Will Chase, Ashley Brown Will Test Wings of Ace Musical in NYC

News   Will Chase, Ashley Brown Will Test Wings of Ace Musical in NYC Producer Tom Smedes is circling around the popular, regionally-produced musical Ace in the hope of bringing it in for a Broadway landing. He'll present a starry New York City reading of the show's latest draft Dec. 17, Playbill.com has learned.
Ashley Brown
Ashley Brown Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Billed as "a new musical adventure," Ace has book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker and music by Oberacker.

Eric Schaeffer (Arlington's Signature Theatre, Broadway's Putting It Together, London's The Witches of Eastwick) will direct this staged reading, to feature Will Chase (High Fidelity, Aida, The Full Monty) in the title role, with Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins) as the mom of a little boy (played by Noah Galvin) with big dreams. Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein) is also in the reading.

"Set in the American heartland in 1952, Ace is the epic story of one young boy's search to come to terms with his past, find his place in the present, and unlock his future," according to production notes. "When ten-year-old Danny Lucas receives a toy plane as an unexpected gift from his foster parents, a parallel world of dreamtime adventures begins to unfold. With an ace fighter pilot as his guide, Danny is transported back in time; flying into the gathering storm over Europe and the aerial dogfights of WWI, and soaring with the daring Tiger squadrons of WWII in the skies above Southeast Asia. A tale of triumph, transcendence, humor and heart, through the prism of a child's eyes, Ace magically explores the heroic lives and unforeseen legacies of the men and women of our greatest generations."

Ace premiered as part of the 2005 National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in New York City. Since then, it has played in various incarnations at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (September 2006), the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (October 2006) and most recently at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre (January 2007), under different directors. Changes have been made to the script and score for this new reading.

The cast for the private industry reading also includes Steve Booth, Gabrielle Boyadjian, Traci Lynn Thomas, Betsy Wolfe, Duke Lafoon, James Judy, Danny Rothman, Kevin Reed, Jeff Binder, Susan Kokot Stokes, Kelly Barrett and Gabrielle Stravelli. Music director is David Kreppel. General management is by The Charlotte Wilcox Company. A theatrical producer and general manager, Tom Smedes' recent and current productions include the London productions of Side by Side by Sondheim and Musical of Musicals (the Musical!); Dog Sees God: Confession of a Teenage Blockhead; The Waiting Room by Tony and Emmy-nominated playwright Samm-Art Williams; The Women of Lockerbie with The New Group; 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, written and starring Mike Daisey prior to its international tour of London, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Sydney; and People Are Wrong at The Vineyard Theatre. He is one of the producers of the record-breaking worldwide musical revue Naked Boys Singing!, now playing at the New World Stages in New York City.

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