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Largest Ever Cast of 30 Announced for HURRICANE at NYMF Festival

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) and Kellner-Avery Productions proudly present the World Premiere of HURRICANE. This epic new musical takes an all-but-forgotten moment in history and brings it to life with the largest cast in NYMF history, 30 in all. Directed by Michael Bush, HURICANE features a book by Michael Holland and Eric Bernat, and music and lyrics by Michael Holland. Performances begin September 28 at The Theatre at St. Clements.

HURRICANE tells the stories of coastal Napatree, Rhode Island and its inhabitants before, during, and immediately following the Great Hurricane of 1938. Owing to bureaucratic incompetence, this killer storm made landfall unannounced, with a path of destruction on the east coast that left more than 600 dead, one that effectively erased Napatree from the map. As the unsuspecting citizens go about their daily lives, a lone weather forecaster tries in vain to alert his indifferent superiors to the danger at hand, and one of New England's greatest natural catastrophes unfolds. With a rich, modern score echoing New England folksong and big band jazz, "Hurricane" ultimately emerges as a testament to hope, endurance, rebirth, and survival.

HURRICANE runs Mon. Sept. 28 at 8pm ; Thurs. Oct. 1 at 9pm; Sat. Oct. 3 at 5pm; Sat. Oct. 3rd also at 9pm; Tues. Oct. 6 at 5pm; Sat. Oct. 10 at 9pm. The Theatre at St. Clements is located at 423 West 46th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues -- accessible from the A,C.E,N,R,1,2,3, trains at 42nd Street). Tickets are $20, available at 212-352-3101 or www.nymf.org.

The production team includes Tony Award winner Christopher Akerlind (set & lighting design), Jesse Vargas (music director), Paul Staroba (assistant music director), Kelli Barclay (choreographer), David Margolin Lawson (sound design), Karen Ann Ledger (costume design), Rebecca Goldstein-Glaze (production stage manager), Karen Mack (producer), Ryan Bogner and Iris Burnett (associate producers.)

The cast of 30, from age 7 on up, includes Stephen Booth, T.J. Mannix, Rita Gardner, Karen Elliott, John Antony, Christy Morton, Joe Mahowald, Zachary Clause, Joey Khoury, Brittney Lee Hamilton, Steve Watts, Catherine Charlebois, Natalie Charle Ellis, Mishaela Faucher, Bayla Whitten, Alec Cohen, Maya Frank, Patricia Noonan, Patty Lohr, Beth Kirkpatrick, Ron DeStefano, Ryan Murray, Dan Debenport, Kenneth Cavett, Erin Childs, Jeremy Ritz, Marisa Pierini, Athena Ripka, Brandon Rakowski, and Austin Zambito-Valente. More info can be found online at www.hurricanethemusical.com.

As a composer/lyricist, Michael Holland's (book, music, lyrics) credits include Believe in Me...a Bigfoot musical (FringeNYC - chosen by the NY Times as the top show to see of FringeNYC ‘04), Mikey Writes It! (2002 MAC Award, Best Revue), Times Square Association Centennial Celebration (for BC/EFA), Kelly Kinsella Live Under Broadway (FringeNYC), and The Girl Most Likely To. He is the recipient of The Back Stage Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award (2006 Outstanding Performer/Songwriter on the Rise). He is the performer/arranger/musical director of downtown retro-pop favorite "Gashole", winner of 5 MAC Awards and a BackStage Bistro Award for Best Vocal Duo. Holland has 4 self-produced original CDs, including Darkness Falls (2001 Blockbuster/ MP3 Award) and Beach Toys Won't Save You (2004 OutMusic Award, Songwriter of the Year).

Eric Bernat (book) studied theater at UCLA. He wrote and performed a solo show Starstruck under the direction of David Drake at Provincetown Rep, Phoenix Theater Companyand at New York's Rattlestick Theater. With choreographer Robin Carrigan, he co-wrote Jesus and Mandy, produced at FringeNYC 2004 and Theater for the New City. Eric is a regular performer at The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre. His most recent play, BEND, is currently being developed with Naked Angels Theater Company

Michael Bush (director) is the former director of artistic production for the Manhattan Theatre Club where he helped to guide more than 150 new works including Proof, Doubt, and Love! Valour! Compassion! He was instrumental in the rebirth of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Performance Conference, and has served as its artistic director since 2005. Most recently, Bush directed Based on A Totally True Story at MTC, Stormy Weather for Pasadena Playhouse and Philadelphia's Prince Music Theatre; Murderers for Philadelphia Theatre Company, Pittsburgh City Theatre, and The Emelin Theatre; Pure Heaven: a Party with Kay Thompson at The Emelin; and The Story of My Life at Toronto's CanStage. For New York Music Theater Festival (NYMF), Bush directed The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (2005), Warrior (2006), The Piper (2007) and To Paint the Earth (2008). During his tenure as producing artistic director at Charlotte Repertory Theatre in North Carolina (2002-2004), he presented Hilary Swank in The Miracle Worker, Penny Fuller in The Glass Menagerie, and directed the 20th Anniversary production of Pump Boys and Dinettes. He also directed and co-wrote the book for Let Me Sing, co-produced with George Street Playhouse in New Jersey and Charlotte Repertory Theatre.

Jesse Vargas (music direction) Broadway-Glory Days (music supervision, arrangements & orchestrations); The Ritz (orchestrations); Off-Broadway Music Direction-Rooms-A Rock Romance (also orchestrations/arrangements); Saved; bare-A Pop Opera Tours/Other- Xanadu (National Tour, Tokyo) Rooms (MetroStage, GeVa Theatre); Dreamgirls; Up In The Air (Henry Krieger/Bill Russell); Radio City Christmas; Sunfish (NAMT); Orchestrations-Peep Show (Planet Hollywood-Las Vegas); Asphalt Beach (Andrew Lippa); Bright Lights, Big City; Seth Rudetsky's Broadway 101; Hair 2004; Junie B. Jones; Chess; BC/EFA Easter Bonnet (4 years); Pippin (Dance Arr.-2006 Tour). Music Director/Arranger for Clay Aiken (4 years). Recordings-Hair (Grammy nominated); Dreaming Wide Awake-The Music of Scott Alan, Keys, bare-A Pop Opera. Upcoming recordings: Rooms (Time-Life Records); Glory Days (Ghostlight Records).

The New York Musical Theatre Festival, now in its sixth year, has premiered more than 175 new musicals since 2004. The largest musical theatre event in America, NYMF has been hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," and is widely regarded as the key source for new material and talent discovery. NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF 2009 is presented in association with BroadwayWorld.com, Production Resource Group and TheaterMania.com, and is supported by Back Stage, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, BroadwayBox.com, BroadwayInsider.com, Broadway.TV, Clear Channel Spectacolor, DFD-TV, Frank & Camille's Fine Pianos, King Displays, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, New World Stages, NASDAQ OMX, Next Magazine, PMD Promotions, Queerty.com, Reuters, Sweet Caroline's, Tekserve, TheMenEvent.com, The Tank, and Times Square Squared. Major supporters include The ASCAP Foundation, BMI Foundation, Inc., The Broadway League, The BWF Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation with the support and encouragement of Jamie Mayer, The Charlie & Jane Fink Charitable Fund, The Rodgers=2 0& Hammerstein Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Theater League. NYMF is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. NYMF's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. NYMF Memberships, which combine charitable contributions with valuable, flexible ticket packages and perks like early seating, and tickets to individual events are available for purchase at 212-352-3101 or www.nymf.org.


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