Voice of the City, New Musical With an O. Henry Twist, Gets NYC Reading May 13 at York; Baldwin Stars

News   Voice of the City, New Musical With an O. Henry Twist, Gets NYC Reading May 13 at York; Baldwin Stars Voice of the City, a new romantic musical comedy set in O. Henry's New York City, gets its first public reading May 13 as part of The York Theatre Company's Developmental Reading Series.

Karen Azenberg directs the 15-actor show by lyricist-librettist Kenneth Jones and composer Elaine Chelton. Music direction is by Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

Pieces of the show have been heard in recent years in The BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where Jones and Chelton met. Chelton is a principal solo pianist at New York City Ballet. Jones is an editor at Playbill On-Line.

"It's a musical fable about a woman who comes of age in Manhattan — a city she never really got to know until circumstances forced her to face the world," composer Chelton said. "Since it's set in 1906, and the characters vary so widely in background, there's a variety of musical sounds in the score, from rag to polka to Yiddish lullaby to march, and more."

Voice of the City is described as a book musical with the kind of plot twists expected of stories by turn-of the-century fiction writer O. Henry ("The Gift of the Magi"). The show is inspired by an O. Henry short story called "Springtime a la Carte," about a typing girl named Sarah who is torn between the country and the city.

"In O. Henry's Greenwich Village of 1906, a typing girl expects a farmer from Connecticut to whisk her away from urban life, but twists of fate and a community of new friends show her the country isn't the only place where things blossom," according to the York website. It's "a romantic musical comedy fable about reaching for life instead of waiting around for it." The reading cast includes Kate Baldwin, David Bondrow, Michael Brian Dunn, Marnee Hollis, Sarah Hyland, Robert Anthony Jones, Peter Marx, Michele McConnell, Heather Mieko, Perry Ojeda, Danny Rothman, Graham Rowat, Eadie Scott, Tia Speros and Melanie Vaughan.

The free public performance is 7:30 PM May 13 at The York Theatre Company's home at the Theatre at St. Peter’s in the Citicorp Building, 54th Street and Lexington Ave., in Manhattan.

For information, visit voiceofthecity.com or reserve via e-mail to Jeff Landsman, Developmental Series Coordinator, at jlandsman@yorktheatre.org or call (212) 935-5824, ext. 24. Mention your name, phone number, the show you want to see, and the number of tickets you need.