Katie Couric's The Brand New Kid Debuts at Kennedy Center Nov. 17

News   Katie Couric's The Brand New Kid Debuts at Kennedy Center Nov. 17 Katie Couric's The Brand New Kid, a family-friendly musical based on a children's book by television journalist Couric, makes its world premiere at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Family Theatre Nov. 17. Opening night is scheduled for 18.
(Clockwise from lower left) James Gardiner (Lazlo S. Gasky), Michael Grew (operating Poodle), Diego Prieto (treehouse), Christina Flagg (operating Bird) and Erika Rose (Ellie McSnelly) in The Brand New Kid.
(Clockwise from lower left) James Gardiner (Lazlo S. Gasky), Michael Grew (operating Poodle), Diego Prieto (treehouse), Christina Flagg (operating Bird) and Erika Rose (Ellie McSnelly) in The Brand New Kid. Photo by Scott Suchman

Part of the Kennedy Center Performances for Young Audiences season, the new musical will play the Family Theater through Dec. 17. The production is recommended for audiences five and older.

Katie Couric's The Brand New Kid features book and lyrics by Melanie Marnich and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. The musical, according to press notes, concerns "Lazlo S. Gasky as he begins his first day of second grade. When the other students begin to taunt and tease Lazlo because he looks and speaks differently, popular Ellie McSnelly decides to take a chance and get to know the new kid."

Directed by Nick Olcott, the cast features James Gardiner (Lazlo S. Gasky), Erika Rose (Ellie McSnelly), Cristina Flagg (Carrie O’Toole), Michael Grew (Peter Barsinsky), Diego Prieto (Ricky Jensen) and Donna Migliaccio (Miss Kincaid and others).

The design team comprises Alexander Cooper (set design), Rosemary Pardee (costume design), AJ Guban (lighting design),Toni Angelini (sound design) and Ingrid Crepeau (puppet design). Derek Bowley is the musical director; Parker Esse choreographs.

Katie Couric published "The Brand New Kid" in 2000, which was followed by "Blue Ribbon Day" in 2004. Currently the anchor of "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" and a "60 Minutes" correspondent, she concluded a 15-year run on NBC's "Today" in May 2006. Melanie Marnich's plays include Quake, Blue, Tallgrass Gothic and Calling All. She was a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist and was nominated for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award for her play Cradle of Man. She is a member of The Playwrights' Center and New Dramatists.

Michael Friedman is also the composer-lyricist for [I Am] Nobody's Lunch, Gone Missing and Canard, Canard, Goose? He was the dramaturg for the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, and his film work includes "On Common Ground" and "Affair Game." Friedman is a founding associate artist of the Obie-winning Civilians.

Tickets, priced $15, are available by calling (202) 467-4600 or by visiting www.kennedy-center.org.

Erika Rose (Ellie McSnelly) and James Gardiner (Lazlo S. Gasky) in <i>The Brand New Kid</i>.
Erika Rose (Ellie McSnelly) and James Gardiner (Lazlo S. Gasky) in The Brand New Kid. Photo by Scott Suchman
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