Original LGBTQ Musical SONATA 1962 Will Make Off-Broadway Debut At NYMF 2018

Award-winning playwright Patricia Loughrey and composer Thomas Hodges, whose critically acclaimed play Dear Harvey has been making waves across the nation since its debut in 2010, are thrilled to announce their original LGBTQ musical Sonata 1962 will making its Off-Broadway debut this August as part of the 2018 New York Musical Festival's (NYMF) Next Link Project.

When Margaret Evans' musically-gifted daughter Laura is awarded a scholarship to a prestigious university, it seems like a dream come true. But when Laura falls in love at school - with a girl - that dream is threatened. Inspired by historical events, Sonata 1962 is a heartbreakingly beautiful chamber musical about the length to which a mother will go to save her daughter in a time when same-sex desire was viewed as both criminal and curable.

Previously presented as readings at San Diego's Breakthrough Workshop Theatre and at The Celebration Theater in Los Angeles in 2017, Sonata 1962 aims to bring to light the story shared by many LGBTQ people who experienced medical "treatments" designed to suppress their same-sex desires in the years in which homosexuality was categorized as a mental illnesses. Such brutal medical interventions are the precursors to today's conversion therapies.

The concept for Sonata 1962 grew out of interviews Mr. Hodges and Ms. Loughrey conducted during the creative process for their critically acclaimed documentary style ensemble play about the life and impact of Harvey Milk, Dear Harvey.

"While interviewing members of the LGBTQ community for Dear Harvey, we became aware of the prevalence of the disturbing practice of non-consensual conversion therapy," says Hodges. "We started hearing devastating stories about parents, families committing their children, family members for treatment and wondered what that journey was like for everyone involved," he explains.

Loughrey adds, "Conversion therapy continues to be legal in 41 states today. We need to examine this practice - the emotional and psychological impact on those who go through it, and on their families and loved ones. Art is one of the ways we can advance this vital conversation."

Sonata 1962, featuring direction by Katherine M. Carter, will star Becca Ayers (The Addams Family), Romelda Teron Benjamin (Brooklyn), AnnEliza Canning-Skinner, Christina Maxwell, Aaron Ramey (The Bridges of Madison County, The Visit), and Laura Yen Solito (Kismit at NY City Center).

Performances of Sonata 1962 will take place at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row (located at 410 W 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) according to the following schedule: Tuesday, July 24 at 8:00pm; Thursday, July 26 at 5:00pm; Saturday, July 28 at 5:00pm & 9:00pm; and Sunday, July 29 at 5:00pm. Tickets for Sonata 1962 and the rest of this year's New York Musical Festival selections can be purchased online at www.nymf.org


Thomas Hodges (Music & Lyrics) is a New York City based composer. Past compositions include: The Things We Never Say (San Diego Fringe "Outstanding Score" 2015, Perry Mansfield 2017); Dear Harvey (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, New York Fringe, Celebration Theatre, Diversionary Theatre); Dorian (Commissioned by Diversionary Theatre) Underground (Perry Mansfield 2014). The Things We Never Say and Dorian are both available on iTunes as well as his personal albums Distance and Small Little Victory. www.thomashodgesmusic.com

Patricia Loughrey (Book & Lyrics) is an award-winning playwright, most recently the recipient of Celebration Theatre's Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award for LGBT theatre. Her HIV/AIDS awareness play, The Inner Circle, has received over 300 productions worldwide and is published by Samuel French. She wrote the libretto for the LGBT family musical, The Daddy Machine, music, and lyrics by Raymi Sciaroni, adapted from the book by Johnny Valentine. Her verbatim play, Dear Harvey, with music by Thomas Hodges, presents the life and impact of slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk through the stories of his family, friends, and colleagues. Dear Harvey has received more than 40 productions nationwide and is published by Playscripts Inc. With Thomas Hodges, she is currently developing a play for the Milk Foundation about the global activism of Harvey's nephew, Stuart Milk. http://patricialoughrey.com/

KATHERINE M. CARTER (Director) is a director of theatre & opera. She is the co-founding Artistic Director of The MITTEN Lab a theatre residency in Northern Michigan providing time, space, and support for artists. Katherine has worked at Westport Country Playhouse, Boston Lyric Opera, Playwrights Horizons, On Site Opera, 54 Below, Boston Opera Collaborative, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Little Orchestra Society, New York University, and University of Maryland School of Music. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies with New Georges, Wolf Trap Opera, The Drama League, and Playwrights Horizons. An alumna of the Directors Lab of Chicago, and The Playwright Directors Studio. Katherine is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, and a proud member of SDC and AGMA. Visit www.KatherineMCarter.com for more information.

James Dobinson (Music Director) is a New York-based, Australian-born music director, conductor and orchestrator. New York: The View UpStairs (Music Supervisor/Orchestrations), Clinton (MD/Arrangements), Gods & Kings (Music Supervisor), Fancy Nancy (MD), Mann...and Wife in Concert (MD). National Tour: Guys And Dolls 2015 Tour (Orchestrations). Australia: Tim Finn's Twelfth Night (Music Supervisor/Arrangements & Orchestrations), Joh For PM! (Music Supervisor/Orchestrations), Moonshadow (Associate Conductor, original company, w/ Cat Stevens), Dumped (MD, original company), Carols In The City (Orchestrations, Assistant MD - 2011-2013 TV Broadcasts), Often I Find That I Am Naked (MD/Arrangements - original company), more. USA Regional Companies: Mann...And Wife (MD, original company), Shrek, Hairspray, Spring Awakening, White Christmas. Cast Recordings: The View UpStairs, Clinton, Fancy Nancy.

Summer Lee Jack (Costumes) is a Brooklyn based costume designer. Recent design credits include: Into the Woods (Charlottesville Opera), Romeo and Juliet (New York Classical Theatre), Morning Star, Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt (On Site Opera), Baghdaddy: the Musical (Theatre at St. Lukes), The Tower (HERE Arts Center), The Elephant in Every Room I Enter (La Mama ETC), A Good Farmer, Small Town Story (American Theatre Group), Angel's Bone (Oberlin Conservatory), Measure for Measure, the Tempest (Shakespeare Academy at Stratford) La Boheme, The Wedding, Beatrice and Benedict, Roméo et Juliette, The Classical Style, The Cows of Apollo, Così fan tutte, Carmen, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Eugene Onegin(Aspen Opera Center). MFA in Design from the Yale School of Drama. Member of Wingspace Theatrical Design. www.summerleejack.com

Isabella Byrd (Lighting) Recent: The Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (New York Theatre Workshop), Artney Jackson (Williamstown), Lady Day at Emerson's... (Portland Center Stage), Plano (ClubbedThumb.) Do You Feel Anger?, God Said This (Humana Fest 2018) and Angels in America (co-design); all at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey(City Theatre), Everybody (Juilliard), Sundown Yellow Moon (ArsNova/WP); Associate for Hundred Days and Othello (New York Theatre Workshop); The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory); Antipodes & Everybody (Signature Theatre); and The Flick at Playwrights Horizons (world premiere) and The National Theatre, London. Upcoming work: People's Light, Playwright Horizons, Primary Stages, and MTC. www.isabellabyrd.design

WESLEY CORNWELL (Set & Props) is a New York based theater designer. Recent credits include A Funny Thing Happened...Forum (Princeton Festival, set), Basement (Shetler Studios, set), The White Dress (Araca Project, set), Lost and Guided (UNDER St. Marks; set, costumes, lights), Man of La Macha (Princeton Festival; set), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Theaterlab; set, lights, sound), Cyrano (FringeNYC; lights), Once (Princeton U; set, costume). He received his BA with honors from Princeton University where he was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize. wfcornwell.com

