Jasper in Deadland, With Matt Doyle Exploring Life in the Afterlife, Opens March 26 in NYC
By Michael Gioia
The New York premiere of Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster's Jasper in Deadland — a new musical that follows 16-year-old Jasper as he journeys into the afterlife to save his best friend — officially opens March 26 at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew. Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon) stars in the title role.
Prospect Theater Company presents the musical, which also features Allison Scagliotti (Off-Broadway debut, SyFy's "Warehouse 13") as Gretchen and Ben Crawford (Big Fish, Shrek The Musical) as Mr. Lethe.
Rounding out the cast are Andi Alhadeff, Leo Ash Evens (Jesus Christ Superstar), Danyel Fulton, F. Michael Haynie (Wicked), John-Michael Lyles and Bonnie Milligan, who portray a pantheon of characters from the underworld.
Brandon Ivie (assistant director of Broadway's A Christmas Story, The Musical and First Date) helms Jasper, which features a score by Oliver and a book by Oliver and Foster. Lorin Latarro (Waiting For Godot and Scandalous) choreographs.
Previews began March 16 for a run through April 13.
Here's how Jasper in Deadland is billed: "In this original musical, 16-year-old Jasper journeys through the Afterlife on a mission to save his best friend, Agnes. On his thrill-ride through a hybrid underworld, Jasper encounters demons, gods, mortals and monsters from Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Norse mythology, learning what it means to die and questioning what it means to live."
Other members of the creative team include Tony-nominated costume designer Bobby Pearce, scenic designer Patrick Rizzotti, lighting designer Herrick Goldman and sound designer Ed Chapman. Ryan Fielding Garrett serves as musical director, and vocal arrangements and orchestrations are by Oliver.
Jasper in Deadland was originally commissioned in 2011 by the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. It has received subsequent developmental readings through Pace University and the York Theatre Company's NEO Reading Series, as well as a recent one-night concert presentation at 54 Below as part of RSO FEST. Read the recap of RSO FEST here.
Oliver is the recipient of both the Jonathan Larson Award as well as a Richard Rodgers Award for musical theatre. Read more about his work in Playbill.com's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know.
Foster has previously written the books to four musicals, including the Outer Critics Circle-nominated Summer of '42 and the upcoming Circus in Winter. He is a Tony nominee for his performance in Little Shop of Horrors and can be seen in the new Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County.
Prospect Theater Company is under the direction of artistic director Cara Reichel and managing director Melissa Huber.
The West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew is located at 263 West 86th Street. For more information and tickets, call (212) 352-3101 or visit ProspectTheater.org.
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