By Michael Gioia
27 Aug 2013
RSO FEST will launch Oct. 7 with 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, produced in association with Tony Award-winning producer John Johnson; followed by Darling, produced in association with Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch and Sh-k-boom, Nov. 4; and Jasper In Deadland, produced in association with Prospect Theater Company, Nov. 18.
"I wanted to present my music in the complete context of the show while also having the support of the instrumentation I designed," said songwriter Oliver in a statement. "I want people to hear the whole score of each show in concert, while also seeing the entire story in a condensed form. I'm honored to be joined by so many collaborators on this — directors, producers, and music directors, who I believe are going to help present the most exciting night of RSO music yet."
35mm, the first in the series, premiered in New York in March 2012 with a sold-out run at the Galapagos Art Space starring Lindsay Mendez, Betsy Wolfe, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ben Crawford and Alex Brightman. An original cast album is available on the Ghostlight label.
Darling, which was featured on NBC's "The Apprentice" in the "Broadway Bound" episode, features music and lyrics by Oliver with a book by actor and writer Brett Ryback, who recently starred in Second Stage Theatre's Murder For Two.
The 7 PM and 9:30 PM concerts will be directed by Jeremy Dobrish with music direction by Chris Fenwick. Here's how the work is described: "1929 Boston: A coming-of-age story about Ursula Morgan, stolen away from her upper-class family by a mysterious rentboy called Peter. Ursula finds herself in the seedy underground in a world of sex, drugs, and jazz."
Jasper In Deadland, which will premiere in New York as part of Prospect Theater Company's 2014 season, features music and lyrics by Oliver with a book by Oliver and Tony Award-nominated actor and writer Hunter Foster.
Directed by Brandon Ivie with music direction by Ryan Fielding Garrett, the 54 Below concerts will be held at 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM. According to press notes, "16-year-old Jasper travels through the Afterlife on a mission to save his best friend, Agnes. In this hybrid underworld, Jasper encounters demons, gods, mortals and monsters from Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Norse, and Judeo-Christian mythology, learning what it means to die and questioning what it means to live."
Oliver is a 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient and a 2008 Rodgers Award winner. He was also featured in Part One of Playbill's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know.
For more information, visit 54Below.com.