NYC's Prospect Season Will Offer Three New Musicals, Including Lauded Tutor and World Premiere Iron Curtain

News   NYC's Prospect Season Will Offer Three New Musicals, Including Lauded Tutor and World Premiere Iron Curtain Prospect Theater Company, the New York City troupe devoted to new works, announced a 2005-06 season to include the full production premiere of the award-winning musical The Tutor.
From Top: Maryrose Wood and Andrew Gerle
From Top: Maryrose Wood and Andrew Gerle

Cara Reichel, producing artistic director, and Melissa Huber, managing director, said the new season will focus entirely on new musicals.

Andrew Gerle and Maryrose Wood's The Tutor, previously seen only in developmental or reading situations, plays in a fully-realized staging Sept. 10-Oct. 2 at 59E59 Theaters (Theater B).

In Feburary 2006, Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts will see the New York premiere of their musical adaptation of the National Book Award-winning novel, The Book of the Dun Cow at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew.

The season will conclude in April 2006 with the world premiere of Iron Curtain, also at the West End Theatre, featuring lyrics by Prospect's resident writer, Peter Mills, in collaboration with Susan DiLallo (book) and Stephen Weiner (music).

Iron Curtain is "an uproarious musical comedy set during Broadway's Golden Age of the 1950s." It "follows the adventures of an unsuccessful composer-lyricist team as they are kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the USSR to ghost-write communist propaganda musicals, where they are forced to choose between the fame they yearn for and the freedom they have lost." Iron Curtain will be directed by Cara Reichel. Susan DiLallo (book) wrote book and lyrics to Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, with music by Stephen Weiner, which won both the Kleban Award and a Richard Rodgers Award in 2003, and the Global Search For New Musicals Competition in 2005.

Lyricist Mills received the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award from The ASCAP Foundation, and received a 2002 grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation. Most recently, he wrote book, music, and lyrics for The Pursuit of Persephone, a new musical about the college years of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Other lyric writing credits include Lonely Rhymes, The Alchemists, Illyria (a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for which had its regional premiere at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in fall 2004), The Taxi Cabaret and The Flood which was selected for the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop (2001). Mills holds an M.F.A. in Musical Theater Writing from New York University's Tisch School for the Arts and a degree in English/Dramatic Literature from Princeton University. He is a founding member of Prospect Theater Company. Composer Weiner is the award winning composer of Manhattan Theatre Club's newyorkers (lyrics by Glenn Slater) which garnered an Obie Award, and nominations for the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel awards. Weiner and Slater are also writing The Hudsucker Proxy musical, in development with Clear Channel Entertainment.

"With a winning mix of clever wit and surprising warmth, The Tutor tells a fresh, funny, contemporary tale of romance, art, and what it really takes to get into Princeton," according to the Prospect announcement. "When a struggling young novelist takes a job tutoring a sullen Manhattan girl, he thinks he's just out for quick cash. But when the characters in his novel start to come to life, and his teenage pupil begins to open up, his life takes a surprising turn. This award-winning musical offers inventive, memorable music, vibrant characters, and way more laughs than taking the S.A.T.!"

The Tutor (independenty produced, but presented as a "partner event" of the New York Musical Theatre Festival) Sept. 10-Oct. 1 at 8 PM Thursdays-Saturdays, with Sunday matinee performances at 2 PM on Sept. 11, 18, 26, and Oct. 2. There are additional 3 PM performances on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.

Authors Andrew Gerle (music) and Maryrose Wood (book and lyrics) are three-time winners of the Richard Rodgers Award (administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters) for The Tutor, which was originally developed when they were writers-in-residence at the Eugene O'Neill Music Theatre Conference.

The show received a studio production at the York Theatre in New York, a recent workshop at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA, and selections have been heard at The Public Theater and as part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series.

The Tutor will be directed by Sarah Gurfield, who recently directed I Do! I Do! for the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

"Set in a time when the sun turned 'round the earth and animals could speak," The Book of the Dun Cow is billed as "a powerful, uplifting new musical" adapted from Walter Wangerin Jr.'s National Book Award-winning novel.

In it, "Chauntecleer, an all too human Rooster, battles the evil forces of Wyrm for nothing less than the fate of the earth."

The Book of the Dun Cow will be directed by Prospect's Cara Reichel. St. Germain (book and lyrics) and Randy Courts (music and lyrics) have written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, Joseph and Mary, Jack's Holiday and The Gingerbread House. St. Germain has written the plays Camping with Henry and Tom, Out of Gas on Lover's Leap and Forgiving Typhoid Mary, as well as Ears on a Beatle.

Prospect Theater Company is a non-profit organization, founded in 1998 by five graduates of Princeton University, "in order to allow a diverse group of emerging theatre professionals to work together in pursuit of artistic excellence and innovation."

Known both for its development of new musicals and its interpretations of classic plays, Prospect "strives to build bridges between artists and audiences, and to connect theatre's present to its past—in order to build its future."

Prospect's Reichel said in a statement, "There is a great need for new musicals to seen on stage, in front of a paying audience. Along with other endeavors such as the New York Musical Festival, Prospect hopes to be a part of bringing the next generation of musical theatre voices to audiences in New York City, and eventually the rest of the country. Prospect is honored to have the opportunity to present the work of these gifted writers."

Prospect is offering a full season, general admission subscription for $30, which includes one ticket to each of the three shows. For more information, contact (212) 352-3101 or visit theatermania.com.

Subscriptions may also be purchased by mailing a check, payable to Prospect Theater Company, and indicating the number of subscriptions desired, to: Prospect Subscriptions; 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 307, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10018.

For more information, visit www.ProspectTheater.org.