FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents “Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre” on Friday, July 20, 2018, at 11:30 pm. The show features Aaron Alcaraz, Nicholas Barasch, Alana Cauthen, GRACE CHOI, Karl Josef Co, CJ Eldred, MaryJoanna Grisso, Cory Jeacoma, Noah Plomgren, and Brynn Williams. “Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre” will bring to light the importance of new musical theatre writing and provide a platform for hopeful writers to work with a group of professionals to showcase their work in front of a larger audience. Over the past few months “Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre” received over 100 submissions from writers all over the United States. After reviewing their submissions, they have selected Adam David, Alanya Bridge, Amy Engelhart, Charissa Bertels/ Ayumi Okada / Christian Duhamel, Elaine Romanelli, Emily Chiu, Jacob Ryan Smith, Keurim Hur / Jacob Fjeldheim, Rebecca Murillo, Richard Hanson / Divya Maus, Rona Siddiqui, and Star Johnson.
The idea for the concert was conceived by Producer Jacob Stuckelman, whose main focus is to “produce work that is socially relevant and shares new and challenging stories. Many times the art that is imperative is sacrificed due to the vast amount of expenses that come with producing theatre. In short, we are providing an opportunity for writers to work with professionals in a collaborative environment.” Jacob Stuckelman, a rising senior at Ithaca College, is back at Feinstein’s / 54 Below after producing “Women of the World: Songs Sung and Created by Women” in June of 2017.
Director Isobel Duncan, who will be making her directing debut at the New York Musical Festival, believes that “Though musical theatre has often been behind the times in theatrical innovation, new musical works have started to push boundaries in their style and stories. I believe right now is a pinnacle point for musical theatre. The prospect of new stories and forms of storytelling is what excites me about new works.” The team is rounded out by Music Director Justin Ramos and Stage Manager Kate Carolan, also a rising senior at Ithaca College. Ramos says that, “New musical theater writing is a chance for the creators to create, but more importantly for a listener to be taken on new journeys and meet new characters and experience different emotions; it’s a way to find new inspiration for anyone involved.”
“Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre” plays Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on July 20th, 2018 at 11:30 pm. There is a $20 cover charge and a 2 drink or $20 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00 are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.
MORE ABOUT THE CAST
Nicholas Barasch Broadway: She Loves Me (Theatre World Award; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), The Mystery of Edwin Drood, West Side Story. Off-Broadway/NY: Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (City Center Encores!), Anna Nicole: The Opera (BAM/New York City Opera). Regional: Delaware Theatre Company, The Ahmanson Theatre, The National Theatre. TV/Film: “Bull” (CBS), “How to Make it in America” (HBO), “The Backyardigans” (Nickelodeon), “The Kills” (JAX Media/pilot), Mr. Student Body President (New Form Digital), Low Tide (Neighborhood Watch, upcoming). Nicholas is currently enrolled at Columbia University. Tweet: @NickBarasch Gram: @nick_barasch
Brynn Williams Broadway: Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical, Bye Bye Birdie (Ursula), 13 (Cassie), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, In My Life, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Off-Broadway: David Bowie‘s Lazarus. Television: “Naked Brothers Band,” “Between the Lions.”
CJ Eldred (National tour) The Book of Mormon. (TV/Film) The Tap. (Off Broadway) Claudio Quest, Paris Through the Window, Loveless Texas. (Regional) Sex with Strangers, South Pacific, Billy Elliot, Aladdin, Pirates of Penzance.
GRACE CHOI is excited to be making her 54 Below debut! She is currently playing Christmas Eve in Avenue Q at New World Stages. A proud graduate of Florida State University.
Karl Josef Co recently guest starred in the season 4 finale of “Madam Secretary” on CBS. Recent credits include: Pacific Overtures (Classic Stage), Unsinkable Molly Brown (Muny / Denver Center), Subways Are for Sleeping (York Theatre), Honor (Prospect Theater), King & I (MT Wichita), Allegiance (World Premiere – Old Globe), Miss Saigon (Fulton Theatre). TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), Unforgettable (CBS), Bad Advice (Comedy Central). He is a graduate of The University of Michigan. @KarlJosefCo.
Alana Cauthen Just coming off of the 20th Anniversary National Tour of RENT Alana is pleased to be back in NYC and working on new projects! She is thrilled to make her Feinstein’s/ 54 Below debut with the amazing “Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre” concert! Some of her most recent credits include: Motormouth Maybelle “Hairspray” at The Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Alice “Big River” The Old Castle Theatre, BJ “Smokey Joes Cafe” and “Beehive” Theatre by the Sea.
