GrooveLily, DiPietro, Joseph and Schellhardt Showcased in TheatreWorks' New Works Festival

News   GrooveLily, DiPietro, Joseph and Schellhardt Showcased in TheatreWorks' New Works Festival GrooveLily's Ernest Shackleton Loves Me and Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's Tales from the Bad Years will be part of TheatreWorks' 2009 New Works Festival in Palo Alto this summer.

Launching the festival will be a full production of the country musical Tinyard Hill. After receiving developmental stagings at the Red Mountain Theatre in Alabama and Ohio's Human Race Theatre, the musical will open the festival, playing July 15-Aug. 23.

With book and lyrics by Thomas M. Newman and music by 2009 Jonathan Larson Award winner Mark Allen, Tinyard Hill is described as such: "Tinyard Hill, Georgia is a small town partial to old-time music and new-forged dreams, especially for a handsome young blacksmith hammering out a living at the historic smithy his family has owned for generations. When an out-of-this-world beauty and an out-of-the-blue draft notice arrive within days, his life is turned upside down. Set in the '60s to a foot-stompin' country-pop score, this feisty new musical tells of romance, rebellion, and patriotism in an era of irresistible change."

Staged play readings include Raquel Bitton and Chris Smith's The Sparrow and the Birdman, a music-filled exploration of the relationship between Edith Piaf and Jean Cocteau. Smith directs the production that features Bitton and James Carpenter (Aug. 3). Meredith McDonough will direct Laura Schellhardt's Auctioning the Ainsleys, a comedy about a family of auctioneers selling off their heritage (Aug. 18 and 21). Lucille Lortel Award winner Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool, a cat-and-mouse thriller about a student from Saudi Arabia who enrolls at a suburban American high school, will be the final play reading (Aug. 15 and 17).

Makeover, a new musical comedy with book and lyrics by Darrah Cloud and music by Kim D. Sherman, will be the first of the musical readings presented. Tom Lindblade directs the musical about a feisty housewife who turns herself into a successful entrepreneur in the years following World War II (Aug. 5 and 9).

Joe DiPietro (Memphis, Toxic Avenger) has teamed with GrooveLily members Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda for the new musical Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Former New Works director Kent Nicholson will stage the "fever dream" musical about a sleep-deprived video game songwriter (Vigoda) and the Antarctic explorer who phones her from beyond (Aug. 8, 11 and 15). The final musical offering will be Tales from the Bad Years, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's song cycle about the lives and loves of five young adults navigating the post-college world (Aug. 19, 22 and 23).

Concerts presented as part of New Works '09 include Grammy winner Maureen McGovern's A Long and Winding Road (Aug. 6) and singer/songwriter Vienna Teng (Aug. 14).

All Festival performances will be held at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. Tickets and festival passes will be available beginning May 29.

For tickets phone (650) 463-1960 or visit TheatreWorks. The Lucie Stern Theatre is located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, CA.