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'Twilight in Manchego' To Be Presented at NYMF

The New York Musical Theatre Festival, Laura Brandel and Patrice Miller have announced Broadway and R&B star Billy Porter to direct a cast that includes Tony-Award Winner Chuck Cooper (The Life, Caroline or Change), Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q, The Glorious Ones, TV's Johnny and the Sprites) and Adam Halpin (Glory Days) in the world premiere musical Twilight in Manchego. The show, with music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson Award Winner Matt Gould, will play six performances at the ATA Theater (314 W. 54th Street) September 25th – October 4th, 2007.

The cast of Twilight in Manchego will also include Leslie Alexander (The Boy From Oz, Mamma Mia), Alex Brightman (Glory Days), Jenna Coker-Jones (Evil Dead: The Musical), Paul Downs Colaizzo (Dyllun von Ritter from "Cubby Bernstein"), Alex Covington, Kevin Curtis, Jill Ginsberg, Alexis Grausz, Jessica Phillips (Next to Normal, The Scarlet Pimpernel), Lucas Steele (The Threepenny Opera), and Valerie Wright (Annie Get Your Gun, Steel Pier).

Twilight in Manchego will feature a set designed by Alexis Distler, lighting design by Driscoll Otto, musical arrangements by Michael McElroy and orchestrations and musical direction by Justin Hatchimonji. Casting by Michael Cassara Casting. The stage manager is Karen Parlato.

Twilight in Manchego maps the story of Esau Munsey, who leaves a haunted past in the city to teach fourth grade in a provincial elementary school.  But his intentions to provoke change in an outdated education system distract him from the students he really wants to inspire.  When Esau's history repeats itself and the small town of Manchego is struck by tragedy, Esau must finally put to rest the ghosts of his past and make peace with himself and his choices.

Twilight in Manchego will play at the following times at the ATA Theater: September 25th at 8pm; September 26th at 7pm; September 27th at 9pm; September 29th at 8pm; October 1st at 8pm and October 4th at 1pm. Festival memberships are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.nymf.org or by calling (212) 352-3101; single tickets go on sale on September 1. For more information, visit www.nymf.org.

For more information about the show, visit www.twilightinmanchego.com.

Matt Gould was recently commissioned by Jason Alexander's REPRISE! Theatre Company to direct and write the book for the original musical Free Style in Los Angeles. His music can be heard in the upcoming web series Rascals and Routines produced by Haydenburri Lane. He was assistant director to Billy Porter on his African American Sondheim Review—Being Alive, at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. In the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, West Africa, he translated, adapted, and directed that countries national tour of Romeo and Juliet, in Pulaar, with an all female cast. He's written music for productions at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and for the Union Square Café in NYC. As an actor, he has performed at the Huntington Theatre Company, International City Theatre, The Hudson Theatre, Circle Stage, and has guest starred on 7th Heaven, Fat Actress, In Justice, Club House, and Hallmark's Pandemic.
 
Billy Porter's Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Dreamgirls, Hair. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include Romance in Hard Times, The Merchant of Venice, House of Lear, Radiant Baby, Birdie Blue, Topdog/Underdog, Angels in America, Going Native, Songs for a New World, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jelly's Last Jam. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theatre. It was nominated for a 2005 Drama League award and GLAAD Media Award. Billy's debut solo CD is Untitled, his sophomore CD is At the Corner of Broadway + Soul: Live. His Sondheim Review, Being Alive, which he conceived and directed, debuted to rave reviews at the Westport Community Playhouse and the Philadelphia Theatre Company.
 

Hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize one of America's greatest art forms by discovering, supporting and promoting new musical theater artists, producers, and projects, and by introducing a diverse audience to the vibrancy of contemporary musical theater. Since its inception in 2004, the three-week annual festival has premiered more than 130 new musicals – many of which have gone on to award-winning productions in New York, in regional theaters and on tour in 38 states, and nine countries worldwide.  NYMF 2004 hit Altar Boyz has played well over 1,000 performances off-Broadway and is now in its fourth year at New World Stages; fellow NYMF alum [title of show] recently began performances at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.
Widely regarded as the essential source for new material and talent discovery, NYMF is the flagship program of The National Music Theater Network, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization, and is presented in association with BroadwayWorld.com and TheaterMania.com, and is supported by amNewYork, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, BroadwayBox.com, BroadwayInsider.com, King Displays, Panasonic Astrovision, and TheMENEvent. NYMF is supported, 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 and from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.


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