judy Stadt, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Jamol Manigualt, Sydney Blair, Cecil Washington, Jr., Jake Bridges, Kyra Faith, Jonathan Mesisca, Conner Wayne Milam, Rashika Pickett, Lexie Dorsett Sharp, Kelsey Thompson, with DeAngelo M. Kearns as a production swing.
Kinnaird admits to seeing possible encounters with Jeffrey in New York since they started working on the new path for the musical. Garrett laughs about Jeffrey's uninvited visits to Kinnaird. "Jeffrey, is letting us know how pleased he is about the progress of the show," said Garrett. "Now that Mrs. Windham has passed on, Jeffrey's watching over the show and making sure he gets his name up in lights."
IF YOU GO:
Industry Reading of 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey the Musical
Stage Manager, Joel Elins
Musical Directed by Austin Nuckols
Directed by David F. M. Vaughn
5pm Mon, March 27, 2017
at American Theatre of Actors
John Cullum Theatre, 2nd Floor
314 W. 54th St, New York City
Venue Info: (646) 241-7491
Industry Professionals seating reserved by RSVP only
Additional seating is available for FREE with a $15 donation, wine and beer available before reading starts (donations welcome). More information on the musical can be seen at www.opendoorsproductions.us or on Facebook.
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