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New Line Theatre to Open 25th Season with HEATHERS in New Venue

New Line Theatre, "the bad boy of musical theatre," celebrates its 25th anniversary season of adult, alternative musical theatre, with a new, expanded line-up and a brand new theatre.

The 2015-2016 season will include the regional premiere of the pitch-black comedy HEATHERS, running October 1-24, 2015; the first local production of the rock opera AMERICAN IDIOT, running March 3-26, 2016; the American regional premiere of the new rock musical ATOMIC, running June 2-25, 2016; and Andrew Lloyd Webber's one-woman, one-act musical TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, running August 11-27, 2016.

All New Line's mainstage shows will be in the company's new home, the Marcelle Theater, the new blackbox theatre space in Grand Center, St. Louis' arts district.

New Line will also present a concert of songs from the first twenty-five seasons, for two nights only, January 5-6, 2016, at the Sheldon Concert Hall, also in Grand Center.

New Line founder and artistic director Scott Miller says, "It's definitely mind-blowing to realize that New Line has been around for 25 years and produced 74 musicals! I couldn't be prouder of this upcoming 25th season, which embodies everything New Line is about. And what a thrill to open the season this fall in our brand new blackbox theatre, created by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg specifically for us and the kind of work we do, We can't wait for everyone to see the newspace. It's going to be such a great season!"


HEATHERS

New Line opens its 25th season with the company's 75th production, the regional premiere of the pitch-black musical comedy HEATHERS, running October 1-24, 2015, written by the award-winning team of Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness) and Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy, Legally Blonde). This hilarious, big-hearted, and homicidal new musical is based on the 1989 cult film, truly one of the darkest teen comedies of all time. The original screenwriter Daniel Waters called it, "a Carson McCullers-style novel of a girl who meets the Antichrist as a teenager."

It's September, 1989, and Westerberg High is terrorized by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather and Heather, the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But brainy misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for anew boyfriend, the damaged new stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place. For good. Deliciously, wickedly funny, oddly romantic, and occasionally powerful, this is a surprisingly truthful parable for anyone who's ever been in love, in trouble, or in high school.

And today, in this era of bullying and school shootings, the satire of HEATHERS takes on a powerful new relevance. As a 2014 Atlantic article said, "Heathers has the courage to sympathize with a psychopath who exposes how dangerous it can be when fads and gossip are more influential than basic decency." Today the original movie, released a full decade before Columbine, seems weirdly prescient. And the musical adaptation takes on this weight of our more recent history, without ever losing its satiric touch or its outrageous comedy, in songs like "I Love My Dead Gay Son."

USA Today wrote about the musical, "As the true motives of Veronica's new beau, J.D., become clearer, and the couple's relationship more intense, Murphy and O'Keefe ask that we also consider them, and their classmates - even the more despicable ones - as human beings." Variety said, "The show still deals with the serious issues that gave the movie its cutting edge: school bullying, teen sexuality, campus shootings, bomb threats and suicide epidemics. After 25 years of horrific school violence, J.D.'s terrorist persona and homicidal activities are actually more chilling today than they were when the movie came out."

The cast of New Line's HEATHERS includes Anna Skidis (Veronica), Evan Fornachon (J.D.), Sicily Mathenia (Heather Chandler), Larissa White (Heather McNamara), Cameisha Cotton (Heather Duke), Grace Seidel (Martha Dunnstock), Omega Jones (Ram Sweeney), Frederick Rice (Kurt Kelly), Brenda Bass, Kevin Corpuz, Alex Glow, Joel Hackbarth, Clayton Humburg, Lindsey Jones, Chris Kernan, and Victoria Valentine. The show will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with music direction by Jeffrey Richard Carter, choreography by Robin Michelle Berger, scenic design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, sound design by Benjamin Rosemann, and lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl.

Heathers contains adult language and content.

AMERICAN IDIOT

New Line continues its 25th season with the powerful, high-octane, rock fable AMERICAN IDIOT, running March 3-26, 2016, based on the powerhouse album by Green Day, a scorching attack on what they saw as the hypocrisy and moral evils of the Bush Administration after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the increasingly submissive nature of the American public.

The show's score includes every song from Green Day's hit album American Idiot, as well as several songs from their follow-up release, 21st Century Breakdown, with music by Green Day, lyrics by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, a book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer, and musical arrangements and orchestrations by Broadway composer Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Next to Normal, If/Then). The Toronto Star called the show "the first great musical of the 21st century."

Lost and disconnected in a post-9/11 America, three friends, Johnny, Tunny, and Will, struggle to find meaning in their lives. The three twenty-somethings flee the constraints of their hometown for the thrills of city life, but their paths quickly diverge as Tunny enters the armed forces, Will is called back home to attend to a pregnant girlfriend, and Johnny descends into an urban underworld, following a seductive love interest and a deadly new best friend. As each of the three men learns to navigate his "alienation," we see in them America's struggle to find a new path in this new millennium, after a long period of darkness.

Of the original album, Spin magazine said, "A decade and a half after the first Green Day record, the boys from Berkeley grew up and got angry. So what did they do? Recorded a Bush-bashing rock opera featuring nine-minute songs - and ended up with their biggest smash in years." Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declared the stage musical "invigorating, thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I've seen this year!" Rolling Stone said of the musical, "American Idiot knows no limits - it's a global knockout. Blows your mind while it blows the roof off. Looking for a groundbreaking musical event? You just found it."

