Anthony Rapp and Amy Spanger headline 'Feeling Electric' at the New York Musical Theatre Festival

The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Reno Productions proudly present FEELING ELECTRIC as one of the featured productions of the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Directed by Peter Askin (The Good Body, Trumbo), performances begin on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at Off-Broadway's Barrow Group Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).

With music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey (The Wedding Banquet), FEELING ELECTRIC stars Annaleigh Ashford, Joe Cassidy (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Benjamin Schrader (Big River, nat'l tour) and Amy Spanger (Kiss Me, Kate; Chicago).

Darkly funny and brutally honest, this powerful new musical chronicles one family's personal battle to cure a mother (Spanger) of her long-term depression, with the controversial help of one hotshot young doctor (Rapp) who prescribes electric shock therapy as her last resort treatment.

With choreography by Kathryn Van Meter, musical direction by ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Alex Lacamoire, FEELING ELECTRIC features scenic design by Robert Brill, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Simon Matthews and casting by Clemmons Casting.

A workshop production of FEELING ELECTRIC, featuring Amy Spanger, was presented at Seattle's Village Theatre, June 21-23, 2005. That production was made possible by a grant presented by The Jonathan Larson Foundation.

FEELING ELECTRIC will play six performances only at the Barrow Group Theatre at 312 West 36th Street in midtown Manhattan. The playing schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, September 14 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 17 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 18 at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 21 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 24 at 8 p.m.

Tickets for FEELING ELECTRIC are $15 each and are available beginning Monday, August 29 at or by calling at (212) 352-3101.

Dedicated to discovering new work and new artists, The New York Musical Theatre Festival celebrates the diversity, creativity, and future of musical theatre. NYMF is a flagship program of the National Music Theater Network, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and is America's largest annual musical theatre event. NYMF is produced in association with Virgin Megastores and proudly supported by amNewYork, Village Voice, WB11, Dodger Stages, Receptasign, King Displays, Rosco, Scharff Weissberg,, and Manhattan Living. For more information, visit


Annaleigh Ashford (Natalie) is fresh out of Marymount Manhattan College where she graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts this past May. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she has played Cinderella in Cinderella, Sandy in Grease, Rosa Bud in Drood, and Amy in Little Women. She is pleased to be a part of NYMF and Feeling Electric.

Joe Cassidy (Dan). Joe is delighted to be a part of the 2005 NYMF and Feeling Electric. On Broadway, he recently appeared as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opposite John Lithgow. Other Broadway: Performances as Rutledge in 1776, Ravenal in Show Boat, Valjean in Les Miserables, and three seasons as Scrooge at 18 in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. NYC: Listen To My Heart, Encores!, and a solo evening at Joe's Pub entitled Joe Cassidy, Rockstar. Regional: The Last Five Years(Jamie), Dracula, the Musical (Seward), Jekyll & Hyde (Title role), Master Class(Tony), Children of Eden (Adam/Noah), Caraboo (Eyenesso), Sarah, Plain and Tall (Matthew), Reunion (Lovecraft), Take Flight (Lindbergh), Myths and Hymns. Film: Freefall.

Anthony Rapp (Doctor Madden) is best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson's Tony Award wining rock opera, Rent, the musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America. He shared an OBIE Award with the rest of the cast for his performance. Rapp recently completed filming Rent, with other members of the original cast, directed by Chris Columbus, to be released by Sony Pictures in November 2005. Currently, Rapp is in production on two independent films. He will be seen playing himself in Danny Roane: First Time Director in this comedy-mockumentary about an out-of-work, scandal plagued actor, played by Andy Dick. Rapp will also be seen in Scaring the Fish, directed by Todd Miller. Rapp has also written a book on his Rent experiences called Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent, which will published by Simon and Schuster, to be released in January 2006. Rapp's Broadway credits include the recent revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation. He made his Broadway debut in Precious Sons with Judith Ivey and Ed Harris, for which he received an Outer Critics Circle award and a Drama Desk nomination. On television, Rapp has appeared in "The Lazarus Man," "The X-Files," "The Beach Boys: An American Family" and "Law & Order: SVU."

Benjamin Schrader (Son). Recent credits include the DeafWest Broadway Nat'l Tour of "Big River"(Tom Sawyer). Off Bway's 2004 GLAAD award winning "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" and Jim Bauer's "The Blue Flower". The BBC miniseries "Rebels and Redcoats", and a wide range of concerts, performing with Marni Nixon at Lincoln Center to Norbert Leo Butz at The Cutting Room. Regional credits include "Hair" and Tobias in "Sweeney Todd" at Seattle's 5th Avenue.

