Following Open Call to Transgender Community, Public Cast for Southern Comfort Is Complete

News   Following Open Call to Transgender Community, Public Cast for Southern Comfort Is Complete
After an open call to the transgender community and a nationwide search for submissions, the Public Theater has announced complete casting for Southern Comfort, a folk and bluegrass-inspired musical that explores transgender life.

Annette O'Toole and Jeff McCarthy of the Barrington Stage Company lab production will reprise their roles as Robert Eads and Lola Cola, respectively, along with Lizzie Hagstedt, Jeffrey Kuhn, Elizabeth Ward Land, David M. Lutken, Morgan Morse, Robin Skye and Joel Waggoner.

The New York cast will be completed by Donnie Cianciotto, who was recently the subject of an award-winning documentary titled "Donnie," which highlighted his experiences as a transgender man; and Aneesh Sheth, whose credits include the national tour of Bombay Dreams.

Donnie Cianciotto
Donnie Cianciotto

Performances of Southern Comfort will begin Feb. 23, 2016, and run through March 27. An official opening night is scheduled for March 7.

Directed by Thomas Caruso, the new musical features a book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick Davis.

Based on Kate Davis’ 2001 Sundance Award-winning documentary, Southern Comfort was conceived for the stage by Robert DuSold and Caruso. It tells the true story of a group of transgender friends living life on their own terms in rural Georgia. The Public describes it as "a celebration of redefining family and choosing love over every obstacle." "Southern Comfort is a beautiful, gentle, complicated look at a community that has been maligned, misunderstood, and oppressed for centuries," said artistic director Oskar Eustis in an earlier press statement. "We are proud to present this groundbreaking and moving piece of theater."

Winner of the Jonathan Larson Award, the show received its BSC Musical Theatre Lab world-premiere production at Barrington Stage Company in 2013, preceded by the NAMT 2012 Festival of New Musicals, and a developmental reading at Playwrights Horizons in 2010.

Tickets are available for Public Theater members by calling (212) 967-7555, visiting or in person at the box office located at 425 Lafayette St., Astor Place, Manhattan.

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