York Theater Company to Host Staged Reading of Erik Ransom's MORE THAN ALL THE WORLD

By: Feb. 24, 2016
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James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of York Theater Company has announced that as part of its Developmental Reading Series, it will present Erik Ransom's "More Than All the World" an epic musical inspired by Christopher Marlowe's "Edward II" directed by Rachel Klein ('Around the World in 80 Days', 'The Anthem') with music direction and arrangements by Andy Peterson ('Atomic'). The reading will take place on March 15th at 2PM.

MORE THAN ALL THE WORLD is an epic, historical tale inspired by Christopher Marlowe's 1593 play, "Edward II". Set to a complex and diverse pop/rock-influenced musical theatre score, it details the true story of England's controversial King Edward II, whose reign was riddled with scandal and insurrection. It is a modern take on a 14th Century story that resounds with strikingly current themes of prejudice, classism, otherness and more.

"Edward II", by famed Tragedian Christopher Marlowe, was written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and depicted the fall of the eponymous monarch. It was a bold, groundbreaking play for the 16th Century, because it explicitly portrayed an English sovereign whose doom came about because of his love of another man. Marlowe's "Edward II" is still performed around the world to this day. 1969 marked the first professional production in 300 years, which was produced by The Prospect Theatre Company, starring Sir Ian McKellen. In addition to Marlowe's text, the play has famously been adapted by Bertolt Brecht in 1923 under the title, "Leben Eduard des Zweiten von England" (The Life of Edward the Second of England). A film version of Marlowe's play was released in 1991 directed by Derek Jarman and starring Tilda Swinton and Annie Lennox. More Than All the World is a musical adaptation of that same story, wherein Marlowe narrates this epic true story of 14th Century political intrigue, deception, war and love. The piece utilizes a catchy pop musical score and a book that has been described as 'clever, witty and insightful'. More Than All the World puts the ongoing debate about gay civil rights into perspective as we see the rhetoric wasn't much different in 1326 than it is today.

The cast features Kate Loprest (B'way: 'First Date', 'Hairspray') as Queen Isabella, Sean MacLaughlin (B'way: 'Phantom', 'Lestat') as Sir Piers Gaveston, Paul Iacono (TV: 'Hard Times of RJ Berger', Film: 'Fame') as Edward III, Mel Johnson Jr. (B'way: 'Lion King', Film: 'Total Recall') as Edward I, Marrick Smith (B'way: 'Fun Home', NY: 'Pretty Filthy') as Robin/Hugh le Despenser, PJ Griffith (B'way: 'American Idiot', NY: (Public Theatre): 'Giant') as Roger Mortimer, Rachel Izen (B'way: 'Les Miz', West End: 'Thoroughly Modern Millie" ) as the Countess of Sandwich, Ted Keegan (B'way: 'Phantom', 'Sweeney Todd'.) as the Earl of Lancaster, Erik Ransom (NY: 'Grindr the Opera', 'My Big Gay Italian Wedding' ) as Marlowe/Edward II, Luis Villabon (NY: Reefer Madness, Naked Boys Singing) as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Marissa Rosen (NY: 'Bedbugs', 'My Big Gay Italian Wedding/Funeral') as Lady Cataline, Terrance Johnson (Nat'l Tour: 'Dreamgirls' Film: 'Happy Yummy Chicken') as Prince Edmund and Kate Hoover (NY: 'The Imbible', 'Cranky Cabaret') rounds out the ensemble. The Stage Manager is Sofia Montgomery.

MORE THAN ALL THE WORLD marks the fifth collaboration from writer/director team Erik Ransom and Rachel Klein. The team, known for their gritty rock glamour style, met in 2013 and have since worked together on Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions, (book, music, and lyrics by Erik Ransom, Direction and Musical Staging by Rachel Klein), concerts and readings of the Off-Broadway bound GRINDR the Opera, (book, music, and lyrics by Erik Ransom, Direction and Choreography by Rachel Klein), the development of The Severed Hand of Neverland at Musical Theatre Factory, (book, music, and lyrics by Erik Ransom, Direction and Choreography by Rachel Klein) and the New York Times acclaimed Off-Broadway production of The Anthem (lyrics by Erik Ransom, direction, co-choreography, and design by Rachel Klein).

Erik Ransom (Book/Music/Lyrics) is a composer, playwright, librettist and performer with a diverse body of work. His musical, More Than All the World, which is a musical inspired by Christopher Marlowe's Edward II will be presented in the reading series at the Drama Desk award-winning York Theatre Company in March 2016. Erik's smutty opus, GRINDR The Opera premiered in concert in Spring of 2014 and had a high profile staged reading hosted by Randy Jones (The original cowboy from the Village People) in April 2015. The reading was covered by The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Salon.com and the National Public Radio of the Republic of Ireland, among others, and was written up in 7 languages. Erik's musical Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions has been fully produced at The Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia and Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York. He has a degree in classical music performance, and has studied with Metropolitan opera stars Jerome Hines and Enrico DiGiuseppe. His musical SAGA: The Ragnarok Opera was nominated for several Broadway World Philadelphia awards, and his musical Tragic Events has been performed at the Painted Bride Arts Center's Ruckus Festival. Erik penned the lyrics for the recent Off-Broadway musical spectacular: The Anthem, which ran at The Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theatre and he is slated to write for season two of the Emmy-nominated web-series, Tainted Dreams. He is also a two-time champion of Tune-in-Time, which is a monthly, timed, improvised musical theatre writing competition based in Manhattan.

Rachel Klein is a NYC based director, coined "Endlessly Clever," (The New York Post), "Nothing short of brilliant," (Broadway World) and of whose work The New York Times has praised: "What makes this show pop is the bracing vision of its director, Rachel Klein." Off-Broadway Direction: Around the World in 80 Days (Six month run at The New Theater on 45th Street AKA The Davenport Theater); The Anthem (The Lynn Redgrave Theater, starring Wicked's Jenna Leigh Green and Randy Jones, the Original Cowboy from the Village People); Gay Bride of Frankenstein (The inaugural iStar Theatre Lab); GRINDR The Opera (Theatre 777, slated for an extended commercial run in the 2016/2017 Season). Selected NYC Theater: Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions (Fringe NYC); Symphony of Shadows (Jerome Robbins Foundation Commission); The Tragedy of Maria Macabre (Tides Foundation Commission); Circus of Circus (Innovative Theater Awards nominee for Outstanding Director of a Play); Secret Summer: An Immersive Midsummer Night's Dream (Shrunken Shakespeare); Carrie: Blood, Fire, & Ballet (with the Love Show dancers); Hound (adapted from The Hound of the Baskervilles); The Dead Dream Machine (featuring performances from Justin Vivian Bond, Constantine Maroulis, Michael Musto, and Lady Rizo); Go-Go Killers!; Lizardman: the Musical; All Kinds of Shifty Villains. Selected Regional: Super (George Street Playhouse); A Midsummer Night's Dream (New Brunswick Shakespeare Festival). Miss Klein's direction and choreography have been seen all over New York City including at the House of Yes, (le) Poisson Rouge, the Highline Ballroom, La MaMa, "Night of 1000 Stevies," the Hiro Ballroom, Dumbo Dance Festival, the Kitchen, the Slipper Room, and at the National Arts Club. Upcoming Projects: Borrowed, a psychological thriller, and The Happy Hooker, a new musical based on the best selling memoir by Xaviera Hollander.www.rachelkleindirector.com