Murder Ballad Will Be Sung by John Ellison Conlee, Karen Olivo, Will Swenson and Rebecca Naomi Jones
By Kenneth Jones
Manhattan Theatre Club's Murder Ballad, a new rock musical that launches the company's new Studio at Stage II Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series, will star John Ellison Conlee, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Karen Olivo and Will Swenson.
The world-premiere engagement of the work by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash is directed by Trip Cullman. It will play a four-week limited engagement beginning Oct. 30 prior to opening Nov. 15 at City Center Stage II, one of MTC's two Off-Broadway homes.
Here's how MTC bills the show: "A love triangle gone wrong, Murder Ballad centers on Sara, an Upper West Sider who seems to have it all, but whose downtown past lingers enticingly and dangerously in front of her. This sexy, explosive new musical explores the complications of love, the compromises we make, and the small betrayals that can ultimately undo us."
Tony Award nominee Conlee appeared in The Constant Wife and The Full Monty on Broadway; Jones starred in American Idiot and Passing Strange; Tony Award winner Olivo was Anita in the recent West Side Story and Vanessa in In the Heights; and Tony Award nominee Will Swenson starred in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Hair.
Jordan is a Jonathan Larson Award winner and two-time Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. Nash is an indie rock singer/songwriter. Cullman's directing credits include Paul Weitz's Lonely, I'm Not and Adam Bock's A Small Fire.
The creative team for Murder Ballad includes Mark Wendland (scenic design), Jessica Pabst (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Leon Rothenberg (sound design), Doug Varone (movement) and Justin Levine (music director, vocal arranger and orchestrator).
Murder Ballad runs to Nov. 25. Murder Ballad was originally presented by New York Stage and Film Company and The Powerhouse Theater at Vassar in July 2012.
All tickets are $30. Tickets will go on sale to the general public starting Oct. 1 via CityTix at (212) 581-1212 and nycitycenter.org.
On Oct. 15, the New York City Center Box Office (131 W. 55th Street) will begin selling single tickets.
The Studio at Stage II is Manhattan Theatre Club's new initiative, under the leadership of Mandy Greenfield, at New York City Center – Stage II (131 West 55th Street).
In June 2013, The Studio's inaugural season will conclude with the American premiere of Choir Boy, a play with music by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
As part of The Studio at Stage II, MTC and Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, artistic director; Jeremy Blocker, managing director) have partnered to launch The Writer's Room, a program to commission, develop, and support playwrights in the process of creating new work for the stage. MTC and Ars Nova will announce members of The Writer's Room later this year.
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