Tony-Nominated Orchestrator Wheeler Pens Score for Roller Derby Musical at NYMF | Playbill

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News Tony-Nominated Orchestrator Wheeler Pens Score for Roller Derby Musical at NYMF Xanadu won't be the only musical in New York with a roller-skating cast. This September, the new musical Roller Derby will debut as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Roller Derby is presented as part of NYMF's Invited Works Series. The production boasts a team of seasoned Broadway professionals, with Tony-nominated orchestrator Harold Wheeler providing the musical's pop/rock score. Wheeler is known for his orchestrations for the musicals Dreamgirls, Side Show, The Wiz, The Fully Monty, Hairspray and, most recently, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Wheeler has also orchestrated his score for Roller Derby.

Roller Derby features book and lyrics by Barry Arnold, with additional lyrics and composing credits by the late John Braden.

Five-time Tony nominee Donald McKayle will direct and choreograph the production. McKayle previously conceived and choreographed Sophisticated Ladies for Broadway and provided choreography for Golden Boy and Raisin, which he also directed. McKayle received an Emmy nomination for the television special "Free to be You and Me."

Press notes state, "The Roller Derby race begins when on the road in 1972 a brash young rookie from New York City's mean streets takes on the sport's beloved but aging star in a battle royal for the right to be crowned the reigning Roller Derby Queen. Promoted by the game's wheeler dealer manager, the pair tears up the track, rockin' and rollin' with the ten decidedly colorful gals and guys on their team, famous to TV fans across America as the world champion Bombers. Along the way, the rivals meet their match, discovering more than they ever dared to dream about life, love and how the game is played — all set to a lively pop/rock score."

The Roller Derby creative team includes set design by Rod Foster, costume design by Susan Tsu, lighting design by Chenault Spence, sound design by Tom Morse and video design by Kara Miller. The associate director/choreographer is Michelle M. Robinson, musical direction is by Jeff Waxman and vocal arrangements are by Michael Dansicker. Also on hand are Walt Harris, "The Original Voice of Roller Derby," and Roller Derby Historian Gary Powers. Casting for the production will be announced shortly.

Roller Derby will perform Sept. 20–26 as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. The production will be presented at the Theatre at St. Clement's, located at 423 West 46th Street in Manhattan.

For tickets call (212) 352-3101 or visit Further information is available at

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