MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE World Premiere Set for Workshop Theater, Now thru 3/10

WORKSHOP THEATER COMPANY in conjunction with JEM THEATRICALS is presenting the world premiere production of MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE, a new family musical comedy. The musical, with book by Kate Feiffer and MJ Bruder Munafo, music by Paul Jacobs, lyrics by Sarah Durkee, is based on the acclaimed picture book MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE, by Kate Feiffer with illustrations by Diane Goode (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). The musical will be directed by Debbi Katz and choreographed by Danyelle Demchock of the Young Performers Dance Academy. MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE will play a four-week limited engagement at the WorkShop Theater (312 West 36th Street). Performances begin today, February 16 at 12 pm and continue through Sunday, March 10 at 3 pm. Press are invited to all performances.

If Emma's mom is so great, why is she trying to ruin her daughter's life? She talks too loudly, worries about everything and kisses Emma in front of her friends. It wouldn't be that bad if she just gave her one kiss on top of the head, but no, she kisses Emma all over her face. Can Emma stop her mom before she ruins the rest of her life? A heartwarming coming of age story with spectacular original music, MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE will have audiences laughing and singing.

The first workshop production of MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE played to sold out audiences at The Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard in 2010. In 2011, MJ Bruder Munafo (Artistic Director of the Vineyard Playhouse) and Kate Feiffer teamed up with multiple Emmy Award-winning songwriters Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee to turn the play into a musical. The Vineyard Playhouse presented the first staged reading of the musical in the summer of 2012. WorkShop Theater Company's Educational Wing presented a second reading in late 2012.

In keeping with the WorkShop Theater Company's overall mission, the Educational Wing is dedicated to providing a creative home for young actors to hone their talents and cultivate projects from inception through finished productions.

"We work with children of diverse backgrounds to introduce the process of synthesizing new works through Page to Stage adaptations and the collaborative relationships between writers, directors, actors and designers. We pair professional teaching artists and guide young actors through the process of creating new works," say Marie Mascia-Mancl, General Manager of Workshop Theater Company. "We have found that many professional kids are looking for a setting in which to work during the "tween" years when they can't find continuous employment. This program allows them that home and gives us the opportunity to teach college level skills and techniques. We are very excited to bring to life this wonderful piece as we combine this amazing cast with an incredibly talented creative team. Everyone involved is helping to fulfill our mission."

The production stars Michael Bernardi* (Surflight's Once Upon a Time in New Jersey) as Officer Smith, Maddie Glass as Isabelle, Andrew Hubacher* (WorkShop's Life on the Mississippi) as Dad, Kayla King as Mom, Claire Kwon as Julie, Noah Marlowe* (Bdwy: Mary Poppins) as Tommy, Shelly McPherson* as Tommy's Mom/Officer O'Dooley, Sydney Ryan Robles as Danielle, Madisyn Shipman* (Bdwy: Enron; Off-Bdwy: Pippi Longstockings) as Christina/Lulu the dog, Garielle Smith-Goldson as Malika, Ryan Bauer Walsh* (Nat'l Tour: Billy Elliot) as Mr. Lucky/Officer Ortiz, Lauren Weintraub* (North Shore's Annie) as Emma, and Ashton Woerz* (Bdwy: Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Nat'l Tour: Radio City Christmas Spectacular) as Andrew.

The production features scenic design by Dana Kenn and lighting design by Diana Duecker. Joe Marquet is the sound designer, Zach Rand is the production assistant, Evan Bernardin is the associate producer, Marie Mascia-Mancl is the general manager and Sierra Garland is the stage manager.

MY MOM IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE plays the following schedule:

Saturday, February 16 at 12 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, February 17 at 12 pm
Monday, February 18 at 12 pm and 3 pm (President's Day)

Saturday, February 23 at 12 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, February 24 at 12 pm
Monday, February 25 at 7 (Special Simon & Schuster Performance)

Saturday, March 2 at 12 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, March 3 at 12 pm

Saturday, March 9 at 12 pm and 3 pm
Sunday, March 9 at 12 pm and 3 pm

Tickets are $15-18 and are now available online at Tickets may also be purchased in person at the theater 30 minutes prior to performance. For special packages and donations, go to Running Time: 70 minutes.

Kate Feiffer (Book Writer) is the author of eleven highly acclaimed books for children. Her first book, Double Pink, illustrated by Bruce Ingman, was published by Simon & Schuster (S&S) in 2005. Her books Which Puppy? (S&S), Henry the Dog with No Tail (S&S), and My Side of The Car (Candlewick Press) are illustrated by her father, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer. Other books include President Pennybaker (S&S) and My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life (S&S), illustrated by Caldecott award honoree Diane Goode. A former Boston-based television producer, Kate produced and wrote the award-winning documentary Matzo & Mistletoe.

