The Academy for New Musical Theatre is thrilled to be producing again! Only our second production in our 40-year history, we’re producing the world premiere of A Ring in Brooklyn at the NoHo Arts Center, in association with DOMA Theatre, for a six week run beginning July 28 through September 2nd.
This show was was developed at ANMT for the Victory Theatre in Burbank, and then we selected it to be part of Stages Musical Theatre Festival in 2011. Now it’s making its debut in full production this summer. A Ring in Brooklyn tells the story of high-school alums Gina and Jenn, as they make bolder and braver attempts to re-steal a promise ring from the hateful and slutty Tracy. Through the night we are taken back to a senior dance in 1979 where dat frickin’ ring first surfaces, and we meet the sweetheart himself, Tommy, whose cool poetic notions stir not only Gina, but every one of his hapless, hopelessly Brooklyn classmates.
‘It’s touching and funny,’ says ANMT’s Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry, ‘and speaks powerfully about our desperate desire to love and be loved. A Ring in Brooklyn makes me roar with improper catty laughter, but then catches me unexpectedly by the throat and then gives me a sucker punch of sentimentality and truth. It’s amazing writing, and you end up loving each and every one of these sad, wonderful, funny people.’
Joshua Finkel directs and choreographs this brand-new world premiere production, written by Eric Dodson and Alan Ross Fleishman. Cast members include Jordan Kai Burnett, Gabrielle Wagner, Mike Irizarry, Johnny Cannizzaro, Anna Hanson, Mark Shunock and Matt Valle.
‘When I first saw A Ring in Brooklyn in a concert reading last year, I fell in love with it,’ beams the show’s lead producer Kevin Meoak, ‘It’s hysterically funny, and universal, but also extremely relevant with its message of hard-knock looks at self-delusion. So I approached ANMT with the idea of producing it, and here we are a year later now able to share it with a Los Angeles audience. I think they’re going to eat it up; it’s really a great musical.’
A Ring in Brooklyn began in 2009 as a brief 15-minute musical, focused just on the events of the high school reunion itself, with a cast of five. When the Victory Theatre’s Cate Caplin approached the writers with the idea of expanding it to full-length, at first the writers balked. Bookwriter and lyricist Eric Dodson confides, ‘It was initially just about a woman who is so blinded by false memory that she can’t see that the love of her life, which didn’t seem like it was enough storyline to sustain a whole musical. But the more I began to explore these five characters, the more I thought that what happened to them ten years ago was affecting ALL of them still, a decade later. And suddenly I had enough material for a three or four hour musical. These characters move me deeply; they’re all of them based in some fashion on real people. I can’t tell you their real names; they’d kill me if they knew I was writing about them!’
The production’s music director, Ross Källing, is assisting Fleishman to score the musical for three-piece band. ‘We talked about a four or even five or six piece band,’ says Källing, ‘but Alan’s vocal arrangements are so rich and thick that we made a conscious choice that three pieces can actually accomplish exactly what we need it to. We’ve also been working carefully and deliberately to make sure each and every role in the show is defined by range, timbre, and even rhythm, so there’s a lot of musical contrast and drama inherent in the score itself, even before the actors start to bring it to life. I have a very special place in my heart for this show; I can’t wait for opening night!’
We can’t wait either. We’d like to encourage you, please, to make reservations for the first two weekends — we’re trying to pack the first two weekends to get the word of mouth going about it. We think you’re going to love it. Please join us for A Ring in Brooklyn — ANMT’s second production in forty years. It’s very special.
Performances begin July 28 at the NoHo Arts Center. Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, with Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. $30. www.anmt.org