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Sky-Pony's Rock Fairy Tale 'THE WILDNESS' Opens Tonight at Ars Nova

The world premiere of THE WILDNESS: SKY-PONY'S ROCK FAIRY TALE, with text by Obie Award winner Kyle Jarrow and Lauren Worsham and songs by Kyle Jarrow, opens tonight, February 29, 2016. Presented by Ars Nova in collaboration with The Play Company, a limited Off-Broadway engagement is slated through March 19.

Directed by Tony Award nominee Sam Buntrock (Sunday in the Park with George), this production features David Blasher, Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), Jeff Fernandes, Katie Lee Hill, Kyle Jarrow (Obie Award winner), Jamie Mohamdein, Sharone Sayegh (Mamma Mia), Lauren Worsham (Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder) and Kevin Wunderlich.

Indie-pop band Sky-Pony's lush sound and cheeky style will surround and seduce you into a world of prophecies and forbidden temptations. Release your inner dragon on a raucous ride exploring faith, doubt and the wild space in between.

Sky-Pony is known for its highly theatrical live shows. THE WILDNESS: SKY-PONY'S ROCK FAIRY TALE takes their unique aesthetic one step further, delivering a narrative-based event that explores the lines between theater, concert and ritual. The show features lead singer and Tony Award nominee Lauren Worsham, supported by keyboard, guitar, bass, cello, percussion, and three backup vocalists, including original Spring Awakening cast member Lilli Cooper.

This production includes Choreography by Chase Brock (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark), Scenic Design by Kris Stone, Costume Design by Tilly Grimes (Eager to Lose), Lighting Design by Brian Tovar (Drama Desk nominee: tamar of the river), Sound Design by Tim O'Heir (Tony Award nominee: Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Projection Design by Alex Basco Koch (Buyer & Cellar), Props Design by Sarah Morgan and Music Direction by Wiley DeWeese.

THE WILDNESS: SKY-PONY'S ROCK FAIRY TALE plays now through March 19 as follows: Monday - Saturday at 8:00pm, with select Fridays at 7:00pm and 10:00pm. Regular priced tickets $35; Premium tickets $55. Special late-night $10@10 performances on Fridays: February 26, March 4 and March 11 at 10:00pm; all tickets are $10. Tickets on sale today, Monday, January 11. Tickets available at ARSNOVANYC.COM or 212-352-3101. Ars Nova is located at 511 West 54th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.

Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Founding Artistic Director; Renee Blinkwolt, Managing Director) is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Its unique development programs are designed to support outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination to encourage innovative work. Dubbed by The New York Times as a "fertile incubator of offbeat theater," Ars Nova blurs genres and subverts the status quo. With its feverish bounty of programming, Ars Nova is the stomping ground and launching pad for visionary, adventurous artists of all stripes. By providing a safe environment where risk-taking and collaboration are paramount, Ars Nova gives voice to a new generation of artists and audiences, pushing the boundaries of live entertainment by nurturing creative ideas into smart, surprising new work.
As previously announced, coming up at Ars Nova in 2016 in addition to The Wildness: Sky-Pony's Rock Fairy Tale is ANT Fest (June 6 - 30) and the New York premiere of Underground Railroad Game, created and performed by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard with Lighting Rod Special (Fall 2016). In 2016, Ars Nova also presents SHOWGASM XXL hosted by Ars Nova's own "Top Ten Comedian of 2015" (Time Out New York), John Early (April; venue to be announced).

Ars Nova was honored with a 2015 OBIE Award and a 2015 Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics' Circle for sustained quality and commitment to the development and production of new work. Notable past productions include: New York Times' Critics' Pick Futurity, by César Alvarez with The Lisps; the New York Times and New York Post's "Best of 2015" Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl; Time Out New York's "Best of 2014," Jacuzzi by The Debate Society; Drama Desk nominated Charlatan by Vinny DePonto and Josh Koenigsberg; the award-winning smash-hit Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy (Lortel, Obie, and Richard Rodgers Awards; Off-Broadway transfer production 2013/14; Broadway transfer: 2016); Jollyship the Whiz-Bang by Nick Jones and Raja Azar; the world premiere of the 2009 season's most-produced play boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb; Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle nominated From Up Here by Liz Flahive; audience favorite Dixie's Tupperware Party by Kris Andersson; and star-makers At Least It's Pink by Bridget Everett and Kenny Mellman; and Freestyle Love Supreme by Anthony Veneziale and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Play Company (PlayCo), led by Founding Producer Kate Loewald and Executive Producer Lauren Weigel, produces outstanding contemporary plays from around the world alongside new American work. PlayCo's singular mission links American artists with a larger global creative community, while introducing American audiences to a daring roster of new, international voices. The OBIE Award-winning company, now in its 15th season, has been celebrated for its "unique contributions to the Off Broadway community" and has produced 28 new plays from the United States, Germany, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Japan, India, Mexico, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. Production artists have been honored with OBIES and Drama Desk nominations. Plays premiered at PlayCo have received subsequent productions at theaters around the U.S. and at festivals in Singapore, Australia, Edinburgh, and Prague. PlayCo-premiered plays have all been published and are now accessible to English-speakers everywhere.

