The world premiere of a New York-bound musical will launch the 2010-11 season of Contemporary American Theatre Company – its first under a merger with the Phoenix Theatre for Children.
“Change comes hard for people, but the staff is excited and energized by our choices,” said Steven Anderson, the Phoenix founder and leader who will take over in the summer from Geoffrey Nelson as artistic director.
“The merger doesn’t really happen until July 1, but we’re moving forward together and finding out what it means to work together.”
The 27th CATCO season will begin in September with The Last Smoker in America.
Broadway director Sheryl Kaller ( Next Fall) will stage the satirical musical about the dysfunctional family surrounding Pam, who is struggling to quit cigarettes in a future
when smoking is outlawed
in the United States.
“It’s an irreverent comedy that’s really not about smoking so much as the ways that we want to impose on each other,” Anderson said.
He praised the musical for its clever dialogue and witty lyrics and compared it to Urinetown, a similarly satirical, futuristic musical that reached Broadway.
The book and lyrics are by Bill Russell, a two-time Tony award nominee for the 1998 musical Side Show.
The eclectic rock-rap-gospel score was composed by Peter Melnick, a 2007 Drama Desk Award nominee for Adrift in Macao, an off-Broadway musical.
Based on audience reactions in Columbus, the producers plan to polish the show before its off-Broadway debut next year, Anderson said.