Playwrights Horizons (Artistic Director, Tim Sanford; Managing Director, Leslie Marcus) and the Vineyard Theatre (Artistic Director, Douglas Aibel; Executive Director, Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell) have announced that four-time Helen Hayes Award-winning director Joe Calarco (Shakespeare’s R&J) has joined the creative team of the upcoming new musical THE BURNT PART BOYS by Mariana Elder (book), Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and Chris Miller (music). Calarco, who directed an earlier lab production of the musical for Barrington Stage Company, succeeds Erica Schmidt, who is not continuing with the production by mutual agreement.
Joe Calarco is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare’s R&J, which ran for a year Off-Broadway, becoming the longest running version of Romeo and Juliet in New York history, and earning him a Lortel Award. He also directed the play’s award-winning premieres in Chicago, DC, London and Tokyo. He’s previously worked with THE BURNT PART BOYS writers Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen directing their song cycle Fugitive Songs (Drama Desk nomination, Best Musical Revue) and directed at Playwrights Horizons the new musical Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky. Additional New York credits include Boy (Primary Stages), …in the absence of spring…(Second Stage), Bury the Dead (Transport Group) and Sarah, Plain and Tall. He’s earned four Helen Hayes Awards for Best Director (Assassins, Urinetown, Nijinsky’s Last Dance and Side Show, all at Signature Theatre) and he’s currently directing Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of The Light in the Piazza, which begins performances on November 13.
THE BURNT PART BOYS has had an innovative production and development schedule on its way to its upcoming Off-Broadway premiere in the spring of 2010, when it will be presented as a co-production by Playwrights Horizons and the Vineyard Theatre at Playwrights Horizons, as previously-announced by both non-profit theaters. Following a developmental Lab Production at The Vineyard last spring, THE BURNT PART BOYS was presented this past summer at New York Stage and Film (Artistic Director, Johanna Pfaelzer; Producing Directors Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang) at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, prior to its upcoming New York City premiere next spring.
The unique developmental track of THE BURNT PART BOYS – which involves the collaboration of two New York City theater companies, Vineyard Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, and one regional theater, New York Stage and Film Company – comes in part under the aegis of the Musicals in Partnership Initiative. This program is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop new musicals in partnership with a regional theater, wholly within the non-profit system from start to finish.
The 2010 debut of THE BURNT PART BOYS marks the first time that the two award-winning theaters, Playwrights Horizons and Vineyard Theatre, have co-produced together. The Mellon Foundation grant will support this unique model for the development and production of an original American musical.
With THE BURNT PART BOYS, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard Theatre and New York Stage and Film continue their commitment to developing unique and ground-breaking new musicals. At Playwrights Horizons, these include such musicals as Grey Gardens, James Joyce’s The Dead, Floyd Collins, Assassins, Once on This Island and Sunday in the Park with George, and at the Vineyard Theatre these include such musicals as Avenue Q, [title of show], The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island, Eli’s Comin’ and Dream True. New York Stage and Film has developed new musicals by artists including Pete Townshend, Duncan Sheik and Steven Slater, John Patrick Shanley and Henry Krieger, and Christopher Durang.
THE BURNT PART BOYS is set in West Virginia in 1962. The musical follows a group of teenagers whose fathers were killed ten years earlier in a tragic coal mining accident. When they learn that the mine will be reopened, they set out secretly in the hope of seeing the site, and keeping it closed. A deeply moving and powerful odyssey, THE BURNT PART BOYS is an unforgettable coming of age tale set to a haunting and distinctive bluegrass and pop-inspired score.
Composer Chris Miller and Lyricist Nathan Tysen were the 2008 winners of The Vineyard’s Kitty Carlisle Hart Musical Theatre Award, as well as the Jonathan Larson Award and the Richard Rodgers Award. Their collaborations include Fugitive Songs, presented Off-Broadway last season, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (book by Joe Calarco), which received a workshop production at Barrington Stage in 2008. Book writer Mariana Elder’s plays, sketch comedy and musicals have been performed across the country, including Barrington Stage Co., Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Director’s Lab, Theatre for a New City and Manhattan Theater Source.
Casting for the New York City production is to be announced.