Spelling Bee's Keenan-Bolger to Star in Saved

News   Spelling Bee's Keenan-Bolger to Star in Saved Original Spelling Bee star Celia Keenan-Bolger, who recently ended her run in the revival of Les Misérables, will star in the Playwright Horizons production of the new musical Saved!, according to the New York Times.

Celia Keenan-Bolger
Celia Keenan-Bolger

As previously reported, Saved — the new musical based on the sweetly satiric movie about kids in a Christian high school — will get its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in spring 2008. No other casting has been announced.

The new musical version of the picture — in which teens struggle to find their place in a world colored by their commitment to Christian faith — has music and lyrics by Michael Friedman (the Civilians, The Public Theater's upcoming Romeo & Juliet) and book and lyrics by two-time Olivier Award nominee John Dempsey (The Witches of Eastwick) and Obie Award winner Rinne Groff (The Ruby Sunrise).

It's based on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture written by Brian Dannelly & Michael Urban.

Exact dates and creative team have not been announced for the show, which will be produced by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical. Performances will play PH's Mainstage Theater on West 42nd Street.

According to Playwrights Horizons notes, "Are you down with G-O-D? Good girl Mary and her domineering best friend Hilary Faye are starting their senior year at the top of the social food chain at American Eagle Christian High School — that is, until Mary's boyfriend tells her he thinks he's gay. When Jesus appears in a vision, and Mary heeds his message 'to do everything she can to help him,' her good deeds are met with dire consequences, and Mary is forced to question everything she's ever believed. Through it all, she finds faith in unexpected places and learns what it truly means to be saved." Playwrights Horizons is known for developing ambitious musicals, including Grey Gardens (now on Broadway), James Joyce's The Dead, Floyd Collins, Assassins and Sunday in the Park with George.

Celia Keenan-Bolger made her Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. For her portrayal of Olive Ostrovsky, she received a Tony nomination, a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award (Best Ensemble). The young actress was most recently on Broadway playing Eponine in the revival of Les Misérables. Keenan-Bolger's Off-Broadway credits include Little Fish, Kindertransport and Summer of '42. Regionally, the singing actress appeared in The Light in the Piazza, Sweeney Todd and Our Town.

Director Gary Griffin's Broadway credits include The Color Purple and The Apple Tree, as well as the Encores! concerts The New Moon, Pardon My English, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Apple Tree. His Pacific Overtures for Donmar Warehouse won the Oliver Award for Outstanding Musical Production, and he was Olivier nominated.

Friedman has been the composer/lyricist for the Civilians' [I Am] Nobody's Lunch, Gone Missing, This is a Beautiful City and Canard, Canard, Goose?, as well as The Brand New Kid (Kennedy Center) and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He's also composed the score for the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet. He was the dramaturg for the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon. He is an artistic associate at New York Theatre Workshop, was a MacDowell fellow and is a founding associate artist of the Obie Award-winning Civilians.

Dempsey wrote book and lyrics for The Witches of Eastwick (London, Melbourne, Tokyo, Moscow), The Fix (Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes), Zombie Prom (New York), Circles and Dick Wittington. His plays include One Miracle in a Lifetime and The Greater Goode. He has received two Olivier Award nominations for The Witches of Eastwick and The Fix, and is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting.

Groff's plays include The Ruby Sunrise; Jimmy Carter Was a Democrat; The Moliere Impromptu; Orange Lemon Egg Canary; What Then, Inky; Seven Supermans; and The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem. With Michael Friedman, she's written Boy in the Bubble, a new musical, which will be presented this summer at Northwestern's American Music Theater Project, directed by Michael Greif.

Playwrights Horizons is under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus.

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