Klea Blackhurst Is Ethel Merman in Oct. 4 Reading of Merman's Apprentice, With Anita Gillette, Carly Rose Sonenclar

Industry readings of the new musical fable Merman's Apprentice are presented Oct. 4 at 1 PM and 4 PM in Manhattan.

Klea Blackhurst
Klea Blackhurst

Directed by Igor Goldin with musical direction by David Andrews Rogers, the readings feature Klea Blackhurst as Ethel Merman, Michael McCormick as David Merrick, Tony nominee Anita Gillette as Ethel's Mom, Tim Jerome as Ethel's Pop, Adam Heller as Moe Plakenstein, Jamison Stern as Goldie, James Beaman as Marvin and Carly Rose Sonenclar as Muriel Plakenstein. Playing various autograph hounds and first-nighters are Sarah Sesler, Molly Rushing and Leslie Alexander.

Merman's Apprentice has book and lyrics by Stephen Cole ( After the Fair, The Night of the Hunter, The Road to Qatar!) and music by David Evans ( Birds of Paradise, Children’s Letters to God).

"Picture it: 1970," press notes state. "The Golden Age of Musical Theatre is drawing to an end. But 12-year-old Muriel Plakenstein doesn't know that. So she runs away from home to become a Broadway star, and meets the Queen of Broadway Ethel Merman, who takes her to a Hello, Dolly! rehearsal where they sing together. When legendary producer David Merrick hears the kid, he decides to star Muriel in the first all-child cast of Dolly! Naturally, Merman takes her under wing to teach her the ropes of being a star...making little Muriel Plakenstein Merman's Apprentice."

Lyricist-librettist Cole's friendship with Ethel Merman inspired the musical fable, which combines real-life events and characters with a fictional story.

Industry folk interested in attending the readings should e-mail mermansapprentice@gmail.com.