This year PlayCo celebrates its 15th anniversary with programming that exemplifies its unique mission, in addition to THE WILDNESS: SKY-PONY'S ROCK FAIRY TALE, created by long-time PlayCo artists Lauren Worsham and Kyle Jarrow, their November, 2015, U.S. premiere of Maria Milisavljevic's Abyss, directed by Maria Mileaf was praised by Ben Brantley for The New York Times as, "genuinely artful." In the summer of 2016, PlayCo will round off their programming with the New York premiere of Christopher Chen's genre defying play, Caught.
PlayCo has introduced 14 international writers to the U.S. including Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (France), Vijay Tendulkar (India), the Presnyakov Brothers (Russia), Yoji Sakate (Japan), Robert Farquhar (England) Simon Farquhar (Scotland), Przemyslaw Wojcieszek (Poland), Por Piedad Teatro (Mexico), Nicoleta Esinencu (Moldova), Bogdan Georgescu, Vera Ion, Ioana Moldovan and Cristian Panaite (all Romania) and Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), who won an OBIE Playwriting Award for PlayCo's production of Invasion! PlayCo's critically acclaimed productions of Toshiki Okada's Enjoy and The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise were the first English language productions of his work to be produced in America. The U.S. Premiere generations by debbie tucker green, directed by Leah C. Gardiner and co-produced with Soho Rep, was described by Charles Isherwood for The New York Times as a "gut grabbing" play that "reverberates in your mind and heart long afterward."

ABOUT THE CAST & CREATIVE TEAM:

Sky-Pony serves up lush, lyrical, often cheeky indie-pop with a healthy dose of theatrics. Formed in 2012, they've established a cult following for their raucous live shows incorporating costumes, choreography and projections: a performance aesthetic that blurs the line between concert, theater and carnival. The Wall Street Journal calls them "tight, fierce, hilarious and out of their minds." Pop Dose calls them "Adventurous, melodic, weird and absolutely brilliant." The Brooklyn-based collective is fronted by singer/actress Lauren Worsham (Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee), and the songs are penned by her musician/writer husband Kyle Jarrow (Obie Award winner). The lineup is rounded out by six other musician-performers. Sky-Pony's debut LP Beautiful Monster was released by Knitting Factory Records on December 4, 2015. More info at sky-pony.com.

Kyle Jarrow is a writer and musician who creates work for the stage, film and television. He won an OBIE Award for his play A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. Other plays include Noir and Whisper House (both written with Duncan Sheik), Love Kills, Gorilla Man and Hostage Song (written with Clay McLeod Chapman). Kyle penned the film Armless, which was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. He's developed television projects for FOX, USA, FX and MTV networks. Current projects include Broadway-bound The SpongeBob Musical (with director Tina Landau) and The Drop for the CW network (with director RJ Cutler and DJ Steve Angello). More info on Kyle at landoftrust.com.

Lauren Worsham is a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actress and singer. She originated the role of Phoebe in A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical). Other favorite roles include Lisa in Dog Days at Montclair Peak Performances, Fort Worth Opera and LA Opera (dir. Robert Woodruff), Flora in Turn of the Screw at New York City Opera (dir. Sam Buntrock), Amy in Where's Charley at New York City Center (dir. John Doyle), Cunegonde in New York City Opera's Candide and Olive in the first National tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In addition to her work in theater and opera, Lauren performs in concert frequently, including shows at Carnegie Hall, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, Oregon Bach Festival, Joe's Pub, Galapagos Art Space and New York City Opera's VOX Program. Lauren was second-place award winner of the Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya competition. She is the co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company, The Coterie. More info on Lauren at laurenworsham.com.

