Waldrop & Ross Musical Luck! Gets Pace U Workshop Jan. 18-23

News   Waldrop & Ross Musical Luck! Gets Pace U Workshop Jan. 18-23
 
The Pace University Musical Theater Department, more ambitious than ever now that it offers a new BFA degree in musical theatre, is embracing the development of new musicals as part of its mission.

Amy Rogers, director of the musical theatre program, will direct staged-reading performances of Luck!, the fairy-tale musical comedy by composer Brad Ross (Little by Little) and lyricist-librettist Mark Waldrop (When Pigs Fly).

Undergraduates in the Pace program will appear in the book-in-hand performances Jan. 18-23 in downtown Manhattan.

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Rogers told Playbill.com that in addition to two fully-produced musicals per academic year, Pace will stage an annual workshop of a new musical like Luck!, which had previous undergrad development in a full staging in The University of Michigan's respected musical theatre program, as well as development at the Northlight Theatre in Illinois and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop.

Luck! is based on a folk tale by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The Pace staging will include 16 performers (there are 66 BFA majors there) and be musical-directed by Ross and Sharon Kenny (she'll accompany performances). Performances will play the 60-seat Schaeberle Studio Theater, 10th Floor, 41 Park Row, near City Hall, in downtown Manhattan. (Larger department shows play the nearby Michael Schimmel Center.)

Rogers said she was prompted to start a new works initiative for a number of reasons: Workshops and readings will be a major chunk of work for actors after they graduate and this is good experience; new work stretches students' muscles (there are no existing recordings or films to rely on); and Pace's Manhattan location has natural access to musical theatre writers hungry for the development of their new shows.

The Luck! process at Pace has included cutting a song, adding a song, and some reorganization of material since it played the University of Michigan in 2003. Ross and Waldrop have been involved in the Pace process. Following a late 2006 table read, Waldrop handed Rogers and Co. a further revision of the script.

The Luck! reading will be barebones and actor-driven, focusing less on spectacle and more on pure storytelling, Rogers said.

"We wanted to put it up in a way that didn't need a lot of flash," she told Playbill.com. "To see what it would be like to [have scenic elements] stripped away and just tell the story…"

Pace offers only the second musical theatre bachelor of fine arts in New York City, after New York University.

Pace's fully-staged musical this spring will be Little Women by Mindi Dickstein and Jason Howland. Urinetown was staged last fall.

The Luck! cast will include Jenn Dottino as Mazel, Michael Diehl as Shlimazel (the musical's early title was Mazel and Shlimazel), with Donell James Foreman, Jennifer DeRosa, James Ryan Sloan, Norman Payne, Tal Fox, Vinny Columbo, Jenna Shufelt, Jennifer Arcuri, Kerrie Bond, Katy Karr, Mallory McGee, Bridget Riley, Stefanie Smith, Jonathan Bender, Daniel Berlin and Eric Restivo.

Stage manager is Kristina Vnook, costume coordinator is Anne Lommel, associate costume coordinator is Ariel Dobshinsky.

Luck! will play Jan. 18-23, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 and 8 PM, Sunday at 2 PM and 7 PM, Monday and Tuesday at 8 PM.

Tickets are $7 and $10. For more information or reservations call (212) 346-1954 or email theater@pace.edu.

For more information about Luck! as a licensable property, email Bradfordwross@aol.com.

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