The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company has announced Darling as the winner of its seventh annual New Musical Award. Written by Ryan Scott Oliver and Brett Ryback, Darling is described as a coming-of-age story about a teenager, Ursula Morgan, who leaves behind her upper-class family and finds herself in the seedy underground of Depression-era Boston -- a world of sex, jazz and a mysterious drug called....fairy dust.
The piece, which was featured on the "Bound for Broadway" episode of NBC's The Apprentice, was nominated for Weston's prestigious national award by Director of Music at Pace New Musicals Robert Meffe who said of Darling: "The rock score is dark, edgy and contagious... The lyrics are intelligent, surprising and original...The book is a wildly different take on the Peter Pan story that will have audiences trying to uncover the allusions every night."
Ryan Scott Oliver (music and lyrics) is a Lucille Lortel Award nominee, a Jonathan Larson Grant recipient, and a Richard Rodgers Award winner. Brett Ryback (book) is the winner of the Tennessee Williams One-Act Competition and the Henrico County Theatre One-Act Competition.
The Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the only one of its kind in the country, has become a highly sought-after prize. It supports new work by writers and composers of notable promise, chosen from a group of national nominations. Winners rehearse their work in Vermont under professional musical direction with a cast of exceptional actor/singers. After performing selections from Darling in concert on the Weston stage on March 2, Oliver, Ryback and their cast return to New York to perform at an invited concert and then to record a demo cd under the supervision of Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom Records.
The Vermont and New York concerts will be led under the musical direction of Chris Fenwick (Giant). The cast of rising Broadway talent includes Derek Klena (Dogfight) as Peter, Emily Walton (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Ursula, Julia Mattison (Godspell), Justin Keyes (How to Succeed...) and Max Chernin (NYMF's Really Bad Things).
Weston Producing Director Steve Stettler <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> comments, "We were captivated by Darling: its undeniable energy, its soaring and sophisticated score, its compelling tale of lost souls searching for connection. We can't wait to hear it in the voices of the exciting cast we've assembled."
Weston's New Works Programs have recently been supported by the Anton Family Foundation, Dramatists Play Service Inc., Dramatic Publishing, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, Stacey Mindich Productions LLC, Music Theatre International, National Alliance for Musical Theatre/National Fund for New Musicals, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, Samuel French Inc., Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc., and many generous individual donors. The demo recording is supported in part by SAG-AFTRA.
For more information about the award, or the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company's 77th summer season, visit www.westonplayhouse.org.