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Wagner College Theatre Presents The World Premiere Of OUR NEW TOWN


Wagner College Theatre launches its 2019-20 Stage One Season with a world premiere musical Our New Town, with performances October 10-13.

Our New Town features lyrics and book by Gabriel Jason Dean and Jessie Dean and music by David Dabbon, with direction by WCT Professor Theresa McCarthy and music direction by Wendy Feaver.

After a deadly shooting on a college campus during a production of the American classic, Our Town, surviving cast members put together a musical theatrical event as a way to reclaim their theatre and heal their broken community. This immersive play puts the audience at the center of an American crisis.

Our New Town was inspired in part by a recent campus carry law passed in Texas that allows college students over the age of 21 holding concealed handgun licenses to carry guns into public university buildings and classrooms. Without shying away from the many points of view surrounding guns and gun ownership, the creative team examines the role art can play in response to violence and tragedy.

Our New Town features Gabriel Argate, Lila Cooper, Travis Harley, Maddie Kendall, Elise Killian, Julie Manning, Emily Moreno, Ben Sellers, Billy Wallace, Miles Wilkie and Kyle Kimmel.

The production is designed by Braith Dicker (Scenic Design/Prop Master), Lex Subbotin (Lighting Design), Brian T. Sharron is Technical Director. Hailey Delaney is Stage Manager.

Our New Town is the third work to be developed by Wagner College Theatre under the initiative called Originals@Wagner a page to stage process. New works evolve through collaborative teamwork beginning with readings, experimentation in rehearsal, writing revisions and finally culminating in a production.

Wagner students are passionate about their work on new plays and musicals," says Professor Theresa McCarthy, who leads Originals@Wagner. "This process is wonderfully challenging for me, the cast and crew. We are lucky to work with bright contemporary writers, to contribute to their storytelling through our interpretation of the material."

Gabriel Jason Dean (Book and Lyrics) Deemed "feisty as hell" by The New Yorker and "a great modern American playwright" by Broadway World, Gabriel's other award-winning and critically-acclaimed plays include Terminus (Austin Critic's Table Award); In Bloom (Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Award, Laurents/Hatcher Award Finalist, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up); Qualities of Starlight (Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nomination); The Transition of Doodle Pequeno (Kennedy Center TYA Award); and others. He has written book and lyrics for the musicals Mario & The Comet and Our New Town. His plays have been produced/developed Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Flea, The Civilians, and Cherry Lane Theatre, and regionally at McCarter Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare, Geva Theatre Center, Aurora Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, People's Light and others. Gabriel is a recipient of the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, Dramatist's Guild Fellowship, and the Sallie B. Goodman / McCarter Theatre Fellowship and was recently named a finalist for the Humanitas Award for New TV writers. He is an Affiliated Writer at The Playwrights' Center and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. MFA: UT-Austin Michener Center for Writers.

Jessica Dean (Co-Writer) is a Brooklyn based comedy writer and actor. Most recently, she has finished writing her first novel, Inventing Vida, which is currently in its final round of edits, and has penned two comedy pilots, Blue Skies and We Belong, with her husband and writing partner, playwright Gabriel Jason Dean as well as Our New Town, a musical they developed together with The Civilians. She is a Co-Artistic Director of the experimental theatre company, Monk Parrots, and has developed plays and musicals at New York Theatre Workshop, the Lark, PlayPenn, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center, and the Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival. Recently, she and Gabriel completed their first film re-write, Get Gomez, together. Jessica holds an MFA from Illinois State University and is currently at work on her first full-length feature screenplay.

David Dabbon (Composer) is a composer, arranger, conductor, and teacher. He wrote the dance arrangements for Beetlejuice which is currently on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include: Disaster! and Sondheim on Sondheim. Select off-Broadway credits: New York Theatre Workshop: The Events and Love and Information (music supervisor), Playwrights Horizons: "The Christians" (music supervisor) and "Stage Kiss" (arranger). Disney: Beauty and the Beast Live onboard the Disney Dream (Dance Arranger), David also created the reduced orchestration of Mary Poppins. David and Gabriel Jason Dean collaborated together on Dean's play In Bloom which was in residence at NYTW's Dartmouth program, they contributed a piece for Hall Pass which is an immersive high school piece, and together wrote Mario and the Comet, a TYA musical developed at NYU's New Plays for Young Audiences and performed with the education department at SCT. As a composer, Pittsburgh CLO produced a full production of his musical Game On an immersive game show musical; The Flea: The Mysteries Seattle Children's Theatre: The Little Prince. Orchestrator: "Audra McDonald: Sing Happy," "Audra McDonald: Go Back Home" albums. Film: "All God's Creatures" (composer) and "HBO's Six by Sondheim" (arranger). Master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Choral Conducting with Dr. Robert Page and bachelor's from The Hartt School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Performances of Our New Town are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm, with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by phone Monday through Friday from 12pm-4pm at 718-390-3259, or at the Wagner College Theatre Box Office, located in Main Hall. Wagner students attend free with student ID.

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