Halpin, Hart, Johnson, Barbour Set for Benefit Reading of New Musical Born Blue; Rapp Directs

News   Halpin, Hart, Johnson, Barbour Set for Benefit Reading of New Musical Born Blue; Rapp Directs Original Renter Anthony Rapp will direct a reading of the new musical Born Blue, which will benefit the New York City-based not-for-profit Friends in Deed.
Anthony Rapp
Anthony Rapp Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The reading of Caren Tackett's musical will be presented April 26 at Touch New York City. Show time is 8 PM.

The cast will feature playwright Tackett as Infinity Blue, Adam Halpin as Master Jefferson, Nicolette Hart as Suspicious Wife, Justin Johnson as Luther, Andy Señor as Leonard, Tiffani Barbour as Ophelia, Ashley Betton as Jude, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mother, Molly Hager as Miss Black, James Moye as Judge Sewall, Joe Shane as Talon, Richard E. Waits as Father and Miranda Zickler as Catori with Tracy McDowell, Brandan Uranowitz, John Watson, King Aswad, Judah Frank, Nate Gray, Happy McPartlin and Jahmila Adderley in the ensemble.

In a statement writer Tackett said, "I was newly cast as a swing in Rent, and the urge to write overtook me. I holed myself up in our dressing room during the shows and wrote furiously. I'm not sure how other writers find their inspiration, but it's been my experience that sometimes it's the other way around; it finds you. I am a person who has chosen to throw myself into my life experiences the hard way, and learn my lessons in retrospect. It's not just an exploration of the cycles of fear and prejudice regarding sex, race, sexual orientation and organized religion. It's also my own life experience told in metaphor and myth."

Born Blue, according to press notes, "takes place in a post-apocalyptic dive bar somewhere between life and death where lost souls drink the 'Blue House Brew' whose purpose is not to intoxicate, but to flush away one's previous life experiences and prepare them for rebirth. The House band, 'Creatrix'  ('God'), speaks only the language of music, which they channel through soulful front-woman 'Infinity.'"

Costume, wig, and makeup design is by Kurt Alger. Music direction, arrangements and orchestrations are by Joe Parker. Anthony Rapp created the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway and London productions of Rent. His other theatrical credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Precious Sons; Six Degrees of Separation; Bright Lights, Big City; Raised in Captivity; Trafficking in Broken Hearts; Youth Is Wasted; Sophistry; and The Destiny of Me. Rapp's film credits feature roles in "A Beautiful Mind," "Adventures in Babysitting," "School Ties," "Dazed and Confused" and "Six Degrees of Separation." He was also seen in Chris Columbus' "Rent" film.

Touch New York City is located at 252 W. 52nd Street. Tickets will go on sale March 17 and will be available by visiting www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444. Ticket prices are $50 general admission or $250 for VIP tickets; a limited number of standing room only tickets will be available at the door for $20 — cash only, one ticket per person.

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Founded by Mike Nichols and Cynthia O’Neal in 1991, Friends In Deed — The Crisis Center for Life-Threatening Illness — "provides emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening physical illnesses." For more information, visit www.friendsindeed.org.