'High School Musical' Competitor Welcomes 'Hairspray's' Diana DeGarmo, Rhythm and Blues Diva Shayna Steele to October 9/10 Ars Nova Performance of 'In Your Dreams'

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Other headliners in showcase performance of songs from the hot new teen musical include Michael Cunio, Shannon Durig, Sloan Just, Betsy Morgan -- and more!

The cast and crew of the hot new teen musical “In Your Dreams,” the leading competitor to Disney Channel’s Billboard-topping “High School Musical,” issued a statement today welcoming “Hairspray’s” Diana DeGarmo and rhythm and blues diva Shayna Steele to the October 9th and 10th spotlight performance of 13 songs from the up-and-coming teen hit at the Ars Nova performance center in New York City.

"American Idol"-launched Diana DeGarmo is currently featured in the role of Penny Pingleton in the Broadway smash hit “Hairspray,” while rhythm and blues artist Shayna Steele began her singing career with memorable roles in “Hairspray,” “Rent” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” before launching her highly successful rhythm and blues solo career.

DeGarmo -- a Georgia native -- and Steele join a star-studded showcase cast that includes Michael Cunio (“The Fluffer,” “Hairspray”), Shannon Durig (“Hairspray”), Sloan Just (“On the Town,” “The Fully Monty"), Tabitha Fair,

Blake Whyte -- and musical direction by Lon Hoyt.

“The ‘In Your Dreams’ showcase is turning out to be one of the hottest tickets of the fall showcase season,” notes Zeke Farrow, who created the new teen musical in partnership with Lucian Piane, the musical protégé of “Hairspray’s” Marc Shaiman. “Invitations to the two performances are being delivered this week.” The October 9th performance takes place at 8 p.m., says Farrow, while the October 10th performance kicks off at 2 p.m. (Members of the New York entertainment community who have not yet received their invitations may request tickets by contacting Mr. Farrow at zfarrow @ aol.com.)

“In Your Dreams” makes its New York City musical debut at a time when teen musicals are seeing a surge of interest from the Hollywood and Broadway entertainment communities, says Farrow. “We’ve been told that the music compares extremely favorably with teen musical hits of the past and present, including ‘Grease,’ ‘Hairspray,’ and even Disney Channel’s massively successful $4 million cable-only movie, ‘High School Musical.’”

Jason Eagan, director of the Ars Nova performance center, agrees, adding: "Zeke Farrow and Lucian Piane have written a gallant high school musical that kids will take their parents to. The combination of the massive musical talents of Piane and the outrageous people skills of Farrow have made this musical showcase a must-see for the Broadway musical community this fall.”

Ars Nova opened its doors three years ago in memory of Gabe Wiener with the goal of being a home for artists to develop and perform new works in an intimate audience setting. Since then some of New York’s top writers, directors and performers have walked through their doors with ideas and walked out with projects that were ready to be taken to the next level. Some of those names include Rufus Wainwright, David Cross, Sandra Bernhard, John Cameron Mitchell, Jason Biggs, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Sedaris, Paul Rudd, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, The Wau Wau Sisters, Moises Kaufman, James Lapine, Tony Kushner, Stephen Belber, and Michael Patrick King. http://broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=9263

So far, the response to the musical has been extremely positive and momentum seems to be building behind the musical, says Farrow. “To steal a line from uber-lyricists Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman: ‘You can’t stop an avalanche as it races down a hill -- and you can try to stop my dancing feet, but I just cannot stand still.”

Everyone told him he was "crazy" for writing a high school musical, recalls Farrow. "But it turns out my timing was perfect. And who doesn’t like to tell their agents, 'I told you so!'"

According to many, the themes and music of “In Your Dreams” compare most closely to the smash Disney hit “High School Musical, which, since premiering on the Disney Channel in the U.S. earlier this year, has become nothing short of a phenomenon, setting records around the world.

“Not since ‘Fame’ or ‘Grease' or ‘Hairspray’ has a musical had such impact,” says Farrow. “Like my own musical, ‘High School Musical’ is rollicking and squeaky-clean, geared for a young and lucrative audience.” “Hairspray” will be released as an Adam Shankman-directed film in the summer of 2007, Farrow notes.

Disney’s cable-only “High School Musical” has been seen by over 40 million people, and it has earned a Guinness World Record for the most successful songs from a song track -- despite being produced on a $4 million production budget. With its popular songs and frenzied toe-tapping, “High School Musical” has become the most popular Disney Channel movie ever, says Farrow. “And we anticipate the same bright future for our own teen musical, “In Your Dreams.”

Directed by the man behind "Dirty Dancing," “High School Musical” took America by storm, landing six Emmy nominations, and is anticipated to do the same in the U.K. Says Farrow: “It kept singer James Blunt off the top of the U.S. album charts, outsold ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ and has become the biggest selling television soundtrack since the '80s hit ‘Miami Vice.’”

“My hope is that the Hollywood film industry will take notice of the October Ars Nova performances,” says Farrow. “My dream would be to get Diane Reichenberger, Nina Jacobson, Bonnie Hammer, SJ-Lo, Bette Midler, Penny Marshall and Elisabeth Murdoch into the same room to brainstorm the commercial potential of this hot new musical. Then we’d really have some ‘Girl Power’ going on!” The script is represented by the highly respected Brad Rosenfeld of Preferred Artists.

One of the problems in getting a squeaky clean movie such as “In Your Dreams” produced in the current testosterone-heavy Hollywood atmosphere, says Farrow, is that half of the movies nowadays seem to be produced by Hollywood’s male industrial-military complex and the other half are based on scripts written by screenwriters who did coke with the major producers of the 1990s. http://youtube.com/watch?v=lv4Potdpjhw

“And so basically we are going after the third half, as it were,” says Farrow.

Like “High School Musical,” Farrow’s “In Your Dreams” is a large scale, splashy, teen musical -- with a dash of political satire. It centers around Helen, a 17-year-old girl who appears in three different incarnations, Black, Pink, and Blue. http://inyourdreamsthemusical.com/

Among those in the entertainment community with a growing awareness of the significant market value that a theater-distributed rival to Disney Channel’s cable based “High School Musical” has to offer are Jim Wyatt, Mara Brock Akil, Michael Hirschorn, Margo Lion, Steve Tisch, William Mechanic, Ed Limato, Penny Marshall, Toni Howard, Marykay Powell, Nathan Lane, Scott Marshall, Dualstar, Rosie O’Donnell, Bonnie Hammer, Val Day, Roland Scahill, Peter Franklin, Cindy Kauanui, Thomas Schumacher, Barbara Damashek, Peter Brosius, Julie Taymor, Tina Landau, Geraldine Laybourne, Garry Marshall, Bette Midler, Bill Cosby, Michael Scott King, Meryl Streep, Ashley Olsen, Matthew Broderick, Emma Roberts, and Amy Sedaris.

"Not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Taylor at Pretty Matches Productions," adds Farrow, "which is currently producing 'The Washingtonienne,' an HBO sit-com about a morally amphibious Senatorial intern who bends over backwards to help a Washington insider."

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