Palo Alto's TheatreWorks Launches 2009 New Works Festival July 15

News   Palo Alto's TheatreWorks Launches 2009 New Works Festival July 15 Thomas M. Newman and Mark Allen's country musical Tinyard Hill kicks off TheatreWorks' 2009 New Works Festival in Palo Alto July 15.

Featuring book, lyrics and music by Newman and Allen, Tinyard Hill is directed by Robert Kelly and features actors Allison Briner, Chris Critelli, James Moye and Melissa WolfKlain.

The full production runs through Aug. 23.

Tinyard Hill is described as such: "Tinyard Hill, Georgia is a small town partial to old-time music and new-forged dreams, especially for a handsome young blacksmith hammering out a living at the historic smithy his family has owned for generations. When an out-of-this-world beauty and an out-of-the-blue draft notice arrive within days, his life is turned upside down. Set in the '60s to a foot-stompin' country-pop score, this feisty new musical tells of romance, rebellion, and patriotism in an era of irresistible change."

Designing the musical are Tom Langguth (scenic design), Cathleen Edwards (costume design), Pamila Z. Gray (lighting design) and Cliff Caruthers (sound design). Billy Liberatore serves as musical director.

Also set for the New Works Festival is the staged reading of Raquel Bitton and Chris Smith's play The Sparrow and the Birdman, a music-filled exploration of the relationship between Edith Piaf and Jean Cocteau. Smith directs the production that features Bitton and James Carpenter (Aug. 3). Meredith McDonough will direct Laura Schellhardt's Auctioning the Ainsleys, a comedy about a family of auctioneers selling off their heritage (Aug. 18 and 21). Lucille Lortel Award winner Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool, a cat-and-mouse thriller about a student from Saudi Arabia who enrolls at a suburban American high school, will be the final play reading (Aug. 15 and 17).

Makeover, a new musical comedy with book and lyrics by Darrah Cloud and music by Kim D. Sherman, is set to be the first of the musical readings presented. Tom Lindblade directs the musical about a feisty housewife who turns herself into a successful entrepreneur in the years following World War II (Aug. 5 and 9).

Joe DiPietro (Memphis, Toxic Avenger) has teamed with GrooveLily members Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda for the new musical Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Former New Works director Kent Nicholson will stage the "fever dream" musical about a sleep-deprived video game songwriter (Vigoda) and the Antarctic explorer who phones her from beyond (Aug. 8, 11 and 15).

The final musical offering is Tales from the Bad Years, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's song cycle about the lives and loves of five young adults navigating the post-college world (Aug. 19, 22 and 23).

Concerts presented as part of New Works '09 include Grammy winner Maureen McGovern's A Long and Winding Road (Aug. 6) and singer/songwriter Vienna Teng (Aug. 14).

All Festival performances are held at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. Tickets and festival passes are available by phoning (650) 463-1960 or visit TheatreWorks. The Lucie Stern Theatre is located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, CA.

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