Hooked On Happiness: The Musical for a Cooler Planet Begins Previews November 7 at Theater for the New City
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 05:38 pm EDT 10/15/19

The Musical for a Cooler Planet
November 7th through December 1st

Running time 90 minutes with no intermission

Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Executive Director) today announced that it will present the world premiere of HOOKED ON HAPPINESS, a new musical about global warming, with book & lyrics by Tom Attea, music composed by Arthur Abrams, direction by Mark Marcante, and choreography by Mackenzie Surbey, which opens Sunday, November 16th. The production is slated for a limited engagement, running from November 7th – December 1st at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students and seniors) and can be purchased at the box office (212-254-1109), online HERE or by phone at (888) 549-4106.

HOOKED ON HAPPINESS spotlights a high-school drama class that decides to create their own original musical about climate change, instead of selecting from the musical and play their drama teacher has suggested. Many of their parents are very conservative, and the often frank, passionate content of their lyrics outrages members of the audience.

Concerned they may not have a future, a high school drama class forgoes staging a classic musical or play as their senior-class production in order to do a show about the global climate crisis. They want to join their voices with other young people across the globe to confront the threat our warming climate poses to their future. As one of the students says, “If 16-year-old Greta Thunberg could sail across the Atlantic to demonstrate against climate change, we should at least be able to do a show about it.”

When their drama teacher sees some of the material they've written – about parents being hooked on misery, glued to the news and, in the case of the parents who are Fundamentalist Christians, just waiting for the so-called End Times – she decides to let them go ahead with it. They pull no punches in their lyrics, and the parents who are outraged begin calling for the show to be shut down and the drama teacher to be fired. In response, the students threaten to go on strike.

HOOKED ON HAPPINESS is an inspiring new look at climate justice and what the generation that will have to endure its most dire effects is doing to ignite immediate action. As one of the students says, “Just remember – a fish can't be happy in hot water, a bird can't be happy in dirty air, a bear can't be happy in a dead forest, and people can't be happy in an environment that's collapsing beyond our control.”

The cast of HOOKED ON HAPPINESS features Liz Bealko, Hannah Carne, Spencer Martinez, Leonard W. Rose, Jordan Rubio, Jazz Sunpanich, and Hannah Weaver.

HOOKED ON HAPPINESS has Set Design by Mark Marcante, Lighting Design by Alexander Bartenieff, Sound Design by Alex Santullo, Video and Projection Design by Dylan Vaughn Skorish, Costume and Prop Design by Lytza Colon; Assistant Director, Jordyn Prince; Assistant Costume Designer, Nikki Reed; Production Stage Manager, Melissa Mauer; and Assistant Stage Manager, Melanie Phaneuf.


Tom Attea (Playwright). Hooked on Happiness is the 16th produced show that Tom has written, beginning with Brief Chronicles of the Time, which was presented as a showcase by The Actors Studio, where he was a member of The Playwrights Unit for 10 years. Since then, he has written three plays and the book and lyrics for 11 musicals that have been presented by Theater for the New City. Two of the musicals, Heather Smiley for President and Abstinence, are published by Rebel Belle Publishing. StageAgent.com, "The leading resource for theater artists," has posted selections from a number of his works and has recently decided to post selections from all of them, including Hooked on Happiness. Tom received a TNC/Jerome Foundation emerging playwright grant and is a member of The Dramatists Guild. He is a published poet. To learn more about him, visit his website at tomattea-playwright.com.

Mark Marcante (Director/Set Design) has directed and designed sets for plays and musicals in the US and Europe. He directed Rizzante Returns From the War, Benny’s Barber Shop, Promises Best Kept, British Music Hall, Strangely Wonderful and One Director Against His Cast, written by Crystal Field, which premiered in Italy. This is the 15th show he has collaborated on with Tom Attea and Arthur Abrams. His set designs include the OBIE Award winning Heathen Valley by Romulus Linney and Hiroshima by Ron Destro and Yoko Ono, which received a Kennedy Center award. Nominated twice for an AUDELCO Award, he was the theatrical and technical consultant for the Arts Connection. Mr. Marcante studied and performed Commedia Dell'arte with Alessandro Bressanello and Michael Conenna from the T.A.G Theatre of Venice.

Arthur Abrams (Composer) began his frequent collaboration with Tom Attea at The Actors Studio. His last four collaborations with Tom were the musicals America’s Favorite Newscaster, An American Worker, Heather Smiley for President, and The Folk Singer. Mr. Abrams wrote the score for the ballet The Velveteen Rabbit and the musical The Open Gate. He also composed and directed music for the Yiddish Theater documentary film The Golden Age of Second Avenue, often shown on Public TV. He has been honored with numerous awards, including a DAAD music fellowship to Mannheim, Germany, a scholarship to the Orff Institute at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and a Meet the Composer grant for the score of The Golden Bear. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild.


Theater For the New City (TNC) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning community cultural center that is known for its high artistic standards and widespread community service. One of New York’s most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 30-40 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights. Many influential theater artists of the last quarter century have found TNC’s Resident Theater Program instrumental to their careers, among them Sam Shepard, Moises Kaufman, Richard Foreman, Charles Busch, Maria Irene Fornes, Miguel Piñero, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Vin Diesel, Oscar Nuñez, Laurence Holder, Romulus Linney and Academy Award winners Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody. TNC also presents plays by multi-ethnic/multi-disciplinary theater companies who have no permanent home. Among the well-known companies that have been presented by TNC are Mabou Mines, the Living Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and COBU, the Japanese women's drumming and dance group. TNC also produced the Yangtze Repertory Company’s 1997 production of Between Life and Death, which was the only play ever produced in America by Gao Xingjian before he won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature. TNC seeks to develop theater audiences and inspire future theater artists from the often-overlooked low-income minority communities of New York City by producing minority writers from around the world and by bringing the community into theater and theater into the community through its many free Festivals. TNC productions have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and over 42 OBIE Awards for excellence in every theatrical discipline. TNC is also the only Theatrical Organization to have won the Mayor's Stop the Violence Award.

The playing schedule for Hooked on Happiness is as follows: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3PM. Please note that there will be no performance on Thursday, November 28th, due to Thanksgiving.

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