Suburb, the new musical that won a 2000 Richard Rodgers Development Award, is being heard in Manhattan workshop readings through June 3.
Presentations began May 26 at the York Theatre. Remaining readings are 1 PM and 5 PM June 2 and 2 PM and 8 PM June 3.
The new tuner by composer Robert S. Cohen and lyricist David Javerbaum tells the story of a young couple living in a large city who are about to have a baby. The husband has always dreamed of grassy lawns, quaint little shops and friendly, safe streets. The wife wants to stay right where they are. Cohen and Javerbaum co wrote the book.
The cast of eight, creating recognizable types in the idyllic town called Suburb, includes Danny Burstein, Kate Baldwin, James Sasser, Sandy Binion and Keisha Fleith. Musical director is Steve Tyler.
Cohen is the author of God In Concert (One Night Only) and Knots, which was presented at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts. He has worked with the National Shakespeare Company and Manitoba Theatre, and is a graduate of Brown University. Javerbaum is a graduate of the NYU Musical Theater Program and is a comedy writer nominated for a 1999 Emmy Award for his work on "The Late Show With David Letterman." He is also the co-author of two best-selling books. "Our Dumb Century" and "The Onion's Finest News Reporting," both from the popular news parody web site called "The Onion," where he has worked three years. He is currently a staff writer for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
Jennifer Uphoff Gray directs Suburb. She is currently the resident director of Broadway's Copenhagen and served as associate director of The Blue Room and Cabaret.
The Richard Rodgers Awards, administered since 1978 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, provide financial support for full productions, studio productions, or staged readings by nonprofit theatres sponsoring the writers' works in New York City.
The readings are free and open to the public and industry people, but seats must be reserved. Call (212) 935-5824 for reservations.
The York Theatre is at 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th Street.
-- By Kenneth Jones