After plans for a three-show Off-Broadway season in 2001 2002 stalled, CAP21 — the unique Manhattan not-for profit that offers musical theatre classes and mounts productions — is back in the producing business Oct. 29 with the first preview of the world-premiere musical, Beach Radio.
Larry Fuller, the Tony Award-nominated choreographer of Evita and a shepherd of many stagings of West Side Story, directs and choreographs, as he did the CAP21 staged reading of the seaside-set show in February.
Beach Radio, by lyricist-librettist Drey Shepperd and composer Gerard Kenny, won the 1999 Vivian Ellis Prize (a competition in London) as Best Musical. The pop music flavored show concerns a group of teenagers coming of age on a New Jersey beach, where they get their advice from "a radio sex guru," in 1989. A London scribe likened the show to Grease by way of "Baywatch" and "American Pie."
The cast includes Meyer deLeeuw, Ann Hu, Doug Kreeger, Nicole Martone, Meredith McCasland, Rosemary McNamara, Lance Olds, Jonathan Todd Ross, Noah Weisberg and Andi Whaley.
Official opening is Nov. 6, with performances continuing to Nov. 23. Fuller's credits also include choreography for Broadway's Sweeney Todd, On the Twentieth Century, Merrily We Roll Along and A Doll's Life.
Designers are Alvin Colt (costumes), Richard Winkler (lighting), Ray Klausen (set) and Randy Hansen (sound). Musical director is Aaron Hagan.
Performances are at CAP21 Theatre, 15 W. 28th Street, the same site where the troupe mounted the musical, The Immigrant, two years ago. That show would later go on to the Denver Center Theatre Company and Coconut Grove Playhouse and is awaiting a future in New York.
Performances play 8 PM Tuesday-Saturday. All seats are $19 with $10 student rush tickets available the day of performance with valid ID. TDF vouchers accepted. For reservations, call (212) 807-0202.
Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21) was founded in 1993 and is known for its musical theatre training conservatory, which is linked to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The new-works reading series is offered three times a year, presenting 15-20 works annually.
CAP21's founder and artistic director Frank Ventura was about to announce the company's first three-play full season at its theatre on West 28th Street when the Sept. 11 tragedy occurred. Due to losses in funding and reduced theatre attendance, the season was cancelled.
Visit the website Cap21.org.
Beach Radio isn't the only beach-set show to emerge in New York City recently. Go Bo Beach and Surf's Up! both had readings in Manhattan in the last year.
— By Kenneth Jones