Stafford Arima and Taye Diggs Will Helm Industry Readings of The Me Nobody Knows, Featuring BDF Students

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05 May 2014

Stafford Arima
Stafford Arima
Monica Simoes

Producer Bellanca Smigel Rutter (The Bridges of Madison County, Macbeth) will present an industry reading of The Me Nobody Knows, helmed by Stafford Arima, Bryan Perri and Taye Diggs, May 14-15 in anticipation of a commercial production.

Director Arima (Allegiance, Altar Boyz) will team up with musical director Bryan Perri (Wicked) and choreographer Diggs (Rent, "Private Practice") for the project, which is composed entirely of students from The Broadway Dreams Foundation (BDF), a national, non-profit performing arts training program.

Inspired by the writings of nearly 200 New York City public school children (ages 7-18), The Me Nobody Knows, according to press notes, "follows a day in the life of a multi-racial cast of young people as they examine their aspirations, fears and determination. At odds with their squalid surroundings and cynical, materialistic views of the world, feelings of hope and renewal emerge."

Arima explained in a statement, "In thinking about the casting for this reading, I suggested we find our cast within the students of BDF. We had well over 100 students audition and we found a unique and special group of 10 from across the country. Bringing The Me and BDF together was truly a match made in Heaven."

The cast of The Me Nobody Knows includes Rosa Campos (Atlanta, GA), Rayquila Durham (Atlanta, GA), Sam Faulkner (Charlotte, NC), Samantha Gorjanc (San Jose, CA), Brett Gray (Philadelphia, PA), Rico LeBron (Tallahassee, FL), Noah Ricketts (Louisville, KY), Jordan Samuels (New York, NY), Anneliza Canning Skinner (Marietta, GA) and Brinnie Wallace (Los Angeles, CA).



"I performed in The Me as a college student and that experience helped pave the way for my love of performing," added Diggs. "Choreography has always been a passion of mine. To create movement on this scale, and for a project I was so moved by as a young artist, is an opportunity that I could not pass up. I am truly grateful."

The Me Nobody Knows is based on the book conceptualized by Herb Schapiro, edited by Stephen M. Joseph, and adapted for the stage by Robert H. Livingston and Herb Schapiro. With music by Gary William Friedman, lyrics by Will Holt and arrangements by Gary William Friedman, The Me Nobody Knows debuted Off-Broadway in 1970 and won the Obie Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical.

In December 1970, the musical transferred to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. After ending its Broadway run, The Me Nobody Knows was performed throughout the world in cities such as Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Hamburg and Johannesburg. The cast of the German-language version, Ich Bin Ich, included a young Donna Summer. In 1980, the musical was produced for the television network Showtime and was recorded at the CBS television studio now known as The Ed Sullivan Theatre.

For more information on BDF, visit MyBroadwayDreams.com.