Amy Spanger (Diana). On Broadway, Amy Spanger originated the role of Bianca/Lois in the hit revival of Kiss Me Kate, appeared as Betty Schaeffer in Sunset Boulevard, Roxie Hart in Chicago and Hope in Urinetown: The Musical. Off-Broadway, she created the role of Susan in Jonathan Larson's tick, tick... Boom! at the Jane St. Theatre. Spanger also played Maureen in the national tour of Rent and Roxie Hart in the national tour of Chicago. In addition, she performed in the original workshop of Fosse in Toronto. Spanger's television credits include Showtime's original movie musical "Reefer Madness." The musical adaptation starred Steven Weber, Alan Cumming, Neve Campbell and Ana Gasteyer. Her guest starring roles include, HBO's "Six Feet Under," NBC's "Ed" and CBS's "Becker," as well as the starring role on PBS's "Egg The Art Show: The Musical Traps." Amy and her husband actor Michael C. Hall, divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.

Brian Yorkey (Book and Lyrics). Stage credits include book and lyrics for the musical adaptation of Ang Lee's award-winning film The Wedding Banquet, which last year completed a sold-out tour of Asia and a premiere production in Seattle. Brian is currently writing the musical feature film Time After TIme for Universal Pictures, and his film Sluts (written with Pamela Buchignani) is slated for production at Lions' Gate later this year. His musical Making Tracks had performed to sold-out audiences regionally and internationally. Concept albums for both shows were released by Sony Music International. He recently wrote a new book for the country musical Play it by Heart, and his play The Book of Jobs (co-authored with Alex Glover) was presented by Brooklyn's International WOW company in 2002. As a theatre director, Brian has directed Off-Broadway, regionally, at Lincoln Center, and at Carnegie Hall. Regional writing credits include the musicals Funny Pages (with composer Scott Warrender), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (with composer Suzanne Grant), and the plays What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?, Leaders and Senior Portrait. Brian is a member of the Dramatists' Guild, the WGA, and an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Brian also serves as Associate Artistic Director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation's leading producers of new musicals. His work commissioning, developing, directing, and producing new musicals there represents one of the most significant commitments to new musicals in the nation.

Tom Kitt (Composer/Arranger/Orchestrator). Broadway: Laugh Whore, Urban Cowboy, Bombay Dreams, Nothing Like A Dame, Caroline's On Broadway's 20th Anniversary Celebration, Lincoln Center Songbook Series. Off Broadway: Debbie Does Dallas, Dream A Little Dream, For The Love of Tiffany, It's Only Life: The Songs of John Bucchino, Dog Sees God, Making Tracks, Put A Little Love in Your Mouth, The Violence Project. Regional: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: The Neil Sedaka Musical (vocal arrangements, orchestrations). Actor's Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Muny, Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Wilma Theatre. As a musical director, Tom has worked on numerous workshops and concerts. Tom is also the leader of The Tom Kitt Band ( who's original songs from their album, Find Me, have been featured on Dawson's Creek and the feature film The Two Ninas. Tom is currently composing the music for an adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel and John Cusack film, High Fidelity, with Amanda Green, David Lindsay-Abaire, and Walter Bobbie. In 2004, Tom together with Brian Yorkey, was a recipient of a grant from the Jonathan Larson Foundation, which was used toward a workshop of Feeling Electric.

PETER ASKIN (Director). Recent credits: Privilege by Paul Weitz; Eve Ensler's The Good Body on Broadway; Trumbo, starring Nathan Lane followed by a rotating cast, including Paul Newman and Brian Dennehy; Mike O'Malley's Searching for Certainty; John Leguizamo's Sexaholix, Spic-o-Rama, and Mambo Mouth. He also directed the New York, London and Los Angeles productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Dael Orlandersmith's Monster, Beauty's Daughter and The Gimmick. Past New York credits include: Dinner with Demons, How it Hangs, Linda Her, Beauty Marks, Ourselves Alone, Reno, Reality Ranch, and Down and Alley Filled with Cats.

RENO PRODUCTIONS, INC. (Producer) operates the Westside Theatre, housing two Off-Broadway spaces which were renovated by Reno in 1991, and have been home to a host of successful productions over the years, including Trumbo, The Vagina Monologues, Full Gallop, The Food Chain, Nixon's Nixon, The Cryptogram, Later Life, Spic-o-Rama, and And the World Goes 'Round.

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