The cast of New Line's AMERICAN IDIOT includes Evan Fornachon (Johnny), Brendan Ochs (Will), Frederick Rice (Tunny), Chris Kernan (St. Jimmy), Sarah Porter (Whatsername), Larissa White (Heather), Sicily Mathenia (Extraordinary Girl), Kevin Corpuz, Cameisha Cotton, Clayton Humburg, Jeremy Hyatt, Omega Jones, Sean Michael, Ariel Saul, Tanya Sapp, and Gabe Taylor. The show will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with scenic design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, sound design by Benjamin Rosemann, and lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl.

American Idiot contains adult language and content.

ATOMIC

New Line continues its season with the first production in the country since its off Broadway run, of the exhilarating and provocative new musical ATOMIC, running June 2-25, 2016, based on the true story of the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. With book and lyrics by Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore, and music and lyrics by Philip Foxman, this powerful rock musical blasts open the doors of this secret, government-funded program of top scientists tasked with creating the world's first Atomic Bomb.

It's 1939 and the Free World is fighting for its life. Heading the charge is Leo Szilard, a brilliant scientist torn between the woman he loves and his need to beat Germany to the bomb. As the war draws to a climax, ethics, scientific progress, and love are tested as Leo discovers exactly what he's capable of. The show rips the scab off one of the most difficult questions in our national history. The creation of the bomb was one of the most consequential events in world history, one of the greatest collaboration of human minds ever, and the most lethal weapon ever devised by mankind. It ended World War II when dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people. Should we have used it? Should we have built it?

New Line's ATOMIC will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with music direction by Jeffrey Richard Carter, scenic and lighting design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, and sound design by Benjamin Rosemann.

Atomic contains adult language and content.

TELL ME ON A SUNDAY

New Line closes its 25th anniversary season with Andrew Lloyd Webber's rarely seen, one-woman, one-act, rock musical TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, a forgotten gem from the composer of Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita (both of whichNew Line has produced), Phantom of the Opera, Joseph, Cats, and other shows. Tell Me on a Sunday was presented on Broadway as the first half of Song & Dance, with Bernadette Peters, and featuring the breakout pop song, "Unexpected Song." New Line presents the local premiere of this one-act musical, running August 11-27, 2016.

This pop-rock song cycle follows a young English woman newly arrived in New York, brimming with optimism, and her journey through America and the perils of ill-advised romance. As she seeks out success and love, she weaves her way through the maze of New York and Hollywood social life, and through her own anxieties, frustrations, and heartaches, and she begins to wonder whether there are better choices to be made.

The show was originally conceived by Tim Rice, Lloyd Webber's early writing partner, who intended to develop it into a cycle of television shows with Lloyd Webber. It was to be, a small, intimate project for the team after finishing the large-scale Evita. But the composer turned instead to lyricist Don Black, who went on to write Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard with Lloyd Webber, as well as Bonnie & Clyde with Frank Wildhorn (which New Line produced last season).

TELL ME ON A SUNDAY premiered at Lloyd Webber's famous Sydmonton Festival in 1979, followed by a recording that same year, and a special one-hour BBC television broadcast in 1980. The broadcast was repeated the following month, and the cast album reached #2 on the UK charts, while the single "Take That Look Off Your Face" reached #3. In 1982, Lloyd Webber combined Tell Me on a Sunday, with his Variations for cello and rock band, 23 variations on Paganini's "Caprice #24," to form the two-act Song & Dance, which opened on Broadway in 1985. New Line presents the one-act Tell Me on a Sunday as it was originally intended.

The New Line production will be directed by Mike Dowdy, with scenic and lighting design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, and sound design by Benjamin Rosemann.

Tell Me on a Sunday contains adult content.

ALSO...

As a very special event for New Line's 25th anniversary, the New Liners return to the acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center for the first time since 2009. For two nights only, January 5-6, 2016, New Line presents 25 TO LIFE!, an evening of songs from New Line's first twenty-five seasons, featuring sixteen of the New Line All-Stars, Reynaldo Arceno, Mike Dowdy, Colin DeVaughan, Zachary Allen Farmer, Ryan Foizey, Nikki Glenn, Joel Hackbarth, Lindsey Jones, Taylor Pietz, Sarah Porter, Anna Skidis, Deborah Sharn, Kimi Short, Keith Thompson, Larissa White, and Jeffrey M. Wright.

New Line will also continue its TALK-BACKS for each show, onstage, on the last Tuesday night before each show closes. Details will be on the website. All the talk-backs are also posted to YouTube.

For each show, the New Liners also blog about our creative process, taking you behind the scenes of every New Lineproduction, from first rehearsal to closing night. Details are on the website.


All mainstage shows run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, at 8:00 p.m., at the new Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, just three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. (See our website for directions.) The firstThursday of each run is a preview. Tickets for mainstage shows are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays; and $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Thursdays. Tickets for the concert at the Sheldon will be $10 for all seats. For other information, visit New Line Theatre's full-service website at www.newlinetheatre.com. All programs are subject to change.

New Line Theatre is a professional company dedicated to involving the people of the St. Louis region in the exploration and creation of daring, provocative, socially and politically relevant works of musical theatre. New Line was created back in 1991 at the vanguard of a new wave of nonprofit musical theatre just starting to take hold across the country. New Linehas given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life several shows that were not well served by their original New York productions. Altogether, New Line has produced 74 musicals since 1991, and the company has been given its own entry in the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre and the annual Theater World. NewLine receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.




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