Encores! Off-Center Season Announced; GONE MISSING to Honor Michael Friedman

Encores! Off-Center Season Announced; GONE MISSING to Honor Michael Friedman

Encores! Off-Center Co-Artistic Directors Anne Kauffman and Jeanine Tesori today announced programming for the 2018 season of New York City Center's acclaimed summer musical theater series.

The season will open, June 27 through 30, with Jason Robert Brown's breakout musical Songs for a New World and close with Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll's vibrant, radical 1971 work Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, July 25 through 28.

The centerpiece of the season will be a special two-night-only engagement (July 11 & 12) of Gone Missing, honoring composer and Off-Center Artistic Director Michael Friedman, whose life was tragically cut short last summer.

"We wanted to celebrate the profound vision of our friend and colleague Michael Friedman, who is sorely missed," said Kauffman. "Represented by this 2003 work with The Civilians, we're certain that Michael's voice will continue to break open what musical theater can be and inspire audiences and artists for decades to come."

"This season is about the New World-songs of the moment of decision, loss and love, and the raising of the voice for change," said Tesori. "It's about three composer/lyricists-Jason Robert Brown, Michael Friedman, and Micki Grant-whose work shines a light on the fleeting moments of life, looking back at who we were, and forward to who we hope to become."

2018 Encores! Off-Center Season

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (1995), the first musical from Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown (created in collaboration with Daisy Prince), is a collection of powerful songs examining life, love, and the choices ordinary people make when faced with extraordinary moments. From the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to the ledge of a Fifth Avenue high-rise, each character faces the new world which follows the unique challenge they encounter.

In 2003, New York City theater company The Civilians interviewed real people about the physical objects they'd lost-keys, a sapphire ring, a Gucci pump. The wry and whimsical docu-musical that emerged, GONE MISSING, written and directed by Steven Cosson, features a fresh and breezy score by Michael Friedman and presents a very personal account of how we deal with loss in our lives.

Frequent collaborators Micki Grant (composer and lyricist) and Vinnette Carroll (creator and director) produced a total of nine musicals for Urban Arts Corps including the Grammy Award-winning and Tony-nominated Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope (1971). A celebration of African-American culture and community, this radical work presents the issues of race politics in America through a lively mix of song and dance with a score that includes gospel, jazz, soul, calypso, and rock.

Encores! Off-Center was founded in 2013 with the mission of presenting Off-Broadway musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced. Filtered through the lens of today's artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital works that speak to audiences both new and old. The New York Times has called Encores! Off-Center "a summer theater highlight," with past productions including Violet with Sutton Foster; tick, tick...BOOM! with Lin-Manuel Miranda; A New Brain with Jonathan Groff; Little Shop of Horrors with Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal; Elizabeth Swados's Runaways; and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin with Nikki M. James.

Advanced access to $25 tickets

In keeping with City Center's founding mission to make the arts accessible to all, many Off-Center tickets are $25. Advanced access will be available to young adults starting January 19, before the general public. [NOTE: It is necessary to sign up for City Center's free Peer-to-Peer program to be eligible for these advance tickets.] Peer-to-Peer, New York City Center's discount ticket program for young adults, age 25 and under, provides special ticket offers for select City Center productions throughout the season. Sign up for the program, with proof of age, at NYCityCenter.org/P2P.

Tickets go on sale at noon to the general public Tuesday, January 23 (January 16 for Members, January 19 for Peer-to-Peer). Tickets can be purchased online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling 212.581.1212, or in person at the City Center Box Office. New York City Center is located at 131 W 55th St, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Songs for a New World
Jun 27 - 30, Wed & Thu at 7:30pm, Fri at 8pm, and Sat at 2 & 8pm

Gone Missing
Jul 11 & 12, Wed & Thu at 7:30pm

Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope
Jul 25 - 28, Wed & Thu at 7:30pm, Fri at 8pm, and Sat at 2 & 8pm

NEW YORK CITY CENTER has played a defining role in the cultural life of the City since 1943 when it was founded by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia with the civic mission to make the best in the performing arts accessible to all. Today, the distinctive neo-Moorish theater welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience internationally acclaimed artists. For 25 years, the Tony-honored Encores! series has given new life to the American musical theater canon, complimented by the Encores! Off-Center series, which features seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's

innovative artists. Dance continues to be an integral part of the theater's mission through programs like the annual Fall for Dance Festival, which exposes a new audience to an international array of artists by offering highly subsidized tickets. City Center is also the home to a roster of renowned national and international companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center's Principal Dance Company) and Manhattan Theatre Club. Through its education and community programs, City Center brings the performing arts to over 9,000 New York City students each year and activates all areas of the building with talks, master classes, art exhibitions, and intimate performances that provide audiences an up-close look at the work of the great theater and dance artists of our time.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski


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