New York NY -- THEATREWORKS/NYC (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Ken Arthur,
Managing Director), the Manhattan-based arm of THEATREWORKS/USA, concludes the 2005-06 season with the
revival of its hit musical SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL running March 19 - April 30, 2006 at its home at the
Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street.
Based on Patricia MacLachlan's Newbery Medal-winning book, SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL is
an exuberant musical about a family whose house on the prairie is empty until Sarah enters their lives,
awakens their hearts, and helps them sing again. It is being directed by Joe Calarco, with book
by Julia Jordan, music by Laurence O'Keefe and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. The seventy-five minute
show is recommended for audiences ages 8 and up.
SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL had its world premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in July of 2002, attracting enthusiastic audiences and praise from the media. An original cast album is available from Showbiz Records.
Husband and wife songwriters Benjamin and O’Keefe have also written the music and lyrics for the
upcoming Broadway show Legally Blonde - The Musical. Their other credits include The Mice
written with Sarah librettist Julia Jordan, one act of the trio of musicals produced as 3hree by
Harold Prince at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia and was later seen at the Ahmanson in Los
Angeles. O’Keefe also composed the music for the critically-acclaimed Bat Boy. Jordan is
currently writing the book for the Broadway-bound musical Ever After.
SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL stars sisters Becca Ayers, who is returning
to the roleof "Sarah" having originated it in the acclaimed 2002 world premiere, and
has since been seen on Broadway in Avenue Q, and her sister Heather Ayers, who starred
in the Off-Broadway musical Five Course Love and was featured in the long-running hit
Also returning to SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL in their original roles are Herndon Lackey
(Broadway in Parade, Inherit the Wind, The Kiss of the Spiderwoman; Theatreworks’
A Christmas Carol), Kenneth Boys (Theatreworks’ Walk Two Moons; Public Theatre,
Jewish Rep and Players Theatre), and Kate Wetherhead, (Broadway in
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Theatreworks’ Cam Jansen, Summer of the Swans;.).
New to the cast are Gene Biscontini, Lani Shipman, Mica Duncan and Kate Fahrner.
THEATREWORKS/USA, America’s foremost not-for-profit professional theatre for family
audiences, announced in April the establishment of THEATREWORKS/NYC giving the company
a theatrical home in New York City for the first time in its 45-year history.
Now in its 5th decade, THEATREWORKS/USA is the most prolific continuing producer of
professional theater in the country. During the 2005-06 season, it is producing 28
different productions of 15 original plays and musicals with full Equity casts, both
in New York City and on tour, reaching an audience of over 4 million. Since its founding
in 1961, TheatreworksUSA's productions have been seen by audiences of nearly 100 million.
SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL runs Tuesdays - Thursdays at 10:30am, Fridays at 7pm,
Saturdays at 2pm & 7pm, and Sundays at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. (Schedule is variable from week to week).
Regular ticket prices are $35 each, however there is a special Early Bird price of $25 ,
for any performance through April 30 - for all tickets purchased prior to March 26.
To take advantage of the $25 price, callers must mention Code SPT1 when they place their orders.
For exact performance schedule and to order tickets, log onto www.twusa.org
or call Ticket Central at 212/279-4200.
When Sarah (Becca Ayers) arrives in Kansas from her home in Maine, it becomes clear that
she is very different from Jacob’s late wife, Katy. Sarah expresses herself freely; she
names all of the chickens and even wants to ride Jacob’s feisty horse.
