Suburb, the intimate, award-winning Off-Broadway musical comedy about urbanites considering a move to greener pastures, will finally sprawl 18 months after its New York City premiere at York Theatre Company.
The original work by composer and co-librettist Robert S. Cohen and lyricist and co-librettist David Javerbaum will have its West Coast premiere at the studio space of the Long Beach Playhouse in California, Oct. 11-Nov. 23. Martin Lang will direct.
Billed as a musical comedy "about four lives on the edge of town," the show is by turns comic, tender, wistful and satiric. It played Off-Broadway's York in March 2001 and picked up some welcoming reviews and was nominated for a 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway musical.
. Javerbaum told Playbill On-Line Aug. 14 the show will also be presented by Elden Street Players in Herndon, VA, in August 2003. There is also interest from theatres in New Orleans and Boston, as well.
Suburb received the 2000 Richard Rodgers Development Award and had a well-received reading at the York in May and June 2000. The authors made changes in the script following that reading, which led to the York staging in 2001. The show focuses on a young couple, Allison and Stuart, struggling with the idea of leaving their tiny apartment in the city and starting a family the world of conformity, barbecues, manicured lawns and strip malls. An elderly suburban widower and an aggressive real estate agent (memorably played by Alix Korey at the York) figure into the plot. Jennifer M. Sanchez and Roberta Plutzik Baldwin were the producers who hoped to take the show to a commercial future in New York, but nothing materialized, and a cast album deal with Fynsworth Alley, although announced, never came through.
Composer Cohen is the author of God in Concert (One Night Only) and Knots, which was presented at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts. He has worked with the National Shakespeare Company and Manitoba Theatre, and is a graduate of Brown University.
Lyricist Javerbaum is a graduate of the NYU Musical Theater Program and is a comedy writer nominated for a 1999 Emmy Award for his work on "The Late Show With David Letterman." He is also the co-author of two best-selling books: "Our Dumb Century" and "The Onion's Finest News Reporting," both from the popular Madison, Wisconsin-based satiric newspaper called "The Onion," where he has worked three years. Javerbaum is currently working on a new musical with several composer collaborators.
— By Kenneth Jones