New Musical BILLY AND THE KILLERS Opens Tonight at HERE
Actor, novelist and award-winning playwright Jim Shankman, who recently debuted his newest play, Heartless Bastard, as part of the SubletSeries@HERE, has announced that his new musical, Billy and the Killers, will make its world premiere this November at HERE! Arts Center (located at 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY).
Also presented as part of the SubletSeries@HERE, Billy and the Killers began performances on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, and play a strictly limited engagement through Sunday, November 18. An official opening night is set for tonight, November 9, 2017 at 6:30pm.
In Billy and the Killers, play meets rock band in a tale of misfit lovers and a bloody crime of passion. Billy is a sensitive young songwriter, but his music is violent and disturbing. Living in a trailer park with his ex-con father, the deck is stacked against him until he meets Nell, a kindred spirit, fascinated with death and in love with music. Billy's dark vision mixed with Nell's rebellious nature is a volatile combination. When Nell is brutally murdered, the police listen to Billy's music and accuse him of the crime. Why is it art can heal the artist and destroy the artless?
Like several of Mr. Shankman's other plays, including the recent world premiere of his latest play Heartless Bastard, Billy and the Killers is a tale taken right from the headlines.
According to Mr. Shankman, "Without giving too much away, this new musical is based on a a teenager who was accused of killing his girlfriend when police discover the dark and violent nature of his paintings and drawings. This spoke to me on many levels, including the suspicion of the artist in society, the power and provocative nature of art, the use and misuse of art, the often misplaced innocence of the artist and the brutal awakening to the adult world that comes to us in our teenage years. I was stuck because of the static non-dramatic nature of painting (without the resources of a Stephen Sondheim), until I thought of making the main character a musician. Composer Peter Stopschinski and I began with the idea of heavy metal and acoustic metal as an expression of youthful angst and rebellion, but Peter's music has evolved into something more eclectic that grows from innocence to sophistication."
Featuring book & Lyrics by Jim Shankman and music by Peter Stopschinski (original music for Pulitzer Prize Drama The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence, Billy and the Killers stars Adrian Blake Enscoe, frontman for the up-and-coming band Bandits on the Run, as the title role of Billy. He will be joined on stage by Broadway veteran and his fellow band mate Sydney Shepherd (First Date), Broadway regular Sean McDermott (Miss Saigon, Falsettos, Grease, Starlight Express), Tom O'Keefe (Bedlam's Vanity Fair at The Pearl) and Paul Sadlik.
Billy and the Killers will be directed by Craig J. George, who previously directed Mr. Shankman's Heartless Bastard and his award winning-play The Screenwriter Dies of His Own Freewill, and collaborated with Mr. Stopschinski on The Calico Buffalo at NYMF 2015. The production will feature scenic design by Margaux Maeght, lighting design by Cha See, costume design byGlenna Ryer, sound design by Rafe Terrizzi, and general management by Simpson & Longthorne Theatricals.
Tickets for the world premiere of Billy and the Killers are $18 and can be purchased online at www.here.org, by phone at (212) 352-3101, or at the HERE box office* located at 145 Sixth Avenue. *Please Note: the box office is open after 5pm on show days or 2 hours before any performance.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Jim Shankman (Book & Lyrics) is an actor, playwright and novelist. Three of his plays have been presented in the New York International Fringe Festival. The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will won a Best Playwriting Award in the 2015 FringeNYC; he performed his solo play Kiss Your Brutal Hands in the 2014 FringeNYC; and his play Suicide Math had a successful run as part of the 2013 FringeNYC. For Kiss Your Brutal Hand he also won a Best Actor Award in the 2013 United Solo Festival on Theatre Row. His play Heartless Bastard had its world premiere in August 2017, at HERE Arts in New York City. Alien Child received a workshop production at T. Schreiber Studio and a staged reading at The New Group as part of their New Works Series. His plays have also had staged readings at The New Group, Emerging Artists Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Penguin Rep, Michael Howard Studios and the T. Schreiber Studio. His novel Tales Of The Patriarchs is available at Amazon.com. His most recent acting roles include The Price (Walter Franz) at Triad Stage, The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will (Willy Shotz) at FringeNYC,Angels In America Part One (Roy Cohn) at Playhouse On Park and Three Sisters (Chebutykin) for Hivenmind Theatre. He has a BA from Princeton in Philosophy and an MFA in Fiction from the Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College.
