Me Nobody Knows Readings, Helmed by Stafford Arima and Taye Diggs, Continue With Commercial Production in Sight

News   Me Nobody Knows Readings, Helmed by Stafford Arima and Taye Diggs, Continue With Commercial Production in Sight
 
Producer Bellanca Smigel Rutter (The Bridges of Madison County, Macbeth) will present additional industry readings of The Me Nobody Knows, helmed by Stafford Arima, Bryan Perri and Taye Diggs, Sept. 16-17. The presentations mark the next step toward a commercial production following an exploratory reading in May 2014.

Stafford Arima
Stafford Arima Photo by Monica Simoes

Director Arima (Allegiance, Altar Boyz) teams up with musical director Perri (Wicked) and choreographer Diggs (Rent, "Private Practice") for the project, which is composed entirely of students from The Broadway Dreams Foundation (BDF), a national, non-profit performing arts training program.

"As we continue to explore elements of The Me, I thought it was important to give Taye an opportunity to investigate some contemporary elements of choreography. His unique style will give us insight into how the piece moves," said director Arima in a statement. "In addition, composer Gary William Friedman has contributed new arrangements and a brand new song inspired by a poem in the original anthology. We're also interpolating writings from Stephen M. Joseph's original compilation into the libretto. We have, once again, cast the reading from students of the Broadway Dreams Foundation and are thrilled with this ensemble of bright young talents." 

Inspired by the writings of nearly 200 New York City public school children (ages 7-18), The Me Nobody Knows, according to press notes, "follows a day in the life of a multi-racial cast of young people as they examine their aspirations, fears and determination. At odds with their squalid surroundings and cynical, materialistic views of the world, feelings of hope and renewal emerge."

The cast of The Me Nobody Knows includes Rosa Campos (Atlanta, GA), Sam Faulkner (Charlotte, NC), Samantha Gorjanc (San Jose, CA), Khamary Grant (Alpharetta, GA), Brett Gray (Philadelphia, PA), Alex Greenlee (Sacramento, CA), Alina John (Willingboro, NJ), Jai’len Josey (Atlanta, GA), Rico LeBron (Tallahassee, FL) and Zuri Washington (New York, NY).

The Me Nobody Knows is based on the book conceptualized by Herb Schapiro, edited by Stephen M. Joseph and adapted for the stage by Robert H. Livingston and Herb Schapiro. With music by Gary William Friedman, lyrics by Will Holt and arrangements by Gary William Friedman, The Me Nobody Knows debuted Off-Broadway in 1970 and won the Obie Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical. In December 1970 the musical transferred to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. After ending its Broadway run, The Me Nobody Knows was performed throughout the world in cities such as Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Hamburg and Johannesburg. The cast of the German-language version, Ich Bin Ich, included a young Donna Summer. In 1980 the musical was produced for the television network Showtime and was recorded at the CBS television studio now known as The Ed Sullivan Theatre.

For more information on BDF, visit MyBroadwayDreams.com.

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