Love Among the Very Shy: Musical Little Egypt Gets NYC Premiere at NYMF

News   Love Among the Very Shy: Musical Little Egypt Gets NYC Premiere at NYMF Little Egypt, the new musical about an unusual relationship — with book by Lynn Siefert, based on her play, and music and lyrics by Gregg Lee Henry — makes its New York City debut Sept. 27 in the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Lisa James directs the production, continuing through Oct. 5 at the Acorn Theatre in Theatre Row. James' staging of the quirky seriocomic musical was embraced in an earlier Los Angeles production.

According to the producers, the show (subtitled An Unexpected Love Story) "takes us to the beginning of 'happily ever after,' complete with a misfit knight and a geeky damsel. The second act shows the all too human and darker side of heroism: the moving sacrifice of family, and the redemption that love, once tested, can bring. Though often side-splittingly funny, this is not strictly a comedy; also deeply moving and at times tragic, yet not strictly a tragedy. Rather, it is a bit like life: the full ride, both funny and sad, and when you least expect it, magical."

Less vaguely, the NYMF website teases with this description: "A shy mall security guard woos an even shyer waitress in this tragicomic tale of misfit love, set in Little Egypt, Illinois, in the early 1980s. Pushed together and then pulled apart by their brash, oversexed relatives, and their own crippling insecurities, Little Egypt follows the full ride of life: funny, sad, and when you least expect it, magic."

The cast features Lisa Akey (Broadway's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), songwriter-actor Gregg Henry, Jenny O'Hara (Broadway's The Female Odd Couple, Promises, Promises, TV's "My Sister Sam"), Sara Rue (TV's "Phenom," "Less Than Perfect"), Raphael Sbarge (Broadway's Ah, Wilderness with Jason Robards and Coleen Dewhurst, Shadow Box, Twilight of the Golds, TV's "The Guardian") and Lee Wilkof (Broadway's recent She Loves Me and Kiss Me, Kate and Off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors).

Little Egypt's design team includes set designer Lex Liang, costume designer Vicki Sanchez, lighting designer Brian Gale and sound designer Duncan Cutler. Robert Martin is musical director. The New York Musical Theatre Festival presents the production in association with HJS Productions.

Little Egypt received its original workshop production at Los Angeles' Matrix Theater, where it earned five awards, including Best Direction for Lisa James.

Librettist Lynn Siefert grew up in a small town in Ohio. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1983 and moved to New York. Her plays include Coyote Ugly, Hysterica Passio written in collaboration with Dare Clubb, Pudenda Weeping and Little Egypt. Her film credits include "Cool Runnings" and "Cousin Bette"; her TV credits include "I'll Fly Away," "SportsNight" and "Once and Again."

Performances are Sept. 27 at 8 PM, Sept. 28 at 1 PM, Sept. 29 at 8 PM, Sept. 30 at 4:30 PM, Oct. 3 at 8 PM and Oct. 5 at 4:30 PM.

The Acorn Theatre is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between Ninth and Avenues. For tickets call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.nymf.org.

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According to his bio at www.greggleehenry.com, "Gregg Lee Henry is better known to the world simply as Gregg Henry, the actor who played Mel Gibson's duplicitous partner in Brian Helgeland's directorial debut 'Payback.' He has been an actor for three decades, first vaulting to television fame as Wesley Jordache, Nick Nolte's son in the sequel to 'Rich Man, Poor Man' back in 1976. A favorite of director Brian DePalma, he played the drill-wielding villain in 'Body Double' and has also appeared in DePalma's 'Scarface,' 'Raising Cain,' 'Femme Fatale' and 'The Black Dahlia.' His recent film credits include 'United 93,' 'Slither,' 'Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever,' 'Star Trek: Insurrection,' and 'The Big Brass Ring.' He has played recurring roles on the television series 'Family Law,' '24,' and 'The Gilmore Girls,' and appears as a regular in the new FX comedy 'The Riches.'

'But for as long as he's pursued acting, the piano has been his avocation and boon companion. He worked his way through theatre school playing in bars and cocktail lounges, and during his first weeks in Hollywood found a place as the music director of a waiver theatre. When television success struck, his first paycheck went to cover a visit to the piano dealer.

'A few years ago, at the urging of his friend and fellow actor Bruce Greenwood, Gregg began to record his original songs. Greenwood and singer-actor John Lathan provide harmonies and more on Gregg's first four CDs and will do so again on his upcoming fifth release. Gregg's songs have appeared on the soundtracks to the films 'The Last of Philip Banter' and 'Purgatory Flats.' Dwight Yoakam has recorded Gregg's 'The Back of Your Hand' and released it as a single."