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Erin Davie, Ed Dixon and More Set for PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW Lab Today at Abingdon


Abingdon Theatre Company launches its new Musical Theatre Lab with two readings of PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW, a new musical with music by Leo Hurley and book & lyrics by Charles Osborne, tonight and tomorrow, November 10 and 11, in Abingdon Theatre Company's June Havoc Theatre for invited industry guests and Abingdon Theatre Company subscribers. Artistic Director Tony Speciale is set to direct, with musical direction by Matthew Stephens.

Abingdon's new Musical Theatre Lab provides an opportunity for the creative team of a musical in development to see and hear their work performed by seasoned actors in a staged-reading format for a test audience.

"Creating a new musical requires a lot of patience, time, nurturing, alchemy, more time, and the right combination of the collaborators," says Artistic Director Tony Speciale. "They're just about the hardest thing to get right, and they can be very expensive to develop. I am honored and excited to add new musicals to Abingdon's mission. My hope is that we can provide a nurturing place for emerging composers, lyricists & book writers to refine their work, and that our intimate space becomes a launch pad for new musicals that might not otherwise receive liftoff."

PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW tells the story of a young American bohemian who becomes enamored with a mysterious French widow. As their relationship develops, the world around them shatters with the onset of WWI. PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW is a coming-of-age story inspired by the real-life poet Alan Seeger. Caught between defending the city that he loved and fulfilling his destiny as an artist, Seeger becomes an unlikely hero to an entire nation.

The cast of PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW includes Bridgette Alayne, Ryan Bloomquist, Mick Bleyer, Drew Bolander, Erin Davie (Side Show), Toni diBuono (Wonderful Town), Ed Dixon (Les Miserables), CJ Eldred (The Book of Mormon), Darius Harper (Kinky Boots), Travis Kent (Disaster!), Lori Tishfield, and additional artists to be announced.

Composer Leo Hurley has gained recognition with commissions and performances spanning the United States and Europe. Mr. Hurley has had the pleasure of writing for Maya Angelou's 80th Birthday Celebration, Europa Cantat XVIII, Grammy Award winner Pharoah Sanders, Beyond Words Dance Company and Sonnet Repertory Theater Company with performances Off-Broadway, The Lincoln Center Institute, as well as Alonzo King's LINES Ballet at the La Biennale Festival in Venice, Italy. Mr. Hurley recently reached international headlines with his new opera, The Body Politic (Charles Osborne, librettist), which follows a Trans refugee from Afghanistan as he navigates his new life in the American south. Having had its premiere in Boston as commissioned by the Juventas New Music Ensemble, the opera was then performed at the North Carolina State Assembly in protest of HB2. In 2015, Mr. Hurley's operaVEAL (Daniel Solon, Librettist) had its first workshop performance as part of Second Movement's Rough for Opera series in London, England. In 2013, Mr. Hurley attended the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium in Eugene, Oregon and the highSCORE Festival in Pavia, Italy. In 2012, Molly Under the Moon, a film ballet, was an official entry at the Munich International Festival of Film Schools in Germany, Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, NC, and at the Tel Aviv International Film Festival in Israel. ZomRomCom: The Musical, another film produced at UNCSA, won Best Original Score at the College Television Awards the same year.

Book writer and lyricist Charles Osborne is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Charles Osborne has worked professionally as an actor, director, and writer, often in collaboration with composer Leo Hurley. Their musical, Paris Through the Window, about artists in World War I, was presented by Off-Broadway's York Theatre. Their opera, The Body Politic, about a transgender Afghan immigrant in North Carolina, received its world premiere this spring at the Boston Center for the Arts, and gained worldwide acclaim when it was presented inside the North Carolina State Legislature in response to House Bill 2. He has choreographed for PBS, directed for Light Opera of New York, and staged concerts and musicals in Paris, Berlin, New York, and North Carolina. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, the St. Louis MUNY, Lincoln Center, the ALLIANCE THEATRE, LA's Ahmanson Theatre, and in two Off-Broadway musicals.

Music Director and pianist Matthew Stephens maintains an active career in New York City as a coach and collaborator, equally at home in a variety of settings. He has performed in venues ranging from Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall to cabaret spaces such as The Duplex and Don't Tell Mama. He's had the pleasure of working with Met Opera legend Deborah Voigt as well as Tony nominees Norm Lewis and Mary Testa. Recently, Matthew music directed an all-Kurt Weill concert at Feinstein's/54Below and spent this summer music directing at the famed opera training company the Seagle Music Colony. This fall, Matthew will be Assistant Conducting The Mikado with the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players. In addition to performing, Matthew is on the faculties of both Montclair State University and the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division. A proud graduate of UNCSA, he's been a part of the Paris Through the Window team since the musical's first demo recording 3 years ago.

In October 2015, Tony Speciale joined Abingdon Theatre Company as its Artistic Director. In June 2016, he directed the world premiere of Stet, which he conceived with playwright Kim Davies and actress Joceylyn Kuritsky, marking his first mainstage programming as Artistic Director. He is also the founder of Plastic Theatre-conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of The Secret Court (formerly Unnatural Acts-Classic Stage Company-Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Dixon Place/Westside Theatre); A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson); and Remembering Mr. Maugham (Clurman Theatre). Regional: The Boy Who Danced on Air (Diversionary Theatre), The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Barry Manilow's Harmony (ALLIANCE THEATRE/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director at Classic Stage Company, where he helped found and administered The Young Company, CSC's premiere Education and Outreach Program for public high school students. He studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and a Suzi Bass Award.

As part of its upcoming 2016-2017 Season, Abingdon Theatre Company will break new ground by presenting its first mainstage musical, THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR, music by Tim Rosser and book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, recipients of a 2015 Jonathan Larsen Grant.

Abingdon Theatre Company is dedicated to developing and producing new American work by emerging and established artists. Under the artistic direction of Tony Speciale, the company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. Abingdon searches for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. To date, the company has collaborated with more than 200 playwrights, produced 87 New York and world-premiere plays, presented more than 700 readings, staged over 175 ten-minute plays, and commissioned 6 one-act plays. Notable artists who have worked with Abingdon Theatre Company include Carl Andress, Bryan Batt, Reed Birney, Robert Brustein, Mario Cantone, Maxwell Caulfield, Dick Cavett, John Epperson, Jane Greenwood, Arthur Kopit, Ralph Macchio, Roberta Maxwell, Iddo Netanyahu, Nancy Opel, Austin Pendleton, Sam Pinkleton, Marcia Rodd and Mark Waldrop. Abingdon's 2014 production of Brian Richard Mori's Hellman v. McCarthy, directed by founding artistic director Jan Buttram, was filmed and presented by WNET as part of its inaugural Theatre Close-Up series.

For more information about Abingdon Theatre Company, visit

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