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STORMING HEAVEN

THE MUSICAL

 

 
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2018 NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL

CAST ANNOUNCED

 

Storming Heaven: The Musical is part of the official selection of the NYMF 2018 Invited Developmental Readings Series. Performances will be on July 10, 13, and 16 at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row on West 42nd Street. For more information on the performance schedule, as well as how to donate to the production, click here

To get to know our talented cast, click here.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

 

When Katy Blake and Peter Davenport began their long collaboration five years ago, they set about to find a story that would give exposure and a voice to the historically marginalized people of West Virginia, upon whose backs the American coal industry was built. It was Katy’s strong desire to shed light on the lives of these coal miners and their families, as well as on the deep dark recesses of an industry that to this day treats its workers unfairly that guided their search.

While doing historical research, Katy came upon the novel, Storming Heaven, by Denise Giardina: a sweeping tale of intertwined lives, love and loss, actual historical coal industry events coupled with the start of the United Mine Workers of America. It was in Denise’s compelling work that Katy and Peter found the perfect material upon which to base their own story.

THE MUSICAL

Storming Heaven: The Musical is about the coal-rich small town of Annadel, West Virginia, in the hills of Appalachia where the inhabitants witness the coal company stealing everything it hasn’t bothered to buy: their beloved land, deeds, private homes, and ultimately the souls of its men and women. These mountain people are forced to work in the mines, are cheated out of their pay, and are threatened by hired guns – Baldwin Felts guards – to keep quiet and acquiesce, or lose their jobs and livelihood. Set within this tumultuous and precarious world is our story of five people whose lives are irrevocably changed by the events surrounding them.

At the core is our heroine, Carrie Bishop, the mine doctor’s nurse and sister of the mine superintendent, who finds herself unwittingly in the middle of a love triangle with Albion Freeman, her husband and mine worker who is also preacher to the miners, and Rondal Lloyd, a charismatic miner and Union organizer. Carrie’s journey of self discovery – a woman at the turn of the nineteenth century struggling to find her own identity and power while living a life decided for her – parallels the miners’ struggle for basic human rights. She ultimately learns to reconcile what she knows is right with what she feels is right for her in her heart.

They all bear witness to nearly forgotten events of history, culminating in the final tragic Battle of Blair Mountain - the largest insurrection since the Civil War - when the United States Army greeted 10,000 unemployed pro-Union miners with airplanes, bombs, and poison gas.

It was the first crucial battle of this war that is yet to be won.

 

 

 

 
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Demos

by Storming Heaven: The Musical

NEWS & UPDATES

 

SOSENKO GRANT

JUNE 19, 2018

We are thrilled to share that Storming Heaven: The Musical has been named recipient of The Anna Sosenko Assist Trust grant for the upcoming reading series at NYMF! To learn more about the organization's mission, click here.

More new songs

APRIL 2, 2018

Katy and Flip wrote a beautiful new song for Aunt Jane, "Goin' Home," in the traditional early Appalachian ballad style, as well as a new duet for Rondal and Carrie, "I Can't Help Remembering." Katy and Peter also expanded Miles and Doc Booker's argument about Capitalism vs Socialism in the song "A Company Man."

OFFICIAL SELECTION

JAUNARY 31, 2018

Storming Heaven: The Musical has been selected for NYMF 2018!

festival submissions

NOVEMBER 11, 2017

After reworking the book and with addition of new songs, Storming Heaven: The Musical has been submitted to several developmental organizations around the United States.

THANK YOU

FEBRUARY 3, 2017

We would like to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to witness the first showing of Storming Heaven: The Musical at our Equity 29 Hour Reading. Stay tuned for updates on the next steps of development!

ADDITIONS TO THE TEAM

JANUARY 11, 2017

Rounding out the cast and musicians for the Equity 29 Hour Reading of Storming Heaven: The Musical, the show will feature John McDaniel (Piano/Conductor,) Mark Hartman (Keyboard,) and Brad Parker (Guitar/Banjo/Mandolin/Fiddle.)

CASTING ANNOUNCED

DECEMBER 19, 2016

We are happy to share the list of incredible actors and friends who will bring our story to life. The cast features Jane Blass, Jake Boyd, Cole Burden, Harley Jay, Jayme Lake, Kevin Mambo, Paul Anthony Stewart, Don Rey, Lizzy Brooks, Gisela Dubuisson, Clyde Voce, Kristi Holden, Kathryn Markey, Ed Romanoff, and Jake Smith.

29 HOUR READING 

DECEMBER 16, 2016

Rehearsals for our Equity 29 Hour Reading begin on January 7, 2017, with two readings scheduled for Thursday, January 12, at 12p and 4p at Playwrights Horizons Studios in New York.

