The New Victory Theater, a leading presenter of Theater for Young Audiences, is presenting a special invitational reading of The Great Blueness, a new musical with book, music and lyrics by Andrew Gerle (Meet John Doe) on Thursday, November 10, 2016, as part of the 2016-17 New Victory LabWorks Artists series. Based on the book by Arnold Lobel (author of the beloved Frog and Toad series), The Great Blueness tells the story of a town where everything is grey, until the town Wizard discovers Blue and a magical new world of color unfolds.
Produced by Adrianne Lobel, the reading of The Great Blueness will be directed by two-time Tony nominee John Carrafa and stars Mark Linn-Baker as the Wizard, with Barbara Walsh as Mayor Charlotte, Garth Kravits as Councilman Amasa, Kat Nejat as Councilwoman Jerutha and Ava Della Pietra as Iris. The ensemble features Pamela Bob, Jeremy Geller, Laura Hall, David Hess, Tiffany Mann and Frank Viveros.
The creative team for The Great Blueness includes Jody Schum (Musical Director), Reed Ridgley (General Manager), Xander Rovang (Second Keyboard), Rachel Windfield (Director’s Assistant), and Jennifer Wheeler Kahn (Production Stage Manager). The Great Blueness received its first reading this past summer as part of New York Stage and Film & Vassar’s 32nd Powerhouse Season.
Composer, playwright and pianist Andrew Gerle won the 2012 Kleban Award for outstanding librettist for his show GLORYANA, which also won a 2011 Richard Rodgers Award. He has also won three other Rodgers Awards for THE TUTOR (book and lyrics by Maryrose Wood).
With lyricist Eddie Sugarman, he won a Jonathan Larson Award for their show, MEET JOHN DOE (cast album on Broadway Records), and he received the first Burton Lane Fellowship for Young Composers from the Theater Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His play RENOVATIONS was premiered in 2011 at the White Plains (NY) Performing Arts Center, and selections from his opera THE BEACH (libretto by Royce Vavrek) were premiered by the New York City Opera as part of their VOX reading series. Recent projects include an adaptation of The Tempest with legendary lyricist Tom Jones (The Fantasticks) and a score for Barrington Stage Company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.
Gerle has been a Fellow at the MacDowell Artists’ Colony and a writer-in-residence at the Sundance Theater Institute at Ucross, the Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat, and the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. As a musical director, he has worked on dozens of Off-Broadway, regional and touring productions, and was heard as the “hands” of Coalhouse Walker, Jr., in the recent Tony Award-winning revival of Ragtime. He has served as musical director and accompanist for such distinguished artists as Kitty Carlisle Hart, John Raitt, Jennifer Holliday, Shirley Jones, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Leslie Uggams and Liz Callaway. A CD of his jazz arrangements of the songs of Maltby & Shire with vocalist Christa Justus was released in 2010 under the PS Classics Label. He is the author of The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition, which is becoming the go-to reference for professional and aspiring musical theater actors alike. He is on the faculty of Yale University, where he teaches musical theater performance and songwriting.
John Carrafa (Director) Good Vibrations (NY Stage and Film, Broadway). Academy (NY Music Theater Festival, Daegu International Music Theater Festival. Best Musical.) Fucking Hipsters (NY Musical Theater Festival), Cirque Berzerk (Microsoft Theater), The Rocky Horror Show (Strand Theater, ACT). Choregrapher: Into The Woods (Tony Nomination), Urinetown (Tony Nomination, Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Dora Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations), Dirty Blonde, Dance of the Vampires, Love Valour Compassion, Finding Nemo (Disney World), Encores! Series: The Pajama Game, Out of this World. TV: “The Knick,” “Empire,” “Transparent,” “Limitless,” “Nashville,” “Blue Bloods,” “Elementary,” “The Black List,” “Nurse Jackie”. Film: If I Stay, The Other Guys, Something Borrowed (World Dance Award), Bride Wars, The Polar Express (2005 Media Choreography Honors), The Last Days of Disco, The Thomas Crown Affair, Rebel in the Rye (2017).
Designed to foster the creation of new work, New Victory LabWorks offers resources and opportunities for professional exchange among a broad spectrum of artists living and working in New York City. Managed by the New Victory Artistic Programming staff, New Victory LabWorks has grown to include a diverse spectrum of nearly 500 New York City-based arts professionals, including artists, practitioners, educators, presenters and producers.
New Victory LabWorks Artists also have access to the feedback and support of New Victory staff, as well as professional development and networking events with New Victory visiting companies and guest artists. All season long, the greater New Victory LabWorks community is invited to attend workshops, master classes and various networking events, as well as performances in the New Victory season, to promote local, national and international exchange and further their exploration of theater for family audiences.
For more information about New Victory LabWorks, please contact the New Victory Artistic Programming Department at LabWorks@New42.org.
About The New Victory Theater
The New Victory Theater brings kids to the arts and the arts to kids as New York City’s premier theater devoted to the highest quality performing arts for kids and families. Serving the city in all its diversity, The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street presents theater, dance, circus, opera and music from around the world at affordable ticket prices. In addition to its public performances, the New Vic is also the largest provider of live performance to NYC school kids, serving 40,000 students in grades PreK-12 from more than 200 schools, after school programs and day camps each year. The New Victory Theater’s contributions to the cultural landscape of the city have been honored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, a national Arts Education Award from Americans for the Arts and a 2012 Drama Desk Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.