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THE BLACK MONK Makes Original Cast Recording 5/25, Released On iTunes

THE BLACK MONK Makes Original Cast Recording 5/25, Released On iTunes

Wendy Kesselman's "The Black Monk", which ran Off-Broadway from November 30th, 2008 through January 3rd, 2009, featuring Austin Pendleton, Elon Rutberg, Julie Craig, and Scott Robertson - under the direction of Kevin Newbury and musical direction of Chris Berg (with cellist Arthur Cook), will be making an original cast recording on Monday, May 25th, 2009. The album will be produced/engineered by Grammy Award winner John Kilgore. It will be released online in the fall exclusively on iTunes, and a record deal is pending.

John Kilgore is a recording engineer, sound designer and composer. Recent recording credits include every work by Steve Reich since The Cave, including City Life, Proverb, Nagoya Marimbas as well as new recordings of Music for 18 Musicians (1999 Grammy Award), New York Counterpoint, Four Organs and Eight Lines, Triple Quartet (with the Kronos Quartet,) the DVD of Three Tales, the recently released recordings of You Are (Variations) and Cello Counterpoint, and the upcoming Daniel Variations and Variations for Vibrophones, Stings and Pianos. He mixed the New York Philharmonic's recording of John Adam's On the Transmigration of Souls, which won three Grammys in 2005. He has recorded Dexter Gordon, James Moody, Woody Shaw, Gil Evans' Orchestra, Big Mama Thornton, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, DNA, Julius Baker, Richard Goode, Richard Stolzman, The Empire Brass Quintet, the American Brass Quintet and Ervin Nyiregyhazi to name just a few.

The Black Monk, with book, lyrics and music by Wendy Kesselman. Under the direction of Kevin Newbury, the four-member cast features Austin Pendleton as the Monk, Scott Robertson as Igor, Elon Rutberg as Andrei, and Julie Craig as Tanya. Performances began Sunday November 30, 2008 for a limited run through Saturday, January 3, 2009 at The Samuel Beckett Theater (410 West 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues).

A stunning new chamber musical inspired by Anton Chekhov's story, The Black Monk, follows the life of a gifted young artist Andrei. After five years in Moscow, Andrei returns home to his adopted father Igor and childhood love Tanya. As his talent blossoms, will Andrei be able to hold on to love, family, and his sanity or will the power of the mysterious Black Monk drive him into the unknown.

The creative team for The Black Monk included Charlie Corcoran (Set), Jessica Jahn (Costumes), D.M. Wood (Lights), Christopher Berg (Music Director, Pianist, Arranger), and Arthur Cook (Cello). The Production Stage Manager was Kate McDoniel.

Wendy Kesselman (Book, Lyrics, Music). Her new adaptation of The Diary Of Anne Frank received a Tony Award Nomination and was produced on Broadway. Her plays include My Sister In This House; The Notebook; The Executioner's Daughter; The Foggy Foggy Dew; The Last Bridge; I Love You, I Love You Not; The Juniper Tree, A Tragic Household Tale (Book, Music And Lyrics); Maggie Magalita; Merry-Go-Round; Becca (Book, Music and Lyrics); and A Tale Of Two Cities (Book, Music and Lyrics). A member of the Dramatists Guild, she is the recipient of the New England Theatre Conference Major Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in the American Theatre, the AT&T Onstage Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the first annual Playbill Award, the Roger L. Stevens Award, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, the Lecomte du Noüy Annual Award, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, and a Guggenheim, McKnight, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Ms. Kesselman's screenplays include Sister My Sister (adapted from My Sister In This House), directed by Nancy Meckler, with Joely Richardson, Julie Walters and Jodhi May; I Love You, I Love You Not (adapted from her play of the same name), directed by Billy Hopkins, with Jeanne Moreau, Claire Danes and Jude Law; and Mad Or In Love for Fox 2000. She won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for her screen adaptation of John Knowles' A Separate Peace, directed by Peter Yates.

