Katrina Lenk, Amber Grey, Kuhoo Verma, More in Concert Reading of Kate Douglas and Grace McLean’s AGAINST WOMEN & MUSIC! from The Civilians, May 6
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 08:31 pm EDT 04/25/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 08:30 pm EDT 04/25/21


Concert Reading of Kate Douglas and Grace McLean's New Musical Featuring Amber Grey, Andrew Kober, Katrina Lenk, Heath Saunders, Scott Stangland, Kuhoo Verma, and Natalie Walker

The Civilians, the award-winning New York-based theater company under the leadership of Artistic Director Steve Cosson and Managing Director Margaret Moll is proud to present a concert reading of Kate Douglas and Grace McLean's new musical Against Women & Music! The musical, which was developed in The Civilians R&D Group, will be directed by Sarna Lapine and music directed by Simone Allen. The cast includes Tony-nominee Amber Grey, Andrew Kober, Tony-winner Katrina Lenk, Heath Saunders, Scott Stangland, Kuhoo Verma, and Natalie Walker. Against Women & Music! will be presented on May 6 at 7:30 PM ET. To register for this free event, please visit https://thecivilians.org/.

Against Women & Music!is an absurdist-horror Victorian chamber musical. Celine is a widow emerging from a year of mourning following her husband's death and grappling with her peculiar daughter Geneva's debut into high society. The doctor prescribes Geneva piano lessons, as the latest studies in women's health show that music can help finesse "emotional intelligence" and "act on the unconscious mind to communicate order." But as these lessons progress, Celine discovers a sinister presence has possessed her daughter.

"We want the music in this show to be both seductive and sinister, and for it to be the key to accessing truths that are maybe harder for our main character to hear in her quotidian life," says composer/lyricist Grace McLean. "Working with Kate is so exciting because of the absurdity and humor she brings to her rich, grounded-in-research writing. When we find ourselves cackling, we know we're on to something!"

"This piece was inspired by a lecture I saw at NYU by James Kennaway about his book Bad Vibrations: The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease. This intersection of music and the history of pathologizing women's nervous system was nefarious and surreal - somehow it felt like there was a musical in there. I wrote to Grace with some notes from the lecture - that was the beginning of our collaboration on this piece" says book-writer/lyricist Kate Douglas. "There is no one I would rather be working with on this piece. Grace has brought out some of my best work as a writer. She's taught me so much about trusting instinct and how to start over. We also have a similar twisted sense of humor - Against Women & Music! is steeped in it."

The creative team of Against Women & Music! also includes stage manager Lisa Chernoff, assistant director Kristolyn Lloyd, rehearsal pianist Simone Allen, music transcriptionist Jessie Rosso, and video editor Preston Martin.

Against Women & Music! is part of The Civilians annual cabaret series featuring new works made from creative investigations into real life; the series is supported by The Axe-Houghton Foundation. The musical has been developed at Turkey Land Cove Foundation, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and The Civilians R&D Group.

The Civilians wish to express their gratitude to the Performers' Unions: ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS, AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS, SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.

About the Cast

Amber Grey (Celine) Theatre: Hadestown (Broadway, The National Theatre London, The Citadel, New York Theatre Workshop); Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway, Kazino, Ars Nova); An Octoroon (Theatre for a New Audience, Soho Rep, PS 122), Daniel Fish's Oklahoma! (Bard SummerScape), Taylor Mac's A 24 Decade History of Popular Music: 1900's-1950's (New York Live Arts with Under the Radar), The TEAM's Mission Drift, Primer for a Failed Superpower, and the upcoming Reconstruction; and 15 years with Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping. TV/Film: Showtime's Escape At Dannemora; Amazon's upcoming limited series Underground Railroad and movie Master. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting

Andrew Kober (Rudolph) Broadway: Beautiful, School of Rock, Sunday in the Park with George, She Loves Me, Les Miserables, and Hair. National Tour: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway and regional: Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, MCC, New York Theatre Workshop, The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bucks County Playhouse, The Denver Center Theater, Barrington Stage Company, and four summers at Shakespeare in the Park, TV: "Fosse/Verdon" (FX Network), "Ray Donovan" (Showtime), "House of Cards" (Netflix), "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO), "Blue Bloods" (CBS), "Pan Am" (ABC), "The Plot Against America" (HBO), "Pose" (FX Network).Twitter: @andrewkober

