The musical, with book and lyrics by Erik Haagensen (Taking a Chance on Love at the York Theatre) and music by Paul Schwartz (son of composer Arthur Schwartz and producer of the popular "Aria" albums featuring Rebecca Luker), was presented last year at the inaugural International Festival of Musical Theatre in Cardiff, Wales. It was one of nine shows chosen from out of 186 entries from 16 countries.
The 3 PM Dec. 11 industry-only presentation is so producers and artistic directors can take a closer look at the show. The reading is at Musical Theatre Works, 436 Lafayette Street, 4th floor. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer is based on the novel of the same name, set in a small Massachusetts village in the Berkshire Mountains in 1910. It tells the story of the sexual and emotional awakening of a young girl, 17-year-old Charity Royall.
"The novel was published in 1917 and created considerable scandal," Haagensen told Playbill On-Line. "It went out of print quickly, and remained unavailable until the 1970s, when it was rediscovered and returned to print. Wharton is on record as calling it her favorite novel, and referred to it as 'my hot 'Ethan Frome.'" Cast in the leading role of Charity Royall is Nikki M. James (Ottilee in House of Flowers at Encores!), Mark Jacoby (Ragtime) is Lawyer Royall, Michael Hunsaker (Listen to My Heart) is Lucius Harney, and Kelli O'Hara (Sweet Smell of Success, My Life With Albertine) is Annabel Balch, Harney's fiancee. Rounding out the cast are George Lee Andrews, Robert Aronson, Susan Bigelow, Jeffrey Correia, Jesse Nager, Olivia Oguma, Adrienne Pisoni and Sarah Stiles.