The Sondheim revue, called Mixed Company, is conceived and performed by Billy Porter. Porter will also co-direct the piece with Tazewell Thompson. The show, to run July 28-29, is said to marry Sondheim's music with Porter's soulful, emotional vocal style, and will include other performers and snatches of Shakespeare's poetry.
Another musical set to run is composer Andrew Lippa and librettist Daniel Goldfarb's Jerry Christmas, about a Jewish movie star who tries to reinvigorate his career with a television Christmas special. Dates are July 28-30 for the David Warren-directed piece.
Prairie, a third musical, is by the all-female team of composer Rachel Portman, lyricist Donna DiNovelli and librettist Beth Henley. Francesca Zambello directs the show based on the "Little House on the Prairie" books about a pioneer family in the Dakotas. Dates are July 7-9.
Two plays will occupy the Mainstage. Bhutan by Daisy Foote (Horton's daughter), and directed by Evan Yionoulis, is about a 15-year-old who dreams of Bhutan but is hampered by her unstable family. Dates are June 23-July 8. A Steady Rain, meanwhile, scheduled for July 12-23, is about two Chicago policemen and a few days which change their lives and friendship forever. Trip Cullman will direct.
Other play presentations include Bob by Anton Dudley, directed by Leigh Silverman (July 14-16); and Quiver and Twitch by Erin Courtney, directed by Sarah Benson (July 21-23). What's Appropriate on a First Date With an Earthling, a new musical by composer David Tenney and librettist Steven Mark Tenney, will be offered as a special presentation July 1. The "sci-fi rock opera" involves a beautiful alien, a burnt-out scientist, his daughter, a cyberpunk biker and a visit to the Capitol.
The line-up will also feature June 23-25 readings of: Sam's Coming by Kia Corthron; Emeralds by Cindy Lou Johnson; and The As If Body Loop by Ken Wietzman.
NYS&F's 2004 season reaped remarkable benefits. Among the presentations—all of which subsequently traveled to New York, or were announced for future New York productions—were Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, The Argument by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Fran's Bed by James Lapine.
NYS&F's biggest success of last season was John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, which went from a workshop at Vassar to a full production at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Additionally, three shows given readings at the 2005 festival have seen New York productions during the 2005-06 season: Manic Flight Reaction by Sarah Schulman; Jayson With a Y by Darci Picoult; and The Busy World Is Hushed by Keith Bunin.