Katrina Lenk (Bridget) will soon be seen in a major recurring arc on the final season of "Ozark" on Netflix. She currently stars as Bobbie in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company and is the first woman to play the role on Broadway. She previously starred as Dina in The Band's Visit, for which she earned Tony, Grammy, and Lucille Lortel Awards. She also received nominations from OCC, Chita Rivera Awards, Drama League, Theatre World Award's Dorothy Loudon Award, and a Clarence Derwent Award (Breakout Female of the Year). Other Broadway credits: Pulitzer Prize winning Indecent (OCC nomination), Once, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Miracle Worker. Additional theater credits: Indecent (Vineyard, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep), iWitness (Mark Taper Forum), Lost Land (Steppenwolf), Caucasian Chalk Circle (South Coast Rep), Lovelace: A Rock Opera (L.A./Edinburgh). Other TV credits: "Little Voice," "Tommy," "The Village," "The Good Fight," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "The Get Down," "Elementary," and "The Blacklist."

Heath Saunders (James) is an actor, composer, multi-instrumentalist, director, teacher, producer, and diversity dramaturg. All of their free time (in the past) was devoted to readings, workshops, and new works, and their new world is mostly populated by aural experimentation. They provided the music and the sound design for a recent digital reading of the genre bending horror play The Things are Against Us by Susan Stanton at MCC. They were featured on the original cast recording of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's new musical Alice By Heart. They spent much of 2018 involved in Jesus Christ Superstar, including at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Jesus, and in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC. They made their Broadway debut in Great Comet, and their musical Newton's Cradle won Best in Fest at NYMF 2016. Their EP "Does Not Play Well With Others (I Hope You're Not 'Others')" can be heard wherever you stream music, except maybe Tidal--they don't know, they don't have an account. thesaunderscollective.com @feeltheheath

Scott Stangland (Taft) is a New York-based actor and musician. Broadway: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Pierre); Once (Eamon). Off-Broadway: Cyrano (New Group Theater). Regional: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (A.R.T.); The Wheel (Steppenwolf Theatre). Select TV: The Blacklist (FOX); The Deuce, Vinyl (HBO); Wu Tang: An American Saga (Hulu); New Amsterdam, FBI Most Wanted, Crisis, Chicago Fire (NBC); Jessica Jones (Netflix); Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (TNT); Select Film: Contagion, and End of the Tour. Scott received his MFA from The Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. Scott also plays in the band Youth in a Roman Field, with fellow Eastland castmates, Claire Wellin and Tiffany Topol. www.scottstangland.com

Kuhoo Verma (Geneva) is set to lead the cast of Hulu's upcoming film Plan B. She previously starred in Dave Malloy's Octet at the Signature Theatre (Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble). Her film credits include the Oscar-nominated The Big Sick. Instagram: @therealkuhoo

Natalie Walker (Lila) is a performer and writer. Screen: Search Party, BoJack Horseman, The Other Two. Stage: Alice By Heart (MCC), Dogfight concert (Second Stage), Cabaret (Secret), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Hangar). Writing featured in Bookforum and Vulture.

About the Creative Team:

Grace McLean (Writer) is a performer, writer and composer. Broadway: Natasha, Pierre... (also Off-Broadway, ART). Off-Broadway: New Group, MCC, LCT3, Public, Vineyard, La MaMa, among others. Grace McLean & Them Apples performed in the 2015 and 2016 seasons of Lincoln Center's American Songbook, and Grace toured Pakistan and Russia as an artistic ambassador with the US State Department. 2017 Emerging Artist Award Lincoln Center; 2020 Civilians R&D Group; Lincoln Center Theater Writer-In-Residence where her original musical In The Green was commissioned and produced, earning the 2020 Richard Rodgers Award and a Lucille Lortel for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. www.gracemclean.com

Kate Douglas (Writer) is a writer, composer and performer. Recent work includes THE NINTH HOUR, her operetta with Shayfer James at The Met Cloisters, her immersive play EXTINCT (produced with support from a LMCC Engagement Grant) and her upcoming audio experience HOLD, PLEASE. Her work has been developed at The Orchard Project, New Victory Theater, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Rhinebeck Musicals and the Writer's Colony at Goodspeed. She is currently a member of The Orchard Project Greenhouse, Gingold Theatrical Group Speakers' Corner Writers Group and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Most recently, Kate signed with Kobalt Music Publishing. www.katedouglasprojects.com

