Charles Busch, Gordon Greenberg and

Top Broadway Composers and Lyricists Collaborate

Philadelphia Theatre Company announces the world premiere of the new musical Stars of David to open its 2012-2013 season this fall.

Stars of David is a musical stage adaptation conceived by Aaron Harnick of Abigail Pogrebin’s highly-acclaimed book of the same name.  It is a snapshot of Jewish identity through the interviews with some of America’s most recognizable public figures, including: Gloria Steinem, Leonard Nimoy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Edgar Bronfman, Sr., Joan Rivers, Norman Lear and Wendy Wasserstein.  With a book by Charles Busch (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife) , and directed by Gordon Greenberg, the interviews will be transformed into songs by composers and lyricists including William Finn (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee),Tom Kitt  (Next To Normal), Marvin Hamilsch (A Chorus Line), Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, Or Change), Richard Maltby & David Shire (Closer Than Ever), Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Marilyn & Alan Bergman (Yentl), Amanda Green (High Fidelity), Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller (The Burnt Part Boys), Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam), and others.

Stars of David recently received a staged reading as part of PTC’s popular two week festival of new work, [email protected], which featured readings of new work from thirteen writers and composers from around the country.  The Festival also included the announcement of the first Terrence McNally New Play Award, which went to playwright Bill Cain.

“We are very excited to be premiering this innovative and entertaining new musical which was one of the highlights of [email protected],” said Sara Garonzik, PTC’s Producing Artistic Director.  “The timing seems very right for Stars of David which is reflective of the ongoing cultural conversation around faith and its role in contemporary life.”

Since its inception, PTC has developed and produced close to forty mainstage plays and musicals, most recently Terrence McNally’s Golden Age, set to open next season at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, starring Kathleen Turner, which will run at Arena Stage this summer.  Since 2005, PTC has developed two new musicals – Adrift in Macao by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick, and Nerds ://A Musical Software Satire by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Erik Weiner and Hal Goldberg

Stars of David joins the previously announced Seminar by Theresa Rebeck and The Mountaintop by Katori Hall comprising PTC’s 2012-13 season.  A fourth play will be announced shortly.

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history.  His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play.   He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival.  In 2003, Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention.  He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

Gordon Greenberg recently directed and revised Studs Terkel’s Working in an acclaimed new production for Broadway in Chicago, developed with Stephen Schwartz and Lin Manuel Miranda, which had an extended engagement at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower after productions at the Old Globe and Asolo Theatres.  He directed the new national tour of Guys & Dolls; the Off-Broadway revival of Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well… which garnered Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Award nominations; We The People, nominated Best 2010 Off-Broadway musical; 33 Variations at Capital Rep; Floyd Collins at Signature Theatre; the new production of Yentl at Asolo Rep; and the new musical Vanities, winner of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Award for Best Musical Production.  He has also directed several productions for Goodspeed Opera House and Paper Mill Playhouse including Pirates! Or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder’d, The Baker’s Wife, and Happy Days.

Abigail Pogrebin, a Yale graduate, is the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish which was featured on GMA and Charlie Rose and went into eight hardcover printings. Her second book, a frank look at every facet of twinship: One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to be Singular, was featured on the Today Show, NPR, and in Newsweek.  Her recent book Showstopper about her wild ride in the original cast of the Broadway flop, Merrily We Roll Along made the Kindle bestseller list in summer 2011.  She has written for publications such as New York Magazine, the New York Times travel section, The Daily Beast, Huffington PostHarper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Self, Parents, Salon, Tablet, The Forward, and Ladies Home Journal.

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