The reading of Caren Tackett's musical features playwright Tackett as Infinity Blue, Adam Halpin as Master Jefferson, Nicolette Hart as Suspicious Wife, Justin Johnson as Luther, Andy Señor as Leonard, Tiffani Barbour as Ophelia, Ashley Betton as Jude, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mother, Molly Hager as Miss Black, James Moye as Judge Sewall, Joe Shane as Talon, Richard E. Waits as Father and Miranda Zickler as Catori with Tracy McDowell, Brandan Uranowitz, John Watson, King Aswad, Judah Frank, Nate Gray, Happy McPartlin and Jahmila Adderley in the ensemble.
Director Rapp recently told Playbill.com, "This is a piece that's taking risks in story telling and in subject matter. To me, that's very exciting, but you never know exactly how that's going to work until you have it up on its feet, and you have to see how people connect to it." Rapp said that auditions for the workshop were especially exciting. "There are a couple young performers that I believe are true discoveries," he explained. "I am thrilled. When they left the room after their auditions, we were like, 'We feel like we've just seen superstars!' I mean, you never know, of course, but I just think that's really exciting. And, that's one of the things that's great about being on the other side of the table. If in some small way, if this experience can help open doors for these incredibly talented people who have not yet had their break, if this can be one little step on their ladder, I'd be thrilled to have been a part of that for them."
In a statement writer Tackett said, "I was newly cast as a swing in Rent, and the urge to write overtook me. I holed myself up in our dressing room during the shows and wrote furiously. I'm not sure how other writers find their inspiration, but it's been my experience that sometimes it's the other way around; it finds you. I am a person who has chosen to throw myself into my life experiences the hard way, and learn my lessons in retrospect. It's not just an exploration of the cycles of fear and prejudice regarding sex, race, sexual orientation and organized religion. It's also my own life experience told in metaphor and myth."
Born Blue, according to press notes, "takes place in a post-apocalyptic dive bar somewhere between life and death where lost souls drink the 'Blue House Brew' whose purpose is not to intoxicate, but to flush away one's previous life experiences and prepare them for rebirth. The House band, 'Creatrix' ('God'), speaks only the language of music, which they channel through soulful front-woman 'Infinity.'"
Costume, wig, and makeup design are by Kurt Alger. Music direction, arrangements and orchestrations are by Joe Parker. Anthony Rapp created the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway and London productions of Rent. His other theatrical credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Precious Sons; Six Degrees of Separation; Bright Lights, Big City; Raised in Captivity; Trafficking in Broken Hearts; Youth Is Wasted; Sophistry; and The Destiny of Me. Rapp's film credits feature roles in "A Beautiful Mind," "Adventures in Babysitting," "School Ties," "Dazed and Confused" and "Six Degrees of Separation." He was also seen in Chris Columbus' "Rent" film.
Touch New York City is located at 252 W. 52nd Street. Tickets are available by visiting www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444. Ticket prices are $50 general admission or $250 for VIP tickets; a limited number of standing room only tickets will be available at the door for $20 — cash only, one ticket per person.
Founded by Mike Nichols and Cynthia O'Neal in 1991, Friends In Deed — The Crisis Center for Life-Threatening Illness — "provides emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening physical illnesses." For more information, visit www.friendsindeed.org.