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York Theatre Company to Stage Four New Works as Part Development Readings Series This Month

The York Theatre Company and its acclaimed Developmental Reading Series will present four new works during the month of June: Orville and Wilbur Did It! a play byDavid Zellnik with songs by Mr. Zellnik and Eric Svejcar; Juliet and Juliet, based on a concept by Natalie Tenenbaum and Sean Patterson, with book and lyrics by Mr. Patterson, and music by Ms. Tenenbaum; Elsie Janis and the Boys with book & lyrics by Carol Crittenden and music by John T. Prestianni; and Grounded for Life with book by Pat Hazell and Bill Habeeb, lyrics by Lawrence Goldberg and Mr. Hazell, and music by Mr. Goldberg 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 suggested donation of $5.00.

Orville and Wilbur Did It!, a new play with music, is written by David Zellnik (Yank!) with songs by Mr. Zellnik and Eric Svejcar (Caligula). Can an acting troupe touring with a children's musical about the Wright Brothers (including a magic singing bird) survive the actors' inappropriate hook-ups, self-medication, rampant drug use, credit card scams, and pipe dreams of bringing the show to New York City? Orville and Wilbur Did It! looks at the subculture of touring children's theatre, following the lives, loves, sadnesses, ecstasies, hopes, fears, and egos of five actors and a stage manager in a van doing a non-Equity, 58-city tour across America. Any resemblance to the actual touring children's musical about the Wright Brothers that Mr. Zellnik wrote is strictly coincidental. Directed by John Michael DiResta (Steppenwolf, Hangar Theatre), the cast features Will Brill (You Can't Take It With You), Matt Doyle (Brooklynite), Daniel Everidge (Grease), Colby Minifie (Punk Rock), Matthew Saldivar (Honeymoon in Vegas),Stacey Sargeant (Big Love), and Bobby Steggert (Yank!). The Stage Manager is William V. Carlton with casting by Will DeCamp. Orville and Wilbur Did It was developed with The New Colony Ensemble in Chicago. ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY: TODAY, JUNE 1, 2015 AT 3:00 P.M.

Juliet and Juliet, based on a concept by Natalie Tenenbaum and Sean Patterson, with book and lyrics by Mr. Patterson and music by Ms. Tenenbaum, is the story of 17-year old Tommie Morgan, who has her heart set on a big fat lead role in the school production of Romeo and Juliet. Her hopes are dashed, though, when Homecoming Queen Caroline Pelletti is pre-cast as Juliet, as a result of nasty PTA politics. So Tommie settles for the next best thing: she disguises herself as a boy and auditions for Romeo instead. She expects people to be shocked, but she doesn't expect to fall in love. Set in Verona High School in Verona, Virginia, the show is an upbeat, modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale. Directed by Ilana Ransom Toeplitz with musical direction by Ms. Tenenbaum, the cast will feature Aisha de Haas (Caroline, or Change), John Arthur Greene (Matilda),Elana Justin, Brennyn Lark (LES MISERABLES), Charlie Pollock (Violet), Daniel Quadrino (Newsies), and Remy Zaken (Spring Awakening).Juliet and Juliet is produced in conjunction with Three Ways A MongIII LLC. The Production Stage Manager is Shelley Miles with Assistant Stage Manager Hollace Jeffords. ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY: TUESDAY, JUNE 9 2015 AT 2:00 P.M.

Elsie Janis and the Boys, a salute to the 'female Bob Hope of World War 1, is a new musical with book & lyrics by Carol Crittenden, music by John T. Prestianni with historical consultant Major (Ret.) Stephen C. McGeorge. Decades before the U.S.O. existed, Broadway and West End star Elsie Janis felt a calling to give comfort, cheer and entertain the Boys-the young fighting men of the First World War. In the final six months of the war, Elsie, armed only with her mother and a piano player, took her show to France, to the front, to field hospitals, to training camps, and to the very edges of combat, becoming the "Female Bob Hope" of WWI. Though the real-life heroic efforts of this super trouper and Renaissance woman are little known, Carol Crittenden and John T. Prestianni, BMI Musical Theater Workshop veterans, are bringing history and her story to the stage in this original musical. Utilizing first person narrative and historical facts drawn from Ms. Janis's memoir, The Big Show, the authors weave a mix of original music crafted expressly for the musical and memorable favorites from the era. Directed by Alan Fox (Irena's Vow), the cast will feature Jillian Louis (It Shoulda Been You) as Elsie Janis, with Jonathan Brody (Spamalot), Sarah Cassell (Gabi Goes Green), Georga L. Osborne (Meet Me in St. Louis),Michael Scott, Evan Shyer, Lindsay Sutton, Keith Varney (I Got Fired), and Jason Whitfield. ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY: THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2015 AT 3:00 P.M.

Grounded for Life: The Musical, with book by Pat Hazell and Bill Habeeb, lyrics by Lawrence Goldberg and Mr. Hazell, and music by Mr. Goldberg, is a "staying-of-age" comedy about Mitchell Mulligan, a thirty-something guy serving a life sentence in his childhood bedroom for throwing a snowball at a school bus when he was twelve. Twenty years later, in a literal case of arrested development, he is still doing his time. Secret visits from his best friends via a toy box tunnel have been keeping him going. But that is all about to come to an end. Mitch will have to face his own worst enemy: Himself. An absurd and relatable metaphor, Grounded for Life explores the ways people get stuck, hold themselves back, and allow their live to be limited by their own fears. Directed by Patrick O'Neill and with music direction by Matt Perri (Cagney), the cast will feature Cameron Adams(Inventing Mary Martin), Michael Keyloun ('Tis Pity She's a Whore), Garth Kravits (The Drowsy Chaperone), Liz Larsen (Beautiful, The Carol King Musical), Maxine Linehan, and Aaron Ramey (The Visit). The Stage Manager is Melanie J. Lisby. ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY: FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015 AT 3:00 P.M.

Reservations can be made by visiting the website at

The Developmental Reading Series presents some 40 readings and workshops of new musicals by emerging and established authors throughout the year, a vital part of the writing process. 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 York Theatre Company offers the 54th Street Membership Program, an exclusive membership package for as low as $54.00 - with elite benefits that includes a 30% discount on tickets to York Theatre Productions (2 per membership), exclusive member pre-sale opportunities, 50% off on all lobby concessions, 20% off on all lobby merchandise, in addition to special member only receptions.

York Memberships may be purchased online at, or by calling the York Theatre Company Box Office.

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