Wallace and Allen Shawn Conduct World Premiere Play-Opera Music Teacher Off-Broadway

News   Wallace and Allen Shawn Conduct World Premiere Play-Opera Music Teacher Off-Broadway
Mark Blum and Kellie Overbey star in The New Group's world premiere staging of Wallace Shawn and Allen Shawn's play-opera The Music Teacher, starting Off-Broadway Feb. 21.
Wallace Shawn
Wallace Shawn Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Tom Cairns ("Marie and Bruce") directs the work by the Shawn siblings which will open at the Minetta Lane Theater March 6 for a run through April 8.

Billed as "a unique blend of theatre and opera," The Music Teacher is "a story of creation and sexual obsession in which a younger teacher and his brilliant female student conceive and perform a new opera," according to production notes.

As the world of the work crosses genres, so does the company which includes theater and opera performers. Mark Blum (Twelve Angry Men) and Kellie Overbey (Twentieth Century) of the stage are joined by singers Jason Forbach, Wayne Hobbs, Jeff Picón and Sarah Wolfson. The ensemble also features Ross Benoliel, Elisa Cordova, Lauren Jelencovich, Kristin Knutson, Stefanie Nava, Rebecca Robbins, Kathryn Skemp, Bobby Steggert and Kristina Valada-Viars.

Cairns is no stranger to opera having staged The Tempest (Royal Opera House), The Second Mrs. Kong (Glyndebourne), La Boheme (Staatsoper), Un Ballo In Maschera (Bayerische Staatsoper) and King Priam (Opera North, English National Opera, Flanders Opera). His theater credits include Aristocrats (National Theatre), Aunt Dan and Lemon (Almeida Theatre), Cloud Nine (Old Vic Theatre). He recently made his feature film debut with Wallace Shawn's "Marie and Bruce" starring Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick, which is currently in post-production.

Timothy Long, an associate conductor at New York City Opera, serves as musical director while David Neumann provides choreography. The Music Teacher design team includes Cairns (set), Kaye Voyce (costume), Matt Frey (lighting) and Shane Rettig (sound). The New Group's 10th Anniversary season will continue with Seth Zvi Rosenfeld's Everything's Turning Into Beautiful starring Bobby Cannavale (Hurlyburly) and Annabella Sciorra (Roar). This year's New Group (naked) presentation will be A Spalding Gray Matter — which explores the titular star's tumultuous life — performed by its author Michael Brandt and directed by Ian Morgan.

Tickets to The Music Teacher at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or at the box office. For more information on The New Group, visit the website at http://www.thenewgroup.org.

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