The musical by Bill Squier (book and lyrics) and Jeffrey Lodin (music) focuses on the team of Ronny Mauro and Gil Webster, "a pair of nightclub comics who have seen the seedy dives where they scratch out a living slowly put out of business by television — the medium that, by '55, has become the dominant force in entertainment," according to the MMTL announcement. "Ronny's response to the problem is to attempt to break their act into television. But how to do it? The answer drops into his lap. Edgar Callahan, the ‘Ed Sullivanesque' host of TV's most popular variety program, 'Top of the Heap,' is headed to Brooklyn for a live, remote broadcast tied into the World Series. It's the perfect opportunity. The price? Only their integrity."
The show headlines Eddie Korbich (of Broadway's Carousel, Singin' in the Rain and Seussical) as Ronny Mauro, and Marcus Neville (The Full Monty in London and on Broadway) as his comedy partner Gil Webster.
The cast also includes Bridget Bierne, John Hickok, Mary Ellen Ashley, Jerold Goldstein, Susan Haefner, Jared Stein, James Jackson and Kiera O'Neill.
The staged reading is directed by Andrew Volkoff who has just completed his fifth season at Barrington Stage Company and his second as its associate artistic director.
Lodin also co-wrote Rebels (lyrics by William Squier & John Allen, book by John Allen, William Squier & Mana Allen), A Hundred Years into the Heart (lyrics by William Squier, book by Richard Vetere) and About Face (book and lyrics by David Arthur). Young Abe Lincoln (book and lyrics by John Allen), written for Theatreworks USA, ran at the Promenade Theatre in New York City and enjoyed a US Tour in 1994-95. His Wait Till Next Year (lyrics by Scott Hayes, book by Scott Hayes & BT McNicholl) is currently in development. Squier's musical theatre collaborations with John & Mana Allen, Jerold Goldstein, Jeffrey Lodin, Peter Melnick, Fred Stark, Richard Vetere and Norman Weiss have been presented at AMAS Rep, CAP 21, Director’s Co., Drama League, Music in a Box, the Nat Horne, Playhouse 91, Sanford Meisner, Steve McGraw's and the York; regionally at Curtain Call, Contemporary Arts, the Depot, Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara, Hunterton Hills Playhouse, Ingersoll Theatre, NEAT, New American Theatre, Starlight Theatre and the Theatre Barn; and at the ASCAP/Disney Workshop in New York City, Los Angeles and Florida.
Broadway Theater Institute is at 210 West 50th Street, Second Floor, NYC 10019. Admission to Top of the Heap is $15. For reservations call (212) 956-5481, ext. 203.
MMTL is a program of the Broadway Theatre Institute. MMTL's producing director is Bick Goss, managing director is Frank Evans, artistic director is Gwen Arment and consulting producer is Mary Ellen Ashley.