A Florida Hit, Dr. Radio Musical Gets NYC Reading Featuring Joel Briel, Nick Duckart
By Kenneth Jones
Dr. Radio, a new musical with a book by Bill Castellino (Crash Club, Jolson at the Winter Garden, Some Kind of Wonderful) and music and lyrics by Christopher McGovern (Backwards in High Heels, Cagney, Lizzie Borden), will be heard in a private industry reading in Manhattan on June 17.
The cast includes Joel Briel (Cats) as Benji "Dr. Radio" Weitz, two-time Carbonell Award winner Nick Duckart, Brenda Cummings (Lizzie Borden), Kelly McCormick (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, [title of show]) and Emily Zacharias (Cutman, Falsettos, Olympus On My Mind). The presentation is directed by Castellino, with musical direction by McGovern. It's produced by Steve Petrillo for the Musical Theatre Wing of the Workshop Theatre.
Dr. Radio, according to the creators, "centers on Benji Weitz, who, with eviction notice in hand, packs up the Lower East Side storefront that has been his business and his home for his entire life. Taking one final look around, Benji turns on his beloved 1942 Grunow RCA Radio one last time. What happens next is part radio comedy, part mystery and part sentimental journey. Benji's radio play tells the story of hidden treasure, the tango, futurology, a haunting, greed with lots of great songs and an unlikely romance. Finally we learn, through laughter and tears, why Benji just can't seem to leave his beloved repair shop… and why he must."
The nostalgic musical dramedy was popular in its world premiere at Florida Stage in 2010, after which Duckart won a Carbonell Award for his performance. This marks the property's first presentation in New York City. Castellino's directing credits include Grumpy Old Men and Jolson at the Winter Garden, among other works seen regionally. He recently directed Ionescopade for York Theatre Company.
"Making a musical is a long and exciting journey," Catellino told Playbill.com. "We are so lucky that the Workshop theatre and these really gifted actors are giving us the opportunity to revisit the piece. I am focused on making our wacky and circuitous narrative clearer without sacrificing the madcap tone of the piece. I am also working on our tearful and hearfelt resolution — I want the touching and surprising ending to feel earned and organic to the hilarious and campy ride of the story. It is a fun and formidible challenge."
For more information, visit drradiothemusical.com.
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