New Jersey Premiere of The Musical "Suburb" at Theater Under the Stars

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For all the books, movies and sitcoms that have either eulogized or vilified them, the suburbs have been largely ignored by musical theater Â? until now. Suburb takes an insightful, witty, and nuanced view of the world of the lawnmower, the barbecue, and the mall, exploring Suburb's rites and rituals. Theater Under the Stars will present the New Jersey premiere of this award-winning musical from February 25 to March 13 at the Parish House Theater.

For all the books, movies and sitcoms that have either eulogized or vilified them, the suburbs have been largely ignored by musical theater — until now. Suburb takes an insightful, witty, and nuanced view of the world of the lawnmower, the barbecue, and the mall, exploring Suburb's rites and rituals. Theater Under the Stars will present the New Jersey premiere of this award-winning musical from February 25 to March 13 at the Parish House Theater.

Book by David Javerbaum & Robert S. Cohen, Music by Robert S. Cohen, Lyrics by David Javerbaum, Directed by Leslie Potashner, Musical Direction by Tamara Cashour, Choreography by Donald Earle Howes.

This Desperate Housewives meets Rent story revolves around Alison and Stuart, a young professional couple living in the city and now expecting a baby. Stuart finds himself suddenly seized by and overwhelming desire to go suburban, while Alison is afraid of becoming her mother. Rhoda is an “Űber-realtor hell-bent on selling Alison and Stuart their dream house. Tom is a widower and avid do-it-yourselfer, who in the face of retirement, has reluctantly put his home of 40 years up for sale.

Donald Lyons of the New York Post wrote of Suburb: “Winning and warm… Suburb is a sweet, old-fashioned take on the charms and travails of exurban life… a wry but enthusiastic celebration of a typical American experience.” —Donald Lyons, New York Post David Javerbaum and Bob Cohen began collaborating in 1996. The two were both children of the New Jersey suburbs — David from Maplewood, Bob from Fair Lawn — and, following the maxim "Write what you know," they began to work. Their musical Suburb took shape in workshops at Musical Theatre Works (MTW), where in June of 1997 they performed a staged reading of their first five songs. Over the next two years, David and Bob wrote twelve more, continuing to develop the piece at both MTW and the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Alumni Workshop.

In 2000, Suburb won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Development Award, which helped fund a workshop production at the off-Broadway York Theatre, directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray. This workshop led to the show's premiere at Buffalo's Alleyway Theatre. Following that success, the York Theatre Company in Manhattan staged its critically acclaimed production during the 2000-2001 season, earning Best Musical Nominations from the Lucille Lortel Awards, the Outer Critics' Circle, and the Drama League Award.

David Javerbaum (Lyricist/Co-Author) is the Head Writer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on Comedy Central. His work for that television program has earned him two Emmy Awards, three consecutive Emmy nominations, and a 2000 Peabody Award. He also garnered an Emmy nomination for his work as a staff writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” He is a co-writer of the best selling book America. He spent three years writing humor for the satirical newspaper and web site The Onion, conceiving and co-writing its 1999 best-selling book Our Dumb Century (winner of the James Thurber Prize for American Humor) and contributing numerous articles and headlines to two other compilation books, Our Finest Reporting and Dispatches from the Tenth Circle. An alumnus of NYU's Graduate School of Musical Theater Composition, David attended Harvard University, where he wrote for the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon and co-wrote two of that school's Hasty Pudding musicals. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Debra. His hobbies include the succinct encapsulation of his achievements.

Robert S. Cohen (Composer/Co-Author) is a recipient of the 2000 Richard Rodgers Development Award for his work in Suburb. Bob was also co-author of the musical In My Life (for which he obtained the exclusive theatrical rights to the Lennon/McCartney song catalogue), which received performances at New Dramatists, Westbeth Theater and the American Stage Company. Mr. Cohen has also composed the scores for the musicals Knots, Sabbat, and Sunday Comix, which ran midnights at the Elgin Cinema. His musical God in Concert: One Night Only received a staged reading at the Second Stage in New York under the direction of Lynn Taylor-Corbett. He has served as resident composer for the National Shakespeare Company, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and the Manitoba Theater Center. He is a graduate of Brown University.

Leslie Potashner, Executive Director of Theater Under the Stars, directs the play. Potashner is a co-founder of Theater Under the Stars with Francine Testa. She oversaw the development of the Youth Conservatory and acted as a Design Consultant on the Oskar Schindler Performing Art Center. She directed the world premiere of Pete Townshend’s Quadrophenia for TUTS and recently co-produced the world premiere of the comedy 9 Months: Inside Out with ShariAnn Quirk. Potashner directed Fredrik Handel’s Ariodante for the New York Chamber Opera. She also works as a Development Associate for the International Dance Festival in NYC, bringing emerging choreographers and dance companies from around the world to New York City.

Performing in the show are Will Coles, Carri Dolce, Joseph LaFalce, Lisa McElwee, Shayne Austin Miller, Lynette Sheard, Kyle Younger, and Linda Ziegler. The show performs at the Parish House Theater of the Pleasantdale Presbyterian Church, 662 Eagle Rock Avenue from February 25 through March 13. For information call 973-325-0795 or visit http://www.TheaterUnderTheStars.org. Further information on the play and audio clips visit http://www.suburbthemusical.com.

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Carri Dolce