The York Theatre Company will stage the American premiere of the Australian musical, Prodigal, a contemporary musical inspired by "The Prodigal Son" Bible story, beginning performances Feb. 26 at Theatre at St.Peter's in Manhattan.
Penned by Dean Bryant (book and lyrics) and Mathew Frank (music), the show is set in Australia and focuses on gay, 18-year-old Luke and his journey of self-discovery. He "flees his small hometown for the thrilling unknowns of city life [Sydney], takes a hard ride and some big falls, but ultimately he must return to his family for forgiveness," according to the announcement.
The cast features Christian Borle (of Broadway's recent Jesus Christ Superstar), Kerry Butler (Bat Boy), Alison Fraser (Romance/Romance, The Secret Garden) as Luke's mother, David Hess (of the recent Annie Get Your Gun) and Joshua Park (Broadway's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) as the title character.
The musical will be directed by Victoria Pero and features scenery by York artistic director James Morgan, costumes by Dan Lawson, lighting by Edward Pearce and musical direction by the composer.
The musical, under the title Prodigal Son, premiered to critical acclaim at Chapel off Chapel as part of the Midsumma Festival in January 2000 in Australia, with Bryant as Luke. In March 2001 Prodigal Son was nominated for three Victorian Green Room Awards and won Best Original Score and Best Supporting Actor for its Melbourne production. The authors, creative and life partners who attended the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, will be in residence at the York during rehearsals. "Prodigal features a rich score that ranges from lyrical ballads to contemporary pop," said artistic director James Morgan, in a statement. "With two sold-out engagements, the show was a huge success in Australia and we're excited to bring it to New York audiences."
Tickets are $45. Performances are 8 PM Tuesday-Saturday, with matinees 2:30 PM Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Performances are expected to continue to April 7.
The York Theatre at St. Peter's in the Citigroup Center is at 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.
Off-Broadway's York is known for presenting new musicals, revived musicals and concert readings of musicals in an intimate setting.
— By Kenneth Jones