The Bard Will Get a Country Twist in DESPERATE MEASURES at York Theatre Company

By: Aug. 14, 2017
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The York Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals and preserving musical gems from the past, in association with Cecilia Lin and Hu Guo, has announced the first mainstage production of the 2017-2018 season: The New York premiere of the musical Desperate Measures, with book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg (Anna Karenina) and music by David Friedman (Scandalous), directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino (Marry Harry, Cagney) and with music direction by David Hancock Turner (The World Will Not Contain Us). Cast and creative team will be announced shortly.

The limited engagement of Desperate Measures begins Tuesday, September 19, 2017 continuing through Sunday, October 15, 2017 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Opening Night is set for Sunday evening,October 1, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

In 1890, in a territory out West, Johnny Blood, a hot-tempered young cowboy is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a bar fight. His sister, a novice nun in a nearby mission, is persuaded to plead with a corrupt governor to spare her brother's life. The governor promises to pardon Johnny if his sister, the Sister, will 'do his bidding' for the night. Adding to the humorous complications are a hard-bitten sheriff, a voluptuous saloon girl and a priest who reads Nietzsche. "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall..." - William Shakespeare

The York Theatre Company opens its 2017-18 Season with Desperate Measures, the foot-stompin', knee-slappin' new musical with a nod to Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. It's funny, it's sexy, it's country, and it's a New York premiere with music by award-winning composer David Friedman and book and lyrics by two-time Tony nominee Peter Kellogg.

"The York Theatre is delighted to announce its first Mainstage production of the 2017-18 Season, Desperate Measures," stated James Morgan, York Producing Artistic Director. "We have gotten to know and love it over the last year, having hosted it in two presentations -- and we couldn't be more excited. It's the perfect season opener: smart, tuneful, funny, and extremely touching. We hope you will joins us for this hilarious new musical comedy!"

Desperate Measures will play the following performance schedule: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 2:30 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.* & 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. (*Audience discussion follows the matinee performance.) Please note: There are special matinees scheduled for Wednesday, September 27 and Thursday, September 28, both at 2:30 p.m. There are no evening performances on those dates. Opening night is Sunday evening, October 1 at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for Desperate Measures are priced at $67.50 - $72.50 and may be purchased by calling (212) 935-5820, online at, or in person at the box office at the York Theatre at Saint Peter's (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue), Tuesday throughFriday (12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.). York Theatre Members may purchase tickets now to receive priority booking and save almost 35% on matinee performances and 30% for regular performances. Tickets go on sale for the General Public on August 18, 2017. Student and Senior Rush tickets are available in-person beginning one hour prior to performances for $20 cash only. The York Theatre also offers $25 tickets for guests aged 35 years and under.

York Theatre Company offers the York! Membership Program, an exclusive membership package for as low as $75.00-with elite benefits that include up to 35% off tickets to York Theatre Productions, exclusive Member pre-sale opportunities, 50% off on all lobby concessions, 20% off on all lobby merchandise, in addition to special Member-only receptions. The York also offers a York Plus! Membership Program with additional perks, including complimentary tickets to Mainstage productions and invites to several VIP-only presentations throughout the season.

York Memberships can be purchased online at, or by visiting the York Theatre Company Box Office (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue), or by calling the Box Office at (212) 935-5820 during regular business hours (Monday throughFriday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).

For additional information, visit

Peter Kellogg (Book and Lyrics) has two Tony nominations for book and lyrics to a musical of Anna Karenina (composer Dan Levine). AK has had 3 acclaimed tours in Japan. With David Friedman, he created Chasing Nicolette (based on the French romance, Aucassin and Nicolette), produced at Westport Playhouse, the Prince and Village Theatre in Seattle; Stunt Girl, about Nellie Bly, New York City's first female reporter, which premiered at Village; andDesperate Measures, a 6-person western, loosely based on Measure for Measure. With composer Steve Weiner, he created a 10-person musical based on Sheridan's The Rivals.

