Cast Complete for Sater-Sheik Umbrage, with Songs from "Phantom Moon," at Powerhouse

News   Cast Complete for Sater-Sheik Umbrage, with Songs from "Phantom Moon," at Powerhouse Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening co-authors Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik will workshop their latest collaboration, Umbrage, at the Vassar College and New York Stage & Film's Powerhouse Theater in August.

Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Peter Askin will direct the Aug. 1 reading at 5 PM. Umbrage marks the first project that united Sheik and Sater as collaborators.

Sater described Umbrage to Playbill.com as "a two-hander about a would-be singer-songwriter who's hustling, doing what it takes to get by, and this middle-aged Latino factory worker [who] takes him in. That factory worker has a back story about his life 20-some years ago in Honduras and a woman he knew there. So, we've brought that woman onto the stage through these songs."

The cast will feature Erin Gann (The Aliens) as Smith (the musician) with Juan Carlos Hernandez (A View From 151st Street) as Ulysses (the factory worker) and Monika Oliviera as Josephina (a Honduran nightclub singer).

"It's the show I first worked on with Duncan in 1999," Sater said. "I developed it with Steppenwolf, and it's really why Duncan and I first wrote songs together. We wrote a song for this play."

That first encounter led Sheik, a Grammy-winning songwriter, to approach Sater about writing an album together, and during an early reading of Umbrage Sater countered with an offer to collaborate on a musical. The two would go on to pen the album "Phantom Moon" and the groundbreaking musical Spring Awakening. As they say, the rest is history. After early readings Sheik and Sater moved onto other projects, but had considered creating a movie of Umbrage, which would incorporate songs from "Phantom Moon."

The New York Stage and Film workshop will give Sheik and Sater the chance to test their concept. "Our task is to find out how this music integrates into the play and how it becomes the essential component for telling the story. It's about how music triggers memory and familiarity between these two guys," Sater said.

Sheik and Sater are also penning new songs for Umbrage, which features "Longing Town," "Time and Good Fortune," "Mr. Chess," "A Mirror in the Heart," "Mouth on Fire," "This Is How My Heart Heard" and "The Winds That Blow" from "Phantom Moon."

For tickets call the box office at (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599, or visit Powerhouse.

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