O'Neill's National Music Theater Conference Kicks Off June 29

News   O'Neill's National Music Theater Conference Kicks Off June 29
The O'Neill Theater Center's 2008 National Music Theater Conference – featuring stagings of Myth, In Transit, Max Understood and Iron Curtain – begins June 29.

The 31st annual National Musical Theater Conference – running June 29-July 19 – has doubled the number of presented works this year to four and will feature direction by adobe theater company artistic director Jeremy Dobrish, Prospect Theater Company producing artistic director Cara Reichel, Transport Group's Jack Cummings III and Lortel Award winner Joe Calarco.

Jeremy Dobrish directs Myth, which features book, music and lyrics by John Mercurio and is described as "a contemporary riff on three Greek myths set in present day New York. When a disenchanted rock star, a frustrated mother and a slacker teenager take off separately to get their heart's desire, they discover just how intertwined their lives are. Only by working together can they find what they're after."

The cast includes John Lloyd Young (Jersey Boys), Pamela Myers (Company), William Parry (Passion), Brandon Espinoza (Gypsy), Dylan Collins, Dane DeHaan, Marva Hicks (Caroline, Or Change), Deborah Lew (Threepenny Opera), Maureen Silliman (I Remember Mama), Paul Oakley Stovall (Dessa Rose) and Wes Taylor.

Joe Calarco stages In Transit, penned by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russell M. Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. The a cappella musical, according to press notes, "captures the thrills, frustrations, and lunacy of life 'between stations.' Intimate musical snapshots into the lives of random New Yorkers are brought to life through the eyes of a subway beat-boxer with an eclectic all-vocal score that draws upon pop, jazz, hip-hop, country, and even reggae."

The musical features Ryan Thomas Dunn, Hannah Laird, Adam Matta, Adam Overett (The Light in the Piazza), Ann Sanders (Avenue Q), Graham Stevens and Denise Summerford (Taboo). Max Understood, with book by Nancy Carlin, lyrics by Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury and music by Michael Rasbury, is directed by Jack Cummings III. The musical is described as such: "The transformative journey of a 7-year old autistic boy and those who love him, and how the need to communicate overcomes an unintelligible chasm. This sound-scaped musical may leave you feeling autistic yourself…and that's OK."

The cast comprises Matthew Gumley (Mary Poppins), Jonathan Hammond, Hannah Laird, Lauren Marcus (The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks), Kerry O'Malley (The Gershwins' An American in Paris), Ben Roseberry and Paul Oakley Stovall (Dessa Rose).

Iron Curtain, with a book by Susan DiLallo, lyrics by Peter Mills and music by Stephen Weiner, is staged by Cara Reichel. Set in 1956 New York, the musical concerns "two down-on-their luck songwriters are kidnapped by the KGB and brought to Moscow, where they are forced to write Communist Propaganda musicals. A madcap farce about fame vs. freedom, filled with divas and dominatrixes, stooges and spies, mishaps and misdirects as our heroes try desperately to get back home."

The company includes Stephen Bogardus (Love! Valour! Compassion!), Jessica Snow Wilson (Putnam County Spelling Bee), David Abeles (Henry and Mudge), Alison Briner, Monique French, David Gregory (The Golem), Daniel C. Levine (Rocky Horror Show), Anne Torsiglieri (Parade), Dan Sharkey (The Music Man), Robby Sharpe, Lucy Sorensen and Gordon Stanley (Cabaret).

Among the musicals and creators with roots at the O'Neill Center's National Musical Theater Conference are Tan Dun, Kirsten Childs, Andrew Lippa, Joe Masteroff, Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik and Jeannine Tesori. Noted award-winning musicals include Arthur Kopit, Mario Fratti and Maury Yeston's Nine; Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx's Avenue Q; and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' In the Heights.

The O'Neill's National Playwrights Conference will officially get underway July 3.

For scheduling and ticket information phone (860) 443-1238 or visit www.theoneill.org.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center was founded in 1964 and is based in Waterford, CT. Programs at the Center include the Puppetry Conference, Playwrights Conference, Critics Institute, Music Theater Conference and the National Theater Institute. The Monte Cristo Cottage, O'Neill's childhood home, is also owned and operated by the group.

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