Ellen Greene in Little Shop, Jonathan Groff in New Brain and Sutton Foster in Wild Party Set for Encores! Off-Center Season | Playbill

News Ellen Greene in Little Shop, Jonathan Groff in New Brain and Sutton Foster in Wild Party Set for Encores! Off-Center Season A host of theatre favorites will be part of New York City Center's Encores! Off-Center series, which is under the artistic direction of Jeanine Tesori and will return for a third season of landmark Off-Broadway musicals in June 2015.

Ellen Greene
Ellen Greene

The season will kick off June 24 with William Finn and James Lapine's A New Brain, starring Tony nominee Jonathan Groff. Lapine will also direct the staging, which will play five performances through June 27.

A New Brain, inspired by composer Finn’s personal experiences, is, press notes state, "a medical tragedy seen through the zany iris of a Looney Tunes short. After struggling composer Gordon Michael Schwinn (Jonathan Groff) collapses face-first into a plate of spaghetti, he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to come to terms with his creative ambitions and the lovable screw-ups in his life: an overbearing boyfriend, a power-belting homeless woman, and a nasty kiddie-show host named Mr. Bungee."

The season continues with a one-night-only performance of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s Little Shop of Horrors July 1. Ellen Greene, who created the role of the lovably ditzy Audrey both on stage and screen, will reprise that performance under the direction of Dick Scanlan. The Urchins will be portrayed by Caroline, or Change's Tracy Nicole Chapman, Marva Hicks and Ramona Keller. Patricia Wilcox will choreograph.

Little Shop of Horrors is described as "a sci-fi musical about a hapless florist shop worker who acquires an R&B-singing plant that feeds on human blood."

The season will conclude July 15-18 with Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party. Tony winner Sutton Foster and Tony nominee Joshua Henry, seen last season in Violet — which was part of the Off-Center season before transferring to Broadway — will star. Leigh Silverman will direct with choreography by Sonya Tayeh. Lippa’s The Wild Party, adapted from the Jazz Age narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March, is "the story of one tragic, decadent night in a Manhattan apartment shared by Queenie (Sutton Foster) and her menacing lover, and the handsome stranger (Joshua Henry) who wants to lure her away."

Additional casting will be announced for all three productions at a later time. Chris Fenwick is the Encores! Off-Center music director.

The 2015 Encores! Off-Center season will feature sets by Donyale Werle, costumes by Clint Ramos, lighting by Mark Barton and sound design by Leon Rothenberg.

The series also features The Lobby Project, a series of free performances, conversations and readings by groundbreaking artists, poets, authors and performers. The Lobby Project events place each musical in the context of its legacy and provide insights into the work the audience is about to experience. The schedule will be announced at a later time.

Tickets to Encores! Off-Center are on sale now to City Center members; $25 tickets will go on sale to City Center’s Peer to Peer members beginning Jan. 5, 2015. Tickets to the general public will go on sale beginning Jan. 20.

All tickets begin at $25 and can be purchased at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or online at NYCityCenter.org.

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