Barrington Presents 'The Mysteries of Harris Burdick'

The world premiere of "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick", a new musical by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's (Jumanji and The Polar Express) illustrative book, opens the third season of Barrington Stage Company's acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab, under the mentorship of William Finn. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick with performances from July 18 through July 5 at BSC's new Stage 2 space, The VFW Hall, 36 Linden Street in Pittsfield. The official press opening is Thursday, June 26 at 7:30pm.

From the creators of BSC's 2006 hit musical The Burnt Part Boys, "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" features book and direction by Joe Calarco (Shakespeare's R & J), with music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was presented as a workshop last summer as part of BSC's Musical Theatre Lab. After working on the show over the winter and spring, as part of the Lab's developmental process, a full production is being presented this summer.

Miller, Tysen and Calarco bring a unique perspective to Van Allsburg's book, known for its whimsical, haunting and wildly intriguing illustrations. In the stage version, a writer namEd Harris Burdick appears at the publishing offices of Peter Wenders with a series of astonishing drawings for a book he has written. Burdick promises to return the next day with the accompanying stories - he never returned - and never does. The illustrations are given a musical life by offering one explanation for the man's mysterious disappearance, taking the audience on a wild ride through wonder, fear, and the imagination.

"The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" features Romain Fruge (The Threepenny Opera,The Full Monty, Some Men at Second Stage, BSC's Elegies), Mitchell Jarvis (Fiddler on the Roof), Catherine Porter (London 's Sunset Boulevard), Ben Roseberry (Fugitive Songs), Lucia Spina (Les Miserables and ...Spelling Bee) and Nicole Van Giesen (The Wild Party and Cabaret).

The production is designed by Brian Prather, with costumes by Elizabeth Flauto, and lighting by Chris Lee. Vadim Feichtner is musical director, and Jamie Thoma is production stage manager.

Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics) have written The Burnt Part Boys (book by Mariana Elder; developed at Theatreworks in Palo Alto; produced at BSC in 2006; American Theatre Critics New Play Award Finalist; 2008 NEA Grant recipient; opening Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre next season; The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (book by Joe Calarco; developed at Mercury Musical Developments in London, Playwrights Horizons, and Barrington Stage Co.). Their song cycle, Fugitive Songs received a 2008 Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Revue. Chris and Nathan are recipients of the Vineyard Theatre's 2007 Kitty Carlisle Hart Award, a 2006 Richard Rodgers Award, the 2004 Darryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, a 2004 Frederick Loewe Foundation Grant, and the 2003 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant. They began their collaboration together at New York University where they received their MFA's in musical theatre writing. Recently profiled in The Dramatist Magazine under "Fifty to Watch," other Miller/Tysen projects include working on a commission from Lincoln Center Theater, and a new musical with playwright Craig Wright for Playwrights Horizons.

Please note the performance schedule for Barrington Stage Company's Musical Theatre Lab: Wednesday through Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, Sunday at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 for the first two previews, while other performances are $25-$30. Student tickets for the Sat. at 4pm matinees are $15; Pay What You Can Night for 35's and Under, Friday, June 20 at 7:30pm. BSC's Stage 2 is located at the VFW Hall, 36 Linden Street in Pittsfield.

For information on a Musical Theater Lab pass, call 413-236-8888, from South County call 413-528-8888 or online at

Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity theatre, located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was co-founded in 1995 by artistic director Julianne Boyd. BSC's mission is three-fold: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways to bringing new audiences into the theatre. BSC garnered national attention with William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin's Tony Award-winning musical hit "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," which began as a workshop at BSC in February, 2004, was produced in its world premiere to critical acclaim that summer season, prior to taking New York by storm at Second Stage Theatre and later transferring to Broadway's Circle-in-the-Square Theatre where it played over 1000 performances. For more information, log on to

Photo by Kevin Sprague.

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