Cory Jeacoma can currently be seen starring as Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys at New World Stages. Credits: Warner in Legally Blonde (Fulton Theatre) George in We Foxes (Ryan Scott Oliver/Leigh Silverman). Cory was also the Stand-In for 16-Time-Grammy-Winner, Sting, in Lincoln Center’s Sinatra Centennial.
Aaron Alcaraz; National Tour: Rent (Angel). Other favorite credits include Disney Dreams (Aladdin), Fantastical Family Night, A Chorus Line (Paul). Proud Ithaca College grad. All the love and thanks to my family, friends, and Hudson Artists Agency. Keep shining. @aaronreads.
MaryJoanna Grisso is thrilled to sing at 54 Below as a part of Broadway Celebrates New Musical Theatre. Recently, MaryJoanna sang on Broadway in DGF Toasts: Stephen Schwartz, and Off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre in the Alan Jay Lerner Centennial Celebration. She has traveled across North America playing Maria in the Broadway National tour of West Side Story. She has been fortunate to play this dream role for over 600 performances. Additional credits include: Les Miserables (Cosette), Urinetown: The Musical (Hope), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), Cinderella with the American Pops Orchestra (Cinderella). MaryJoanna is very grateful to bring new writer’s works to life! www.MaryJoannaGrisso.com
Noah Plomgren recently closed the national tour of Finding Neverland. Other credits include Hair (National tour) as well as various productions at Goodspeed, Pittsburgh Public Theater, City Theater Company, Bay Street Theater, the Hangar Theater, and the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival. Education: Carnegie Mellon. @plomegranate
MORE ABOUT THE SONGWRITERS
Jacob Ryan Smith is excited to be making his New York writing debut! A current junior at The University of Michigan working towards his BFA in Musical Theater. He recently just debuted his new song cycle The Outs and Ins: A Study In The Ineffable. His past writing credits include music and lyrics for John Comes Home: A Musical Ballet, and music for Like Dying Things Do and Midnight Channel: The Musical. Much love to his incredible parents, brilliant sister and writing partner, and all who support him in this crazy field. Go blue!
Rebecca Murillo is a rising senior in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Pace University in New York City. Her work as a composer and lyricist began in the Musical Theater Writing course taught by Ryan Scott Oliver. Her worked was first showcased at 54 Below last May which included songs from new musicals Creedence & Cecilia and Not Quite Extinct (both written with playwright Brandon Adam). Other various musical projects include orchestrating and vocal arranging for university productions. Rebecca is currently serving as a dramaturg at Santa Cruz Shakespeare.
Star Johnson is a lyricist, composer and performance artist hailing from Washington, DC. She has written the book, music and lyrics for How to Quit Your Day Job, Flattops and F Words, Jumping from Rooftops and Other Ways to Cure Depression, More Than I Fear Death, Sondheim in the Trap and East of the River, mixing traditional musical theatre stylings with neo-soul, r&b and hip-hop. Over the years, her work has been featured at Feinstein’s/54 Below, Kennedy Center Page to Stage, New York Musical Festival, The Producer’s Club, The Tank, Under St. Marks and Capital Fringe Festival (Best Musical), and she’s been profiled in The Washington Post, DCist, Playbill and Broadway World. As a performer, she has featured at Busboys and Poets, Feast Performance Series, Poetic Vibes, Resist Cabaret and Caveat. Star earned an artist residency at the Anacostia Arts Center in Southeast, Washington DC, where she developed a Musical Theatre Lab with residents of the Anacostia community in June 2018. Her work with The Lab was recently featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Adam David is an actor, singer, musician, and composer who hails from Jacksonville, Florida. He was introduced to music at a young age, having studied piano since the age of 5 and composing since the age of 11. He has been working on his current musical project, Fallen, for the past 3 years and successfully put up a staged reading of the show this past December. Adam recently obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College and plans to continue on to LAMDA in London, UK where he will pursue an MA in Classical Acting.
Alanya Bridge is an award winning musical theatre composer/lyricist. Her work has been performed around the world, including Lincoln Center, Playwrights Downtown, The Pershing Square Signature Theatre, The Times Center, The Duplex Cabaret Theatre, and numerous theatres around New York, Australia and London. Alanya is a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Tisch School of Arts, New York University and is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Mercury Musical Developments. alanyabridge.com.
