Magna Carta, a new musical with music and lyrics by George David Weiss and Will Severin and a book by Ed. Lange, will bow at the NYS Theatre Institute on April 19.
Described as an "intimate epic of people and kings," the musical deals with courage, honor, heroism and hope as well as greed, betrayal, oppression and brutality. With direction by Patricia Di Benedetto Snyder and choreography by Adrienne Posner, the NYSTI presentation of Magna Carta will feature a host of up-n-coming Broadway performers.
Joe Cassidy, whose Broadway credits include 1776, Show Boat and the recent Encores! Bloomer Girl, has been cast as romantic lead Sir Peter de Mornay. Catherine Lavalle will portray his love interest. Lavalle's Broadway credits include the original cast of The Scarlet Pimpernel as well as the national tour of The Sound of Music. The company also includes stage veteran Lorraine Serabian, who received a Tony nomination and an Outer Circle Critics Award for her work in Zorba, as Eleanor of Acquitaine, and Chris Hall, who performed in the national tour of Show Boat, has been cast as Simon. Tim Booth and "All My Children" actress Mary Jane Hansen are also featured.
The creative staff for this world-premiere production comprises Victor A. Becker (sets), Lloyd Waiwaiole (costumes) and Betsy Adams (lighting). Michael Musial will serve as the production's music director, and Heather J. Hamelin is the production stage manager.
NYSTI (37 First Street, Troy, New York), whose mission is to produce "professional theatre of the highest artistic standards for family and school audiences," is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary season. Tickets for Magna Carta, which runs through May 1, are available at the theatre's box office by calling (518) 274-3256. Visit the theatre's website at www.nysti.org for more information. —By Andrew Gans