THE MANHATTAN-BASED ARM OF THEATREWORKS/USA, CONCLUDES THE 2005-06 SEASON WITH ITS HIT MUSICAL,
SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL,
MARCH 19 - APRIL 30

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 Forbidden Broadway.

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 Theatre.

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 Legally Blonde.

UNDERSTUDIES 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

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