The Century Center for the Performing Arts, one of Off-Broadway's major performing arts institutions, continues its "Musical Mondays" series of readings April 17 with a freewheeling musical of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
The new adaptation of the Washington Irving yarn, with music by Robert Firpo-Cappiello and lyrics by Jonathan Brennan, takes "a satirical look at romance, superstition and the meaning of freedom in early America." The songwriters also share libretto credit.
"Musical Mondays" is a non-profit series of performances of new works sponsored by the Century Center and overseen by in-house director Bick Goss. Shows are offered in bare-bones readings with a piano and actors in street clothes. Usually, the shows are pared to an hour to offer the essence of the works.
Actors receive stipends, drawn from the $10 donations at the door. The 8 PM performances are held in an upstairs ballroom at the Century Center, 111 E. 15th Street, east of Union Square Park. The building used to be home to the Century Club, an exclusive club in the early 1900s. There is also a black box studio on the top floor, and the Off-Broadway theatre downstairs.
The "Musical Mondays" series began in August 1999 with readings of five shows. Goss pitched the idea of giving new writers a forum and Century artistic director J.C. Compton embraced the notion. Occasionally the Century also offers master classes with artists such as Brian Stokes Mitchell and Gwen Verdon.
For the new musicals series, Goss told Playbill On-Line: "I was trying find new writers because we're doing too many revivals. I wanted to encourage them. The industry is looking for new writers."
The spring series began with Standing Up, by Grace Arden and Marcia Kesselman, April 3. Also on tap:
• Falling Apart, a new musical by composer Randy Klein and lyricist-librettist Isidore Elias. The tuner concerns ruthless Billy the Businessman "who thinks he's real together 'til he falls apart into a voix quartet." The show asks, "Can he and his components pull himself back whole again?" (May 1)
• The Ten-Minute Musicals, a collection of short musicals culled from the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. (May 15)
Goss said he is pursuing grant money for the fall series.
Writers interested in being considered for the fall series, or those interested in reservations for upcoming shows, may call (212) 982-6782 (press *[star] 819).
-- By Kenneth Jones