Date 2005/8/12 9:28:00 | Topic: Elsewhere...

Collide at Fringe Festival with new musical Byzantium

Making a leap from Houston venues to New York stages, Theatre Collide will produce the world premiere of Byzantium, a musical co-authored by Steven Jamail, Troy Scheid, and John Kaiser, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. To be staged by Off-Broadway director Cailín Heffernan and designed by Tony-nominated scenic designer Kevin Rigdon of the Alley Theatre, the production features a distinguished cast of Broadway and Off-Broadway actors...
Steven Jamail, the composer, and lyricist Troy Scheid, also Collide’s founding artistic director, first collaborated on the musical as undergraduates at Rice University; the first recording was funded by a Rice Envision Grant. Writer John Kaiser became involved through Broadway producer Stuart Ostrow’s competitive Musical Theatre Lab at the University of Houston.

“It’s flattering and a little overwhelming that our show, which first took shape in a college dorm room, is getting so much attention,” commented Jamail. “The people working on the show are incredible.”

Scenic designer Kevin Rigdon is the Associate Director/Design at Houston’s Alley Theatre and a founding member of Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company, has received multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards, American Theatre League Awards, Drama Desk nominations and Tony Award nominations.

The musical’s director, Cailín Heffernan, has numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions to her credit, and is familiar to Texas audiences from her work at Galveston Island Musicals (Barnum, Brigadoon, and Hello, Dolly!) at Moody Gardens.

Byzantium casts today’s issues—homeland security, church abuses, insurgent street warfare, and the dubious prospect of “the greater good”—in a medieval Middle Eastern setting. Director Heffernan, who has worked within the theatrical traditions of many cultures, commented, “The young, talented creators of Byzantium bring us a tale couched in the rare and exotic setting of the Byzantine Empire wherein we are seduced by delicious, humanly flawed characters.”

The emperor Justinian dreams of restoring the dying Roman empire to its former glory as the military superpower, cultural center and moral lighthouse of the world. Taran, a monk, creates the vast mosaics for Justinian’s expensive architectural ambitions, and he sees the contrast between Justinian’s exuberance and the abuses it forces on the city’s common people. When the emperor risks life and power to marry the woman he loves, a savvy and streetwise actress named Theodora, Taran and his allies provoke a violent rebellion. The royal couple’s savage retaliation, though it ushers in a last golden age for the city, results in unprecedented “collateral damage”—the deaths of thousands of their own people.

Now entering its second full season, Collide's mission is to perform new, neglected, and unknown works, using eclectic approaches and found spaces. Collide produces theatre that directly addresses current events and challenges audiences to greater world awareness. Collide combines styles, eras, cultures and images in an attempt to create new and startling theatre.

Byzantium: A New Musical
Music by Steven Jamail, lyrics by Troy Scheid, book by John Kaiser
Director: Cailín Heffernan +
Production and Artistic Staff:
Producer Lynda Buttle
Music Director Steven Jamail
Asst. Music Director Kelly Martin
Scenic Design Kevin Rigdon
Costume Design Beverly Cruickshank
Lighting Design Carrie Wood
Production Stage Manager Carol A. Sullivan *
Publicity/Company Manager Troy Scheid
Production Assistant Sara Patterson

Taran Bram Heidinger *
Sophie Danielle Huben *
Justinian Mark Light-Orr *
Theodora Janet Dacal *
Valeryk Michael J. Ross *
Antonina Erica Ash *
Belisarios Heath Calvert *
Galanos Scott Parrish *
Hypatios Ian Pfister *
Prokopios George C. Heslin *
Prosinos Clark Scott Carmichael *
Ensemble Joseph De Vaughn, Zanna Fredland, Ann Leone, Aisling Mulhern, Mark Wolff
+ The director is a member of SSDC, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
* Denotes a member of Actors Equity, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Production Venue:
The Village Theatre
158 Bleecker Street @ Thompson
New York, NY

Performance dates and times:
Friday, August 12, at 7 p.m.
Monday, August 15, at 2 p.m.
Thursday, August 18, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 20, at 1 p.m.
Sunday, August 21, at 5:30 p.m.

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