Patricia Birch Will Direct New Works in The York's Inaugural "Bespoke Musicals" Program

By Michael Gioia
January 25, 2013

The York Theatre Company has joined forces with Marymount Manhattan College to launch "Bespoke Musicals," a program that pairs teams of emerging writers, chosen by The York Theatre Company, with companies of students from musical theatre college training programs. Performances of the new works will be offered Jan. 26-27.



Four new short musicals will launch the 2013 "Bespoke Musicals" inaugural program: The Counselor, featuring a book, music and lyrics by Barry Wyner; The End of the World, featuring a book by Lori Fischer with music and lyrics by Don Chaffer, Fischer and Lori Chaffer; Serious Music, with a book by Jenny Lyn Bader, music by Ben Morss and lyrics by Bader and Morss; and The Colonel Cluster Contest, with a book, music and lyrics by Eli Bolin and Mike Pettry and special material by Doug Karsaros.

The shows are all — in one way or another — inspired by the online phenomenon Craigslist. Tony-nominated choreographer Patricia Birch (Parade, Music Is, Pacific Overtures, Over Here!, Grease) directs with music direction by Brent Sawyer.

According to the York, "The writers are charged with creating custom-made musicals, fitted to the particular talents and strengths of the student performers in the program. Under the direction of a distinguished guest director and music director, the performers learn and perform roles specifically created for them over a three week creative process that leads to an additional two weeks of rehearsal and performance."

Performances will be held Jan. 26 at 2:30 PM and 8 PM and Jan. 27 at 2:30 PM at The York Theatre Company in Saint Peter's.

The 2013 program features a 15-member repertory company from Marymount Manhattan College's musical theatre program, under the direction of Patricia Hoag Simon, which includes Paul Adzima, Sarah Biggs, Katelynn Brady, Justin Brown, Michael Brown, Erin Eichfeld, Brian Fender-Shirley, Melissa Hirsch, Gabrielle Howarth, Hayley Lampart, Eric Leiggi, Jonathan Melo, Laryssa Schoeck, Whitney Semin and Connor Stribling.

The York Theatre Company is under the producing artistic direction of James Morgan and executive direction of Andrew Levine.

The York Theatre Company in Saint Peter's is located at East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue. For more information and tickets, call (212) 935-5820 or visit YorkTheatre.org.