TUTS Postpones Reading of SWEET POTATO QUEENS by Manchester, Vaughn & Holmes

SWEET POTATO QUEENS will have to wait until fall to take the stage.

Houston's TUTS Underground was slated to present a closed table reading of the world premiere musical SWEET POTATO QUEENS on August 7 at The Hobby Center, featuring a score by Melissa Manchester and Sharon Vaughn. But BroadwayWorld has learned the reading will have to be rescheduled for a later date this fall due to Manchester's recent fall while attending an estate sale.

Press reps for TUTS told BWW, "While attending an estate sale, Melissa Manchester took a bad spill and injured both of her ankles, one of which required surgery. Fortunately, the prognosis is for a complete and speedy recovery, but for the next few weeks, Melissa will be focusing on physical therapy. She is in excellent spirits and is looking forward to getting back on the road very shortly. She said that she is very eager to return to Houston and TUTS for our workshop and continuing our work together on SWEET POTATO QUEENS. We are anxious for Melissa to heal well and look forward to having a great closed table reading with her and the team in the fall!"

Manchester (pictured, left) posted about her injuries on Facebook, writing: "Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I took a nasty spill a few days ago and fractured BOTH of my ankles! (The right one is just a hairline, but the left one was a doozy and required surgery yesterday - there go my ballet solos!) Since I (quite literally) don't have a leg to stand on, I'll be in a convalescent hospital for a couple of weeks. With apologies to my New York City homies, sadly, I won't be able to make it to the 54 Below shows in August. The good news is that I didn't break an arm or wrist or finger or vocal cord, so I'm expected to make a full recovery in time for my return 'I Happen To Like New York' engagement at 54 Below on November 5, 6 and 7. Please make it easy on the good folks at 54 Below and contact them early about changing your tickets to November! Can't wait to see you then."

Based on the book series by Jill Conner Browne and featuring material by Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist and bookwriter Rupert Holmes, SWEET POTATO QUEENS will be presented in a full production this coming March. TUTS' Artistic Director, Bruce Lumpkin, and TUTS' Associate Artistic Director, Marley Wisnoski, will co-direct the production with music direction by Thom Culcasi.

"Nurturing and developing new musicals is at the heart of TUTS Underground, and we are excited to be providing a creative home for Sweet Potato Queens in Houston," Lumpkin said in a previous statement. "We feel privileged to be a part of the growth and development of this special piece, and it has been an artistically satisfying experience to collaborate with Melissa, Sharon, and Rupert on this new musical. We are very much looking forward to the work week and table read which will lead us to the next step-a production in March 2016-and beyond."

SWEET POTATO QUEENS is loosely based on the life-story of #1 New York Times best-selling author and Sweet Potato Queens founder, Jill Conner Browne. The organization's philosophy was born out of Browne's need for some excitement and a new direction. The Sweet Potato Queens is a women's organization based in Jackson, Mississippi, that has 6,200 chapters in 37 countries. It involves a belief in a sisterhood that promotes self-esteem and positive thinking, appealing to mostly middle-aged middle-class women. Each local chapter assumes its own theme and designs its own costumes. Some chapters even participate in parades and fundraisers in their local community-the Saint Patrick's Day parade being the biggest event.

Check out BroadwayWorld's extensive blog about the staged reading of SWEET POTATO QUEENS, presented earlier this year from March 21-22, 2015, available here. Plus, visit the TUTS Facebook page to view photos from the performance.

For more about the world premiere of SWEET POTATO QUEENS, now set for a fall reading and a full-fledged production from March 17 to 27, 2016, visit TUTSUnderground.com.

Photo: Melissa Manchester/Facebook

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