After plans for a three-show Off-Broadway season in 2001-2002 stalled, CAP21 — the unique Manhattan not-for-profit that offers musical theatre classes and mounts productions — will be back in business come fall with the world-premiere musical, Beach Radio.
Larry Fuller, the Tony Award-nominated choreographer of Evita and a shepherd of many stagings of West Side Story, will direct, as he did the CAP21 staged reading of the seaside-set show in February.
Beach Radio, by lyricist-librettist Drey Shepperd and composer Gerard Kenny, won the 1999 Vivian Ellis Prize (a competition in London) as Best Musical. The pop-music flavored show concerns a group of teenagers coming of age on a New Jersey beach, where they get their advice from "a radio sex guru." A London scribe likened the show to Grease by way of "Baywatch" and "American Pie." The cast, numbering seven, has not yet been announced, but will consist of performers who have all trained at CAP21.
Performances begin Oct. 30 (and play to Nov. 23) at CAP21 Theatre, 15 W. 28th Street, the same site where the troupe mounted the musical, The Immigrant two years ago. That show would later go on to the Denver Center Theatre Company and Coconut Grove Playhouse and is awaiting a future in New York.
Performances run 8 PM Wednesday-Saturday. Fuller's credits also include choreography for Broadway's Sweeney Todd, On the Twentieth Century, Merrily We Roll Along and A Doll's Life. CAP21's second full production for 2002-2003 will be Carol Galligan's Killing Louise, presented in March 2003, directed by Michael Montel. The play will be read in CAP21's fall Barbara Wolff Monday Night Reading Series of new works, as well.
For CAP21 information, call (212) 684-1500.
Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21) was founded in 1993 and is known for its musical theatre training conservatory, which is linked to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The new-works reading series is offered three times a year, presenting 15-20 works annually.
CAP21's founder and artistic director Frank Ventura was about to announce the company's first three-play full season at its theatre on West 28th Street when the Sept. 11 tragedy occurred. Due to losses in funding and reduced theatre attendance, the season was cancelled.
Visit the website Cap21.org.
Beach Radio isn't the only beach-set show to emerge in New York City recently. Go Bo Beach and Surf's Up! both had readings in Manhattan in the last year.
— By Kenneth Jones