Thursday, October 8, 2015

Staged readings of new plays and musicals set at Midtown Direct Rep in South Orange


Midtown Direct Rep (MDR), kicks off its 2015-16 season at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) with Theatre in the Loft, a series of staged readings of new plays and musicals. The Impossibility of Now, written by Y York and directed by Will Pomerantz, will be performed for one night only on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 7pm at SOPAC (One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079). The reading is $15 and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). For direct link to purchase tickets, please CLICK HERE.

The staged reading will feature MDR company members and Broadway favorites (and real-life married couple) Stephanie J. Block (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes, 9 to 5: The Musical, The Pirate Queen, The Boy From Oz) and Sebastian Arcelus (A Time to Kill, Elf, Jersey Boys, Wicked, Rent, Madam Secretary on CBS, Netflix series House of Cards,). Additional casting is still to be announced. Brian Rardin will be the Stage Manager.

About the cast

Stephanie J. Block has established herself as one of Broadway's most versatile leading ladies. She has starred in Little Miss Sunshine (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical); The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Tony Award Nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical); Anything Goes; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; 9 to 5: The Musical (Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), Wicked, The Pirate Queen, and The Boy From Oz. She starred in the First National Touring Company of Wicked as Elphaba (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress, Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Musical). Regional credits include Funny Girl (Robby Award Winner-Best Actress), Crazy For You (L.A. Ovation Award Nominee), Oliver! (Critic's Award-Best Actress), James Joyce's The Dead, Triumph of Love, The Grass Harp, South Pacific, The Will Rogers Follies, and the World Premiere of Wicked. Television Credits include: Orange is the New Black and Homeland. Stephanie has sung with numerous symphony orchestras around the U.S. Her solo concert has been critically acclaimed in NYC and London. Her voice can be heard on the original cast recordings of The Boy from Oz, The Pirate Queen, and 9 to 5: The Musical (Grammy Nomination), and of course her own album, This Place I Know. She is a proud member of The Musical Theatre Guild and has been a member of Actors' Equity since 1995.

Sebastian Arcelus has made a career in theater on Broadway, regionally, and internationally. He has had starring roles on Broadway as Roger in Rent, Jan in Good Vibrations, Fiyero in Wicked, Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, Buddy in Elf the Musical, and Jake Brigance in A Time to Kill. Off Broadway/Regional roles include Happiness at Lincoln Center, The Blue Flower at Second Stage, Where’s Charley? at Encores!, and William Finn’s Songs of Innocence and Experience at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Arcelus appeared in the movie musical Temptation and filmed and helped produce the independent feature film The Last Day in August. Arcelus played journalist Lucas Goodwin in the Netflix TV series House of Cards, and he currently portrays Jay Whitman on the CBS drama, Madam Secretary.

About The Impossibility of Now

In Y York’s charmingly funny and well-observed new play, words have lost their meaning and dreams are blurring with movies for Carl, a brilliant science writer suffering memory loss and facing a life he cannot quite recall. Before the accident, his worldview was clouded with darkness, but now, through fresh eyes and childlike discovery, he navigates his strange Las Vegas neighborhood in a surprising bright light. As the new Carl woos his longtime wife, Miranda, his unexpected demeanor upends her plans for a future with the tall attractive pediatric dentist.  It is a comedy of remembering and forgetting.

About Playwright Y York

Y York is the recipient of the Smith Prize for …and LA is Burning; Houston’s Buzzy Award, Best New Play for Woof; the Berrilla Kerr Award for the Secret wife;  the Hawai`i Award for Literature for Nothing is the Same; five times from the AATE Distinguished Play Award, and the Charlotte Chorpenning Award for her body of work for children and their families. New plays premiered last season in Seattle, Malvern, PA, and Omaha, NE, and her other plays can be found on stages around the country and at Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing, or from Bret Adams, Ltd.  Plays have been supported by the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, AT and T OnStage, USA Artists, and many local arts organizations through the years. Y is an alumna of New Dramatists and a member of The Dramatists' Guild. Y has been writing plays for three decades, most of which have been produced and between twenty and thirty are published.  Y is currently working with composer Amanda Jacobs on a new musical, under commission from the Seattle Children's Theatre and a member of the Seattle Rep's 2015-2016 Writers' Group.

About Theatre in the Loft
A series of public readings of new plays and musicals, Theatre in the Loft presented by Midtown Direct Rep, showcases new work in front of a sophisticated and engaged audience. The series focuses on scripts that reflect the complexities of a uniquely diverse community, writers or subjects with a local connection, and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble. In addition to The Impossibility of Now, the 2015-16 Theatre in the Loft season will also include 7pm staged readings of new plays on November 15, 2015, January 10, 2016, and March 20, 2016.

About Midtown Direct Rep
SOPAC-South Orange Performing Arts Center, Location: South Orange, NJ, Architect: RKT&B Architects. This is the description of this image. MDR is the theatre in residence at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ. With perhaps more professional theater artists than any suburb of NYC, Maplewood/South Orange (NJ) is "where Broadway comes home to sleep." MDR, a theatre company created by and for these NJ-based artists, develops and presents relevant, world-class theatre for its community. Company members include two-time Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block, Megan Lawrence, and Christiane Noll, plus Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, Michele Pawk, and many others. Recent projects include work by Jack Canfora, Jeremy Desmon, Chad Hardin, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchison, David Johnson, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, Douglas J. Cohen, Zoe Samuel, and others. In 2014, Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis joined company members Sebastian Arcelus, Jenny Bacon, Stephanie Kurtzuba, and others in Absence, a new play by Peter Flaherty. The Company is led by Managing Director Aliza Wassner, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, Literary Manager Marni Raab, and Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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