Debra Monk Stars in New James Lapine Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing Workshop

News   Debra Monk Stars in New James Lapine Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing Workshop
 
Second Stage Theater will develop a new James Lapine play, titled Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, in a workshop production this November starring Debra Monk in the title role.

Lapine will direct his work for the private developmental workshop to take place this fall with rehearsals beginning in November. Michael Starobin will serve as musical director.

"Working with James Lapine on Spelling Bee was a wonderful experience," said Second Stage artistic director Carole Rothman, "so when James invited me to the reading of Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing in Martha's Vineyard this summer, I was thrilled. The reading was hilarious – it captures Mrs. Miller’s singular, eccentric celebrity while also being a vivid depiction of a time of upheaval in the late '60's."

Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing is a play with music set in the late 1960's "explores one of pop music's truly remarkable phenomenons – a tone-deaf 59-year old named Elva Miller, whose wild — and unintentionally hilarious — renditions of rock standards like 'Hard Day’s Night' and 'Downtown' made her an overnight celebrity, selling tens of thousands of albums and appearing on 'The Tonight Show' and 'The Ed Sullivan Show,'" according to materials.

Lapine explains "I was introduced to the recordings of Mrs. Miller a few years ago by Mark Oliver Everett better known as 'E,' the recording artist whose alternative rock band the Eels has produced some half dozen popular CDs. He had hoped to do a film on Miller, but has since offered his considerable knowledge on the subject to creating this theatre piece."

The work will feature a live band, an eight-member ensemble and popular songs of the period. A reading of Mrs. Miller was presented this past summer at the Vineyard Theater on Martha's Vineyard — the birthplace of Lapine's previous productions of Dirty Blonde and Fran's Bed. Lapine has collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along and Passion as well as with William Finn on March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland, A New Brain, A Winter’s Tale, Muscle and The Royal Family of Broadway. Other plays include Luck, Pluck and Virtue, Twelve Dreams and Table Settings.

Monk, who currently appears on Broadway in Chicago, co-starred last season in the Broadway revival of Reckless and a recent Boston run of Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild opposite the playwright. A Tony Award winner for her turn in Lanford Wilson's Redwood Curtain has also appeared in Thou Shalt Not, Ah, Wilderness!, Company, Picnic, Steel Pier, Nick & Nora, Prelude to a Kiss and the original Off-Broadway cast of Assassins. Monk, who will appear in the forthcoming The Producers film, also co-created and starred in the musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Second Stage currently presents a revival of Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play through Nov. 13. The 2005-06 season will continue with the world premiere of Douglas Carter Beane's The Little Dog Laughed directed by Scott Ellis, a world premiere by Paul Weitz (Privilege, Roulette) and the New York premiere of Theresa Rebeck's The Water’s Edge starring Kate Burton and Tony Goldwyn under the direction of Will Frears.

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