Daniel Goldstein Will Direct Free Reading of Jasper in Deadland, Featuring Wesley Taylor, George Salazar and More
By Michael Gioia
The York Theatre Company will continue its winter NEO Reading Series with a free staged reading of the new pop-rock musical by Ryan Scott Oliver, Jasper in Deadland, Feb. 8.
Directed by Daniel Goldstein with music direction by Joe Kinosian, the cast includes Nick Choski, Trista Dollison (The Lion King), Marisa Devetta, Ben Fankhauser (Newsies), F. Michael Haynie (Wicked), Julia Mattison (Godspell), Lexi Rabadi, George Salazar (Godspell) and Wesley Taylor (The Addams Family, "Smash").
Jasper in Deadland, which features a book, music and lyrics by Oliver (35mm; Mrs. Sharp; Darling; The Frog Prince, Cont.), will be offered Feb. 8 at 3 PM at the York Theatre Company in Saint Peter's.
The work, according to the York, follows "16-year-old Jasper as he travels through the Afterlife on a mission to save his best friend, Agnes. In this hybrid underworld, Jasper encounters demons, gods, mortals and monsters from Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Norse, and Judeo-Christian mythology, learning what it means to die and questioning what it means to live."
Jasper in Deadland was commissioned by the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program, where it received a premiere workshop presentation in August 2011. For more on the work and composer-lyricist Oliver, read Playbill.com's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know.
The band features Micah Burgess on guitar, Eric Day on bass, Jessie Reagen Mann on cello and Jeremy Yaddaw on drums.
Other members of the creative team include Jen Littlefield (assistant director), Addison O'Donnell (assistant music director), Kristina Vnook (production stage manager) and Coleman Annison (assistant stage manager). Patrick Catullo is the producing mentor on this NEO reading. The program is designed to match a producing mentor with a show so the writer receives valuable feedback on how the show can progress to the next step.
NEO (an acronym for "New, Emerging, Outstanding") celebrates songwriters primed to pen the next generation of musicals. The York Theatre Company recently embarked on a new year-long mentoring program that brings together established writers and upcoming producing partners to help encourage the growth of new works.
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). The reading is free and open to the public with a reservation. For more information and reservations, visit YorkTheatre.org.
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