New Musical, Joe!, Gets Starry Reading at MTC June 18

News   New Musical, Joe!, Gets Starry Reading at MTC June 18 The new musical, Joe!, about a struggling dramatic actor who finds his life has turned into a musical, gets a starry public reading by Manhattan Theatre Club 6 PM June 18.

The new musical, Joe!, about a struggling dramatic actor who finds his life has turned into a musical, gets a starry public reading by Manhattan Theatre Club 6 PM June 18.

Brian d'Arcy James (Titanic) plays the title character in the conceptual comic musical by Dan Lipton and David Rossmer. The show has been developing over the past few seasons in New York City. This reading is part of MTC's "Six at Six" series, open to MTC subscribers. The series showcases six new playwrights. Some friends and industry folk will also attend, according to the authors' agent, Diane Riley of Harden-Curtis Associates.

The cast of the reading includes Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Marc Kudisch (Bells Are Ringing), Sally Mayes (She Loves Me), John Bolton (Contact), David Garrison (Titanic), Ann Arvia (Les Miserables), Duane Boutte, William Youmans (Titanic), Raul Aranas (The King and I, Miss Saigon), Tim Fitzgerald, Ashley Rose Orr and Steven Rosen. Bill Fennelly directs, Kevin Stites musical directs and Andy Blankenbuehler choreographs.

Lipton and Rossmer penned book, music and lyrics. The show is "based on an idea by Sam Wolfson." A cutting of the piece was seen in the 2000 National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival in Manhattan (featuring Brian d'Arcy James and directed by Bill Fennelly).

Joe! was seen in private New York readings in 1998 and 1999, and a small production was produced by Nicole Hudson in the St. Louis area in November 1999. The 2000 draft told of Joe, who hates musicals, auditioning for one and blowing it. The next morning, he wakes up and finds that everyone in his world is singing — his worst nightmare. Lipton is a 1997 graduate of Northwestern University and has played piano in the orchestras of several Broadway and Off Broadway musicals. His solo album, "Travelogue," was released in 1999. He and Rossmer began working together in 1997. Rossmer is a composer, musician and author of short stories, songs, plays and screenplays. He was a singer-songwriter for the band, Catfish Soup, and has a new group, The Great White Lies. He had also performed with improv comedy troupes. Rossmer and Lipton are expanding Rossmer's album, "Notes to MariaAnne," into a full-length rock musical.

— By Kenneth Jones