New Musical History of War Features a Book by Chip Zien; Max von Essen to Star

News   New Musical History of War Features a Book by Chip Zien; Max von Essen to Star
Chip Zien, who created the role of the Baker in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, has penned the book for the new musical The History of War, which will make its debut next month as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Max von Essen
Max von Essen Photo by Stephen Mosher

Performances of The History of War, which features music by Deborah Abramson and lyrics by Amanda Yesnowitz, will begin Oct. 8 at the Chernuchin Theatre-American Theatre of Actors.

Nick Corley will direct a cast headed by Max von Essen (Xanadu tour; Les Miserables) as Alexander the Great with Paul Kandel, Jason Kravits, Sophie Hayden, Jim Walton, Timothy Gulan, William Michals, Herman Sebek, Eric Poindexter, Andrew Pandaleon, Robbie Tann and Michael D'Addario as 12-year-old Manfred. The creative team also includes musical director Brian Usifer and choreographer Darren Lee.

The History of War, according to press notes, is "spun from the imagination of a 12-year-old boy - a megalomaniac in training. As he struggles with homework assignments and peculiar visions, he conjures up seven of the most famous tyrants of all time. They did horrible things. He wants to do horrible things. His parents are worried. ...and everybody sings! ... well, almost everybody. Reality and pathology neatly converge in this terrifyingly subversive new musical."

The production features scenic design by James Maloof, costume design by Gail Baldoni, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Brandon Wolcott and projection design by Kate Freer and Dave Tennant of Room 404 Media. Donald Butchko is the production stage manager.

Show times are scheduled for Oct. 8 at 7 PM, Oct. 9 at 1 PM, Oct. 12 at 8 PM, Oct. 15 at 7 PM and Oct. 16 at 1 PM and 5 PM.

Chernuchin Theatre-American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 West 54th Street. Tickets, priced $20, are available by visiting For more information visit

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