The young writer with a goal to musicalize Oscar-winner "Annie Hall" will be played by Josh Lefkowitz, an up-and-coming writer himself. Both of Lefkowitz's one-man shows, Help Wanted and Now What?, were sold-out at Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
The cast is rounded out by Matt Anderson (David in Shadow and Light at Theater J), Tessa Klein (Argonautika at The Shakespeare Theatre, Sleeping Arrangements at Theater J), Maureen Rohn in her DC debut, and Theater J's artistic-associate-in-residence Alexander Strain (Honey Brown Eyes and Pangs of The Messiah at Theater J).
According to Theater J, "Henry Blume (Josh Lefkowitz) is an enterprising librettist with a great idea and the moxie to pull it off. He and his writing partner (Matt Anderson), dream of making a musical adaptation of the Woody Allen classic film 'Annie Hall.' But complications ensue as he's compelled to betray his girlfriend (Tessa Klein), his best friend and his own biography in a scheme to secure the rights through the daughter of Woody Allen's former producer (Maureen Rohn). He stalks her on Facebook and eventually wins permission to make the musical with a composer (Alexander Strain) who is a star of the New York theatre world. It's only then that he sees his love life — not to mention his moral integrity — begin to crumble. This hilarious comedy about skyscraper ambitions and finding one's way in a celebrity-driven town is as modern as it gets, with late night text messaging, wayward Googling, and a keen ear tuned to the ways of a new generation of artists."
Artistic director Ari Roth called Forman "a hot new writer with a great idea." Roth said, "He's a protégé of the late Wendy Wasserstein, who recommended earlier scripts of Sam's to us, like The Grille Room, which put him on the map. Now he's set to break out, both as a screenwriter and playwright."
DC director Shirley Serotsky, nominated last year for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director for her work staging References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, will direct. She's Theater J's director of literary and public programming, and is making her Theater J directorial debut. Original music for The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall was written by singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, who has worked with the Obie-winning New York City-based Les Freres Corbusier. He was recently commissioned by Signature Theatre to write a work for their American Musical Voices Project.
The production team includes scenic designer Robbie Hayes, lighting designer Garth Dolan, costume designer Deb Sivigny and sound designer Matt Nielson.
Performances play in the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the Washington DCJCC. Opening is April 19.
For information, visit boxofficetickets.com or call (800) 494-TIXS.
Tony Award winner Dan Fogler starred in a New York City production of the play in fall 2008 at the Lion Theatre in Theatre Row. Theater J, which is calling its production the world premiere, characterizes the New York run as a developmental workshop that was not supposed to be reviewed.