The show is the first of three readings under the umbrella of York, but will not be presented at the York's home at the Theater at Saint Peter's on the Upper East Side. The John Rando-directed reading presentations at 2 and 7 PM are at The Griffin Theatre in The Pershing Square Signature Center on West 42nd Street.
Featuring music and lyrics by three-time Grammy winner Bruce Hornsby, Stranger has lyrics by Chip deMatteo and a book by Clay McLeod Chapman.
Musical staging is by Tony winner Scott Wise (Jerome Robbins' Broadway). Musical direction is by Kimberly Grigsby (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark). Director Rando won the Direction Tony Award for Urinetown.
The reading cast features Terence Archie (Ragtime), Eugene Barry-Hill (The Magdalene), Lisa Brescia (The Times They Are-a-Changin'), Ken Cavett (Taking Pictures), John Ellison Conlee (The Constant Wife), Riley Costello (Everyday Rapture), Rosa Curry (The Rocky Horror Show), Charles Franklin, Ron Holgate (1776, Kiss Me, Kate), Rachel Bay Jones (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Garrett Long (Bonnie and Clyde), Marissa O'Donnell and Karl Warden (La Cage aux Follies).
In Stranger, Jim Reynolds (John Ellison Conlee) is a hometown hero — the high school football star who married his high school sweetheart (Lisa Brescia), went to medical school and returned to his small town in southern Virginia to become a doctor and raise his family. But he is haunted by the death of his younger brother when they were teens. Jim's teenage son aches to escape the town and his father's shadow. "A stranger appears, driving slowly through town day after day, leaving a growing sense of anxiety in his wake," according to production notes. "Soon the rumors start as the town speculates about the stranger in their midst. Fear and paranoia continue to grow until a child goes missing and the town, lead by Jim, mounts a manhunt for the stranger in the car. Jim finally confronts the stranger, and his own demons."
The music draws from a variety of influences including pop, bluegrass, modern classical and jazz.
The commercial producers of Stranger are in discussions about a regional production prior to a New York City bow in 2013. When it was called SCKBSTD (a reference to a vanity license plate suggesting "sick bastard"), the show had a 2011 world-premiere developmental production by Virginia Stage Company, in Norfolk, VA.
For more information, visit strangerthemusical.com.
York Theatre Company's March Developmental Reading Series also includes:
March 21 at 3 PM
Guess Who's Coming to Seder?: A Delicious New Musical
Book, music and lyrics by Randi Michaels Block
Music direction by Bryan L. Wade
Directed by Ted Swindley
"What do you get when you mix nine neurotic people from seven different religions with twenty bottles of wine, some matzo, Gefilte fish and a few Passover prayers that no one can actually read? You get Guess Who's Coming To Seder? — the story of Sarah Friedman, who decides to hold her first Passover Seder dinner in her small New York City apartment for eight of her friends: none of whom are Jewish. As the Seder progresses and the wine flows, their hilarious, irreverent and poignant confessions reveal personal truths and conflicts about faith, love, money, friendship and the pursuit of freedom... and by the end of the Seder, no one remains the same."
March 22 at 3 PM and 7 PM
Dirty Little Secret: The Secret Life of Loretta Young
A Play by Joan Ross Sorkin
Directed by David Glenn Armstrong
Featuring Josh Adam Davis, Jenn Gambatese, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Lynne Wintersteller
"Picture Loretta Young in a glamorous gown, walking through that door on her television show, making her signature twirl, and you have entered the world of Dirty Little Secret, a play that explores one of the most unbelievable of all unbelievable Hollywood stories. To the public Loretta was 'Miss Goody-Two Shoes,' but scratch the surface and you will find a shocking private life in which her adopted daughter was used as a pawn to protect the careers of two towering Hollywood icons. Prepare to have your heart broken."
With the exception of Stranger (at The Griffin Theatre at 480 W. 42nd Street), York readings take place at The York Theatre at Saint Peter's on 54th St, just east of Lexington Avenue.
All York readings are free to the public. For additional information on the Series and to make reservations for any of the upcoming free presentations, visit the readings page at www.yorktheatre.org.
The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past.