[title of show]'s Susan Blackwell Will Return to NYMF in World Premiere of Volleygirls

By Michael Gioia
May 29, 2013

Susan Blackwell, who was seen on Broadway in [title of show] — the musical that began its life at NYMF — will star in the world-premiere production of Volleygirls, part of the 10th New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Performances will begin July 15 at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre.



Blackwell will play a disgraced Olympian coaching an oddball team of high-school volleyball players in the new musical that features a book by Rob Ackerman (Tabletop, 2001 Drama Desk), lyrics by Sam Forman (Sleepless in Seattle, F#%king Up Everything) and music by Eli Bolin (I Sing).

"NYMF holds a very special place in my heart, since I participated in the inaugural season ten years ago with [title of show]," said Blackwell in a statement. "Like [title of show], I feel Volleygirls is extremely special. It's got everything: great music, sharp writing, a gigantic heart, good humor, a fantastic cast and creative team, and, Superbonus: Girls! Playing volleyball!! Get into it!!!"

Neil Patrick Stewart (The Elephant Man in L.A.) will direct with choreography by Ryan Kasprazak ("Smash"). Performances will continue through July 27.

Television actress Monica Raymund (NBC's "Chicago Fire") of Sisu Theatrical Productions produces alongside Cave 76 Productions and NYMF.

In Volleygirls, according to producers, "Kim Brindell (Blackwell) was once a world-class athlete before she choked and became an Olympic joke. After years of avoiding the sport that shattered her, she finds herself in charge of a team of wide-eyed, misfit, high-school girls. With the encouragement of a headmaster who's had a crush on her since college, and the resistance of a hardline, helicopter P.T.A. mom, Kim finds a way to help the girls, to accept their help in return, and to win it all."

"As an artist, I've always been interested in projects that bring women together," added lead producer Raymund in a statement. "Young females in this country are bombarded daily by images and sentiments of questionable quality. Volleygirls is filled with dynamic, three-dimensional female characters who learn self-acceptance and empowerment; messages that musical theatre is long overdue in sending to its largest demographic. And yet it's not a show just for teenagers — I've never seen anything like Volleygirls on stage before, and I knew I had to be a part of such an original, positive, uniquely-told story. Fostering a strong and unified community of women is a part of my passion as an artist and producer, and the story of Volleygirls is filled with that very same passion, which is why this is the perfect project for me."

NYMF is the flagship program of The National Music Theater Network. Now entering its tenth year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to "revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience."

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center is located at 480 West 42nd Street. For more information and tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit NYMF.org.