Mee's Queens Boulevard (the musical) Opens Off-Broadway

News   Mee's Queens Boulevard (the musical) Opens Off-Broadway
The Signature Theatre Company's world-premiere production of Charles Mee's Queens Boulevard (the musical) officially opens Dec. 3 after previews from Nov. 6 at the Peter Norton Space.
Michi Barall and Amir Arison in Queens Boulevard.
Michi Barall and Amir Arison in Queens Boulevard. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Directed by Davis McCallum with choreography by Peter Pucci, the Off-Broadway production features Amir Arison, Satya Bhabha, Michi Barall, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Bill Buell, Demosthenes Chrysan, Geeta Citygirl, Emily Donahoe, William Jackson Harper, Jodi Lin, Arian Moayed, Debargo Sanyal, Jon Norman Schneider and Ruth Zhang.

According to Signature, "On his wedding day, a new husband is determined to find the perfect gift for his bride. While she waits at home, he searches for the mythical Flower of Heaven and is thrown into a series of colorful adventures on the streets of his neighborhood in Queens, New York. Inspired by a classical Indian dance drama, Queens Boulevard (the musical) celebrates love, community and life."

Queens Boulevard is a real street that begins in Long Island City, Queens (across the East River from Manhattan), and winds for several miles through diverse, multicultural neighborhoods.

The production features musical supervision and arrangements by Michael Friedman, music direction by Matt Castle, scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Christal Weatherly, lighting design by Marcus Doshi, sound design by Ken Travis and video design by Joseph Spirito.

Through The Signature Ticket Initiative, "which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience," all regularly-priced single tickets ($65) are available for $20 during the regular runs of each production for the entire season and continues through Signature's 20th Anniversary Season (2010-11). The current Signature season boasts the work of 2007-08 playwright-in-residence Mee, and began in August with the New York premiere of Iphigenia 2.0. The performance schedule for Queens Boulevard (the musical) is Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM, matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM, and Wednesday Nov. 21 at 2 PM.

There are additional performances on Dec. 9 and Dec. 30 at 7 PM. There are no performances Dec. 5 or Dec. 25. The Open Captioned performance is Dec. 15 at 2 PM.

Tickets are available by phone at (212) 244-PLAY (7529), online at, and in person at the box office (555 West 42nd Street).


Charles Mee, Signature's 2007-08 Playwright-in-Residence, has written Big Love, True Love, First Love, bobrauschenbergamerica, Hotel Cassiopeia, Orestes 2.0, Trojan Women 2.0, Summertime and Wintertime among other plays — all of them available on the internet at

"I like plays that are not too neat, too finished, too presentable," Mee has said. "My plays are broken, jagged, filled with sharp edges, filled with things that take sudden turns, careen into each other, smash up, veer off in sickening turns. That feels good to me. It feels like my life. It feels like the world."

According to Signature season notes, "Mee is known for his radical reconstructions of existing texts and his inimitable collage-like style of playwriting. His plays incorporate music, dance, and video and have explored themes as wide ranging as history, politics, gender dynamics, and love."

Mee was raised in Barrington, IL, and educated at Harvard University. Following his graduation from university in 1960, Mee moved to New York City where he wrote plays for Off-Off-Broadway and supported himself as an editor and writer for the hardcover arts magazine Horizon. Between 1972 and 1993 he wrote 11 books on world history and American international relations, including "Meeting at Potsdam" (1975); "The End of Order: Versailles, 1919" (1980); "The Marshall Plan: The Launching of the Pax Americana" (1984); "Rembrandt's Portrait: A Biography" (1988); and "Playing God: Seven Fateful Moments When Great Men Met to Change the World"(1993); and a memoir, "A Nearly Normal Life" (1999).

In 1986 Mee wrote the libretto for choreographer and director Martha Clarke's dance-theatre piece Vienna: Lusthaus, a meditation on turn-of-the-century Vienna. He used his skills and impulses as an historian "to create a collage-like text by directly lifting material from historical sources and combining it alongside personal descriptions of his own dreams," according to Signature. "This patchwork combination of found texts and his own imagination became the template in which he would compose all of his future plays, a technique inspired by the collage painting of surrealist painter Max Ernst and contemporary artist Robert Rauschenberg."

Mee's plays have been inspired by classical and modern texts, including ancient Greek drama, drama from the Yuan dynasty of China, Indian dance drama, and the works of William Shakespeare, Molière, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, and Maxim Gorky. His Greek play adaptations include Orestes 2.0; The Bacchae 2.1.; Agamemnon 2.0; Trojan Women 2.0; Big Love; True Love; and Iphigenia 2.0. Mee is the resident playwright of the SITI Company.

Signature's Mee season also includes the world premiere of Paradise Park.

(l.-r.) William Jackson Harper, Amir Arison and Demosthenes Chrysan in <i>Queens Boulevard</i>.
(l.-r.) William Jackson Harper, Amir Arison and Demosthenes Chrysan in Queens Boulevard. Photo by Carol Rosegg
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