Return to Sender: Festival Submission Musical [title of show] Comes Back to Off-Broadway July 14

News   Return to Sender: Festival Submission Musical [title of show] Comes Back to Off-Broadway July 14 The two aspiring musicalmakers and their two friends race to get their new show in to the festival before the deadline — again — as [title of show] returns to Off-Broadway for a commercial run July 14.
Clockwise from left: Jeff Bowen, Hunter Bell, Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell in [title of show].
Clockwise from left: Jeff Bowen, Hunter Bell, Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell in [title of show]. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The Vineyard Theatre plays home once more to the popular musical comedy which reopens July 20 for an 8-week limited run scheduled through Sept. 9. Kevin McCollum, Laura Camien and the Vineyard Theatre produce.

Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen, creators and stars, pen a musical which follows a writing team's "race to write and submit a show to the theatre festival" weeks before the deadline. The show was born out of just that experience: Bowen and Bell's race to complete an entry for the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Featuring a bevy of quips about theatre and musical fanaticism (including the duo's own), the meta musical (as in real life) enlists two of the creators' friends, Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff, to appear with them.

"We have some things in the book that are pretty timely and can easily change out," explained Bowen about the new run. "The music and lyrics are kinda set, plus the CD is coming out, so we can't get too far away from that." Bell concurred, "I do like the idea of the flexibility of a pop culture reference or something like that, but the overall arc of the show — and like `Why do you create?' and `Who do you create for?' and `What does that mean?' — that stays the same." (Read more from the creators in the "Title of Interview with [title of show] Creators and Stars" feature.)

Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse (The Light in the Piazza, Kiss Me Kate) leads the original creative team as the director-choreographer. Larry Pressgrove (Cats, Children's Letters To God) provides musical arrangements and direction. Bowen (The Who's Tommy) and Bell (Oh, Boy!) star with Blackwell (The Heidi Chronicles) and Blickenstaff (The Full Monty). Courtney Balan and Benjamin Howes serve as understudies.

The original cast album of the show will be released July 25 on Ghostlight Records — a division of Sh-K-Boom Records. Joel Moss and Kurt Deustch produce the CD which features Bell, Blackwell, Blickenstaff and Bowen, with musical direction and arrangements by Larry Pressgrove. The songlist includes "Untitled Opening Number," "Two Nobodies in New York," "An Original Musical," "Monkeys and Playbills," "The Tony Award Song," "Part of It All," "I Am Playing Me," "What Kind of Girl is She?," "Die Vampire, Die!," "Filling Out The Form," " "September Song," "Secondary Characters," "A Way Back To Then," "Nine People's Favorite Thing" and "Finale."

Previews for the previous Vineyard run of [title of show] began Feb. 15 prior to a Feb. 26 open for a run originally scheduled through March 26. The musical extended its engagement to April 9 following "strong audience and critical support, and record ticket sales following its Feb. 26 opening" and then again to April 23.

The design team features Neil Patel (set), Chase Tyler (costume), Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz (lighting) and ACME Sound Partners (sound).

Tickets for the new run of [title of show] at the Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15 St. are on sale through (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org or www.titleofshow.com.

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