Austin Pendleton (Monk) began his association with the New York musical theatre scene in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof as Motel the Tailor. This was followed by an Off-Broadway run in the title role of The Last Sweet Days of Isaac by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, for 500 performances, for which he won several awards. Later Off- Broadway, he played Adam in Up From Paradise, the musical by Arthur Miller and Stanley Silverman based on the Book of Genesis, and then appeared as Harry in the musical What About Luv by Howard Marren, Susan Birkenhead and Jeffrey Sweet, based on the play Luv by Murray Schisgal. And still later he took over the role in Grand Hotel originated by Michael Jeter. Twice in the last three years he has sung with Alice Playten, Judy Kaye and David Green for the Warren (Ohio) Philharmonic, with Susan Davenny Wyner as musical director, in concerts devoted to theatre music. Mr. Pendleton apprenticed and acted and directed for many years at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and is a member of The Ensemble in Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. His most recent appearances in New York have been Mother Courage, with Meryl Streep and Romeo and Juliet with Lauren Ambrose, both in Central Park, and at the Abingdon Theatre in Another Vermeer by Bruce Robinson.

Scott Robertson (Igor) celebrates 35 years on the New York stage. Broadway: Herr Schultz in Cabaret, Boys From Syracuse, Mayor, Grease, Pajama Game, Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis (Broadway & London), and Annie 2 (Kennedy Center). Off-Broadway: The Glorious Ones, Hello, Muddah, Song of Singapore, Its Only A Play (MTC). Regional: Falsettos, All In The Timing, Foreigner (La Jolla), Merry Widow Canadian Opera. Films/TV: "Tenderness", with Russel Crowe, "In And Out", Heartbreak Hospital", "Zelig", "L&O", "Trial By Jury", "SVU", "Spin City", "Third Watch", "Jamie Kennedy". Writer/Performer: Bucknaked (produced by Manbites Dog Theatre on Theatre Row). CD: "Just One More Song" (

Elon Rutberg (Andrei) NY credits include world premieres of Pulitzer Prize-nominee Steven Drukman's Fox Hollow (LinhArt Theatre), Rainy Day People (2nd Ave Theater), and the NY Premiere of Charles Mee's Full Circle (Loewe Theatre). TV: FOX's "On the Lot." Also a writer, director, and musician, he won a 2005 Emmy Award for his work on the PBS "Great Performances" broadcast of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion. Training: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/PHTS.

Julie Craig (Tanya) A Pennsylvania native, Julie has been on stage since the age of three. While earning her BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, she studied acting and trained for both stage and screen. Since graduation, her career has taken off in New York, regionally throughout the country, as well as on tour spanning the globe. In the film and television industry, she recently appeared on ABC's Cupid as well as the soap, Guiding Light. She also shot a Virgin Records music video for the UK and a couple of independent films. On Theatre Row, at the Beckett Theatre, Julie originated the role of Tanya in the world premiere of "The Black Monk" based on the Chekov story by the same name. She also played Luisa Off-Broadway in The Fantasticks in Times Square alongside writer/director, Tom Jones. She is a familiar face on the City Center stage in NY as well. Her regional favorites include The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Barrington Stage, Westchester Broadway, and North Shore. Julie was nominated for the Barrymore Award of ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Musical' for her portrayal of Cosette in Les Miserables at Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

Kevin Newbury (Director) Recent New York credits include Candy and Dorothy, The Second Tosca, Kiss and Cry, The Eumenides, concerts at Joe's Pub, Birdland, Ars Nova. Recent opera: Falstaff (Santa Fe Opera), Magic Flute (Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado), Figaro and Trovatore (Minnesote Opera). Upcoming: Bernstein: MASS (Baltimore, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center), Cenerentola (Glimmerglass), Eugene Onegin (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Wexford Festival), Devereux, Bolena and Stuarda (Minnesota Opera) and the world premiere An Inspector from Rome (Wolf Trap and St. Louis).


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