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Midwest New Musicals Presents WANTING MISS JULIE at Light Opera Works Tonight, 11/19


Midwest New Musicals continues Words and Music, its concert reading series of original musicals, with WANTING MISS JULIE, book by John Sparks, lyrics by Patricia Zehentmayr and music by Jake Anthony, tonight, November 19, at 7:30 PM at the Light Opera Works Second Stage at 1420 Maple (at Lake) in Evanston. Tickets are $15, available at Light Opera Works box office: (847) 920-5360 or at the door.

Based on Ibsen's classic play, WANTING MISS JULIE is an edgy, contemporary musical set in the super-sophisticated, moneyed, political world of the Hamptons. Julie Stoddard is stunning, smart and dangerous. She plays with sex and drugs to defy Stoddard, her father and to ensnare John, the rising MBA in his firm. The play contains adult language and situations, and is not suitable for children or young adults.

WANTING MISS JULIE is directed by Stacey Flaster, who directed The Secret Garden and Carousel for Light Opera Works. Music director is Robert Deason. The cast features Nick Bailey, Audrey Billings-Stone, Courtney Crouse, Candace C. Edwards, Harmony France, Reneisha Jenkins, Tanner Smale and Daniel Spagnuolo. Casting director is Kyle A. Dougan. Midwest New Musicals is lead by workshop director John Sparks.

John Sparks (book) is Founding Artistic Director of the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles, where he has taught since 1981. In 1987 he founded the musical theater writers workshop at the former Theatre Building Chicago, where he served as Artistic Director from 1999 to 2009. John is also currently a board member and guest instructor with Mercury Musical Developments in London. He has written many musicals that have been produced in Los Angeles, Chicago and on the east coast, including: Babes In Barns (music and lyrics), Hans Brinker (lyrics), Cashel Byron (book), The Arresting Dilemma of Mister K (book) and On The Brink (book and lyrics). He has received awards such as the After Dark Award for Best Score and several commissions from Theatre Building Chicago and the Frederick Loewe Trust, awarded by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. John studied with the late Lehman Engel, renowned musical director and founder of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and with Broadway and Hollywood director Michael Gordon.

Patricia Zehentmayr (lyrics) has collaborated as lyricist or composer with writers in genres many and varied from Rosie Flores, Queen of Rockabilly, to John Axelrod, conductor of L'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. She is currently writing lyrics for the new musicals New York Society for the Suppression of Vice with Jake Anthony and Joel Bailey and Madwomen for the University of California, Irvine. Patricia recently directed Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at The Black Box Theater and the staged reading of a new musical, Monkey Mind. She served as producer for the Academy of New Musical Theatre's For Richer For Poorer and Lost and Found.

Jake Anthony (music) works as a composer, vocal coach and music director in the Los Angeles area. His theater work includes Snoopy at the McCadden Place Theater and the west coast premieres of Splendora and Songs from an Unmade Bed at Celebration Theater. Jake serves as the music director of the Performers' Workshop at the Academy for New Musical Theatre, and as conductor of Perpetual Surrey, LA's first choral ensemble dedicated solely to the performance of theatrical choral music. As a composer, Jake wrote the mini-musical Oh God, We're Gonna Die! with Jeff Marx, co-author of Avenue Q, and Now and Then a Hero, with Larry Todd Johnson.

The Midwest New Musicals writers workshop and the Words and Music series are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The ASCAP Foundation and The Dramatist Guild Fund. New musicals in the Words and Music series are written by members of the Midwest New Musicals writers workshop and have been developed in the workshop Core Curriculum and development process. More information at

Midwest New Musicals is an ongoing forum where lyricists, composers and book writers create and discuss their work. Divided into three levels, workshop members meet 10 times per year for intensive weekend sessions. Since 2009, Midwest New Musicals has been a resident arm of Light Opera Works, Chicago's specialists in operetta and musical theater. With the Midwest New Musicals program, Light Opera Works is able to expand its programming and service to the field by providing an outlet for writers and for new works of musical theater.

Light Opera Works is a resident professional not-for-profit theater in Evanston, founded in 1980. The company's mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions, to engage the community through educational and outreach programs, and to train artists in musical theater. All productions are presented in English, with foreign works done in carefully edited modern translations. Maximum scholarship is employed to preserve the original vocal and orchestral material as well as the spirit of the original text whenever possible. Audiences have come to know that at Light Opera Works they will experience repertoire often unavailable on the stages of commercial theaters and opera houses, in modern productions with professional artists and full orchestra.

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