AMERICAN IDOL Runner-Up Crystal Bowersox Joins Amas Musical Theatre's PLAY IT BY HEART Readings

AMERICAN IDOL Runner-Up Crystal Bowersox Joins Amas Musical Theatre's PLAY IT BY HEART ReadingsCrystal Bowersox, the "American Idol" season nine (2010) runner-up has been announced to join the cast of the Amas Musical Theatre and The Amas Musical Theatre Lab staged readings of Play It by Heart, a new musical, with music by David Spangler, Jerry Taylor and Marty Dodson, lyrics by David Spangler, Jerry Taylor, R.T. Robinson, and Marty Dodson, and book by Willy Holtzman.

Directed by Jaki Bradley with music direction by Henry Aronson, the readings will be held on Monday, October 23 at 6pm and Tuesday, October 24th at 3pm and 7:00pm at Ripley-Grier Studios - Studio 312 (305 West 38th Street). The readings are free and the seating is limited. For reservations, email boxoffice@amasmusical.org or call 212-563-2565.

Play It by Heart is the story of the Jaspers, a singing family on the Christian circuit shepherded by the firm hand of the matriarch, Naomi Jasper. Her daughter Jeanine breaks out to become a huge country star and her youngest, Jamie Lynn, is sent to boarding schools to protect her from the limelight. When Jamie Lynn sings the heck out of her sister's signature hit in a Karaoke bar, a smart phone video goes viral, it sets the family on a crisis of identity and they are forced to confront a long-held secret. Like the title song says, "if you don't know your part, just play it by heart."

"We are thrilled and honored to have Crystal join the cast for these readings of Play It by Heart," says Donna Trinkoff, Amas Artistic Producer. "She will bring real authenticity to the role of Jeanine."

Joining Ms. Bowersox will be Jeff Applegate (Mama Mia), Gail Bliss (A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline), Keith Buterbaugh (Phantom of the Opera), Lila Coogan (Mary Poppins), Carl Hsu (Mame), Javier Ignacio (Side Show), Kelsey Ryan Moore (Fiorello), David Rasche (Speed the Plough), Sam Rohloff (Kinky Boots), JJ Tiemeyer (Spamalot), Deborah Tranelli ("Dallas"), and Nickolas Vaughan (I'll Take It!). Production Stage Manager is Katie Sammons.

These presentations are part of the ongoing Amas Musical Theatre Lab, a development series for writers, lyricists and composers to mount public readings of their new musicals. The Lab is supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the Actors' Equity Association Foundation, BMI Foundation, the Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, the Friars Club, the Shubert Foundation, and through the generous support of many individuals.

Crystal Bowersox, a northwest Ohio native currently calling Nashville home, has built her life around music. Crystal's love for music developed at an early age from a need to find peace in a chaotic world. Through art and creation, Crystal was able to direct her energy and emotion, finding a way to mend a mind in turmoil. For her, music was always the most effective form of catharsis, and she would play for anyone, anywhere. In her own words, "my guitar was an appendage. I couldn't live without it."

Dead set on a career in music, Crystal moved to Chicago as a teenager, where she spent her days performing underground on subway platforms in between working odd jobs. While in the big city, she broadened her musical horizons and shared her talents with a variety of venues, ultimately auditioning for the ninth season of American Idol. Crystal's time on the show proved to be well spent, as she immediately left the soundstage for the recording studio. Since her introduction to the world through television, Crystal has released two LP's, two EPs, and several singles. Additionally, she has used her talents to benefit several causes close to her heart, and has become an advocate and inspiration for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

However, it is what's in front of her, not what's behind her, that will define Crystal's personal and professional evolution. The accomplished singer-songwriter is set to release a new project - a live album, recorded at the Kitchen Sink Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, cleverly titled Alive. Not only is the title a play on words, representing the rawness of the tracks, but it pertains to the place where Crystal currently is in her life. That place is one of joy, fulfillment, and stability for Crystal and her eight-year old son, Tony.

To create her newest project, Crystal called on her "chosen family" of musicians. The combination of keeping those she cherishes close to her and taking an honest look at life has resulted in the truest music she has released to date. Crystal has drawn on her various influences - across folk-pop, classic rock, soul, blues and country - to make the kind of music that resonates with her spirit. It is both tender and tough, rough yet polished, and it encompasses many genres without falling neatly into one category. As one of her songwriting partners describes it, Crystal has "a voice like dirt and diamonds." Her music is intended to bring a positive message of love and light to the world - things that folks will be able to take with them on their own journey, so that they, too, can feel truly alive.

Similar to her beginnings, Crystal intends to make music that has healing power, but at this point, she sees far beyond her own troubles. Her live show is a safe space for concertgoers. Attend a Crystal Bowersox show, and you just might see a grown man cry and a child dance simultaneously. You'll also likely get the chance to meet her personally; Crystal is typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the venue. Meeting with the fans and hearing their personal stories is something Crystal considers a blessing in her life.

By reliving her own painful moments in song, Crystal hopes to transcend that pain, lifting herself and her audience to a higher place. In the opening lines of "A Broken Wing" she sings, "I know there's beauty in the burden / And even on my darkest day that sun will shine." Crystal's story is one of resilience and perseverance, and it's evident in every note of her newest release, Alive.

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) now in its 49th year of continuous operation is New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, the most recent being Broadway and the Bard, starring Len Cariou and Red Eye of Love, which was awarded the Joseph A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography. Its production of The Other Josh Cohen received six 2013 Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Musical, a 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, and a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best New Musical. Other shows that Amas has developed include A Taste of Chocolate, Triassic Parq, The Countess of Storyville, Distant Thunder, Marry Harry, Me and Miss Monroe, Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda's World, Shout! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, From My Hometown, Zanna, Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.

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