How To See Six New Musicals in Development in NY

News   How To See Six New Musicals in Development in NY
 
Where are the next new American musicals coming from? From National Music Theater Network, it seems.

Where are the next new American musicals coming from? From National Music Theater Network, it seems.

NMTN just kicked off its 1997 Winter/Spring series of staged readings of six new musicals on Mondays at the Theatre at Saint Peter's Church in the Citicorp Building (619 Lexington at 54th Street) in New York.

* The company put its best foot forward with About Face, a musical rendering of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing from David Arthur (book and lyrics) and Jeffrey Lodin (music). Set on a New England college campus of the 1950s, the show presented Benedick as a football coach and Beatrice as an English Lit prof. It will be repeated March 3.

* Russ Thacker did the book and lyrics, and Bert Draesel the music, for Bouncing Back, basing it on an idea by John Margulis about a contemporary market-place casualty. The second in the series will be done April 7 and 24.

* The Sweet Revenge of Louisa May, up next on April 28 and May 5, musicalizes some of the lesser-known, more sensationally inclined thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, the authoress of Little Women. Burton Cohen did the book, Stephen Hoffman did the music and Mark Campbell did the lyrics--well enough, it would appear, to receive the most recent Richard Rodgers Development Award. On May 12 and 13, the offering will be a factual saga, with music and lyrics by John Wolfson and music by Ralph Affoumado: The Pants That Won the West, subtitled The Story of Levi Strauss. Strauss started out a California Gold Rusher from Germany in 1854 and wound up heading a worldwide clothing concern.

* Another fact-based musical saga set in the previous century will be offered by Christopher McGovern on June 2 and 9: Lizzie Borden. Amy Powers assisted him on the book and lyrics.

* The final show, on June 16 and 23, is Guys, as viewed by Evan Richardson.

The single ticket price can be purchased for $15, or $90 for all six shows. John Margulis and Gideon Y. Schein are co-artistic directors of the National Music Theater Network. Its president and founding director is Timothy Jerome, a Tony-nominated performer (in Me and My Girl).

-- By Harry Haun

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