James Barbour, Nili Bassman, Lawrence Street and More Will Take Part in York's October Developmental Readings

News   James Barbour, Nili Bassman, Lawrence Street and More Will Take Part in York's October Developmental Readings
The York Theatre Company, under the producing artistic direction of James Morgan, has announced casting for the next three offerings in its acclaimed Developmental Reading Series: Harold and Maude, Civil War Stories and Leni Riefenstal is Going to Tell You the Truth.

"These readings give writers a unique opportunity to get audience feedback while a show is still in progress," said producing artistic director Morgan in a statement.

Harold and Maude, an intimate musical 
based on the film by Colin Higgins, features a book and lyrics by Tom Jones (The Fantasticks) with music by Joseph Thalken. Directed by Carl Andress
 with music direction by Thalken, the Oct. 11 reading features Matt Dengler as Harold and Rita Gardner as Maude with Jillian Louis, Daniel Marcus and Jennifer Van Dyke.

Here's how it's billed: "In what some call the quintessential May-December romance, death-obsessed teenager, Harold, meets Maude, 79, at a funeral and thus begins one of the most unusual, yet truly touching romantic sagas in American pop-culture history."

Civil War Voices, which features a book, music and lyrics by Jim Harris and Mark Hayes, will be held Oct. 15. Directed by David Glenn Armstrong with music direction by Aaron Gandy, the cast features James Barbour (Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities), Nili Bassman (Curtains, Chicago), Danielle Lee Greaves (Hairspray, Rent), Paul Anthony Stewart (Fiddler on the Roof, Cyrano), Lawrence Street (Urinetown), Juliette Trafton (Phantom of the Opera), Stephen Trafton (Les Miserables), Catherine Fries Vaughn (Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?), Chris Vaughn and Bruce Warren (York's The Road to Qatar!, Cats). Bob Ost produces.

Here's how the work is described: "A slave who became Mrs. Lincoln's confidante. A Southern couple separated by war. A Yankee professor turned military hero A plantation owner with a conflicted conscience. Five lives made extraordinary by the times they lived in. The real words, the real music. The real heart of a country divided. A show that set box office records at the Barter Theatre, Virginia, and had audiences standing and cheering in a 26-city tour. Rediscover the truth now, during the Civil War Sesquicentennial." Leni Riefenstahl is Going to Tell You the Truth, with a book, music and lyrics by Christie Baugher, will be held Oct. 19. Directed by Stephen Brackett with music direction by Ryan Kerr, the work will feature Jen Tullock in the title role.

Set in 1947, here is how York describes the work: "In a French mental ward, notorious Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl spins a defense of her life and her choices with the help of four young American soldiers who assume the roles of the most important men in her life, including Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. She creates an elaborate reality all her own – part Brechtian cabaret confessional, part Tin Pan Alley fugue state – that challenges the very definition of 'truth' itself."

The York Theatre Company's Developmental Reading Series presents between 30-40 readings and workshops of new musicals by emerging and established authors. York's past Mainstage productions of Yank!, Souvenir and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) were first developed in the Developmental Reading Series, where the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q also made its first appearance.

All readings begin at 3 PM at The York Theatre at Saint Peter's (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Reservations are full for Civil War Stories, but there is a wait list.

Visit YorkTheatre.org.

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