Early One Morning, Theatrical Musical Song Cycle, Tells Mary Magdalene's Story

News   Early One Morning, Theatrical Musical Song Cycle, Tells Mary Magdalene's Story You loved her in Jesus Christ Superstar, and now Mary Magdalene is emerging in a solo musical by Ron Melrose, Early One Morning, featuring Jeff Award-winning actress Cindy Marchionda.

The sung-through ten-song one-act has music and lyrics by Melrose and is directed by Andy Gale, and has snagged Easter-time interest, including a 6 PM Easter Sunday booking March 23 at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan (123 W. 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues). Admission is free. Chris Haberl (Jersey Boys) is musical director.

Melrose said in a statement, "Early One Morning rests on the underlying theme of God's mercy and salvation, using the experiences of Mary Magdalene to illuminate God's forgiveness and redemption of human frailty. The form of Early One Morning defies easy description. On paper, it resembles a dramatic song cycle, consisting of ten single songs, to be performed without interruption by one performer portraying one character. It could also be described as a solo oratorio, using contemporary music. But since it is more a work of theatre than a concert, it might best be described as a 'one-woman show' about Mary Magdalene."

Early One Morning "incorporates every Bible passage which mentions her at all, and also honors the long-standing hagiographic tradition of assigning her the life of a harlot redeemed by Christ's love and forgiveness, and associating her with the woman with much to be forgiven (Luke 7:37)," according to production notes. "In the case of Mary Magdalene, scriptural references are fairly sparse and often not particularly vivid."

Marchionda was seen in The Wizard of Oz at Madison Square Garden, in The Apple Tree for City Center Encores!, and sang in The West Side Story Suite (Rosalia) with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Her Off-Broadway credits include Our Sinatra at The Reprise Room and Eight Is Enough at Joe's Pub. She won a Joseph Jefferson Award for playing the title role in Kiss of the Spider Woman at The Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago. In Las Vegas, she played Leslie Gore and Brenda Lee in Beehive at the Luxor Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. She toured as Morales in A Chorus Line, directed by Baayork Lee.

Melrose's Broadway credits include music direction (Jersey Boys, Sinatra at Radio City, Imaginary Friends, Scarlet Pimpernel), dance and/or vocal arranging (Sweet Smell of Success, Jekyll & Hyde, Perfectly Frank, The Act, Marilyn: An American Fable, Woman of the Year, Cabaret), and conducting (Smile, Annie, The Rink). As a composer and lyricist, his credits include Superdimensional Microbabes (an upcoming anime-based musical), Luck (a collaboration with Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman), Fourtune (Off-Broadway), The Silver Swan (National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship), two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows (Tots in Tinseltown, Bewitched Bayou), and a variety of songs for cabarets and for NBC's "Saturday Night Live." His church music experience includes a ten-year music directorship at All Angels' Episcopal Church in New York City.

Gale has been associated with the long-running hit, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. He directed productions of the show from Allentown to Australia, and co-directed companies in Detroit, Toronto and Los Angeles. He most recently directed the premiere of the new musical Lost & Found, as well as They're Playing Our Song on the Regent Seven Seas ship, the Navigator, as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean. He's currently working on Last Will and Testament with playwright Jennifer Houlton. He also directs in the New York cabaret community (Cindy Marchionda, Maree Johnson, Julie Reyburn, Tully McGregor, Jennifer Roberts, Frans Bloem and Jennifer Naimo). Broadway audiences have seen him in the original companies of Jane Eyre, Side Show, Rags and The World of Sholem Aleichem.

For more information visit www.earlyonemorningshow.com.