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High School RENT Controversy Takes Center Stage in SMALL TOWN STORY Reading This Week

New York Theatre Barn (The Barn) will present readings of its original commission Small Town Story today, November 13th at 2pm and tomorrow, November 14th at 1pm at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons (416 W. 42nd St.).

Small Town Story is a new musical about two families in a North Texas town who struggle with a community battle ignited by a high school production of the musical Rent. As the escalation drives wedges between father and son - and mother and daughter - Speargrove, Texas will discover that the show can't open until their minds do. Inspired by real events, Small Town Story explores the indelible power of theatre and the inherent dangers of silence.

Small Town Story, with book/lyrics by Sammy Buck (Like You Like It, StinkyKids The Musical) and music/lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn (Ars Nova's Uncharted, Matchmaker, Matchmaker: I'm Willing to Settle, Underwear: A Space Musical), was featured in the Village Theatre's 2013 Festival of New Musicals in Issaquah, WA, was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award, and the recipient of a Writers Residency Grant from NAMT. The new musical was conceived by Joe Barros, Laura Brandel, Sammy Buck, Karen Marshall, Reed Prescott, and Sam Willmott. The Barn previously developed Small Town Story under the title Speargrove Presents.

The reading is directed by Joe Barros (Artistic Director of The Barn), with musical direction by James Cunningham. The cast includes Joe Cassidy (If/Then, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Hannah DeFlumeri (Legally Blonde), Beth DeVries, Noah Galvin (Love and Information, The Great American Mousical), James Donegan (Forbidden Broadway), Alexa Green (Wicked), Brandon Kalm (American Idiot), Anthony Lee Medina (The Capeman), Carolyn Mignini (Fiddler on the Roof, Tintypes), Erin Leigh Peck (The Toxic Avenger), Chandler Reeves, Emily Rogers, Erik Sisco, and Shorey Walker (Seussical). Hunter Johnson is the assistant director and stage manager.

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