Amy Engelhardt made her Off-Broadway debut as composer/lyricist of Bastard Jones (OBA Nominee: Best New Musical), a rock musical comedy adaptation of Henry Fielding‘s Tom Jones. Other credits: lyrics for adaptations of Carl Sagan’s Contact (2009 Puget Sound Theatre Award) and Tesla (New Musicals Foundation) and music/lyrics for A Comedy of Eras (w/the Flying Karamazov Brothers). Winner of MAC’s Dottie Burman Award for Songwriting, Amy created TUNE IN TIME, New York’s Musical Theater Game Show, and from 1998-2011 performed with/wrote for Grammy-nominated, genre-busting vocal band The Bobs.
Keurim Hur is a writer of musicals, straight plays, screenplays, short stories, novels, various improbable pilots, and tweets for other people. She holds a BA in Film, Television, and Theatre from the University of Notre Dame, an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts, and an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University. Her musicals include Big Deal (book and lyrics; lyrics and music by Jacob Fjeldheim), Unshelved (book; lyrics by Emily Chiu, music by Xiaodan Zhang), and Rapunzel (book and lyrics; music by Gianni Onori), which was presented in the 6th Annual DISCOVER: New Musicals program with the National Asian Artists Project. She co-writes The Birds and the BS, a musical webseries conceived and executive produced by Jordan Roth, and contributed additional material for The Bad Years, an immersive house party musical from the award-winning creative team of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk.
Jacob Fjeldheim – Nat’l Tour: Ultimate Storytime (Music, Lyrics, Orchestration, Music Direction), AROUND THE WORLD (Orchestration, Dance Arranging); Barrington Stage Company: Regretting Almost Everything (Cello, Keyboard), William Finn‘s RIDICULOUSLY TALENTED Series (Piano, Cello); Workshops: Jahn Sood‘s The Disappearing Man (Music Direction); Add’l works include THE QUANTIFICATION OF RELATIVE HUMAN INSIGNIFICANCE (Music; Lyrics by Lauren Taslitz); MFA, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing, NYU Tisch. www.jacobfjeldheim.com
Rona Siddiqui is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. Her new show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan will be produced Off-Broadway in 2019. Other musicals include One Good Day, The Tin, and Treasure in NYC. She has written pieces for 24 Hour Musicals, Prospect Theater Company, The Civilians, the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, and 52nd St Project, and has performed her work at venues including 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, and New York City Center. Original scores include Middletown and The Good Person of Szechuan. Awards: ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, the ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. www.ronasiddiqui.com
Emily Chiu is a Taiwanese-American composer-lyricist who loves to write about sea creatures, food, and monsters. She holds a B.A. in music from Brown University and an M.F.A from NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. Credits include: Apollo (Tisch New Musicals Workshop), Keaton and the Whale (NYU Tisch), You Gave Me A Sheep (National Asian Artists Project), and Life, Love, Food, and Monsters (Mr. William Finn‘s New Artists On The Horizon). Her songs have been heard at 54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, and Barrington Stage Company. www.emilychiu.net
Elaine Romanelli sings, teaches, and writes words and music. Recent performer highlights include appearing on nationally syndicated radio show ‘Folkstage’, and singing for author Deepak Chopra’s event ‘Home”, streamed to 2MM listeners. Elaine’s ebullient charm belies her compelling, poignant songs. Her writing has been called “stunning” (Broadway World) and “utterly haunting. highly original” (DJ Rich Warren). She is Composer-in-Residence at the Church of St. Matthew & St. Timothy in NYC, and a member of Maestra, a female composer collective centered on musical theater. www.elaineromanelli.com.
Charissa Bertels, Christian Duhamel & Ayumi Okada are thrilled to be included in this concert! Charissa Bertels is a Broadway actress (A Christmas Story B’way/If Then National Tour) and recently collaborated with Christian on her original one-woman musical, My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, which earlier this year won Christian the prestigious Kleban award for most promising musical theatre librettist. Christian and Ayumi, both members of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and the Dramatists Guild, have had their work featured on several BMI year-end Smokers, presenting the strongest work over the year. Ayumi is also a member of Local 802, and recently released her debut EP, “Here, Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins”. They are collaborating on a piece celebrating the hidden female voices of the Civil War, currently titled Mary Walker Wears What She Wants.
Divya Maus (Music) and Richard Hanson (Book and Lyrics) are currently developing their musical The Mollyhouse which, inspired by true events, explores the gay underground of 1726 London. Most recently they presented the show in concert at Rockwell Table and Stage in LA; before that the show was produced as part of NYU Tisch’s StageWorks mainstage season. Living on opposite coasts, they continue to work together and separately on exciting musical projects.