With music by Reid, lyrics by Schlesinger and a book by both, In This House tells of a young couple on "an unexpected journey when their car crashes into an old wall surrounding a deserted house on New Year's Eve," according to Melting Pot. "Through its powerful score, In This House communicates the challenges and joys of waking up and moving on, stone by stone."
The invitation-only presentations will feature George Lee Andrews (The Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music), Stephen R. Buntrock (Oklahoma!, Jane Eyre, Martin Guerre), Andrea Burns (The Full Monty, Parade, Songs for a New World), Maureen Silliman (Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Is There Life After High School?), with musical direction by Andrew Wilder (Jersey Boys, Little Women). Jonathan Bernstein will direct.
Schlesinger is a major player in American musical theatre as chair of the Tisch School's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University.
Mike Reid & Sarah Schlesinger's musical, The Ballad of Little Jo opened to solid reviews at the Bridewell Theatre in London in July 2003. Prior to its London run, the show was produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago as its first musical. The collaborators have also worked on Different Fields, a commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Opera Memphis, and are currently writing the score for a new musical based on the life of Casanova. They have received the Kleban Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, a Gilman-Gonzalez Falla Theatre Foundation Award, and Chicago's Jeff Award for Best Original Musical. Reid is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter with more than 30 Top-Ten pop and country hits recorded by many artists including Bonnie Raitt ("I Can't Make You Love Me"), Anita Baker, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, Alabama, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Bette Midler, and Tim McGraw. "We are delighted to continue developing In This House, which we've been working on with Mike and Sarah for about two years," said Sean Patrick Flahaven, Melting Pot's managing director, in a statement. "It's that ideal show: an original book musical with relevance to audiences old and young. Mike's music is wonderful, melodic, contemporary musical theatre with pop, folk, and classical influences, melded perfectly with Sarah's poignant and funny lyrics. Plus, it's easily producible: 4 actors, 1 set, 18 songs, and 90 minutes long. The show is now ready for the theatre community to see, and we look forward to sharing it."
MPTC received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and An Appalachian Summer Festival to develop In This House.
The invitation-only readings will take place at Theatre Row Studios Feb. 6-7. Theatre industry professionals should e-mail Sean@MeltingPotTheatre.com for reservations.
Larry Hirschhorn is Melting Pot's founding artistic director, Sean Patrick Flahaven is managing director.
Melting Pot Theatre Company "creates, develops, and produces New York premieres of exceptional plays and musicals that explore the themes, people, and events that shape the unique American experience."
Since 1997, MPTC has produced mainstage shows, including four world premieres and nine New York premieres. Past works include Flight: The Rise & Fall of Charles Lindbergh, Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music & Times of Alberta Hunter, Miss Evers' Boys, Cobb and Woody Guthrie's American Song.
In 2004, MPTC launched its unique "Preludes: New Musicals in Concert" series at Symphony Space with Vanishing Point and Striking 12 (the latter resulted in a live cast album available on the PS Classics label).