Off-Broadway's The Underclassman, Starring Matt Dengler as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Begins Tonight

News   Off-Broadway's The Underclassman, Starring Matt Dengler as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Begins Tonight
 
The Prospect Theater Company production of The Underclassman, an original musical that explores F. Scott Fitzgerald's coming of age as a writer on the eve of World War I — and his first romance with elusive debutante Ginevra King — begins performances Nov. 9 at The Duke on 42nd Street. 

Jessica Grové and Matt Dengler
Jessica Grové and Matt Dengler Photo by Kayla David

The extended engagement continues through Nov. 30; opening night is set for Nov. 19.

With music and lyrics by Peter Mills and a book by Mills and Cara Reichel, The Underclassman is inspired by Fitzgerald's first novel "This Side of Paradise."

Reichel directs, with choreography by Christine O'Grady and music direction and orchestrations by Daniel Feyer.

The cast includes Matt Dengler (A Little Night Music) as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jessica Grové (A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Les Miserables) as Ginevra King, Piper Goodeve (Anne of Green Gables) as Marie Hersey, Billy Hepfinger as Edmund Wilson and Marrick Smith (Revolution in the Elbow) as John Peale Bishop with Jordan Bondurant, Elizabeth Burton, Jason Edward Cook, Holland Grossman, C.J. Pawlikowski, Davey Rosenberg, Matt Gibson, Christopher Herr, Adam Machart, Liz Shivener, Whitney Winfield, Drama Desk nominee Jeremy Morse (Bloodsong of Love), Michael Romeo Ruocco and Ian Fairlee.

The design team includes Ann Bartek (sets), Sidney Shannon (costumes), Brian Tovar (lights) and Kevin Heard (sound). Taylor Marun is the production stage manager. A previous version of The Underclassman was mounted in a workshop production by Prospect in April 2005 under the title The Pursuit of Persephone and received Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Score and Orchestrations. There was also a developmental student production at the University of Michigan (2006) and a workshop at Princeton University (2011). The work was recently selected for Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Writers Colony (2014).

Mills' musicals include Illyria, Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Honor, The Rockae, The Flood and The Taxi Cabaret. He received the 2011 Cole Porter Award, the 2010 Kleban Prize for lyrics, the 2007 Fred Ebb Award for emerging songwriters, 2006 Drama Desk Award nominations for his show The Pursuit of Persephone (Best Music and Best Orchestrations), the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award from the ASCAP Foundation and a 2002 grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation. He recently won the 2014 Donna Perret Rosen Award, administered by Second Stage Theatre, for excellence in musical theatre and is currently writing lyrics for the Broadway-aimed The Honeymooners.

Reichel has co-created 11 shows with fellow founding Prospect member Mills. Her recent Prospect productions as director/author include Death for Five Voices, Evergreen and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge. She also directed Iron Curtain, I Married Wyatt Earp and Once Upon a Time in New Jersey. She is a previous recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, of which she is an active member.

The Duke on 42nd Street is located at 229 W. 42nd Street. For more information and tickets, call (212) 352-3101 or visit ProspectTheater.org.

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