Way Off Broadway Presents the Regional Theatre Premiere of New Musical Comedy THE BOOK OF MERMAN

Way Off Broadway Presents the Regional Theatre Premiere of New Musical Comedy THE BOOK OF MERMAN

Producers Justin M. Kiska, Jessica Billones, and Way Off Broadway are teaming up to bring the Post Off-Broadway Regional Theatre Premiere of the new musical comedy The Book of Merman to Frederick for a special engagement this fall. The production will play three performances only at Way Off Broadway, November 15th through the 17th.

When two Mormon missionaries knock on the door of Ethel Merman, hilarity ensues in this clever new musical comedy. Audiences will fall in love with this heaven-sent journey about two men and "The Merm" with a witty original score and a heartfelt message about being true to yourself. You gotta admit - it's way more fun than Sunday School!

The Book of Merman originally premiered in 2015 at Pride Films and Plays in Chicago. Three years later, it arrived in New York City when it opened Off-Broadway at St. Luke's Theatre. The Frederick production will mark the first since the show took its Off-Broadway bow.

Frederick is the perfect location for a post New York run of The Book of Merman due to the fact that DC Cathro, one of the show's authors, called Frederick home for so many years and was a staple in the region's theatre community.

The Book of Merman has music and lyrics by Leo Schwartz and a book by Schwarts and Cathro. The show will be music directed by Megan E. West with Jessica Billones, after working in the theatre for over thirty years, making her directorial debut.

When asked about the Frederick mounting of the musical, Cathro said, "I lived in Frederick for many years, and worked with just about every theatre in town, including Way Off Broadway. It's always special when one of your works gets produced 'at home.' I'm even more excited that Jessica is directing. We have worked together on stage, backstage, and served as FtP Board members together. I directed her in one of my favorite shows, and I cannot wait to see her directorial debut on one that I co-wrote! On a side note, when Leo Schwartz (Music, Lyrics, Co-Book Writer) asked me to work on the show, I think he knew my Mormon upbringing might come in handy. I don't practice any more, but the teachings of the church certainly influenced my writing in this show. I'm now living in Chicago, writing as much as possible. Leo and I just had another show in the New York Musical Festival, and we are talking to producers about mounting it next year."

Kiska, who is leading the Frederick producing team, said, "When Jessica and I saw the show during its New York run, I knew I wanted to bring a production to Frederick. I knew DC's work needed to be seen 'at home.' It's just an added bit of excitement that it will be the first production since the New York mounting."

The Frederick presentation of The Book of Merman will star three very familiar area performers. Paul Cabell and Joseph Waeyaert will play Elder Shumway and Elder Braithwaite, respectively, while Melissa Ann Martin will take on the role of the legendary stage diva Ethel Merman.

Performances of The Book of Merman will be Friday and Saturday evening, November 15th and 16th at 8:00 p.m., along with a Sunday matinee on November 17th beginning at 2:00 p.m. All tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling Way Off Broadway's Box Office at (301) 662-6600 or visiting the theatre.



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