SIMPSON & LONGTHORNE THEATRICALS (General Manager) is a boutique theatrical firm founded by partners Benjamin Simpson and Joseph Longthorne. As General Managers: Blank! The Musical (Broadway Comedy Club), Stu For Silverton, The Apple Boys (Ars Nova); Select NYMF: Mother Jones and The Children's Crusade, The Calico Buffalo, Icon, Numbers Nerds, The Goree All-Girl String Band, Play Like A Winner, and Generation Me. As Co-Producers: Waitress, Oh Hello; On Broadway, The Glass Menagerie, A Doll's House Part 2, Hello Dolly (2017 Tony Award), The Band's Visit (2018 Tony Award), and Meteor Shower. In development: Cookies: A New Musical and Generation Me.


Becca Ayers is so grateful to be a part of such an important show. Broadway: "The Addams Family", "South Pacific" (original revival cast), "Les Miserables" (original 1st revival cast), "Avenue Q". Off-Broadway: "Sarah, Plain and Tall" (Lucille Lortel); "Dogfight" & "Dear Evan Hansen" (Second Stage); "Giant" (Public). iTunes: "Lovesick". www.BeccaAyers.com

Christina Maxwell. NYC Developmental Readings: CHASING RAINBOWS (Deanna Durbin). University of Michigan-BFA Musical Theatre, Writing minor. Actors Equity Association Award Recipient. Creative arts therapist for nonprofit, RipRap, providing intensive care for pediatric oncology patients. Arts education activist and published writer (including Forbes.com). Former Distinguished Young Woman of America.

ROMELDA TERON BENJAMIN appeared in Smokey Joe's Cafe (BJ Crosby), Bare: A Pop Opera (OOBC, Sister Chantelle), Brooklyn the Musical (OBC, Paradise), Idaho The Musical, The Wiz, Catch Me If You Can (pre-Broadway), Watch What Happening (NeNe Leakes), The Most Powerful Woman in Fashion (Joe's Pub, Andre Leon Talley).

AnnEliza Canning-Skinner recently graduated last spring ('17) from the University of Michigan with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Credits: MTW 2016-2017 Summer Seasons, The Muny, and Paper Mill Playhouse. Thank you to HCKR, Darlene Kaplan, UMich, and Liza's family for the unconditional love and support. GO BLUE!

Aaron Ramey. Broadway: The Visit (OBC), The Bridges of Madison County (OBC), Jekyll & Hyde (Orig. Revival Cast), Young Frankenstein, Curtains, Thoroughly Modern Millie (OBC). National Tours: South Pacific, Jekyll & Hyde, Sweet Charity, Disney's Beauty & the Beast. Regional/NYC: Dallas Theater Center, Williamstown Theater Festival, Weston Playhouse, Arena Stage, Barrington Stage, Baltimore CenterStage, Arden Theater Company, Papermill Playhouse, Prospect Theater Company, York Theater, NYMF, NAMT. TV: "A Gifted Man", "Kings", "New Amsterdam", Guiding Light, All My Children, As The World Turns. BFA Musical Theatre, Otterbein University. Proud member Actor's Equity Association. www.aaronramey.net

Laura Yen Solito is beyond grateful to be telling this essential and meaningful story. Love is love. Favorite Credits: Kismet (NY City Center); Mercury - Pope (Dixon Place); King and I - Lady Thiang (Arrow Rock Lyceum); South Pacific - Bloody Mary (Broadwayworld.com Award Nomination), Pirates - Edith (PCLO). BFA- Boston Conservatory.


The New York Musical Festival nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival is the premier musical theater event in the world. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theater fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 24 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work "creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form."

NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. 2017 NYMF is sponsored by The City of New York Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, PRG, TheaterMania, Clear Channel Outdoor and Village Voice, and is supported, in part, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The NYMF PASS is a great way to experience The New York Musical Festival. With a NYMF PASS, you can get into the theater before individual ticket holders. Passes also offer the exclusive ability to book tickets before they go on sale to the public. Individual tickets on sale now.

The 2018 New York Musical Festival will take place July 9th - August 5th. For more information, please visit: www.nymf.org


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