EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Kennedy Is Austen's "Emma" in New Musical Single Girls Guide, With Graham Rowat, Clarke Thorell

News   EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Kennedy Is Austen's "Emma" in New Musical Single Girls Guide, With Graham Rowat, Clarke Thorell
Jane Austen's famous literary matchmaker Emma is slipping into boots and a miniskirt for a new musical that relocates the 1815 British novel to 1964, the time of women's lib, the pill and Petula Clark. Lauren Kennedy will play Emma Woodhouse in a Manhattan test of the show.

Lauren Kennedy
Lauren Kennedy

The Emma Woodhouse Single Girls Guide, with book and direction by Gordon Greenberg and music and lyrics by Tommy Newman, will get a private industry reading in Manhattan at 3 PM Dec. 8 at Ars Nova at 511 W. 54th Street. The reading is sponsored by Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY, and produced by Ars Nova.

The writers have been crafting the piece in recent days in a residency with Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT. Goodspeed presented a developmental production of Greenberg and Newman's musical Band Geeks in May 2010.

Greenberg told Playbill.com, "This iteration of 'Emma' turns our heroine into a newspaper advice columnist a la Helen Gurley Brown, with Knightley as her editor and next in line to succeed her father as publisher of the paper. Harriet, her pet project and first 'Single Girl' in her new column, is a dental hygienist from Cranston, Rhode Island, whose paramour Martin delivers dental supplies to her office.

"The highly eligible bachelor Elton is now a tobacco heir from North Carolina, a cross between Tucker Max and 'The Dukes of Hazzard.' And, of course, Mr. Woodhouse is the owner of the paper — like Sy Newhouse."

A series of mishaps culminate at Truman Capote's famous Black and White Ball in Manhattan. Expect "fizzy music, sharp humor and high '60s style" in this musical comedy that "explores the benefits — and the pitfalls — of being hopelessly romantic."

The cast of the reading (the first public presentation of The Emma Woodhouse Single Girls Guide) will feature Lauren Kennedy (Sunset Boulevard, Vanities) as Emma Woodhouse, Graham Rowat (LoveMusik, The Blue Flower) as Knightley, Nick Wyman (The Fartiste, Catch Me If You Can) as Henry Woodhouse, Farah Alvin (Nine, The Look of Love, The Marvelous Wonderettes) as Harriet, Steve Rosen (Guys and Dolls) as Martin, Clarke Thorell (Hairspray) as T.R. Elton and Kathy Fitzgerald (9 to 5, Wicked) as Ms. Sipkins/Truman Capote.

The music director and arranger is Zachary Dietz.

Greenberg (book writer) developed the revised production of Working with Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed it for Broadway In Chicago, Asolo and the Old Globe. He directed the acclaimed New York City revival of Jacques Brel… at the Zipper and recently directed the national tour of Guys and Dolls, Disney's Believe with Kirsten Childs, and wrote the book of Band Geeks with Newman. He also directed Band Geeks at Goodspeed.

Newman (music and lyrics) wrote Band Geeks with Greenberg, Gaby Alter and Mark Allen. He also wrote Tinyard Hill with Mark Allen (Theatreworks Palo Alto) and recently wrote and developed the new play Odyssey at Troy University, where he teaches.

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