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Silvestri, Higgins & Cohen's New Musical THE COUNTESS OF STORYVILLE to Premiere at University of Alabama

The University of Alabama Theatre & Dance just announced that -- in association with Tony Award-winning producer Margot Astrachan -- it will present the world premiere of the new Broadway-bound musical THE COUNTESS OF STORYVILLE.

Astrachan states: "This is a wonderful opportunity to develop new work and interface with a terrific educational institution and its resources."

The developmental production is a collaboration between Broadway professionals, UA Theatre & Dance, and the Tuscaloosa community. A five-week rehearsal period will culminate in a fully staged production with a week of public performances at the Marian Gallaway Theatre from February 16-20.

THE COUNTESS OF STORYVILLE features music by Grammy nominee Martin Silvestri (Johnny Guitar), lyrics by Joel Higgins (Johnny Guitar), a book by R.M. Cohen, choreography by Denis Jones (Honeymoon in Vegas), and direction by Tony Award nominee Mark Waldrop (When Pigs Fly, NEWSical the Musical). Red Awning / Jack Viertel is Creative Consultant, David Siegel is Orchestrator, and Jason Yarcho is Musical Director.

The cast is led by Paulette Ivory as 'The Countess: Willie Dupree,' George Dvorsky as 'Tom Anderson,' T. Oliver Reid as 'Kid Rich,' Cooper Grodin as 'Antonio Maduro,' Aurelia Williams as 'Julia Jackson,' Jamie Laverdiere as 'Philip Belvedere,' Monté Howell as 'Silky,' local actors Mark H. Cobb as Judge and Charles Prosser as 'Alderman,' and UofA student Mary Catherine Waltman as 'Celine.'

They are joined by UofA students Haley Baker, Victor Castro, Will Erwin, Peyton Davis, Avery Draper, Craig First, Matt Gabbard, Sandra Gates, Benjamin Haupt, Emily Herring, Meghan Kelly, Bailey Mariea, Bill Martin, David Nicholson, Chelsea Reynolds, Daniel Velasquez, Scarlett Walker, and 8-year-old actor Jake Whipple.

This new American musical, cloaked in mystery and steeped in politics, follows a wealthy and beautiful woman of color who returns from Paris to operate a legally-sanctioned brothel in Storyville, the red light district of 1910 New Orleans. Jazz and Ragtime were born in those 10 blocks of "sin."

Tickets are $14 for students, $17 for seniors and UA faculty and staff, and $20 for adults. They are available in Rowand-Johnson Hall at the ticket office in the front lobby, by phone at (205) 348-3400 or online at

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