The cast for the 7 PM industry reading includes Sally Wilfert (Assassins and Tom Sawyer) as domestic diva "Martha Blake" and Nora Mae Lyng (Forbidden Broadway and Into the Woods) as the working-class Polish mother who lovingly refers to her daughter as a "grandiose, opinionated, pain-in-the-ass."
According to the writers, "The show tells the life story of Martha Blake, who, with guile and glue gun, rises from her working class Polish roots to become doyenne of American domesticity and one of the most successful businesswomen in American history. There's also a nasty bit about insider trading thrown into the mix to assure that Martha! The Unauthorized Musical is a tale of Shakespearean proportions with a strong second act. No food icon goes unskewered as Martha gets help and advice from Julia Child (in a ballet, naturally) and Aunt Jemima…'the beloved yet politically incorrect icon associated with the inferior, mass-market pancake mix.'"
Jemima will be played by Sheryl McCallum, who is currently in Broadway's The Lion King.
The reading cast also includes Michael McCoy, Tim Douglas Jensen, Pearl Sun, Sara Levine, David Foley, Jr. and Jonathan Monk. Martha! The Unauthorized Musical is written by John G. Ekizian (lyrics and co-librettist) and James-Allen Ford (music and co-librettist). The writers met in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
The tone of the show is said to be "decidedly light," and the underlying theme "the price of perfection" that Martha imposes on herself.
"The musical reminds us of the numerous obstacles that Martha overcame on the road to fame and near ruin," according to production notes. "Martha has many antagonists, both real and somewhat imagined: the invalidating mother who wants her pretty daughter to marry well and keep out of the spotlight; the journalists and feminists who resent Martha's counterintuitive vision that many women will want to take pride in domestic activities; the members of the media and the business world who predict (incorrectly) the failure of each business venture; and various and sundry employees whom Martha sees as riding on her fame. Faced with losing her empire, Martha ultimately realizes the she has been unable to accept the imperfection of others because she has been unable to accept imperfection in herself."
Composer and co-librettist Ford contributed music and book for the a cappella musical Along the Way, seen at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the NYC Fringe Festival. His musical Condensed Classics toured nationally for TheatreWorks/USA. He received the Harrington Award for outstanding creative achievement.
Ford writes for and directs the professional a cappella group, Bob Ross Juice Box.
For more information, visit www.marthamusical.com. Members of the industry may call (212) 581-4496 for more information.