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Breast in Show, yes, a hot new musical about breast cancer! Script by Lisa Hayes, Music & Lyrics by J. Cushing, Directed by Katherine Chase Bryer, produced by Eileen Mitchard.  Performances at JCC Theatre October 14 & 15.  

      90 min, Cast of 6 (4f, 2m), Orchestrations for 5 (keyboard, drums, trumpet, trombone, reeds - flute/clarinet/sax)  

                                                             See Voices.   See Breast In Show.org.






George & Martha, Tons of Fun based on the collection of stories by James Marshall (Miss Nelson Is Missing).  Commissioned and produced by Imagination Stage. Directed by Katherine Chase Bryer. April 6 to May 28, 2011.  George & Martha, two hippopotami, do everything together, with the same ups and downs in true friendship as humans.  They teach each other that privacy is important, practical jokes can sometimes backfire, and pouring split pea into your loafers to spare the chef's feelings is not the best laid plan.  Gentle stories framed by a vaudeville cabaret.  Cast of 5.    Review George and Martha: Tons of Fun at Imagination Stage | Maryland Theatre Guide  See Photos.  Also, see YouTube Video.


          Michael John Casey as George, Sandra L. Murphy as Martha        Kate Guesman as Pig, Nickolas Vaughan as Croc, Dereks Thomas as Dog


Directed by Katherine Chase Bryer, Choreographed by Scott Rink, Set Design by Milagros Ponce de Leon, Sound Design by Chris Baine, Lighting Design by Cory Ryan Frank, Stage Direction by Kristen Bishel, Costumes by Debra Kim Sivigny, Musical Direction by Deborah Jacobson, Orchestrations by Debbie Wicks La Puma, Photos by Scott Suchman

Diary of a Worm, a Spider & a Fly, based on the books by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss.  Commissioned by Oregon Children's Theatre.  Directed by Stan Foote.  January/February, 2011.  Is Spider getting too big for his own skin? Will Fly find her superhero powers in time to save her Aunt Rita from peril? Will Worm learn to stand on his own two feet…even though he doesn’t have feet?  We invite you to take a look at the world from a bug’s perspective.  Perhaps you’ll see that their lives are not all that different from yours. This world première musical captures all of the droll humor and whimsy of the wildly popular books.  "A smart new musical by Joan Cushing...Rap, hip-hop, smart ballads, and boogie woogie spill across the stage in this slick, witty, and charming show using one of  the most striking sets ever crafted on the Newmark Stage, made up of 90 percent recycled materials.  Set Designer Gene Dent also dazzles us with ... a universe of sparkling lights that seems never-ending."  The Oregonian. For full Reviews, Oregon Children's Theatre.  Also see YouTube Video.   Cast of 6.  Upcoming productions:  First Stage Children's Theatre (Milwaukee), Dallas Children's Theatre + National Tour, Theatre for Young America (Kansas), Main Street Theatre (Houston), Magik Children's Theatre (San Antonio), Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse (Rock Island, IL), James Madison Children's Playhouse (Madison, VA), Growing Stage,   2012-2013 Season - Omaha Theatre Co. for Young People + National Tour.

     Oregon Children's Theatre, Portland, OR                         Directed by Stan Foote                        Set and Lighting Design by Gene Dent


Ramana's Garden, a new musical with collaborator Kathy Carroll, based on the true stories of children in an orphanage in Northern India, with an Indian-flavored score. Staged Reading was July 16 at Adventure Theatre, directed by Lynn Sharp Spears with a 5-piece Indian band. Proceeds to benefit Ramanas Garden. See www.SayYesNow.org. or www.FriendsRamanasGarden.org.  Founded by Hollywood actress Maggie O'Hara, now known as Dr. Prabhavati Dwabha, the orphanage is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, overlooking the sacred Ganges River, and serves destitute children.  Prabhavati was in attendance.

Rufus Juskus on guitar and harmonium, Gordon Coupe on guitar & percussio, Debue Nayak on tablas & percussion

Lizzie Bright & the Buckminster Boy,  a new play with church hymns, based on the Newberry Honor book by Gary D. Schmidt, received a workshop and staged reading as part of First Stage Milwaukee's New Play Series. A mixed race cast of children and adults was directed by Artistic Director Jeff Frank.   Lizzie Bright is a unique coming-of-age play based on the true event of an island’s destruction in 1912. Peopled by a colorful cast of characters -  the crusty Mrs. Cobb, the wicked Mrs. Elia Hurd, a bully named Willis, a racist Sheriff, greedy church deacons, the puritannical Reverend Buckminster, and two 12-year old heroes: Lizzie Bright Griffin and Turner Buckminster III -  this lovely, heartbreaking, and very real story doesn't always go where you think it will, but in the end it goes to a movingly spiritual place.   Ages 10 and up. Lizzie Bright is one of 4 plays selected by Playwrights Theatre of NJ (PTNJ) in collaboration with Growing Stage for their New Play Development Program.  A staged reading is scheduled for December 1 at Growing Stage and December 2 at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Both readings at 7 PM.