Caleb (Gene Bisccontini) is won over by the gritty and loving Sarah (Becca Ayers). Each
day Caleb grows closer to Sarah’s “peculiar” ways
CAST (in order of appearance)
Anna..................... Kate Wetherhead
Caleb.................... Gene Biscontini
Jacob.................... Herndon Lackey
Matthew/William.... Kenneth Boys
Sarah.................... Becca Ayers
Estelle/Maggie...... Heather Ayers
BECCA AYERS (Sarah) is thrilled that her sister is joining her in their
first show together since 1997. Broadway: Avenue Q, Off-Broadway: Sarah,
Plain and Tall (original cast); The Audience (Transit Group). Tours: Jekyll
and Hyde (1st National), Steel Pier (1st National), Regional: The Comedy of
Errors (Kansas City Rep), Hello Dolly (with Sally Struthers; Lyric Theatre
of Oklahoma), Children of Eden (Ford's Theatre), The Mystery of Edwin Drood
(Rep. Theatre of St. Louis). www.beccaayers.com
HEATHER AYERS (Estelle/Maggie) is thrilled to be performing with her sister,
Becca, and this talented cast on this amazing piece. She was last seen
playing five different characters (bookworm to dominatrix) in Five Course
Love at the Minetta Lane. Heather¹s other Off-Broadway credits include
Forbidden Broadway and three City Center Encores! productions. She has had
the pleasure of workshopping John Caird¹s Jane Eyre, Elton John¹s The
Vampire Lestat and Barry Manilow¹s Harmony. Heather sends love and thanks
to Mom, Dad and Tally. www.heatherayers.com
GENE BISCONTINI (Caleb) got his first role off-Broadway in People Garden
(Barry) at age 8. He has since performed in The Broadway Nutcracker,
Cinderella, and Hand in Hand Off-Broadway. His national tours include
Seussical (JoJo) and Oliver! (Spider, Oliver). Gene is also a current member
of the Broadway Kids. He has appeared in the indie films Empty Building,
Walls and Welcome to America Brian Wong, and was thrilled to sing for
director Ron Howard at his recent tribute on the Bravo Channel! Thank you to
my family and friends for your constant support! www.genebiscontini.com
KENNETH BOYS (Matthew/William) has appeared on Broadway, in national tours,
Off-Broadway (The Public, Circle Rep, Jewish Rep, Players Theater, Lortel,
etc.), and in many regional theaters. Highlights: Ghosts with Frankie Faison
directed by Jane Mandel; Hamlet with Peter Donat directed by Douglas
Campbell; The Cherry Orchard with Keir Dullea; Out of Order with Paxton
Whitehead; Camelot with Robert Goulet; Mary Stuart at Pittsburgh Public
Theater; The Tempest and Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare On The Sound;
The Fantasticks and Communicating Doors at Bristol Riverside Theater. He is
on the Board of Directors at Luna Stage Co. where he has appeared in several
critically acclaimed premieres including Rapture and The Other Side of
Newark. He has been with Sarah since the first workshop, including the
original Lortel production, the Eugene O¹Neill Theatre Center production,
and the NAMT Festival presentation. It is a
joy to return once again. TV/Film: ³The Young Riders² (CBS), All That Jazz,
The Fan, etc.
MIKA DUNCAN (u/s Jacob, Matthew/William) Off-Broadway: Trumbo (w/
Christopher Lloyd). National tours: Trumbo (w/ Brian Dennehy); and
Sarah, Plain and Tall. Regional: Disney¹s Beauty and the Beast, True West,
The Fantasticks, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Charley¹s Aunt, among others.
Film: Ida y Vuelta and Flashback. Television: ³As the World Turns² and
³Guiding Light². Alumnus: Ithaca College
KATE FAHRNER (u/s Anna, Caleb) is a proud member of Equity. Nat'l Tours
include: The Full Monty and Cats (Demeter). Favorite regional credits
include: Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl, u/s Belle), Cats (Demeter).
Opera; Chicago (Velma); Bye Bye Birdie (Kim); Singin¹ in the Rain; Good
News!; The Music Man; and Pippin. Disney Cruise Lines. Thanks to all the
rock stars in my life who have helped to guide my way.
HERNDON LACKEY (Jacob) Broadway credits include Hugh Dorsey in Parade, Tom
Davenport in Inherit the Wind, The Warden in The Kiss of the Spiderwoman,
Javert in Les Misérables, Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood,
and the Squire of Dinidan in Camelot. Off-Broadway Herndon was most recently
seen playing Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Other Off-Broadway
shows: Richard Cory; The Audience; Bloomer Girl, and Forbidden Broadway.
Regional credits include Bounce at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Kennedy
Center, and 3hree at the Prince Music Theatre and Los Angeles' Ahmanson
LANI SHIPMAN (u/s Sarah, Estelle/Maggie) is thrilled to be returning to this
latest production of Sarah, Plain and Tall, after having toured in the title
role in 2003. Lani can be heard on the cast recordings for MTI¹s School
House Rock, Honk, & Dear Edwina; Irving Berlin¹s Watch Your Step, Sing For a
Cure, Wonka, and the soundtrack for the film The Associate. Favorite shows
include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, My Fair Lady, and
Watch Your Step. Lani holds a BFA in acting from the University of Southern
California and spent two seasons at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
KATE WETHERHEAD (Anna) is so happy to reprise her role as Anna, which she
played in the Off-Broadway premiere of Sarah in 2002. She recently left the
company of Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, to which
she will return this May. Other Off-Broadway credits include Tatjana in
Color, Cam Jansen, and Summer of the Swans. Regional: The Spitfire Grill.
Coming up: a pre-Broadway workshop of Nell Benjamin and Larry O'Keefe's
Understudies never substitute for the listed players unless a specific
announcement for the appearance is made at the time of the performance.
For Anna, Caleb Kate Fahrner
For Jacob, Matthew/William Mika Duncan
For Sarah, Estelle/Maggie Lani Shipman