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York Theatre Company to Launch Spring Developmental Reading Series

The York Theatre Company and its acclaimed Developmental Reading Series will present staged readings of three new musicals: A Tale of Two Cities, with book, music and lyrics by Wendy Kesselman, Platinum, with lyrics and music by Will Holt and Gary William Friedman, and book by Stevie Holland with Gary William Friedman, and The Fitzgeralds of Saint Paul, with book, music and lyrics by Christie Baugher, at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue).

The readings are open to the public with a $10.00 advance reservation fee for each reading (Complimentary for York Theatre's Platinum Members; $5 for York Theatre's 54th Street Members). Reservations can also be made on the day of the reading (pending availability) for a suggested $5.00 donation in person at the box office.

The Developmental Reading Series presents some 40 to 50 readings and workshops of new musicals by emerging and established authors throughout the year, a vital part of the writing process. The strong commitment to developing new work is an important part of what makes The York unique in the musical theatre community. The series serves as an incubator for shows to be considered for Mainstage productions, thus serving the York's unique mission of taking new musicals through the complete development process to full production.

The Spring Development Reading Series schedule is, as follows:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary of St. Peter's Church
A Tale of Two Cities

Book, Music and Lyrics by Wendy Kesselman
Directed by Michael Unger
Music Direction by Christopher Berg

The cast will feature Nick Abeel, Tessa Albertson ("Younger"), Jarid Faubel (Out Of This World), Arthur French (Dividing the Estate), Annie Golden (Violet), Isabelle Hilinski, Lou Liberatore (Burn This), James Murtaugh (Ah, Wilderness!), Austin Pendleton (Fiddler on the Roof), Marta Rymer, David St. Louis (Side Show), Dana Watkins (In Masks Outrageous and Austere),Akron Watson, Teal Wicks (Finding Neverland), and Wayne Wilcox (Chaplin).

A Tale of Two Cities is a new musical inspired by the Dickens novel, written and composed by award-winning playwright Wendy Kesselman (The Diary of Anne Frank, My Sister in This House). Set against the turbulent times of the French Revolution, the fourteen-actor musical creates an ever-tightening web of loss and longing. This exciting take on the classic tale brings humanity to the story with a re-imagination of Madame Defarge, usually considered the wickedest woman in all literature. One performance only: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: this performance will take place in the sanctuary of St. Peter's Church, upstairs from the York.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

Lyrics and Music by Will Holt and Gary William Friedman
Book by Stevie Holland with Gary William Friedman
Adapted from Platinum by Will Holt and Bruce Vilanch and Sunset by Will Holt
Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel
Music Direction by Daniel Green

The three-member cast will feature Stevie Holland (Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter) with Rico LeBron (Angel Reapers) and Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera).

Platinum is the stuff of theater lore, a provocative musical, with a long-storied and perhaps checkered past. The show, originally titled Sunset, has included book variations by Will Holt, Louis LaRusso II, and Bruce Vilanch. Award-winning composer Gary William Friedman (The Me Nobody Knows, Taking My Turn) and critically acclaimed recording artist, writer and performer Stevie Holland have reimagined the original Platinum and Sunset stories into a brand new show.

The cast has been reduced to an intimate number of three, but the story's heart is bigger than ever. Set in 1977, Lila Halliday, an iconic star of Hollywood movie musicals, is attempting a comeback by recording a new album at Sunset Sound, the 'happening' Hollywood recording studio. Dan Hardin, a platinum-selling rock star who's been sliding down the charts, is desperate to remake himself. He wants to record an album at Sunset Sound, which he hopes will cast him as a still relevant rock star. Jamie Stiles, Dan's former music writing partner-now-record producer, and owner of Sunset Sound, has agreed to produce Lila and Dan's albums. The three characters' lives are woven together in a journey of romance, self-doubt, self-discovery, and revelation. The eclectic score ranges from contemporary rock power ballads, to Broadway show tunes, along with echoes of 1940's big band sounds. One performance only: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

Friday, June 10, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
The Fitzgeralds of Saint Paul

Book, Music and Lyrics by Christie Baugher
Directed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home)
Musical Direction by Rona Siddiqui

The two-member cast will feature Ken Barnett (Wonderful Town) and Tiffany Topol (Sweet Charity).

Part of the 2015-2016 NEO Series, celebrating New/Emerging/Outstanding musical theatre writers.

The Fitzgeralds of St. Paul is a two-character musical that follows the relationship of celebrated American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Sayre. Through a series of musical episodes chronicling everything from their first meeting at a Montgomery country club dance in 1918 to her hallucinating his presence years after his death in 1940, the show is an exploration of love, celebrity, mental illness, addiction, and the very human cost of the modern American definition of success - a definition that the myth of the Fitzgeralds unintentionally helped to create. One performance only: Friday, June 10, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

The York Theatre's NEO Developmental Reading Series is an outgrowth of its NEO Concert Series, where up-and-coming musical theater writers ("New, Emerging, Outstanding") are celebrated for their work and given a chance for a musical on which they are currently working to be seen in a developmental reading with top New York talent, onstage and behind-the-scenes. The concert is presented annually at the York Theatre Company.

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