Tony-nominated Next Fall director Sheryl Kaller will stage the reading of the musical about four women. Fred Lassen is musical direction with stage management by Lori Amondson.
Unexpected Joy has book and lyrics by Russell and music by Hood. It marks the first collaboration between the two since their song cycle Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, which was inspired by the AIDS memorial quilt.
The cast will include vocalist Baby Jane Dexter, Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening, Next to Normal), Capathia Jenkins (Caroline, or Change) and actress-vocal arranger AnnMarie Milazzo (Spring Awakening, Carrie).
The reading is produced by The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director and Geoff Cohen, Managing Director) and Jim Kierstead as part of its Developmental Reading Series.
Ticket information will be available shortly. According to the authors, "Unexpected Joy is a new musical about four women – all of them singers, but of various experience and success: Joy, a baby-boomer, her daughter Rachel, Rachel's daughter Tamara, and Lou, the woman Joy is intending to marry. But Joy hasn't told Rachel about her wedding plans and has good reason to be apprehensive. Rachel is married to a successful televangelist and performs regularly on his TV show. And Lou is a self-described 'lesbian terrorist.' When the family comes together for a concert honoring Rachel's father (her mother never married him), the sparks and music fly!"
Russell is a Tony Award nominee for book and lyrics to Side Show, on which he collaborated with Dreamgirls composer Henry Krieger. Their musical Lucky Duck has been announced as part of the New Victory Theater's 2012 spring season. Russell has also penned book and lyrics to The Last Smoker in America and Kept.