York's Free Reading Series to Feature Conversation, Lighter, Mating Dance and More in December

News   York's Free Reading Series to Feature Conversation, Lighter, Mating Dance and More in December Free readings of several new musicals will be presented at the York Theatre Company in December as part of the Off-Broadway company's Developmental Reading Series.

The month will kick off Dec. 2 at 3 PM with the romantic comedy Conversation Piece, which boasts music by Noel Coward and an adaptation by Barry Day (aided by Tony Walton). The musical, according to press notes, concerns "an exiled French Duke in Regency Brighton [who] is attempting to arrange a rich marriage for a young Parisian gamin he is passing off as his ward. She spoils the scheme by falling in love with him…and singing one of Coward's most magical and enduring songs, 'I'll Follow My Secret Heart.'"

On Dec. 11 theatre fans can enjoy Lighter: The Diet Musical, which will be presented at 3 PM. With book, music and lyrics by Monica Bauer, the musical concerns two "diet-crossed lovers . . . [The] low-carb lady leaves her high-carb man in search of fame and fortune on 'American Weight Loss Idol.'"

A double-header of Seymour Barab musicals will be offered Dec. 15 at 3 PM: Mating Dance on the Upper West Side and At Last I've Found You. The former, which is adapted from A. R. Gurney's The Problem, follows a "sophisticated but blasé married couple [who] discover that politics can be a sexual turn-on." The latter is described as such: "For years, a space ship has been coming to this planet. All efforts to communicate with the occupants have met with failure. Now another landing has been sighted. Two Special Agents are dispatched to wrest the secret of space travel from the aliens. They succeed in their quest but with unexpected consequences."

The month of readings will conclude Dec. 16 at 3 PM with The Happy Hypocrite. Adapted from a story by Max Beerbohm with songs by Noel Coward — including a collaboration with Ivor Novello — the musical was adapted by Tony Walton, who was aided by Barry Day. The "adult fable" is set in Regency London and concerns "the unlikely romance between a pretty and innocent young entertainer and a profligate old Rake . . .whose soul — following many intriguing machinations — is redeemed through true love."

The readings will be presented at the York's home at The Theatre at Saint Peter's on 54th Street, east of Lexington Avenue. Although the readings are free, reservations are required by emailing Jeff Landsman at Jlandsman@yorktheatre.org (include name, phone number, the show's title and the number of tickets) or by calling (212) 935-5824, ext. 24. For more information visit www.yorktheatre.org.