The Christmas Doll, adapted from the book by Elvira Woodruff, received a stunning world premiere production at Children's Theatre of Charlotte. The show, directed by Artistic Director Alan Poindexter, garnered 11 Creative Loafing Theatre Award nominations, including Best Original Show, and 11 Metrolina Theatre Nominations, including Outstanding Original Musical, Outstanding Musical Composition, and Outstanding Production.  It also won the 2007 National Youth Theatre Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical.  Pennsylvania Youth Theatre has produced The Christmas Doll two years in a row, directed by Gary Minyard.  Highlights were the musical direction by Nancianne Metz, and Lynn Flickinger as Mrs. Thimbleebee.  The full script (90 minutes) will be published in the upcoming November, 2011 issue of Dramatics Magazine.

Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood, a Next Link Selection for the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, was produced by Jonathan G. Willen at the 45th Street Theatre in NYC. $1 per ticket went to Musicians Village/New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. The show (from the book by Mike Artell) won Honorable Mention for Best in Script, and was picked up by London director Phil Wilmott (The Steam Factory), who produced and directed it in London (Aug 13 - Sept 7) at the Scoop Theatre, an outdoor ampitheatre near the Tower Bridge.  Petite ran in repertory with Frederico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding.  Petite Rouge received it's Louisiana premiere at Jefferson Performing Arts Society, New Orleans, in September 2010, directed and choreographed by Michael Bobbitt.   Petite Rouge has been nominated for six 2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards, including Best Choreography of a Musical/Michael Bobbitt, Best Leading Actor in a Musical/Scott Sauber as Claude, and Best Costumes/Adam Alonso; and one Big Easy Award:  Best Costume Design/Adam Alonso.  NEXT STOP for the New Orleans production is Off-Broadway:  The New Victory Theatre, 42nd Street, NYC.

Lawrence, a new musical based on the book by Janet Morgan Stoeke, and commissioned by Gabrielino High School in L.A., was performed by the students at the Gary E. Goodson Theatre in February, directed by Jan Gluskin. Sadly, Gabrielino's principal, Dr. Gene Murphy, who commissioned the work, passed away in May, so Cushing wrote him into the script.

Heidi, the musical, with playwright Martha King De Silva (music & lyrics by Cushing) and commissioned by Imagination Stage, who gave it a gorgous world premiere production this past spring.   Children, as well as adults, who remember this classic and moving story, from their childhood, were enchanted.   75 minutes.  All ages.                View Washington Times Review

                                                                                                                            View YouTube Video                 


Tara Giordano as Heidi, & Goats                      Peter Boyer, Ann Marie Pinto, Tara Giordano, Doug Wilder, Chris Wilson, Sandy Murphy

Photos by Scot Suchman

Miss Nelson Is Missing! - A brand new version of Miss Nelson opened in November at Imagination Stage, where it all began, for its 100th production.  Viola Swamp takes the misbehaving students on the field trip of their lives, to The Museum of Crime (Dragnet theme) and Punishment!  Will the Kids of 207 ever get their beloved teacher back, or will they end up behind bars?  See it and find out.  Miss Nelson also travelled to China with California Theatre Center.

      11/28/08 Washington Post Review/Imagaination Stage.         2/10/11 New York Times Review/Atlantic Theatre Co./NYC

    The Crime & Punishment Tango! - Helen Hedman/Viola, Matthew A. Anderson/Al Catraz                 View YouTube Video

Tussaud, based on Marie Tussaud’s bloody pursuit of art during the French Revolution (definitely not for TYA!) has a brand new script, following a workshop directed by Michael Bobbitt, and a staged reading at the Round House Theatre/Silver Spring. Tussaud was selected as an Invited Work by the 2008 New York Musical Theatre Festival, but has been postponed until 2009.

                      Petite Rouge/London                   Director Jeff Frank & Cast of Lizzie Bright       Ramana's Garden            The Christmas Doll      

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