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Want to Be in RUNAWAYS? Encores! Off-Center Will Hold Open Auditions for Teen Cast!

Want to be in an Encores! production? This is your chance!

New York City Center will hold an open audition for teen actors (ages 13-18) on Saturday, March 19, at Talent Unlimited High School (317 East 67th Street) for the Encores! Off-Center production of Runaways-Elizabeth Swados' landmark 1978 musical about the stories, fears, and fantasies of young people living on the streets.

Swados spent several months observing and interviewing child runaways before shaping their stories, fears, and fantasies into a musical. A deeply unconventional work in its day, Runaways feels like the funkiest, most heartbreaking mixtape ever to come out of a 1970s boom box, packed with reggae anthems, hip-hop, soul-food lullabies, and spoken-word poetry. The Encores! Off-Centerproduction of Runaways, running July 6-9 and directed by Sam Pinkleton, will honor the crowning achievement of a theater visionary who was ferocious, inspiring, and left us far too soon.

"When I approached Liz to ask permission to present Runaways," said Jeanine Tesori, Encores! Off-Center Artistic Director, "we began talking about how to bring this show to life for a new generation. We decided to cast the production largely from an open call to high school students across the five boroughs, a gesture that Liz loved. Since we can't do Runaways with her, we'll now do it for her."

Interested teens of all ethnicities, body types, gender identifications, and ability levels are asked to prepare a short song (around one minute in length) that they love to sing, in any musical style from pop to gospel to rap to jazz-avoiding musical theater songs, if possible. No professional experience or union affiliation is required to audition. Participants are asked to bring sheet music, a recent picture, and a short resume detailing their performing experience, if any. Callbacks will be held on Sunday, March 20 for some actors. Visit for full details.

Runaways (July 6-9) is part of New York City Center's 2016 Encores! Off-Center season, which also includes Off-Center Jamboree!(July 16) and Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (July 27-30). Encores! Off-Center presents 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 Filtered through the lens of today's artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital works that continue to resonate with audiences.

Tickets to all three Encores! Off-Center shows start at $25 and can be purchased online at, by calling CityTix at 212.581.1212, or in person at the City Center Box Office. New York City Center is located at 131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

New York City Center gratefully acknowledges the Encores! Off-Center Founding Sponsors, Stacey and Eric Mindich and Stacy Bash-Polley; Leadership Sponsor, Nathalie and Pablo Salame; Series Sponsors, American Express, Luigi Caiola and Sean McGill, Andrew Martin-Weber, and the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!; with additional support provided by The Frederick Loewe Foundation, Paula and Ira Resnick and Alec Stais and Elissa Burke. In addition, City Center thanks The Howard Gilman Foundation and Lisa and Richard Witten for their generous support in establishing the Artistic Innovation Fund.

Runaways is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

NEW YORK CITY CENTER (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with a mission to make the best in music, theater, and dance accessible to all audiences. Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, City Center's Principal Dance Company, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as "one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York." In summer 2013, City Center launched Encores! Off-Center, a series that features landmark Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's most innovative artists. Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start - and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival, remain central to City Center's identity. Vital partnerships with arts organizations including Jazz at Lincoln Center and London's Sadler's Wells Theatre enhance City Center's programmatic offerings. City Center brings dance and musical theater to over 9,000 New York City students each year through its robust education program, and other learning opportunities are offered to seniors, families, and the general public. City Center is expanding its programming beyond the proscenium and activating its alternative spaces with pre-show talks, master classes, exhibitions of visual art, and intimate performances that give an up-close look at the work of the great theater and dance artists of our time. In October 2011, City Center completed an extensive renovation project to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.

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