Peter Stopschinski (Music) has composed music for Madeleine George's play which was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama: The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence,composed music/lyrics for New York Musicals Festival's 2015 Winner Best in Show: The Calico Buffalo, string arrangements for Grupo Fantasma's Grammy Award winning album El Existential,and the film score for two-time Academy Award winning director Al Reinert's film RaRa Avis: The Life of John Audubon. His operas and musicals have been performed across the country from Arena Stage (DC) to Playwrights Horizons (NYC) to Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theater (LA) to Gertrude Opera in Melbourne, AUS. Peter is currently working on a new opera based on Terry Galloway's one woman show Lardo Weeping that was commissioned by LOLA and will be premiered here in Austin, TX in Fall 2018. Peter has just finished a new experimental rock version of Verdi's MacBeth for Gertrude Opera in Melbourne Australia which premiered in Ngambie Lakes Fall 2016 and will tour in the U.S. in 2017. He is producing several new tracks for the revolutionary artist CHRISTEENE and is releasing 50 albums of his own music for free on his website in 2017. www.peterstopschinski.com
CRAIG J. GEORGE (Director) Off-Broadway: Taming of the Shrew: Extreme (The Duke on 42nd Street) and over a dozen world premieres, including: Titus: A Grand and Gory Rock Musical (Cleveland Public Theatre), The Calico Buffalo, God's Country and Lighter (NYMF), The Aperture by Sean Christopher Lewis (CPT & FringeNYC), Cursing Macbeth (Harold Clurman Theater), Kiss Your Brutal Hands by Jim Shankman (United Solo Festival/FringeNYC) and Alfred Kinsey: A Love Story (Michael Weller Theater). Regional: Measure for Measure, Standing on Ceremony (Cleveland Public Theatre) Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew (Hamptons Shakespeare Festival), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, abridged (Southampton Cultural Center). Other theaters worked at include South Coast Repertory, George Street Playhouse, The New Group, West Side Theatre, York Theatre Company, New Jersey Repertory and Penguin Repertory. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of The Family Claxon by Eric Coble (Cleveland Public Theatre) and the new musical Billy and the Killers by Jim Shankman and Peter Stopschinski (HERE Arts). MFA from UC Irvine and member of AEA and SDC. www.craigjgeorge.com
ADRIAN ENSCOE (Billy) is first and foremost a Bandits on the Run - one of a trio of rabble rousers that started out crooning to commuters on NYC's underground and has since gone on to a burgeoning career of music and mischief. Film: Hello Again, The Greens are Gone, Seeds, andJaime Marks is Dead. Television: "Orange is the New Black" and "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (ADR). Motion Capture: "Rockstar Games." Theater: Bag of Nails (dir. Jerry Mitchell),Dust Can't Kill Me (NYMF), Servant of Two Masters (Teatro LATEA), Lady in Red Converses with Diablo (Immersive Piece at Arts@Renaissance).
Sydney Shepherd (Nell). Theatre credits include First Date on Broadway, Jasper inDeadland at the 5th Avenue Theatre, and developmental readings of new musicals Bag of Nails(dir. Jerry Mitchell) and August Rush (dir. J.H. Doyle), among others. Film: Groove, i****you, The Panty Symphonic. She is a cellist and multi-instrumentalist and a proud member of the band Bandits on the Run. BFA UNCSA Drama.
Sean McDermott (Merrick). Broadway: Miss Saigon (Chris), Falsettos (Whizzer), Starlight Express (Rusty), and Grease (Danny). Other roles: Chicago (Billy Flynn), Mamma Mia (Sam),Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Lawrence), Jeckyll and Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), Carousel(Billy), West Side Story (Tony). Off-Broadway: Hannibal Lecter in Silence! the Musical, Mike Brady in The Bardy Bunch, Larry in Boys in the Band. TV: "Medium," "Desperate Housewives," "Charmed," "Guiding Light," "The Tonight Show." In addition, Sean is an accomplished concert and recording artist and was chosen as one of four Broadway leading men to tour Europe and sing alongside Barbra Streisand. www.seanmcdermott.com
Tom O'Keefe (J Roy). Off-Broadway: Vanity Fair, Tamburlaine, Bedlam's Hamlet and Saint Joan. Other New York: Dead Dog Park, Bedlam's Twelfth Night and What You Will, The Best of Everything, A Hard Wall at High Speed. Regional: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Outside Mullingar, Richard II, The Taster. TV: "Shades of Blue," "The Path," "CSI," "Criminal Minds," "E.R.," "The Shield." Film: FYHWFF, A New Tomorrow, Avenging Angel, CrashNBurn.
PAUL SADLIK (Spenders) is originally from Utica, NY and graduated from The Hartt School in Hartford Connecticut. NY Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors (Orin) - The Gallery Players, An Intolerant Vaudeville - UNFringed Festival, The Deciders (Saddamn) - Fringe Festival. Regional:Sweeny Todd, Flattery Will Get You - Connecticut Rep, Much Ado About Nothing - Hartford Stage, Jubilee (Principal Singer) - Ballys Las Vegas.