For fans of musicals, Off-Broadway York's free and open to-the-public series is a first-glance at potential future hits by emerging (and some established) writers.
The reading series includes:A Smattering of Oscar, book, music and lyrics by Gene Jones. "Oscar Levant — pianist, wit, raconteur, and Hollywood's oldest enfant terrible. Oscar straddles the line between genius and madness, and blurs the line between honesty and bad manners. Meet this unforgettable character for an evening of music and fun." 7:30 PM Feb. 12.Along the Way, "a new a cappella musical," book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Gregory Christopher, James-Allen Ford, Russell Kaplan, Karla Momberger, Sara Levine, additional material by Shawn Churchman. "On an N train deep beneath the city, six strangers explore the ups and downs of trying to be somebody in New York. Coincidentally, they all have relative pitch. Along the Way burns through a slew of topics, employing every musical genre the authors can get their hands on. Come along for this ride where theater and a cappella collide!" 7:30 PM Feb. 11, 4 PM Feb. 13.
It's a Boy, book, music and lyrics by Frank Barth. "The Flanagan household is thrown into an uproar when their new baby is born with a most unusual characteristic. A priest and a singer contribute to the confusion as they all try to sort out the mess and keep the family together in this tuneful new show." 7:30 PM Feb. 18.Oh, Rats!, "a musical farce," book and lyrics by Larue Watts & J. J. Coyle, music by Doug Katsaros. "All he wants is to pass through Hamelin to get some water for his bird on his way to see his Swedish sweetie (whose name he has momentarily forgotten). But nooo! That crazy fortune teller insists that he has to overthrow the evil Baron, save the girl (and her virtue) and rid the town of rats before he can continue. Can he do it and still catch the midnight boat to Lapland?" 7:30 PM Feb. 25.Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell, "a musical fairy tale," music and lyrics by Steven Fisher, book by Joan Ross Sorkin and Steven Fisher. "Isabelle is a scatterbrained-but-lovable fairy godmother who casts a spell on the kingdom to make sure her princess finds true love. But things don't work out as planned in this endearing and hilarious new musical for all ages. Great musical comedy fun!" 2 PM and 7:30 PM Feb. 26.Playboy of the Western World, music and book by Richard B. Evans, lyrics and book by Kate Hancock, based on the play by J. M. Synge. "Pegeen Flaherty, a young woman in a remote Irish village in 1907, is engaged to be married. But her plans, and the lives of all the colorful characters within her village, are upset by the arrival of a mysterious and handsome young stranger who reveals that he's killed his father. A delightful afternoon of Irish humor and music!" 2 PM March 2.
Wicked City Blues, book, music and lyrics by Norman Thalheimer, story by Cornell Christianson. "It's 1947 and a radio show detective finds himself in over his head in a dark city where nothing is what it seems to be. The two worlds of film noir and live radio collide onstage in a new musical that combines jazz, comedy and suspense." 7:30 PM April 12. Presentations are at The Theatre at Saint Peter's, Citigroup Center, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th (enter on 54th Street). For reservations, call (212) 935-5824 ext 24. For more information, visit www.yorktheatre.org.
James Morgan is artistic director of Off-Broadway's York, Louis Chiodo is consulting managing director and Jeff Landsman is reading series coodinator.