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2009 TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series Plays 12/14 -15 & 12/21

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is pleased to announce the winning selections of the 2009 TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series. In a series that is unique because it develops new producers as well as new musicals, three works were chosen from submissions by emerging or established producers, as well as writers. The works will be read on Monday, December 14; Tuesday, December 15; and Monday, December 21, 2009 at 7pm at The Players Theatre, located at 115 MacDougal Street, NYC. The readings will be followed by a reception and a "Dollars and Sense" discussion of the development process. Admission is FREE but reservations are required. Online ticketing is available at www.theplayerstheatre.com or phone 212-475-1449. For more information, visit www.truonline.org.

The musicals chosen for the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series are: The Thing About Joe, lyrics and book by Matthew Hardy, music by Randy Klein, directed by Tim Kashani, produced by Apples & Oranges Productions (Memphis, Hair revival); RIPPED!, book, music and lyrics by Dan Furman, additional lyrics by Mary-Liz McNamara, directed by Igor Goldin / Musical Direction by Jeff Biering, produced by 6 Pound Productions/Maren Berthelsen (Yank! coming in the Spring to the York Theatre) in association with Theresa Wozunk, both of whom are in the TRU producer mentorship program; and The Arresting Dilemma of Mr K, based on the novel Der Prozess by Franz Kafka, book by John Sparks, music & lyrics by Jon Steinhagen, produced by Kevin Hale and Jennifer Wilcox of the newly formed Playlab NYC.

"This year's series really demonstrates the range of experience that makes up the TRU producing community," said TRU president Bob Ost. "Mr K is being shepherded by a pair of young producers with a brand new theater company, RIPPED! has two members of our Producer Mentorship Program at the helm, and Joe has a pair of producers with two shows running on Broadway right now."

The Thing About Joe will be read on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 7pm. A modern day Candide story, this quirky new musical comedy tells the story of Joe Christiansen from Preston, Idaho, who rebels against his pill-pushing psychiatrist mother and journeys to New York to pursue his dream of becoming a great Maitre d' like his father who was killed in a freak flaming bananas foster accident. Along the way, Joe encounters a host of cool and culinary characters who help and hinder Joe as he comes to understand what it truly means to follow one's dream.

Matthew Hardy (Lyrics and Book) has toured nationally with Fosse, created and performed his own cabaret act entitled "Songs for the Dysfunctional", and continues to perform in and around New York. Matthew is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. He has also written the book and lyrics for the musical short The Rubberers. He is currently working on "The Eight Million" a musical based on the works of O. Henry. Randy Klein (Music) is an accomplished pianist, composer, record producer and the president of Jazzheads, an independent record label featuring improvised jazz. Recipient of the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre. He is the winner of four Southern Regional Emmy Awards. Apples and Oranges Productions (Producer) creates television, film, theater and Web content and currently has offices in New York and Southern California. From Santa Ana's Discovery Science Center in Orange County, CA to the 2009 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Hair and the current musical Memphis, their mission is to connect with audiences through the art of storytelling.

RIPPED! will be read on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 7pm. Looking to escape his troubles, Rip Van Winkle volunteers for a military mission. 20 years later, he wakes up on a hillside. Can he go back to wife and home? RIPPED! is a magical story of love, loss and redemption set in the Hudson Valley in the time of the American Revolution.

Writer Dan Furman makes his debut as book writer, lyricist and composer. Igor Goldin (Director) has directed the NYMF musicals Sing, But Don't Tell, Liberty, Main-Travelled Roads, Unlock'd (2007 Best In Fest Award), Common Grounds (2006 Award for Excellence In Direction) and YANK! (2005 Talkin' Broadway Outstanding New Summer Musical). YANK! is scheduled to open this Spring at the York Theatre Company, and With Glee is coming up at Prospect Theatre Company. Maren Berthelsen/6 Pound Productions (Producer) is one of the team of producers bringing Yank! to the York Theatre Company in February 2010. She was the Producer of Performing Arts at Symphony Space, where she produced, among hundreds of other programs, Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim (for which she also produced a CD), Wall to Wall Richard Rodgers and Just Kidding!, Symphony Space's family programming. Theresa Wozunk is the producer of Liberty the Musical, which was seen most recently in a concert at NYMF in 2009. She is an associate producer of Unlock'd, which won the Audience Award at the 2007 NYMF Festival. Both Maren and Theresa are members of the Theater Resources Unlimited producer mentorship program.