Sarna Lapine(Director) is a New York-based director. Upcoming: the West End transfer of the acclaimed Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford and Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Boston Lyric Opera). Recent credits include the world premiere of Kate Hamill's Dracula (Classic Stage Company); the New York premiere of Kate Hamill's Little Women (Primary Stages); as well as The Rape of Lucretia (Boston Lyric Opera), named Best Opera of 2019 by the Boston Globe. In addition to working on Broadway, Sarna has worked regionally, Off-Broadway and internationally, including the Japanese premiere of Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51. Touring productions include: the North American tour and Japanese premiere of The National Theatre's WarHorse; Dirty Dancing North American tour; as well as the second national tour of Lincoln Center Theater's Tony Award winning revival, South Pacific. Sarna holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Lisa Ann Chernoff (Stage Manager) Broadway: The Great Society, My Fair Lady, Oslo, The King & I, The Bridges of Madison County, Golden Boy, Catch Me If You Can, Women on the Verge.., Ragtime, Shrek. Off-Broadway: Unknown Soldier, Pocatello; Detroit; Rapture, Blister, Burn; Prayer for My Enemy (Playwrights Horizons); Mary Jane (NYTW), Kingdom Come (Roundabout), King Lear (Public). National Tour: Spamalot.

Kristolyn Lloyd (Assistant Director) Grammy and Emmy Award Winner. Directing Credits: Nick and the Prizefighter (Urbanite Theatre Modern Works Festival), Dainty (BOLD Works Festival), A Patriots Place (B Street Theatre) Assistant Dir. Cabin in the Sky (Encores City Center). Her Acting credits include Broadway; Dear Evan Hansen. Off Broadway;Blue Ridge (Atlantic) Paradise Blue, The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre) Little Women (Primary Stages) Invisible Thread (Second Stage Theatre), Heathers The Musical (New World Stages), Cabin In The Sky (Encores City Center), Selected Regional; Paradise Blue (Williamstown), Witness Uganda (A.R.T.), Hairspray and Rent (Hollywood Bowl). TV includes: "Random Acts of Flyness" (HBO), Elementary, Madam Secretary" (CBS), "ER" (NBC) and "Lie to Me." (FOX).

Preston Martin (Video Editor) (he/they) is a queer actor, director, writer and budding video artist. He has performed in eight countries and in over sixty venues across New York City. Preston is also the creative director of The Reality Show: NYU, a global program created by Liz Swados now in its seventeenth year. The Reality Show devises musical and theatrical experiences for and by NYU students centered around identity, mental health and wellness. The project has been presented at Radio City Musical Hall, Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, as well as in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. For more on Preston's work, visit www.prestonmartin.com.

Jessie Rosso (Music Transcriptions) (she/her) is an NYC-based Music Director, Pianist, and Copyist. Notable credits include Ratatouille: the TikTok Musical (Music Associate) and Soft Power (Music Assistant). She has also worked with companies such as Encores! Off Center, 5th Avenue Theatre, and the Atlantic Theater Company. Website: jessierosso.com

About the Civilians

Founded in 2001, The Civilians is dedicated to making new theater at the intersections of art and real life. Its signature work is "investigative theater," projects created through field research, community collaborations, and other methods of in-depth inquiry. Centered in a group of Associate Artists, the company also works with the theater field as a whole. Shows originated by The Civilians include Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Lucas Hnath's Dana H., Jose´ Rivera's Another Word for Beauty, and many works with composer Michael Friedman: Gone Missing, Pretty Filthy, Paris Commune and more. The Civilians has participated in several BAM Next Wave Festivals, has been produced at many major regional and Off-Broadway theaters, and was the first theater company to be Artist-in-Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With Ghostlight Records, The Michael Friedman Recording Project is creating nine albums of our founding member's works. To hear the first five albums, visit here. The company supports a number of emerging and established artists each year through its new work programs which include the R&D Group new works lab, and a cabaret series of new musicals. The Civilians produces a podcast on SoundCloud; publishes Extended Play, an online journal about its work and the broader theater field; and sustains an active Education Program. www.thecivilians.org
Link https://thecivilians.org

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