York Theatre Company to Feature Developmental Reading Series in October

York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director), will present three offerings in its acclaimed Developmental Reading Series: Harold and Maude (today, October 11), Civil War Stories (October 15), and Leni Riefenstal is Going to Tell You the Truth (October 19).

All readings will begin at 3 PM and are free to the public at The York Theatre at Saint Peter’s (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). For additional information on the Series and to make reservations for any of the upcoming presentations, visit the readings page at www.yorktheatre.org. Please note that reservations are already full for Harold and Maude and Civil War Stories. Names are being accepted for the wait list only.

Each year, York’s Developmental Reading Series presents between 40 to 50 readings and workshops of new musicals by emerging and established authors. Producing Artistic Director James Morgan says, “These readings give writers a unique opportunity to get audience feedback while a show is still in progress.” York’s past Mainstage productions of Yank!, Souvenir and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) were first developed in the Developmental Reading Series, where the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Avenue Q also made its first appearances. The Developmental Reading Series is made possible in part by The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

The October Developmental Reading Series schedule is, as follows:

Today, October 11 at 3 PM
Harold and Maude
An Intimate Musical
Based on the film by Colin Higgins

Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Joseph Thalken
Directed by Carl Andress
Music Direction by Joseph Thalken

The cast features Matt Dengler as Harold, Rita Gardner as Maude with Jillian Louis, Daniel Marcus and Jennifer Van Dyke.

The musical adaptation of the 1971 cult-classic film Harold and Maude comes to life on the York stage in a new version by Tom Jones (The Fanstasticks) and Joseph Thalken (Songs from an Unmade Bed). In what some call the quintessential May-December romance, death-obsessed teenager, Harold, meets Maude, 79, at a funeral and thus begins one of the most unusual, yet truly touching romantic sagas in American pop-culture history.

Monday, October 15 at 3 PM
Civil War Voices
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Harris and Mark Hayes
Directed by David Glenn Armstrong
Music Direction by Aaron Gandy
Produced by Bob Ost

Featuring James Barbour (Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities), Nili Bassman (Curtains, Chicago), Danielle Lee Greaves (Hairspray, Rent), Paul Anthony Stewart (Fiddler on the Roof, Cyrano), Lawrence Street (Urinetown), Juliette Trafton (Phantom of the Opera), Stephen Trafton (Les Miserables), Catherine Fries Vaughn (Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?), Chris Vaughn, and Bruce Warren (York’s The Road to Qatar!, Cats)

A slave who became Mrs. Lincoln’s confidante. A Southern couple separated by war. A Yankee professor turned military hero. A plantation owner with a conflicted conscience. Five lives made extraordinary by the times they lived in. The real words, the real music. The real heart of a country divided. A show that set box office records at the Barter Theatre, Virginia, and had audiences standing and cheering in a 26-city tour. Rediscover the truth now, during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Friday, October 19 at 3 PM
Leni Riefenstahl is Going to Tell You the Truth

Book, Music and Lyrics by Christie Baugher
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Musica Direction by Ryan Kerr

Featuring Jen Tullock as Leni Riefenstahl.

1947. In a French mental ward, notorious Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl spins a defense of her life and her choices with the help of four young American soldiers who assume the roles of the most important men in her life, including Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. She creates an elaborate reality all her own – part Brechtian cabaret confessional, part Tin Pan Alley fugue state – that challenges the very definition of ‘truth’ itself.

The York Theatre Company is the only theater in New York City—and one of very few in the world—dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over four decades, York’s intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and neglected classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on new musicals in its Mainstage Series—most of them world, American, or New York premieres—by some of the field’s most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Over 35 cast recordings from The York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, and commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir, Jolson & Company, and its acclaimed revivals of Sweeney Todd and Pacific Overtures have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs.

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