Sam Buntrock: Directing credits include Sunday in the Park With George - Broadway, West End, Menier and 5th Avenue Seattle (Tony, Olivier and Drama Desk Nominations for Best Director), Turn of the Screw at BAM (New York City Opera), the current European tour of The Rocky Horror Show (since 2008), the World Premiere of John Guare's Are You There, McPhee? and Travesties (both McCarter, as Director in Residence), Ed, Downloaded by Michael Mitnick (Denver Center), The A to Z of Mrs P (Southwark Playhouse), Much Ado About Nothing (Two River), A Maze (New York Stage & Film), Cradle and All (MTC), McReele (Juilliard), Lenny Henry's Cradle to Rave (UK & Australian National Tours), God Collar (Edinburgh, UK National Tour and West End), the World and American Premieres of Take Flight (Menier and McCarter), the first London revival of Assassins (New End), Get a Life and Help Yourself (both Edinburgh and UK tour). He has also worked as an Animation Director on numerous projects, including the feature film Stuart, A Life Backwards for Neal Street Productions, HBO and the BBC. His multi-award winning live action short Recursion (Director, Editor & Producer) screened at 24 international film festivals throughout 2014 (including 2 Oscar qualifiers). His second live action short, Fetch, is currently in post-production. Sam trained at Bristol University and as Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse. He is Creative Director at IONIC Design Group.

David Blasher started cello in fourth grade because his friend Seth chose it, even though David didn't yet know how to spell cello. It has since ushered him into many adventures, including Eversion (Ars Nova), chamber music soirées and being an early member of Sky-Pony. David's vocations include eDiscovery project management at Epiq Systems, theater teaching/development coaching at the All Stars Project and board membership in Drama Club NYC. Yale, B.A.; University of Oregon, J.D.

Lilli Cooper: Broadway: Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast), Wicked (Elphaba: Broadway, Australia & 2nd National Tour). New York and regional: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (American Repertory Theater), Noir (New York Stage and Film & NAMT), The Threepenny Opera (Atlantic Theater), LMNOP (Goodspeed), Independents (NY Times' Critics' Pick). Lilli is the creator of Glamour.com's web-series "It's Not Okay, Cupid." She is a proud LaGuardia Arts High School Graduate, and Vassar alum. lillicooper.com

Jeff Fernandes is a full-time music educator and performer with a number of bands and ensembles in the New York/New Jersey area. A New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate, Jeff is excited to be hitting the stage with Sky-Pony in The Wildness; a truly unique experience and change of pace in his day-to-day life as a working musician. Jeff is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and professional relationships he's made that have led him to this production.

Katie Lee Hill: Recent: On The Eve (NAMT, dir. Sam Buntrock); Claudio Quest (NYMF, dir. John Tartaglia). Other cool projects: Annie Golden: Bounty Hunter, Yo! (new Joe Iconis); Poster Boy (new Craig Carnelia, dir. Stafford Arima); Tiananmen (new Fornarola/ Elmegreen, dir. Stafford Arima); Behind the Painting (new Maltby/ Shire). For sexy pizza and band stuff, see katieleehill.com.

Jamie Mohamdein: Off-Broadway: 50 Shades! The Musical Parody, Spidermusical, Mr. Irresistible, The Full Monty. NYC: Rockwood Music Hall, Yankee Stadium, The Bitter End, Gramercy Theatre, 54 Below, The Shrine Bar, Arlene's Grocery. Youth in a Roman Field, Matt Wolpe and the Bedside Romeos, Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution, and Viper, Gravedigger/Lead Player in Hamlet, Satine in The Lower Depths, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. B.A. Theatre and Music from Kutztown University.

Sharone Sayegh most recently played Maria Elena in The Buddy Holly Story at The Muny. Broadway: Mamma Mia! Regional: Around...in 80 Days (Florida Rep), Disconnect (San Jose Rep, BACC Nom.), Bengal Tiger... (The Lark), Damn Yankees (Reprise!). Workshops: Jimmy Buffet Project (Dir. Christopher Ashley), Hazel (Dir. Lucie Arnaz), Sheila Levine (Dir. Susan Stroman), Hooray For Iceboy (Dir. John Rando), War is F*cking Awesome (Dir. Leisl Tommy), Bring it On (Dir. Andy Blankenbuehler). BFA Syracuse University. For the past 5 years she has produced Artists For World Peace on Broadway. sharonesayegh.com @sharonesayegh

Kevin Wunderlich is a guitarist, bassist and composer living in New York City. In addition to playing with Sky-Pony, he spends most of his time living within the sordid hellscape of confrontational noise rock band Couch Slut (Handshake Inc. Records), the ethereal realm of avant-rock band Voice Coils (Shatter Your Leaves Records) and also co-leads the experimental black metal band Epistasis (Crucial Blast Records).


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