Thursday, August 9, 2018

‘Pamela’s First Musical’ world premiere this fall at Two River Theater


More than 20 years after “it started with a dream,” Pamela’s First Musical will have its world premiere this fall at Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. The theater launches its 25th Anniversary Season with this long-awaited show, a valentine to the musical theater and a testament to its enduring power. Featuring a creative team with impressive theatrical pedigrees—with numerous honors among them, including multiple Tony Award wins and more than 20 nominations—a cast of 15 and an eight-piece band, Pamela’s First Musical will be the largest and most ambitious production in Two River’s history.

redb12Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, September 8 and continue for an extended four-week run, through Sunday, October 7. The opening night performance is Friday, September 14 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or

Based on the 1996 children’s book by Wendy Wasserstein, Pamela’s First Musical has a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles) and Tony Award-winner Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel (who each won the Tony Award—one of three for Cy Coleman—for their previous collaboration, City of Angels).

The musical was originally scheduled to have its world premiere in 2005; that production was cancelled due to Coleman’s death in 2004 and Wasserstein’s illness, which led to her untimely death in 2006. Neither artist was able to see their dream of a full production realized. Although it was presented as a one-night benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in 2008, Pamela’s First Musical seemed destined to remain unproduced—a last, lost work by some of the American theater’s most outstanding artists.

Developed by Two River Theater for several years, Pamela’s First Musical will now come to the stage with a cast of 15 and an eight-piece band, directed and choreographed by 10-time Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele, with music supervision and arrangements by Kevin Stites.

The musical tells the story of Pamela (played by 12-year-old Sarah McKinley Austin), an unhappy, imaginative young girl whose mother has died. Her father (two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin), though well-meaning, doesn’t fully understand his creative, unusual daughter. When Pamela’s eccentric and fabulous Aunt Louise (a modern “Auntie Mame” played by three-time Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello) sweeps her away on her birthday to see her very first Broadway musical, Pamela meets many of the colorful personalities of the New York theater world, including musical comedy star Mary Ethel Bernadette (Drama Desk Award winner Andréa Burns), producer Bernie S. Gerry (Tony Award nominee David Garrison) and director Hal Hitner (Tony Award nominee Michael Mulheren). In meeting them and watching a clever musical-within-a-musical, Pamela discovers her tribe and the place where, as she sings, “all the pieces fit”—the world of musical theater.

The cast also includes Wesley J. Barnes (Daniel/Jules Gels/Linzer Torte/Ensemble), Jeanine Bruen (Ensemble), Mary Callanan (Tiny La Tuna/Messenger/Gladys/Ensemble), Nick Cearley (Robert/Harrison Roy/Ensemble), Erica Dorfler (Lyndell/Betty Songheim/Countess), Hillary Fisher (Jessica/Heidi Lee Lee/Ensemble), Jacobi Hall (Nick/Billy Ivey Zippers/Butler/Ensemble), Elizabeth Ritacco (Ensemble), and Blake Zolfo (Thomas/Cy Songheim/Friedrich/Ensemble).

The creative team includes music director Gregory J. Dlugos, orchestrator Charlie Rosen, scenic designers David Gallo and Viveca Gardiner, costume designer Gabriel Berry, lighting designer David Lander, and sound designer Drew Levy. The casting is by Tara Rubin Casting. The production stage manager is Lori M. Doyle and the assistant stage manager is James Steele.

The Lead Production Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center. The production is supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

Ticket Information

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from or 732.345.1400.

Audience Extras and Accessibility

Post-Play Conversations

Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on Sunday, September 23 at 3pm; Wednesday, September 26 at 1pm; and Wednesday, October 3 at 7pm.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, September 29 at 3pm. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $25 for patrons using these services. To reserve wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets to a performance listed above, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or e-mail

Working with Google, Two River has created and launched a virtual tour of its facility, which lives on Google Maps and This virtual tour provides an additional level of support and benefit for patrons who use wheelchairs or require other assistance by allowing them to virtually come through the theater’s front doors and view the space in detail in advance of their visit.


Saturday, September 8 at 8pm 

Sunday, September 9 at 3pm

Wednesday, September 12 at 1 pm and 7pm

Thursday, September 13 at 8pm

Friday, September 14 at 7pm (Opening Night)

Saturday, September 15 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, September 16 at 3pm

Wednesday, September 19 at 1pm and 7pm

Thursday, September 20 at 8pm

Friday, September 21 at 8pm

Saturday, September 22 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, September 23 at 3pm

Wednesday, September 26 at 1pm and 7pm

Thursday, September 27 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm

Friday, September 28 at 8pm

Saturday, September 29 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, September 30 at 3pm

Wednesday, October 3 at 1pm and 7pm

Thursday, October 4 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm

Friday, October 5 at 8pm

Saturday, October 6 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, October 7 at 3pm

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