Musical Comedy BASTARD JONES Sets Off-Broadway Opening Date
Nancy Manocherian's the cell (Artisitic Director, Kira Simring) will present the Off Broadway Premiere of BASTARD JONES, a rock musical comedy based on Henry Fielding's bawdy 18th century novel, The History of Tom Jones. With book, lyrics, & direction by Marc Acito (Broadway's Allegiance) and music & lyrics by Amy Engelhardt (Grammy nominees The Bobs), performances begin June 14 at the cell. Opening is slated for Thursday, June 22.
BASTARD JONES is a rollicking adventure of deception, misunderstanding and bed-hopping. It centers on Tom Jones, a bastard-born charmer with a heart of gold and a knack for trouble who's looking for love in all the wrong places. Tom gets banished from the only home he knows simply for expressing his true self, leading him to conscription in the army, a half-naked romp at a country inn and a stint as the boy-toy to an aristocrat whose machinations make Dangerous Liaisons look like child's play.
The groundbreaking, diverse nine-member cast of BASTARD JONES stars Evan Ruggiero in the title role. Ruggiero, who was recently featured on "Ellen: The Ellen Degeneres Show" and starred in The Toxic Avenger at Pittsburgh CLO, becomes the first amputee to star in a musical in New York. The production also features Elena Wang, who went on for Lea Salonga in Allegiance; newcomer Alie B. Gorie, who is legally blind; Crystal Lucas-Perry (Little Children Dream of God at Roundabout), Rene Ruiz (Toxic Audio); Cheryl Stern (Broadway's La Cage Aux Folles opposite Kelsey Grammer); Tony Perry (National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene's Shpiel! Shpiel! Shpiel!), Matthew McGloin (CasablancaBox) and Adam B. Shapiro (The Golden Bride). The production team features Joe Barros (choreography), Matthew Liu (musical director), Gertjan Houben(lighting), M. Florian Staab (sound), Siena Zoe Allen (costumes), Bethany Mullins (costume associate), Louisa Pough (production stage manager), Kayla Santos (assistant stage manager), and Chris Steckel (production manager).
Because BASTARD JONES is about young people being banished simply for being themselves, 100% of the production's proceeds will benefit Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund.
Evan Ruggiero began dancing at the age of five in his hometown studio and by age ten, he was accepted into the famed New Jersey Tap Ensemble. Upon entering his sophomore year at Montclair State University while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, Evan was suddenly diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer of the right leg. Enduring nine surgeries in a six-month period in an effort to save the leg, the cancer returned more aggressively than the original diagnosis. He was faced with the ultimate decision of amputation in order to stop the cancer and save his life, as well as undergoing chemotherapy for sixteen months. Eighteen months after the amputation, and only two days after receiving his "peg-leg", Evan was tapping again. Credits include: The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), The Ellen Show, Quelli Che il Calcio (Rai Due, Milan, Italy), Yes I Can (Paralympic Games Film), Shrek (Pittsburgh CLO), Man of La Mancha (Pittsburgh CLO), Best Night Ever (Transcendence Theatre Company), Pretty To The Bone (NY Theatre Barn), Hans Christian Anderson (NYC reading), The Penalty (The Public), and Evan and The S'Evan Legs (Kennedy Center).
Marc Acito (director, book writer, lyricist) wrote the book of the Broadway musical Allegiance, which New York Newsday recognized for its "well-structured book" and "fully developed characters." Acito's comedy Birds of a Feather won Washington DC's Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play. He won the Ken Kesey award for his novel How I Paid For College, which he adapted as a one-man musical starring Alex Brightman. Other projects include A Room With a View (Old Globe and 5th Avenue Theaters); Chasing Rainbows, about the adolescence of Judy Garland (Goodspeed Musicals); and It's A Secret, a musical in Mandarin for Broadway Asia in China. He's currently working on The Man in the Moon, an Ensemble Studio Theater / Sloan Foundation commission about the Apollo space program. A former commentator on NPR's All Things Considered, Acito now writes regularly for Playbill and teaches Musical Theater History and Story Structure at NYU.
Amy Engelhardt (composer-lyricist) was the sole female writer, arranger and vocalist with Grammy-nominated "band without instruments" The Bobs from 1998-2011. She has collaborated with some of the funniest people in comedy including Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Jane Lynch (the Christmas Without Tears tour 2005-2016) and the Flying Karamazov Brothers (writing music and lyrics for A Comedy of Eras at ACT Seattle). She is the Artistic Producer and Creator of Tune in Time, New York's Hit Musical Theater Game Show at the York Theatre. A frequent cabaret artist, she won the Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Club's award for songwriting. She is also the only female honorary member of the Vienna Boys Choir.
Nancy Manocherian's the cell is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the incubation and presentation of new works by emerging artists. Started in 2006 by Founding Artistic Director Nancy Manocherian and Artistic Director Kira Simring, the cell has produced over a dozen critically-acclaimed world premiere productions of new plays and musicals over the past 10 years. the cell also features the jazz @ the cell series and has served as a home base for a large community of resident artists and organizations such as Blackboard Reading Series, Artists Without Walls (AWOW), Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW), Sybarite5 and Tribeca New Music.
BASTARD JONES runs June 14 (Flag Day) to July 14 (Bastille Day); Tuesday - Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 4pm & 9pm with additional performances Sunday, June 18th at 3pm and Monday, June 19th at 8pm. the cell is located at 338 W 23rd St, between 8th & 9th Avenues -- accessible from the C & E trains at 23rd Street. Tickets are $40 for general admission, $60 for reserved seating, available at 800-838-3006 or www.thecelltheatre.org.