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OSWALD, GUMBO and TO DANCE Win 2016 TRU Voices New Musicals Series


Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces the three winning shows in the TRU Voices Musicals Series, which will have readings on Mondays January 18 and 25, and February 1, 2016 at 7pm at the Engelman Recital Hall in the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave, NYC. Admission is free. Please RSVP at least a day in advance by calling 212/714-7628, or e-mailing

"Each of this year's selectionstouches upon a moment in our collective history," notes TRU Literary Manager Cate Cammarata. "It is exciting to see the creative and surprising ways that history can be reimagined through the lens of musical theater."

The 2016 TRU Voices Musicals Series will feature Oswald: The Musical about the infamous 60's assassin, by composer/lyricist Josh Sassanella and librettist Tony LePage, produced by Alan Swanke; Hurricane Katrina-inspired Gumbo by composer Brett Macias and librettist/lyricist Christina Quintana, produced by Randy Donaldson; and To Dance about a Russian ballet star who defected during the Cold War, by librettist/lyricist Kyra Robinov and Hungarian composer Tibor Zonai, produced by Adam Boncz, Halle Morse and Elyse Sholk. The performance schedule and details are as follows:

Monday, January 18, 7pm: Oswald: The Musical. This intense new musical tells the Lee Harvey Oswald story, simultaneously through two sets of eyes. Lee's story, (played by one actor), tells of a troubled youth caught up in an impossible situation which ultimately leads to the conspiracy theories that still hold strong today. Oswald's story, (played by another actor), weaves a tale of a cold blooded killer, driven mad by his unrelenting need to be remembered.

Writers Josh Sassanella and Tony LePage are successful performers who have both appeared on Broadway in Rock of Ages. Josh also appeared on Broadway in Spider-man: Turn off the Dark and is the writer of Empty City. Tony's acting credits also include The Last Five Years (TNB), The Boys in the Photograph (Toronto), The Boy From OZ (Australia), Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat (Australia/Asia Tour), The Rocky Horror Show (TNB), Urinetown (TYT), Seussical, The Decameron, The Bricklin, Canadian Explosion.

In addition to producing Wild and Willful Women for the 2013 TRU Voices Musical Series, Alan Swanke helped move the play The Forgetting Curve from the 2013 TRU Voices Play Series into a full production at the Boston Center for the Arts Stanford Calderwood Pavilion.

Monday, January 25, 7pm: Gumbo, a vibrant take on the Orpheus and Eurydice tale that explores the mythos of Hurricane Katrina through the heart and music of New Orleans. Facing the loss of his beloved wife Martha, Dr. Howard Hart dives into the floodwaters amidst the City's chaos to free her and the City from the devil, Boss, and his soul-stealing underwater club, the Gumbo Pot. Gumbo was selected by the Grand Jury for the 2014 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project and was workshopped earlier this year at the Musical Theater Factory.

Gumbo will be directed by Jerry Dixon who has developed a number of new works from page-to-stageincluding Barnstormer by TRU co-founder Cheryl L. Davis (Red Mountain Theatre), Funked Up Fairy Tales (Depot Theatre), Take Me America and The Great Wall (Village Theatre). Other developmental works include A Good Man (O'Neill Theater Center), Red Clay (National Alliance of Musical Theatre) and The Thing About Time starring Betty Buckley. New York and Regional directing credits: Bernarda Alba, tick, tick... Boom!, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Ain't Misbehavin', Crowns, Showboat and The Fully Monty.

