New Musical THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR to Alight at Abingdon This Spring
Abingdon Theatre Company presents its first musical with the New York premiere of THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR, with music by Tim Rosser and book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, winners of 2015 Jonathan Larson and Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart awards.
Performances begin May 15 in the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street), prior to an official press opening May 25, with performances through June 11. Artistic Director Tony Speciale is set to direct.
THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR is a modern-day love story set in rural Afghanistan. Paiman (Troy Iwata) and Feda (Nikhil Saboo) have spent their young lives as dancers in the world of bacha bazi, where wealthy men take in boys from poor families, train them to dance at parties, and often abuse them. The two boys' chance meeting changes the course of their lives and sets them on a journey to find their independence in this musical fable about love, tradition, morality, and the strength of the human spirit.
Troy Iwata (The Lightning Thief, TheatreWorksUSA) and Jonathan Raviv (The Band's Visit, My Name Is Asher Lev) reprise their roles from the musical's world premiere in San Diego. Completing the cast are Osh Ghanimah, Deven Kolluri, and Nikhil Saboo (The Transposed Heads, Public Theater).
THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR features music direction by David Gardos and choreography by Nejla Yatkin. The production has scenic design by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader; costume design by Andrea Lauer; lighting design by Wen-Ling Liao; sound design by Justin Graziani, props by Jerry Marsini; casting by Karie Koppel; and fight direction by Dan Renkin. Associate Director is Zi Alikhan and production consultant is Mejgan Afshan. Christopher Flores is Production Stage Manager. Michelle Viteri is Assistant Stage Manager.
Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne are winners of the 2015 Jonathan Larson Award, ASCAP's 2015 Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the 2016 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Best Original Score. Their pilot, Truth Slash Fiction, won best comedy at SeriesFest and ITVFest. Their new song cycle will make its premiere with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in February of 2018. Tim and Charlie were also 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Fellows, members of The Civilians' Research & Development Group, and writers in the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and ASCAP's Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. Their songs have been heard at their sold-out 54 Below show, Symphony Space, Birdland, Contemporary Classics at Seattle Rep, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe's Pub, ALNM at Rockwell in Los Angeles, Above The Arts in London, a sold-out show at Broadway au Carre in Paris, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They are currently working on a commission for New York City Children's Theatre.
THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) festival in 2013 and received a Writers ResidenCy Grant at New York Theatre Barn. In 2016, the musical had its world premiere at Diversionary Theatre in San Diego where it received the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Score. Pam Kragen, in the San Diego Union Times, called THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR "a solid, subtle, sad and often inspiring work that's smartly staged by director Tony Speciale with a first-rate cast."
Tony Speciale joined Abingdon Theatre Company as its Artistic Director in October 2015. For Abingdon, he recently directed The Mother of Invention, written by James Lecesne, Jason O'Connell's The Dork Knight, and Stet, which he conceived with playwright Kim Davies and actress Jocelyn Kuritsky. He is also the founder of Plastic Theatre-conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company-Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC directing credits: 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) and Matthew-Lee Erlbach's Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson). Regional: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre/Bay Street Theater, Hartford Stage), Barry Manilow's Harmony (ALLIANCE THEATRE/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director of 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.
Abingdon is dedicated to developing and producing new work by emerging and established American artists. Under the artistic direction of Tony Speciale, who joined Abingdon in October 2016, the company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. Abingdon Theatre Company 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 89 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, Anne Bogart, Robert Brustein, Mario Cantone, Maxwell Caulfield, Dick Cavett, John Epperson, Jane Greenwood, Arthur Kopit, James Lecesne, Ralph Macchio, Roberta Maxwell, Charles L. Mee, Iddo Netanyahu, Jason O'Connell, Nancy Opel, Austin Pendleton, Sam Pinkleton, Marcia Rodd and Michael Weller. 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. Visit abingdontheatre.org for more information.
THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR runs May 15 - June 11: Tuesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm; Saturday matinees at 2:30pm; and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm; with the following exceptions: added performances on Mondays, May 15 & 22 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 21 at 7:00pm; no performances on Saturday, May 20 or Friday, May 26. Opening is Thursday, May 25 at 7pm at Abingdon Theatre Company's June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, 1st floor, between 8th and 9th Avenues). Tickets are $65. For tickets, visit abingdontheatre.org or call 212-352-3101.