LaChanze, Lisa Brescia, Tituss Burgess Set for NEO 9, Featuring Songs by Georgia Stitt, Kait Kerrigan and More
By Michael Gioia
The York Theatre Company will present NEO 9, a benefit concert celebrating rising musical theatre writers, May 20 in New York City. Performers for the evening include Lisa Brescia, Tituss Burgess and Tony Award winner LaChanze.
The NEO 9 concert, set to begin at 7:30 PM, will include songs by Julianne Wick Davis (Southern Comfort), Carmel Dean (A Girl Called Vincent), Kait Kerrigan (The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown), Rebekah Greer Melocik (The Last Queen of Canaan) and Georgia Stitt (The Water).
Directed by Annette Jolles, with music direction by Matt Castle, performers include Brescia (Wicked, Mamma Mia!), Burgess (The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls), Kate Baldwin, Heath Calvert (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Tony winner LaChanze (The Color Purple), Megann Fahy (Next to Normal), Elizabeth Ward Land (Scandalous), Marja Harmon (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Kate Wetherhead (Legally Blonde, The Other Josh Cohen), Sally Wilfert (Assassins), Michael Winther (33 Variations) and The Hartt School Ensemble.
Program mentors making special appearances include Stephen Flaherty, Jeanine Tesori, Lynn Ahrens, Rachel Sheinkin and Michael John LaChiusa. The Honorary Committee includes Gretchen Cryer, Nancy Ford, Carol Hall, Mildred Kayden, Mary Rodgers and Mira Spektor. A champagne and dessert reception to toast the evening will follow.
NEO, an acronym for "New, Emerging, Outstanding," "celebrates songwriters primed to pen the next generation of musicals," according to press notes. "Since the first NEO concert 9 years ago — recorded by England's JAY Records — musical theatre fans and York supporters eagerly anticipate each incarnation. The York Theatre Company has recently embarked on a new yearlong mentoring program that brings together established writers and upcoming producing partners to help encourage the growth of new works."
In this new NEO format, which began in 2012, the concert kicks off a year of activity for each writer. Each one will receive a fully funded developmental reading in the course of the year and is assigned an established producing mentor.
The York Theatre is located at the Citicorp Building on East 54th Street (just east of Lexington Avenue). For more information and tickets, call (212) 935-5824 x215 or visit YorkTheatre.org.
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