“High School Musical” Competitor Welcomes "Hairspray’s" Diana DeGarmo, Rhythm and Blues Diva Shayna Steele to Tomorrow Night’s Spotlight 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, Tabitha Fair, Blake Whyte -- 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,” welcome “Hairspray’s” Diana DeGarmo and “Rent’s” 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.

DeGarmo is currently featured in the lead role of Penny Pingleton in the Broadway version of “Hairspray,” while rhythm and blues artist Shayna Steele began her singing career with memorable performances in “Hairspray,” “Rent” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” before launching her highly successful rhythm and blues solo career.

DeGarmo and Steele join a star-studded showcase cast that includes Michael Cunio (“The Fluffer,” “Hairspray”), Shannon Durig (Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray”), Sloan Just (“On the Town,” “The Fully Monty”), Betsy Morgan (“The Fantasticks”), 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. The October 9th performance takes place at 8 p.m., says Farrow, while the October 10th performance kicks off at 2 p.m. (Editor's Note: The Monday night performance is now completely sold out, but tickets remain for October 10.)

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.” http://inyourdreamsthemusical.com/

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

“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,’ ‘Fame,’ ‘Hairspray’ -- and even Disney Channel’s outrageously successful cable-only smash, ‘High School Musical.’”

“The musical has been greeted with an outpouring of enthusiasm by many of those who have heard it – including the producers of ‘Dreamgirls,’” notes the Miramax-linked Farrow. “I mean, a teen musical about a girl with multiple personalities running for high school prom queen? Even Oren Aviv will have to stand up and cheer when this musical becomes a hit!”

Explains Farrow: “It’s ‘Legally Blonde’ meets “Mean Girls’ – but set to music. So it’s pretty much an unbeatable combination.”

And the entertainment industry seems to think so as well, says Farrow. “Tomorrow’s showcase has really become a major industry event, with representatives from Robert De Niro's Tribeca Films, Disney, the William Morris Agency, and at least four Tony-winners already reserving seats,” he says. “We still have a few seats left for each show, and of course we can always find room for Emma Roberts, Rosie O’Donnell, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein, and Ryan Markowitz and Mark Kaufman of New Line Cinema.” (Note: E-mail Mr. Farrow at Zfarrow @aol.com for tickets.)

Concludes Farrow: "Everyone told me I was crazy for writing a high school musical. 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 music of “In Your Dreams” compares 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.

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 $4.2 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. 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. “And my dream would be to get Diane Reichenberger, Bette Midler, Brangelina, James Stengel, Cyndi Lauper, Nathan Lane, Russ Klein, Nina Jacobson, Bonnie Hammer, and Elisabeth Murdoch into the same room to brainstorm the commercial future of this hot new teen musical. Then we’d really have some major energy going on!”

Also in that “dream room” should be uber-lyricist Marc Shaiman, says Farrow. “To borrow a lyric from Bette Midler, Marc has been the ‘wind beneath our wings’ during the three years that this musical has been in development, and everyone involved thanks him from the bottom of our hearts for his generous support and his unselfish cheerleading of our efforts.”

But 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. http://youtube.com/watch?v=lv4Potdpjhw And the other half are based on scripts written by screenwriters who scored coke for the major producers of the 1990s.

“And so basically we are going after the third half,” says Farrow. “And we know it must exist!”

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 Mike Nichols, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Frank Rich, Paul Brickman, Chris Columbus, Adam Epstein, Harold Ramis, Jon Turteltaub, Ang Lee, Robert Loggia, Penny Marshall, Mark Tinker, John Turturro, Kathryn Bigelow, Joshua Brand, Jeff Marx, Martin Brest, Adam Shankman, Sam Weisman, Glenn Gordon Caron, Simon Wincer, Thomas Carter, Nick Castle, Jerry Zucker, Dualstar, Michael Caton-Jones, Garry Marshall, Roger Donaldson, and Brian Gilbert.

And additionally, Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd, Rick Nicita, Margo Lion, Amy Heckerling, Fran Weissler, Scott Rudin, Scott Hicks, Daryl Roth, Jonathan Kaplan, Nathan Lane, Howard Zieff, Steve Kloves, Amy Sedaris, Ron Lagomarsino, James Lapine, Mimi Leder, Brett Leonard, David Zucker, John Pasquin, Daniel Petrie, Mark Romanek, Jay Sandrich, Jim Sheridan, David Fincher, Jane Hamilton, Spike Jonze, Ivan Reitman, Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals, Dori Berinstein, MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert, Dean Stolber, Bill Cosby, Meryl Streep, Ashley Olsen, and Matthew Broderick.

“And of course,” says Farrow, “Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Taylor at Pretty Matches Productions, which is currently producing the HBO sit-com ‘The Washingtonienne,’ a modern-day updating of Chaucer’s classic ‘Canterbury Tales,’ set instead in 21st century Washington D.C., using Chaucer’s discussive voice, and focusing primarily on themes from ‘The Manciple’s Tale,’ ‘The Pardoner’s Tale,’ the Wife of Bath, the Monk of Bery, and Criseyde, and involving only safe, or safer, sex in that city.”

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