Zachary Levi, Krysta Rodriguez, Lesli Margherita, Derek Klena and More Sing From 35mm Oct. 7 at 54 Below's RSO FEST
By Michael Gioia
Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez, who co-star in the new Broadway musical First Date, and Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita, who stars in Broadway's Matilda, are among the performers taking part in Ryan Scott Oliver's 35mm, which kicks off RSO FEST, a series of concerts showcasing three new musicals by award-winning composer-lyricist Oliver at 54 Below.
Very Intense Productions and Your Theatrics | Jeremy Youett and Jacob Harvey present RSO FEST, which launches Oct. 7 with 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, produced in association with Tony Award-winning producer John Johnson; followed by Darling, produced in association with Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch and Sh-k-boom, Nov. 4; and Jasper In Deadland, produced in association with Prospect Theater Company, Nov. 18.
The cast of 35mm includes Jenni Barber (The Nance), Nick Blaemire (Godspell, Dogfight), Alex Brightman (Wicked, Big Fish), Ben Crawford (Big Fish), composer Drew Gasparini ("Smash"), Derek Klena (Dogfight, Wicked), Levi (First Date), Margherita (Matilda), Lauren Pritchard (Spring Awakening), David Reiser (Good Vibrations), Rodriguez (First Date, The Addams Family), Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal), Kate Shindle (Legally Blonde), Katie Thompson (Giant) and Alysha Umphress (American Idiot).
Rounding out as "the Quartet" are Ally Bonino, Max Chernin, Chris Mccarrell, and Andrea Ross. The band features Matt Hinkley, Steven Cuevas, Allison Seidner, Rich Silverstein, Joseph Wallace and Jeremy Yaddaw.
35mm, the first in the series, premiered in New York in March 2012 with a sold-out run at the Galapagos Art Space starring Lindsay Mendez, Betsy Wolfe, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ben Crawford and Alex Brightman. An original cast album is available on the Ghostlight label.
The Musical Exhibition, featuring music and lyrics by Oliver that are based on photographs by Matthew Murphy, is held at 7 PM and 9:30 PM at 54 Below. Directed by D. B. Bonds with music direction by Rich Silverstein, here's how the work is billed: "A picture is worth 1,000 words — what about a song? Can a picture inspire a song or fifteen? In 35mm, each photo creates an unique song, moments frozen in time; a glimmer of a life unfolding, a glimpse of something happening. A stunning new multimedia musical which explores a groundbreaking new concept in musical theatre... This intricately woven collection of stories told through song re-imagines what the modern American musical can be."
Lighting design is by KJ Hardy, with orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Oliver.
Darling, which was featured on NBC's "The Apprentice" in the "Broadway Bound" episode, features music and lyrics by Oliver with a book by actor and writer Brett Ryback, who recently starred in Second Stage Theatre's Murder For Two.
The 7 PM and 9:30 PM concerts will be directed by Jeremy Dobrish with music direction by Chris Fenwick. Here's how the work is described: "1929 Boston: A coming-of-age story about Ursula Morgan, stolen away from her upper-class family by a mysterious rentboy called Peter. Ursula finds herself in the seedy underground in a world of sex, drugs, and jazz."
Jasper In Deadland, which will premiere in New York as part of Prospect Theater Company's 2014 season, features music and lyrics by Oliver with a book by Oliver and Tony Award-nominated actor and writer Hunter Foster.
Directed by Brandon Ivie with music direction by Ryan Fielding Garrett, the 54 Below concerts will be held at 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM. According to press notes, "16-year-old Jasper travels through the Afterlife on a mission to save his best friend, Agnes. In this hybrid underworld, Jasper encounters demons, gods, mortals and monsters from Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Norse, and Judeo-Christian mythology, learning what it means to die and questioning what it means to live."
Oliver is a 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient and a 2008 Rodgers Award winner. He was also featured in Part One of Playbill's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know.
For more information, visit 54Below.com.
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