York Theatre Company to Fete Emerging Musical Theatre Writers with 'NEO 2017' Concert
The York Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals and preserving musical gems from the past, welcomes the return of the celebrated concert series NEO, featuring new works by emerging musical theatre writers Masi Asare, Alan Gordon & Joy Son, Alexander Sage Oyen, and Mark Sonnenblick.
In addition to these five writers, this year's NEO introduces the NEO of the Future program, including in the concert two songs by writers who are currently undergraduate students: Scott Etan Feiner, a junior at Yale, and Billy Recce, a junior at Fordham.
The one-night-only benefit performance, directed by Annette Jolles (Mark Felt, Superstar) and with music direction by Ted Arthur, is set for Monday evening, October 16, 2017 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Festivities are set to begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by a champagne/dessert reception. An exciting lineup of performers will be announced shortly.
NEO (an acronym for "New, Emerging, Outstanding") celebrates songwriters primed to pen the next generation of musicals. Since the first NEO concert in 2003 -- recorded by England's JAY Records-- musical theatre fans and York supporters eagerly anticipate each incarnation. Since 2012, each season's NEO program has focused on a smaller group of writers, presenting multiple songs by each in a kickoff concert, followed by a series of fully-funded readings of works in progress.
Tickets for NEO 2017 are priced at $50. $25 tickets available for patrons under the age of 35 (available by calling or visiting the box office during box office hours only). Tickets may be purchased by calling (212) 935-5820, online at www.yorktheatre.org, 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), Monday through Friday (12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.) - Tuesday through Sunday during performances.
The York Theatre Company opens its 2017-18 Season with 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), the six-member cast will feature Emma Degerstedt (The Little Mermaid) as Susanna/Sister Mary Jo, Gary Marachek (Camelot) as Father Morse, Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages) as Bella Rose, Conor Ryan (john and jen) as Johnny Blood, Peter Saide (Skin Tight) as Sheriff Green, and Nick Wyman (Les Misérables) as Governor von Richterhenkenpflichtgetruber. Performances begin September 19, 2017 for a limited engagement through October 15, 2017. Opening Night is Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
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 www.yorktheatre.org/membership, 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 through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
For additional information, visit www.yorktheatre.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Masi Asare wrote the score for the secret agent musical Sympathy Jones (book by Brooke Pierce), which premiered at NYMF, is published by Playscripts, and has had 30+ productions to date internationally. Current projects include writing book, music, and lyrics for The Family Resemblance, about a mixed race family in America, commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East (London); and writing an original musical, The Forgetting Place, with playwright Chisa Hutchinson. Masi is an alum of the BMI, ASCAP, Bingham Camp, and New Dramatists musical theatre workshops, and a past Dramatists Guild Fellow. She received the first-ever Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, and is a 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. www.masiasare.com
Alan Gordon is a Kleban Prize-winning librettist, lyricist, and fiction writer. He has written the book and lyrics for Better Than Dreaming and The United States of Us with composer Joy Son, and for The Usual, Girl Detective, and Bad Reception with Mark Sutton-Smith. His work has received productions and staged readings at the Wiliamston Theatre, the Santa Fe Musical Theatre Festival, the Stages New Musical Program in Chicago, Western Kentucky University's Before Broadway Program, and Raw Impressions Musical Theater, among others. His most recent book is Where Werewolves Fear to Tread, out this month. www.alan-gordon.com
Alexander Sage Oyen is the recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Foundation's Lucille and Jack Yellen award for lyricists and the Lotos Foundation Prize in Arts and Sciences for his lyrics. His musicals include Outlaws (book by James Presson), Archie's Final Project (book by James Presson and David Lee Miller), Diva: Live From Hell, Tyrants (both book by Sean Patrick Monahan), A Night Like This, and Moment by Moment. One of Playbill's "Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers You Should Know," he was selected for the 2014 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project and was a 2017 Larson Grant Finalist. His music has been heard all over NYC and the US and in venues from Holland to Thailand. His theatrical rock band, Discount Ghost Stories! can be seen playing through every borough and the astral planes.
Joy Son has written numerous musicals. With Alan Gordon: Better Than Dreaming (2015 Santa Fe Musical Festival, 2014 IMEA Awards) and The United States of Us (2014 American Harmony Prize). With Kirsten Guenther: Little Miss Fix-It (Pace New Musicals, Roundabout Underground, CAP21, and Emerson College workshop productions). With Steve Routman: The Fisher King (2007 Jerry Harrington Award). International Productions: Manon (Takarazuka Revue Company, 2015-2016, Tokyo & Osaka), Lovers in Paris (2012, D-Cube Theater, Seoul), Runway Beat (2015, Arko Art Center, Seoul). She is an alum of the BMI Musical Workshop, NYU Tisch (MFA in Musical Theatre Writing), and NYU Steinhardt. soundcloud.com/joy-son-1
Mark Sonnenblick has contributed music, lyrics, and/or book to Midnight at The Never Get (NYMF, Bistro Award), Ship Show (Yale Institute for Music Theatre), Independents ("Best Production" FringeNYC, NYTimes Critics' Pick), Dragons Love Tacos (Theatreworks/USA), Stompcat in Lawndale (Ars Nova ANT Fest), Wheel of Misfortune (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Rodman in North Korea (Houghton Lyric Theater), and Bunkerville (Yale Dramat, BSU Discovery Festival). He's also received fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, American Opera Projects, and the John Duffy Institute (Virginia Arts Festival). Mark lives in Brooklyn with no pets of any kind.
Scott Etan Feiner, 20, is a composer and lyricist from New York who currently attends Yale University, where he studies music. He has won the Society for New Music Brian Israel Prize and the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award and was a YoungArts winner in 2015 and 2016. He attended Juilliard Pre-College from 2011-2015, studying composition with Dr. Ira Taxin, and has studied musical theater writing privately with Adam Guettel. Recently, Scott worked as a music assistant on the pre-Broadway production of Frozen. Scott's music can be found at scottetanfeiner.com.
Billy Recce is a composer/lyricist currently in his junior year at Fordham University's playwriting program. His New York concerts have included Songs to Pop Balloons To at the York Theatre and The Perks of Being a Snowflake at Feinstein's/54 Below and the Metropolitan Room. At 17, he was the youngest writer to ever be selected for NYMF with his headline-making and award-winning show Balloon Boy: The Musical. As a playwright, he is the winner of the 2014 VSA Playwright Discovery Award for HAPPY. Currently, he is the head writer and composer for the musical webseries "Rachel Unraveled". His other musicals include Wally Weasel's G.O.P Jamboree! and the upcoming The Charlatans.
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 this fall in Los Angeles.