Venus Envy: Cupid and Psyche, the Musical, Opens Off-Bway Sept. 24

News   Venus Envy: Cupid and Psyche, the Musical, Opens Off-Bway Sept. 24 Cupid and Psyche, a new musical about the love of the titular Roman mythology characters — and the cranky Venus that gets between them — opens Sept. 24 in New York following previews from Sept. 17.

The musical by lyricist-librettist Sean Hartley and composer Jihwan Kim was a favorite when it was heard in its developing stages in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and was seen in Manhattan readings in 2001 (National Alliance for Musical Theatre and National Musical Theatre Network). Stagings of the show were also seen in Ashland, OR, Seattle and Norwich, CT.

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Timothy Childs is directing and producing the New York debut under the umbrella of The Imagination Company at the 50-seat John Houseman Studio Theatre on 42nd Street. (Not to be confused with the 74-seat Houseman Studio A, which is housing the new musical revue, Golf, come October).

Here's how the show is billed: "Cupid and Psyche is a mythical musical about a boy, a girl and his mother. This new musical tells the comic tale of a forbidden romance and the thwarted efforts of Venus, the goddess of love, as she tries to come between her son Cupid and the bright and beautiful mortal Psyche."

Devanand Janki, lauded for directing and choreographing Zanna, Don't!, choreographs Cupid and Psyche. The limited run continues to Oct. 26. It is hoped by all involved that a long commercial run will follow.

The cast includes Logan Lipton as Mercury, Barrett Foa (Off-Broadway Godspell in 2000) as Cupid, Deborah Lew as Psyche and Laura Marie Duncan (The Full Monty) as Venus. (Deven May of Off-Broadway's Bat Boy was originally announced to play Mercury, but took a job in the Goodspeed Musicals revival of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.)

Designers are Christine Darch (costumes), Aaron Mason (lights) and David Swayze (set).

Lyricist-librettist Sean Hartley's songs have been performed on the Disney Channel's "The Book of Pooh" and "Bear in the Big Blue House." He was the founding artistic director of the Cape Cod Theater Ensemble, and is currently the director of the theatre wing at the Kaufman Center in New York. He wrote songs and performed in the long-running musical revue Paranoise, for which he won CaB magazine's Performer of the Year award. His musicals for children include Number the Stars and Young Moses.

Composer Jihwan Kim started piano at the age of five and began studying music at the Juilliard School at age 10. He has performed throughout the New York metropolitan area, including Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Merkin Hall, and has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Little Orchestra Society and the Bronx Symphony Orchestra.

Together with Sean Hartley, they have written five musicals for children, Tsugele, The Frog Prince, The Gardner, Wise and Old and The Ghost of El Castillo.

Director Timothy Childs is a producer, director and writer. He has produced on Broadway, in London and several national tours, including Annie, A Christmas Carol, Broken Glass (Broadway), Mnemonic, Jeffrey and the national tour of Swing.

Performances play 8 PM Wednesday-Saturday, 2 PM Saturday and Sunday, 6 PM Sunday. The John Houseman complex is located at 450 W. 42nd Street. Tickets are $50. For ticket information, call (212) 868-4444 or visit www.smarttix.com.