Musical Fairy Tale Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell Spreads Its Wings at NYMF Sept. 23; Gottschall Is Godmother

News   Musical Fairy Tale Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell Spreads Its Wings at NYMF Sept. 23; Gottschall Is Godmother The family-friendly new musical Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell, billed as "an upside down Cinderella fairy tale," makes its New York City premiere Sept. 23-Oct. 2 in the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Directed and choreographed by David G. Armstrong, the original fairy tale has music and lyrics by Steven Fisher and a book by Joan Ross Sorkin and Fisher. Featured in the cast as "Izzy" — a fairy godmother — is wide-eyed Ruth Gottschall of New York's recent First Lady Suite, The Music Man, …Forum, The Goodbye Girl and Cabaret.

NYMF and Kaleidoscope Productions, LLC present the work at the Lion Theatre in Theatre Row on West 42nd Street.

Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell "tells the story of Izzy, a lovable but scatterbrained fairy godmother who goofs while casting a spell to help the Princess find true love, and now has only three days to make things right," according to production notes. "Izzy's clock-ticking, cliff-hanging, nail-biting journey leads the audience through both high jinx and heart-warming moments and underscores the lesson that looks don't matter — it's what's on the inside that counts. Hummable tunes, quirky characters, and an endearing story will delight children of all ages…"

The musical was commissioned by Summer Stage (Upper Darby, PA) in 2002 where it received a week-long production. A workshop directed by Stephen Schwartz with Alison Fraser in the role of "Izzy" took place at the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in 2003. The York Theatre Company included the musical in its Developmental Reading Series directed by Gerard Alessandrini and featuring Emily Loesser as "Izzy" in 2004. In 2005 Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell won the National Children's Theatre Festival at The Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (Coral Gables, FL) and received a full 30-performance production on its mainstage in May 2005.

Also featured in the cast are Becky Barta, Bill Caleo, Kevin B. McGlynn, Meredith McCasland, Jamie McGonnigal and Darryl D. Winslow. The design team includes sets by Ken Goldstein, costumes by Cheryl McCarron, lighting by Paul Frydrychowski and sound by Aaron Blank. Shana Solomon is the assistant director. Compsoer Steven Fisher is musical director. Fisher (music, lyrics, co-book) also wrote Mandela (music, lyrics, book), which was a Richard Rodgers Award Finalist and was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Crossroads Theatre (Genesis Festival of New Works), the John Houseman Theater (workshop), the Windybrow Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa-workshop) and the Crossroads Theatre (oratorio version, 2004). He is a contributor to NEO (The York Theatre/CD 2004). Other works include Oh What A Lovely Way!...The life and theatre of Joan Littlewood (music, lyrics, book — in development); Mother B (music, lyrics, book — in development). Fisher is the founder and associate artistic director of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs, which includes the Keystone State Boychoir and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. He is also the founder and co-director of Umcolo! Kimberley, an international exchange program for music educators based in South Africa. He is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop.

Co-book writer Joan Ross Sorkin's other projects include The Real McCoy (co-book) at the BlackJacks Festival, NYU/CAP21 (workshop) and Toll-Taker, Toll-Taker (book, co-lyrics) at La MaMa ETC. Her work in opera includes Strange Fruit (libretto) at NY City Opera's VOX 2003: Showcasing American Composers, commissioned by Long Leaf Opera (Durham, NC), which has a production scheduled for 2007, and The Reef (libretto — in development). In the cabaret arena she has written lyrics for songs performed at Opia and Birdland (NYC). Her plays include The Survival Collection, Going Too Far, L-O-V-E (published by United Stages), The Confessional (and PBS pilot), Glimmer of Hope, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Therapy, New York-Style, 19 Angel St, Food For Thought and Sweating It Out.

The Lion Theater is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

The Isabelle performance schedule is Sept. 23 at 8 PM, Sept. 28 at 4:30 PM, Sept. 29 at 8 PM, Oct. 1 at 1 PM and Oct. 2 at 1 PM and 4:30 PM.

All tickets are $15. For reservations call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.nymf.org.