David Friedman (Music) has written songs for everyone from Disney to Diana Ross; has written four other musicals with Peter Kellogg: Money Talks (Off Broadway run at the Davenport Theatre), Aucassin and Nicolette (Barrymore Award for best score) Nellie Bly and Lincoln in Love; collaborated with Deborah Brevoort on King Island Christmas; has performed his revue Listen to My Heart: The Songs of David Friedman for audiences Off-Broadway, all over America, and abroad; wrote songs for The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Bambi II, and Trick; scored three television series; contributed music to Broadway's Scandalous; conducted and vocal arranged six musicals on Broadway and numerous Disney animated films, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame; produced all of the late/great Nancy Lamott's CDs and wrote many of her best-known songs; and is currently in his 8th year of co-writing a song a month with Kathie Lee Gifford for the Everyone Has a Story segment on NBC's "The Today Show."

Bill Castellino (Director/Choreographer) has directed the world premiere productions of Cagney (NYC, FL, Toronto, LA), Soulmates (LV, FL), The Great Divorce (NY, National Tour), Grumpy Old Men (Winnipeg), Jolson at the Winter Garden (FL, LA), Dr. Radio (Florida Stage), Lizzie Borden (Goodspeed),Heartbeats (Pasadena Playhouse, FL, Goodspeed, Cleveland Playhouse), Miklat (Florida Stage), Fishwrap, A House Divided (TN Rep), The Singing Weatherman, Happy Holidays (Pasadena Playhouse), Presidents (National Tour), How to Be an American! (York), Real Actors of NYC, Crash Club, Another Summer, Hats Off (Boston), New Punims (FL, Boston), and Breathe, among others. Other credits include Marry Harry (York), Storyville (York), Ionescopade(LA, DC, York), Tarzan (Regional Premiere), Rent (Regional Premiere), Nightclub Cantata (LA), Gypsy, Rap Master Ronnie (LA, Chicago, DC, FL, Boston), The Rocky Horror Show, The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee, Carousel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Godspell, La Cage aux Folles, The Music Man, West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Tommy, Mardi Gras & The Last Word (NYC), Little Shop of Horrors, Beehive, Evita, Oliver, Cabaret, Abyssinia, The Last Five Years, Spitfire Grill, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Hair, Slab Boys, and Nunsense, among others. Tours: Fame, Jolson, Chess, Esther. Television: Stop the World-I Want to Get Off (A&E), "Bell'Aria" (PBS), "The Presidents" (PBS), Rap Master Ronnie (Show time). Castellino has written eight musicals and twelve reviews; he has produced and directed countless special gatherings, civic celebrations and corporate events. Awards: Outer Critics Circle, Jefferson, Telly, LA Weekly, Drama-Logue. Nominations: Lortel, Carbonell.

David Hancock Turner (Music Director) is a composer and music director working in musical theater. Most recently, his musical The World Will Not Contain Us (written with playwright Christopher Shinn) was presented in a reading by The New Group in December 2016. His original children's musical Cinderella-A Fairy's Tale has had productions at the Summer Theater of New Canaan over the past two years. He is an active pianist and music director with credits that include several City Center Encores! productions (Irma La Douce, Zorba!, Do I Hear a Waltz?), Passion at CSC, and many seasons at the Summer Theater of New Canaan. His collection of songs and sounds have been presented at venues in New York City and beyond as diverse as Ars Nova, Anthology Film Archives, IRT Theater, New Dramatists, The Living Room, The Clurman Theater at Theater Row, The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, The Fort Salem Theater, and the Ontological-Hysteric. He also teaches piano and coaches an eclectic variety of singers.

The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City-and one of very few in the world-dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over four decades, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused on new musicals in its Mainstage Series-most of them world, American, or New York premieres-by some of the field's most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Over 35 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, including its acclaimed revival of Closer Than Ever (2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival); commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir (Tony Award Nomination for actress Judy Kaye), and Jolson & Company, and revivals of Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd (four Tony Nominations including Best Revival) have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs. Recent New York premieres have included Marry Harry, A Taste of Things to Come, and Rothschild & Sons. The critically acclaimed musical Yank,which received its Off-Broadway debut at the York in 2010, has just opened to rave reviews in London and the original York Theatre/Off-Broadway cast of the hit musical Cagney, which received its New York premiere in 2015 and subsequently transferred to the Westside Theater, will begin performances in the fall in Los Angeles.


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