Actors from Wicked, Spring Awakening and "Smash" Cast in Reading of WWII Musical By Wheel and By Wing

News   Actors from Wicked, Spring Awakening and "Smash" Cast in Reading of WWII Musical By Wheel and By Wing
An invitation-only staged reading of By Wheel and By Wing, under the direction of two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson, will be held Nov. 3 in New York.

Remy Zaken
Remy Zaken

The 6 PM reading will be held in the Edmond J. Safra Hall of the Museum of Jewish Heritage at 36 Battery Place.

The cast includes Ben Liebert (Wicked) as Mickey, Elyssa Brette Mactas (Yellow Brick Road) as Esther, Connor Crank as Moishe, Remy Zaken (Spring Awakening) as Sally, Jeremy Sevelovitz (We The People national tour) as Azriel, Joey LaVarco (13) as Izzy, Hayley Feinstein (Shrek the Musical national tour) as Clara, Matt Alea as Johnny, Tori Feinstein (Matilda) as Toni, Charlie Judelson as Genie and Rachel Weisbart as Katya with Natalie Peyser ("Smash") and Jacob Samuels (Revolting Rhymes).

The musical, according to press notes, "relates the struggle of the Parnes family who lived on the Polish-Ukraine border at the outbreak of World War II. Through luck, coincidence and the family's insistence on staying together, they found themselves traveling always eastward. Although the Jewish family remained only a few days ahead of the Nazi invasion, they were never caught or imprisoned, and survived, family intact, at the end of the war."

Based on the true story of the family of Esther and Samuel Parnes' escape during World War II, the work is informed by direct interviews with surviving family members and interviews conducted for the book about the Parnes family, "One Step Ahead" by Avraham Azrieli.

A staged reading of By Wheel and By Wing was held in Atlanta, under the professional guidance of Act3 Productions staff, in May 2011. The musical premiered June 21, 2012, at Act3 Playhouse in Sandy Springs, GA, with creative direction by Corey-Jan Albert. The original writing team included book writers Cameron Albert-Deitch, Haley Chung, Dara Epstein, Leah Quattrochi and Parrish Turner; with music by Sam Barge, Leslie Doctor, Justin Nash Fisher and Greg Windle; and lyrics by Cameron Albert-Deitch, Sam Barge, Leslie Doctor, Haley Chung, Maital Gottfried and Greg Windle. Additional book, music and lyrics are by Corey-Jan Albert, Jayne Atkinson-Gill, Elyssa Mactas, Patti Mactas and Dan Marmor. New music and lyrics are by Shami Arslanian and Steve Weisbart.

"Once we got the word out about this extraordinary play, we were thrilled at the response from New York's acting community," said director Atkinson in a statement. "The true story of a family's successful fight to survive and stay together during one of the most horrific periods of modern history really resonated with the actors, and they were eager to take By Wheel and By Wing to the next level through this staged reading for industry professionals."

Act3 Productions has invited Holocaust survivors to the musical's dress rehearsal at 2 PM.

The creative team also includes music director Geraldine Anello, stage manager Jeremy Geller and reader Michael Gill.

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