Giering & Harrington's Post-9/11 Musical, Crossing Brooklyn, Premieres in East Village

News   Giering & Harrington's Post-9/11 Musical, Crossing Brooklyn, Premieres in East Village The shadow of 9/11 chills the life of a young couple in the new Jenny Giering-Laura Harrington musical, Crossing Brooklyn, opening Oct. 28 in a world-premiere by Off-Broadway's Transport Group.
Jenny Fellner
Jenny Fellner Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The work is billed as "a modern musical that deals with the emotional aftermath of September 11 in New York" that "tells the story of Des [Jenny Fellner] and AJ [Bryce Ryness], a young, idealistic couple — both public school teachers bent on changing the world, one kid at a time. Life is full of promise and endless possibility until Des begins to unravel under the weight of her fears, ignited from that fateful September day. Splitting apart from the pressure, they struggle to find their way back to each other. The lessons they learn will change them forever."

Transport artistic director Jack Cummings III directs the production at the Connelly Theatre in the East Village. Previews began Oct. 19.

The show is penned by composer Jenny Giering (The Mistress Cycle), known for her often hypnotic theatre music and emotionally searching pop songs, and lyricist-librettist Laura Harrington, with orchestrations by Drama Desk Award winner Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company) and musical direction by Brian J. Nash.

The cast includes J. Bradley Bowers (Tarzan), Jenny Fellner (Mamma Mia!), Blythe Gruda (Room Service), Susan Lehman (original cast of I Can Get It for You Wholesale), Bryce Ryness (Public Theater's 40th anniversary Hair), Clayton Dean Smith (Outward Bound), Ken Triwush (Titanic), Kate Weiman (Shiloh Rules) and Jason F. Williams (The Black Suits).

The design for Crossing Brooklyn is by Sandra Goldmark (set), Shana Albery (costume), R. Lee Kennedy (lighting) and Michael Rasbury (sound). Choreography is by Scott Rink; dramaturgy is by Adam Perlman; production stage manager is Wendy Patten. *

Jenny Giering was the 2003 Clifton Artist in Residence at Harvard, and has won the Klinsky Prize from Second Stage Theatre, the Larson and Loewe Awards and the National Art Song Competition.

In November 2004, her musical The Mistress Cycle, written with book writer-lyricist Beth Blatt, enjoyed a sold-out run at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival. She is working with Marsha Norman on the musical Princess Caraboo. She recently released her first solo album, "Look for Me."

Laura Harrington's plays, musicals, operas and radio plays have been produced in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Her work includes Resurrection, premiered by Houston Grand Opera (music by Tod Machover), subsequently produced at Boston Lyric Opera, and available on CD from Albany Records; N (Bonaparte), premiered by Pilgrim Theatre Company at the Boston Center for the Arts; Hallowed Ground, premiered by the Boston Playwrights' Theatre, where it won the Boston IRNE Award for Best New Play; Martin Guerre (music by Roger Ames), commissioned by the Boston Lyric Opera, workshopped at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference and produced by Hartford Stage Company; Marathon Dancing, directed by Anne Bogart, and produced in by En Garde Arts; The Perfect 36 (music by Mel Marvin), commissioned and produced by Tennessee Repertory Theatre and as part of the NAMT festival; Lucy's Lapses (music by Christopher Drobny), workshopped at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference and produced by Portland Opera and Playwrights Horizons. Harrington wrote a new book for Houston Grand Opera's reworked revival of Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland. She teaches playwriting at M.I.T. She is a two-time winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in playwriting and a two-time winner of the Clauder Competition for best new play in New England for Mercy and Hallowed Ground.

Crossing Brooklyn will play Wednesday through Saturday and Monday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM through Nov. 18.

The Connelly is at 220 E. 4th Street, between Avenues A & B in Manhattan.

There will be only one performance on Oct. 20 at 4 PM. The evening performance on Oct. 27 is at 7 PM. The running time is 95 minutes.

Tickets are $38 and are available at www.transportgroup.org or by phoning (212) 352-3101. For more information about Transport Group and Crossing Brooklyn, visit www.transportgroup.org.

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Founded in 2001, Transport Group is a not-for-profit theatre company that develops and produces work by American playwrights and composers with the aim of exploring the American consciousness in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which featured older actors in the roles of Emily and George and a 12-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Its second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 the company presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including outstanding revival of a musical. Recent productions include the world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including outstanding musical; Normal, a new musical about a mother's battle to save her daughter from anorexia; cul-de-sac, a new play by Tony Award nominee John Cariani; the first New York revival of Tad Mosel's Pulitzer Prize play, All the Way Home; and the 50th anniversary, Obie-winning production of William Inge's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Transport Group is the winner of a special 2007 Drama Desk Award for its "breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions."