See Rock City, With Ryness, Hilliard, Champlin, Parris, Wilfert, Bahorek and Hammond, Opens in NYC

News   See Rock City, With Ryness, Hilliard, Champlin, Parris, Wilfert, Bahorek and Hammond, Opens in NYC
 
Merrily They Roll Along might have been an alternate title for See Rock City & Other Destinations, the award-winning collection of musical vignettes about people traveling, opening July 25 in its New York City premiere.

Sally Wilfert, Mamie Parris and Donna Lynne Champlin
Sally Wilfert, Mamie Parris and Donna Lynne Champlin Photo by Carol Rosegg

"Traveling" — in both the tourist sense and the emotional sense — is the core idea of the show by Brad Alexander (music) and Adam Mathias (book and lyrics).

Transport Group's Off-Broadway production began previews July 17 at The Duke on 42nd Street. Performances continue to Aug. 8.

Jack Cummings III, who recently staged TG's environmental production of The Boys in the Band, directs the new musical, again offering an unusual actor-audience configuration. The show is performed in a stripped-bare playing area at The Duke on 42nd Street, with audience seated on the perimeter of the room. The action takes place throghout the space.

Cummings also shepherded a 2009 Manhattan workshop of the musical. It's a rare original show — not based on source material. Actors play multiple roles.

The cast includes Stanley Bahorek (Broadway's Big River, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee); Donna Lynne Champlin (Broadway's Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, Obie Award winner for TG's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs); Jonathan Hammond (Broadway's Ragtime, OBIE Award winner and Drama League Award nominee for TG's The Boys in the Band); Ryan Hilliard (Off-Broadway's Grey Gardens, Godspell); Mamie Parris (Broadway's Ragtime, 110 in the Shade); Bryce Ryness (Drama Desk Award nominee for Broadway's Hair, TG's Crossing Brooklyn); and Sally Wilfert (Make Me a Song, Broadway's Assassins). TG artistic director Cummings is a two-time Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Director for TG's The Audience and The Boys in the Band.

According to TG, "See Rock City & Other Destinations is a contemporary pop-rock musical road trip that ventures to tourist destinations across America, mapping out stories of sightseers in search of fellow travelers: a wanderer believes his destiny is written on rooftops along the North Carolina interstate; a young man yearns to connect with intelligent life in Roswell, New Mexico; a woman at the Alamo steps out of the shadow of her past to take a chance on love; estranged sisters cruise to Glacier Bay to scatter their father's ashes; high school boys face unexpected fears in a Coney Island spook house; and a terrified bride-to-be ponders taking the leap...over Niagara Falls. See Rock City & Other Destinations creates a vivid travelogue of moving characters and connections missed and made along the way."

The show is the winner of the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award and the 2007 Jerry Bock Award. The musical received its world premiere at the Barrington Stage Company in 2008.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Dane Laffrey; lighting designer R. Lee Kennedy; production stage manager Theresa Flanagan; and production manager Wendy Patten.

See Rock City & Other Destinations plays Tuesday through Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sunday at 3 PM and 7 PM through Aug. 8 at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W. 42nd Street.

Tickets, which are $48, are available at www.transportgroup.org or by phoning The Duke on 42nd Street box office at (646) 223-3010. Online box office is available 24 hours.

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Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of artistic director Jack Cummings III and executive director Lori Fineman, is a not-for-profit theatre company that develops and produces work by American playwrights and composers with the aim of exploring the American consciousness in the 20th and 21st centuries. Transport Group is the winner of a special 2007 Drama Desk Award for its "breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions."

Bryce Ryness and Stanley Bahorek
Bryce Ryness and Stanley Bahorek
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