MJ BRUDER MUNAFO (Book Writer) is the Artistic and Executive Director of The Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard, where MY MOM began its life as a play in 2010. MJ has written dozens of children's plays over the years in addition to directing many shows and premieres on The Playhouse mainstage. Her most recent was an all-female cast production of Romeo & Juliet outdoors at the Tisbury Amphitheater.

Paul Jacobs (Composer) is a two-time Emmy-winning composer whose songs, co-written with lyricist Sarah Durkee, have been recorded by artists as diverse as Meatloaf, Mel Torme, Faith Hill, Brian McKnight, Roger Daltry, India Arie, Tricia Yearwood, Kermit the Frog, John Hiatt, and the London Philharmonic. Starting out as a classical pianist, he entered Juilliard at age eight and was soon performing Carnegie Hall and Radio Free Europe concerts. When the teen years and the guitar and rock world beckoned, he co-wrote the music for National Lampoon's Lemmings starring John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest, and for The National Lampoon Show with Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Richard Belzer and Harold Ramis. Paul was Meatloaf's musical director, keyboard player and guitarist for many years and also played with Edgar Winter and Roy Buchanan. Back to his classical roots once again, he won the 2000 Van Cliburn Institute Amateur Concerto Competition, and performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Paul's songs have been featured on over twenty years of Sesame Street, and he's currently the musical director of the PBS reading show Between The Lions.

SARAH DURKEE (Lyricist), since her days of performing, writing comedy for National Lampoon, and writing platinum-earning songs for Meat Loaf, Sarah has enjoyed a successful career writing scripts and songs for children's television for over 25 years. With composer Paul Jacobs, she's written Emmy-winning songs for Sesame Street, performed by artists as diverse as Mel Torme, Kermit the Frog, Brian McKnight and Trisha Yearwood. Her scripts and songwriting have been regularly featured on Between the Lions, Dora the Explorer, Arthur, Wonder Pets, Peep and the Big Wide World and others, and she recently won her fifth Emmy award for her writing for Between the Lions. Her scriptwriting for the claymation series Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures is also featured on Sesame Street and in the preschool music-based series Lomax: The Hound of Music. Sarah co-authored the adult satire The Book of Sequels with her fellow Lampoon alumni, and is the author of a middle grade novel The Fruit Bowl Project, a favorite of Writer's
Workshop teachers. In addition to My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life, this year's projects include songwriting for a musical adaptation of the Leo Lionni classic Frederick, a children's book series with an anti-bullying theme called Captain McFinn and Friends, and an educational video series for Curious George.

DEBBI KATZ (Director) is an equity actress, having performed in many Off-Broadway and regional shows, and seasoned director and producer. With more than 75 productions ranging from workshops to main-stage performances, Debbi has directed small-scale to full-ensemble productions. Recently, She spent six years at the Bendheim Performing Arts Center in Scarsdale as the Producing Director where she oversaw a thriving cultural arts center inclusive of a theater school, outside performance series, music school and camp. She ran large and small events, including the opening ceremonies for the JCC Maccabi Games at Madison Square Garden. She also developed and directed unique programs that combined the students of the theater school with top-notch Broadway talent as well as charitable groups that "gave back" to the community via musical performance around the tri-state area. Debbi has been an associate producer for Rockers on Broadway for four years, an organization that combines Broadway and Rock super star talent in order to raise money for Equity Fights Aids, as well as theatrical education companies. Debbi holds a BA in communications and theatre and a Masters in Special Education. The messaging in My Mom Is Ruining My Life provides a wonderful platform for her greatest passion, which is using theatre as a bridge for connecting kids and their families.

WorkShop Theater Company's mission is to provide a creative home for a diverse group of playwrights, directors, and actors. WorkShop has developed hundreds of plays, among them Eddie Antar's NY Times Critics' Pick, Drama Desk-nominated, and NY Innovative Theatre Award-winning hit The Navigator ("cruises in entertainingly high gear" - NY Times) and Ken Jaworowski's Interchange (NY Times Critics' Pick). Another WorkShop play, Allan Knee's The Man Who Was Peter Pan, became the acclaimed film Finding Neverland, which received an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay by David Magee and was produced by Nellie Bellflower - both of whom are WorkShop Theater Company alumni.

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