Murder Ballad, With John Ellison Conlee, Karen Olivo, Will Swenson, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Opens Nov. 15 in NYC

News   Murder Ballad, With John Ellison Conlee, Karen Olivo, Will Swenson, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Opens Nov. 15 in NYC
Manhattan Theatre Club's Murder Ballad, a new rock musical that launches the company's new Studio at Stage II Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series, opens Nov. 15 following previews from Oct. 31 for a run to Dec. 2. John Ellison Conlee, Rebecca Naomi Jones, 
Karen Olivo and Will Swenson star in the show by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash.

Rebecca Naomi Jones
Rebecca Naomi Jones Photo by Joan Marcus

The world-premiere production is directed by Trip Cullman. It plays an extended five-week limited engagement at New York City Center Stage II, one of MTC's two Off-Broadway homes.

Here's how MTC bills the musical: "A love triangle gone wrong, Murder Ballad centers on Sara [played by Olivo], an Upper West Sider who seems to have it all, but whose downtown past lingers enticingly and dangerously in front of her. This sexy, explosive new musical explores the complications of love, the compromises we make, and the small betrayals that can ultimately undo us."

Tony Award nominee Conlee appeared in The Constant Wife and The Full Monty on Broadway; Jones starred in American Idiot and Passing Strange; Tony Award winner Olivo was Anita in the recent West Side Story and Vanessa in In the Heights; and Tony nominee Swenson starred in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Hair.

Jordan is a Jonathan Larson Award winner and two-time Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. Nash is an indie rock singer/songwriter. Cullman's directing credits include Paul Weitz's Lonely, I'm Not and Adam Bock's A Small Fire.

The creative team for Murder Ballad includes Mark Wendland (scenic design), Jessica Pabst (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Leon Rothenberg (sound design), Doug Varone (movement) and Justin Levine (music director, vocal arranger and orchestrator). Murder Ballad was first presented by New York Stage and Film Company and The Powerhouse Theater at Vassar in July 2012.

All tickets are $30. For tickets, call (212) 581-1212 or visit

New York City Center is at 131 W. 55th Street. Visit


The Studio at Stage II is Manhattan Theatre Club's new initiative, under the leadership of Mandy Greenfield, at New York City Center – Stage II.

In June 2013, The Studio's inaugural season will conclude with the American premiere of Choir Boy, a play with music by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

As part of The Studio at Stage II, MTC and Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, artistic director; Jeremy Blocker, managing director) have partnered to launch The Writer's Room, a program to commission, develop, and support playwrights in the process of creating new work for the stage. MTC and Ars Nova will announce members of The Writer's Room later this year.

Will Swenson and Karen Olivo
Will Swenson and Karen Olivo Photo by Joan Marcus
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