The Arresting Dilemma of Mr K will be read on Monday, December 21, 2009 at 7pm. Joseph K awakes one morning to learn he's "under arrest," but the nameless officials can't - or won't - tell him what he's done. Joseph, allowed to go about his business until his trial, lives a daily nightmare as he tries to discover his crime. He descends into the twisted, sordid world of the court system, which is no less confusing than his personal life. Without help from anyone, Joseph comes to embrace the individuality that has isolated him from his world - whatever the consequence.

John Sparks (Book) has also written The Art of Becoming a Middle Aged Man (book, music and lyrics); Babes In Barns (music and lyrics); Hans Brinker (lyrics); On the Brink (book and lyrics); and Wanting Miss Julie (book). He was Artistic Director of Theatre Building Chicago, 1999-2009 and is currently Artistic Director of The Academy for New Musical Theatre (Los Angeles). Jon Steinhagen (Music and Lyrics) is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and the 2009 winner of the Julie Harris Playwriting Award (for the comedy The Analytical Engine, which will premiere in Chicago in February 2010). He has received numerous awards and nominations for playwriting, songwriting, and acting, particularly four Joseph Jefferson ("Jeff") Awards in multiple categories. Christopher Carter Sanderson (Director) is the founding artistic and producing director of New York's Gorilla Repertory Theater Company, Inc. (since 1992), and he holds a BFA from New York University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in Directing. Mr. Sanderson's work as a freelance director of new theater, musicals, and opera appears regularly in the US at FringeNYC, The Midtown Theater Festival, One Dream, and Galapagos Art Space among others, and around the world.

The TRU Voices Series' track record is impressive. Among the shows that began in the series are The Great American Trailer Park Musical by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls, which went on to a popular off-Broadway two seasons ago and is currently touring; Nor'mal by Yvonne Adrian, Cheryl Stern and Tom Kochan, which went on to win a Larsen Award and played a limited in the East Village starring Barbara Walsh; and last year's Opa! by Mari Carras and Laurel Ollstein, which was a recent sell-out hit of the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival. For the 2001 Series, TRU President Bob Ost cast the perfect actress for the one-woman musical The Ambition Bird by Matthew Sheridan, Victoria Clark (who won a Tony for Light in the Piazza). The show went on to be a selection at the Cardiff Wales International Festival, as was About Face by David Arthur, which played this past summer in the New York Musical Festival (NYMF). And in the 2005 Series, TRU found a producer for Saint Heaven, a writer submission from Martin Casella and Keith Gordon; TRU put the show in the hands of Van Dean and Hillary Cutter of Van Hill Entertainment, and also matched Van and Hillary with mentor Broadway producer Cheryl Wiesenfeld (Legally Blonde, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In the Continuum). As a result of this successful partnership, Saint Heaven moved from a reading in December '05 into a full production in June '06 at the Stamford Center for the Performing Arts starring Deborah Gibson and Tony winner Chuck Cooper and went on to a production at The Village Theatre in Issaqua, Washington.

Unlike other talkbacks, TRU's "Dollars and Sense" panels focus on the producing needs of the show, welcoming suggestions for further development for the work, with discussions about venue, marketing and budgets and other business concerns. Top professionals who have graced the panels included producers Michael Alden (Bridge & Tunnel, Bat Boy), Ken Davenport (Altar Boys, My First Time, 13), Jennifer Manocherian (Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Crucible, Caroline or Change), Dan Markley (Shockheaded Peter, High Fidelity, Damn Yankees revival, Stomp), Pam Koslow (Jelly's Last Jam), Anita Waxman (Bombay Dreams, Topdog/Underdog) and Cheryl Wiesenfeld; artistic directors Robert LuPone (MCC), Sue Frost (formerly of Goodspeed), Mark Hoebee (Papermill Playhouse) and James Morgan (York Theatre Company); and general managers Peter Bogyo, Laura Heller, Jamie Cesa, among countless others.

TRU was founded in 1992 to promote a spirit of cooperation and support within the general theater community by providing information and a variety of entertainment-related services and resources that strengthen the business capabilities of producing organizations, individual producers, self-Producing Artists and other theater professionals. The company holds monthly seminars on a wide range of subjects important to theatrical producers conducted by panels of experts from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds. TRU also publishes a print newsletter and a monthly email community newsletter. In addition, TRU served as the umbrella organization for a co-production by several of its member companies as a part of the first annual New York Fringe Festival. From that experience, the organization has expanded its production efforts by creating the TRU VOICES New Play Reading Series and the TRU VOICES New Musicals Reading Series. In 2001, TRU began giving annual scholarships to The Commercial Theater Institute, to encourage the development of aspiring producers, and most recently created a Producer Mentoring Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater.

This series is made possible in part through the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Friars National Association Foundation.


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