Krakowski Will Be Teacher Mrs. Sharp in Musical Reading Ripped From Headlines

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19 Jul 2009

Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski
Photo by Ben Strothmann

Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski and Tony nominee Christian Borle are participating in a private reading of Mrs. Sharp, a new Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical by composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver and librettist Kirsten Guenther.

Playwrights Horizons is presenting the reading, to get invitation-only industry performances July 30-31 at PH's home on West 42nd Street. Tony nominee Michael Greif (Next to Normal, Grey Gardens, Rent) directs.

Mrs. Sharp won the Richard Rodgers Award for Staged Readings, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Oliver is a Jonathan Larson Grant recipient. Both Oliver and Guenther earned their MFA degrees from New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

The Playwrights Horizons reading is supported by The Richard Rodgers Foundation.

Tony Award winner and 2009 Emmy Award nominee Jane Krakowski (Nine, "30 Rock," Grand Hotel) plays the title role. Borle is a veteran of Legally Blonde, Spamalot and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The 12-member cast will also feature Curt Hansen, Kyle Harris, Jeff Hiller, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Marla Mindelle, Amina Robinson, Preston Sadleir, Ali Stroker, Sam Tedaldi and Alex Wyse. Dominick Amendum will serve as music director.

According to Playwrights Horizons, "Based on the 1991 teacher-student sex scandal and murder trial surrounding Pamela Smart, Mrs. Sharp tells the story of a woman who 'wants you to become more.' Having written an unsuccessful self-help series entitled 'Invent Yourself: Five Words to Live By,' 31-year old Kimberly Sharp (Jane Krakowski) is encouraged by her husband (Christian Borle) to take a job teaching at the local high school. Kimberly sets out to change the lives of her students, absorbing them into her web of fantastical delusions and private affairs. But when her husband discovers she's gone just a bit too far, Kimberly realizes there's only one thing that can be done about him. Someone goes to jail, someone becomes a beloved self-help guru and someone gets shot in the head — but everyone learns a lesson from Mrs. Sharp."

Mrs. Sharp was originally conceived at the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University in 2007 as Alive at Ten, where it was presented as a staged reading and selected to participate in the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. Later that year, Stephen Schwartz, who leads the panel of musical theatre writers, chose the musical to receive a workshop at Carnegie Mellon University in association with ASCAP and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. In February 2008, the show was awarded the Richard Rodgers Award for Staged Readings, selected by a jury lead by Stephen Sondheim, Lynn Ahrens, John Guare, Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby Jr. and John Weidman, and in March of that year was granted a complete cast recording by the Clive Davis Dept. of Recorded Music.

Kirsten Guenther (book) was named one of "50 writers to watch" by The Dramatist. She wrote the book for Out of My Head (Lookingglass Theatre, Audience Choice Award). She wrote book and lyrics for Little Miss Fix-It (CAP 21), Soon Never (Directors' Lab Workshop, Lincoln Center) and The Birthday Present. Her lyrics have been heard on the hit YouTube series "The Battery's Down" and in TADA’s Everything About A Family (Almost) Off-Broadway. She has been a guest speaker at Harvard and Yale Universities and is the recipient of a Lincoln Center Director's Lab Honorarium, Dramatist Guild Fellowship and Marge Goldwater Scholarship. She earned an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU.

Ryan Scott Oliver (music & lyrics) is a 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient and wrote the music and lyrics for Darling (Pace New Musicals 2009), the song cycle Out of My Head and Quit India for UCLA. Exclusively as a composer, he wrote the music for Angus Oblong's The Debbies and as a lyricist he contributed the words for the one-act musical Circle Nine. His work has also been heard on YouTube TV show "The Battery's Down" and in showcases presented by The York Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, William Finn and Barrington Stages, New York Theatre Barn, Monday Nights New Voices and the Festival of New American Musicals in Los Angeles. He is a Dramatists Guild Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards including the first-ever ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award for Excellence in Lyric Writing, the John Denver New Composers Award. He earned an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU-Tisch.