Composer Brett Macias has written music for Webster University, Encores! (NYC), the St. Louis Gateway Men's Chorus, Stephens College, the Cockeyed Optimists, Prospect Theater Company, and the St. Louis Repertory Theater of Saint Louis. Brett wrote the music for Fishing the Moon, The Lavatory, Beneath The Surface and Beautiful Dreamer whichwas a finalist in the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival and was presented at the 2014 New Horizons music festival at Truman State University. For more, visit

Lyricist/librettist Christina Quintana is a writer and theatre artist with Cuban and Louisiana roots. Her plays and musicals have been developed and produced in Atlanta, Orleans and New York City with companies including INTAR, Prospect Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Elm Theatre. Her work was a finalist for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition (Scissoring), "Best Short" in the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival (Blank Canvas), and recently she was in residence at the Musical Theatre Factory with Gumbo. For more, visit

Producer Randy Donaldson has produced both on Broadway (12 Tony nominations: The Scottsboro's Boy, The Pee Wee Herman Show) and Off-Broadway (Triassic Parq). He is hoping to make his way back to Broadway in the 2016-17 season with Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting. Randy has a BFA in Musical Theater from Webster University and has performed in 11 Broadway/National Tours including: The Lion King, Kiss Me, Kate, Wonderful Town, Annie Get Your Gun.

Monday, February 1, 7pm: To Dance, set in Cold War Russia, tells the true story of Valery Panov, a Russian Jewish ballet dancer, and his struggle to be allowed to dance. This tale of persecution and perseverance is also a passionate love story that comes to life through humor, music and dance. Though Panov's dancing career was destroyed by the time he finally emigrated to Israel in 1974, he never lost his optimism.

Lyricist/librettist Kyra Robinov received a B.A. from NYU Tisch's School of Film & Television and an M.F.A. from NYU Tisch's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. From 1978-80, Kyra produced and hosted The Ballet Beat, a radio program featuring personalities in the dance world. She has written the book and lyrics to several original musicals as well as translations of foreign ones including Singled Out, The Legend Of Penelope, Catherine and Stand By.

Composer Tibor Zonai lives in Hungary where he has produced approximately 40 CD's for children and written book, lyrics and music for The Key, Two Worlds and The Man Who Laughs, based on Victor Hugo's classic book. Tibor was nominated for the Fonogram Hungarian Music Prize for Best Children's Album Producer (2005-2008) and was the winner of the award in 2007.

The reading is being produced by Adam Boncz, Halle Morse and Elyse Sholk, members of TRU's Producer Development and Mentorship Program. Halle Morse currently works for Baseline Theatrical, the General Management office for Hamilton: An American Musical. She is a professional actress with Broadway/National Tour/Regional Theater credits, has appeared on TV has also worked as an Equity Stage Manager at Classical Theatre of Harlem, The National Black Theatre, etc. Elyse Sholk is an Executive Producer at Mightee Shero Productions, a social enterprise committed to telling the stories of women and girls, and providing an artistic platform for effecting change. Producing credits: Here To Be Seen: Women and Justice (Brooklyn DA), The Vagina Monologues (Taconic Correctional Facility and Cherry Lane Theatre). Adam Boncz is the founder of SceneHouse Productions, a company dedicated to enrich the American cultural life by introducing new, Eastern European works to the New York stage and film scene. Recently he produced the world premiere of Fatelessness based on the novel of Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész (NY Innovative Theatre Awards Nomination).

The purpose of the TRU Voices series is to help develop new musicals, help producers develop the skills needed to produce new works, and foster the producer-writer relationship for future development beyond the series. Each reading will be followed by a brief reception and "Dollars and Sense" panel discussion with prominent New York producers, general managers and artistic directors focusing on potential venues, marketing and budgeting of the works presented. TRU is currently accepting submissions for the 2016 TRU Voices New Plays Series. Information may be found at

The Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center, is a 175-seat acoustically-sound concert hall located at 55 Lexington Avenue. The audience uses the entrance on E. 25th St. between Lexington & 3rd Aves. With near-perfect acoustics, it is a true gem. The NY Times chief classical music critic Anthony Tommasini called the Engelman Recital Hall "a perfect hall for chamber music."

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is a twenty-three year old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of theater. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU presents TRU VOICES, two new works series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings to nurture new shows as well as new producers for theater; TRU offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop the business skills they need. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, a Director-Writer Communications Lab and How to Write a Musical That Works workshop. Programs for actors include an Annual Combined Audition.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA); the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, 9th district Council Member Inez Dickens; The Montage Foundation and The Friars National Association Foundation.

For more about TRU membership and programs, visit or call (212) 714-7628.

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