 
 
  KATY BLAKE    BOOK/MUSIC  Katy Blake is primarily a performer and has toured the country as Eva in  Evita , Christine in  The Phantom of the Opera ,  Mamma Mia! , and  Whistle Down the Wind  (dir. Hal Prince). Off-Broadway she has performed at the York Theatre, Signature Theatre, and in various NYMF productions. She created the role of Pam in CATCO’s and Off-Broadway’s  The Last Smoker in America , and the role of Sirroco in the Pasadena Playhouse production of  Mask  (dir. Richard Maltby, Jr.). In Los Angeles, she was seen at the Hollywood Bowl in  South Pacific  with Reba McEntyre, and was directed by Jason Alexander in  Sunday in the Park With George  at Reprise! She also sings and writes country music.

KATY BLAKE

BOOK/MUSIC Katy Blake is primarily a performer and has toured the country as Eva in Evita, Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and Whistle Down the Wind (dir. Hal Prince). Off-Broadway she has performed at the York Theatre, Signature Theatre, and in various NYMF productions. She created the role of Pam in CATCO’s and Off-Broadway’s The Last Smoker in America, and the role of Sirroco in the Pasadena Playhouse production of Mask (dir. Richard Maltby, Jr.). In Los Angeles, she was seen at the Hollywood Bowl in South Pacific with Reba McEntyre, and was directed by Jason Alexander in Sunday in the Park With George at Reprise! She also sings and writes country music.

  PETER DAVENPORT    BOOK/MUSIC  Peter Davenport is an IRNE nominated actor and award winning filmmaker of the short film,  A Family Dinner  which he took to the Courts Metrages at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. He has performed in the National Tour of  The Sound Of Music  as Captain Georg von Trapp, in Regional theatres, and Off Broadway, including other readings and new works in development. He grew up attending the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario as a child, which he continues to this day with his own children. He studied Shakespeare and classical theatre at BADA in London while acquiring his BA and MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College. His own singing can be heard on his debut solo album,  Clear Day  on LML Music, and on the cast recordings of Papermill Playhouse’s production of  Follies  and  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea .

PETER DAVENPORT

BOOK/MUSIC Peter Davenport is an IRNE nominated actor and award winning filmmaker of the short film, A Family Dinner which he took to the Courts Metrages at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. He has performed in the National Tour of The Sound Of Music as Captain Georg von Trapp, in Regional theatres, and Off Broadway, including other readings and new works in development. He grew up attending the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario as a child, which he continues to this day with his own children. He studied Shakespeare and classical theatre at BADA in London while acquiring his BA and MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College. His own singing can be heard on his debut solo album, Clear Day on LML Music, and on the cast recordings of Papermill Playhouse’s production of Follies and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

  TRACY LAWRENCE    MUSIC  Tracy Lawrence is one of the most recognizable voices in country music with songs such as  Paint Me a Birmingham ,  Time Marches On ,  Alibis  and  Find Out Who Your Friends Are . He has enjoyed 22 songs on the Billboard Top Ten charts with 18 number one singles, selling over 13 million albums. The multi-platinum CMA and ACM award winning recording artist has helped shape the sound of country music for two decades, recently celebrating twenty years in music and inspiring a whole new generation of entertainers and fans.

TRACY LAWRENCE

MUSIC Tracy Lawrence is one of the most recognizable voices in country music with songs such as Paint Me a Birmingham, Time Marches On, Alibis and Find Out Who Your Friends Are. He has enjoyed 22 songs on the Billboard Top Ten charts with 18 number one singles, selling over 13 million albums. The multi-platinum CMA and ACM award winning recording artist has helped shape the sound of country music for two decades, recently celebrating twenty years in music and inspiring a whole new generation of entertainers and fans.

 
  FLIP ANDERSON    MUSIC  Flip Anderson has worked with Tracy Lawrence for many years as a writer and producer on several of his albums. He has collaborated with other artists such as John Anderson, Rich McCready, and Kenny Hess, and also produced  Civil War: The Nashville Sessions  for Frank Wildhorn.  He now lives mostly in Gatlinburg where he and his wife, Diane, own and run The Gallery at Gatlinburg featuring works by artists from the Smoky Mountains.

FLIP ANDERSON

MUSIC Flip Anderson has worked with Tracy Lawrence for many years as a writer and producer on several of his albums. He has collaborated with other artists such as John Anderson, Rich McCready, and Kenny Hess, and also produced Civil War: The Nashville Sessions for Frank Wildhorn.  He now lives mostly in Gatlinburg where he and his wife, Diane, own and run The Gallery at Gatlinburg featuring works by artists from the Smoky Mountains.

