A new musical called In That Valley, about the rare, real-life experience of Irish-American woman taken into captivity by Native Americans in 1789, has the second of two readings in Manhattan, May 23.
Composer-lyricist Richard Oberacker's work had a previous reading in New York City in 1998 and was presented May 22. This refined version of the script is presented in private industry readings with Broadway stars including Jim Walton and Stephen Bogardus.
The story concerns Jenny Wiley, a woman who lived with a small "war party" of Native Americans for 11 months in 1789.
"The piece deals with a woman struggling to survive the clashing of two cultures and the issues of family lineage and re-birth," Oberacker told Playbill On-Line.
The libretto is by Steven Minning and Oberacker. The reading cast will include Jessica Hendy (a Cats Grizabella on the road and a Griz cover on Broadway) as Jenny Wiley, and Chris Diamantoupolous (of Broadway's Les Miserables) as her husband, Thomas; Bogardus in a major antagonist role; with Walton (The Music Man), Sally Ann Tumas, Robert Jensen, Kathy Santen (Les Miserables), Tobi Foster, Ian Quinlin (The Lion King), J. Robert Spencer and Joy Lynn Mathews. Playing primary Native American roles are Canadian actors Peter Kelly Gaudreault and Lorne Cardinal. The remaining In That Valley reading is 4 PM May 23 in the CAMI Recital Hall, 165 W. 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Industry folk can get information about the show by e-mailing INTHATVALLEY@aol.com or calling Oberacker's agent, Bruce Ostler (212) 765-5630.
-- By Kenneth Jones