  SAMANTHA SALTZMAN    DIRECTOR – NYMF READING  Resident Director:  Matilda the Musical  (1st National Tour). Assistant Resident Director:  Matilda the Musical  (Broadway). Select Directing credits include:  The Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin ,  Letters from the Sender  (Poway Center for the Performing Arts),  The Arkadina Project ,  Urinetown ,  210 Amlent Ave , and  Madam Fury's Traveling Show . Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits:  Southern Comfort  (The Public Theatre),  Sarah Brightman's Dreamchaser World Tour ,  On the Town  (Barrington Stage),  An Iliad  (National Tour),  Academia Nuts , and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Drama League Directing Fellow.   

SAMANTHA SALTZMAN

DIRECTOR – NYMF READING Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (1st National Tour). Assistant Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (Broadway). Select Directing credits include: The Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin, Letters from the Sender (Poway Center for the Performing Arts), The Arkadina Project, Urinetown, 210 Amlent Ave, and Madam Fury's Traveling Show. Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits: Southern Comfort (The Public Theatre), Sarah Brightman's Dreamchaser World Tour, On the Town (Barrington Stage), An Iliad (National Tour), Academia Nuts, and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Drama League Directing Fellow.

 

  EMILY OTTO    MUSIC DIRECTOR – NYMF READING   Emily Otto is a music director, arranger, performer, dramaturg, and educator. Her music directing/supervising credits include  Southern Comfort  (Barrington Stage and CAP21),  The Water Dream  (NYMF),  Incredibly Deaf Musical  (NYMF), and the serial cabaret  Shells  at Joe's Pub. She is a co-creator of eight original productions with NYC's Stolen Chair Theatre Company. Emily has also dramaturged for directors Martha Clarke, Neil Bartlett, and Robert Woodruff at the American Repertory Theatre and the San Francisco Opera. She holds an MFA in dramaturgy from ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and a BA in theatre and music from Concordia College.

EMILY OTTO

MUSIC DIRECTOR – NYMF READING  Emily Otto is a music director, arranger, performer, dramaturg, and educator. Her music directing/supervising credits include Southern Comfort (Barrington Stage and CAP21), The Water Dream (NYMF), Incredibly Deaf Musical (NYMF), and the serial cabaret Shells at Joe's Pub. She is a co-creator of eight original productions with NYC's Stolen Chair Theatre Company. Emily has also dramaturged for directors Martha Clarke, Neil Bartlett, and Robert Woodruff at the American Repertory Theatre and the San Francisco Opera. She holds an MFA in dramaturgy from ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and a BA in theatre and music from Concordia College.

 
  DENISE GIARDINA    AUTHOR  Denise Giardina grew up in McDowell County, West Virginia. She received a BA in history from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a MDiv from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. She has written five novels:  Good King Harry  (Harper and Row, 1984),  Storming Heaven  (W.W. Norton, 1987),  The Unquiet Earth  (W.W. Norton, 1992),  Saints and Villains  (W.W. Norton, 1998), and  Emily's Ghost  (W.W. Norton, 2009).  Storming Heaven  was a Discovery selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, a New Voices selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club, and received the 1987 W.D. Weatherford Award for the best published work about the Appalachian South. Giardina's op-ed pieces have appeared in  The New York Times , the  Washington Post , the  Charleston (WV) Gazette , and the  Daily Mail . She was published in  The Nation ,  Southern Exposure ,  Emmy , and the  Village Voice . Giardina took part in the Appalachian Land Ownership Study in the early 1980s which documented that the region is dominated by absentee land ownership. She was arrested twice during the United Mine Workers' strike against the Piston Company in the late 1980s and ran for Governor of West Virginia in 2000 to protest the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining. 

DENISE GIARDINA

AUTHOR Denise Giardina grew up in McDowell County, West Virginia. She received a BA in history from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a MDiv from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. She has written five novels: Good King Harry (Harper and Row, 1984), Storming Heaven (W.W. Norton, 1987), The Unquiet Earth (W.W. Norton, 1992), Saints and Villains (W.W. Norton, 1998), and Emily's Ghost (W.W. Norton, 2009). Storming Heaven was a Discovery selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, a New Voices selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club, and received the 1987 W.D. Weatherford Award for the best published work about the Appalachian South. Giardina's op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Charleston (WV) Gazette, and the Daily Mail. She was published in The Nation, Southern Exposure, Emmy, and the Village Voice. Giardina took part in the Appalachian Land Ownership Study in the early 1980s which documented that the region is dominated by absentee land ownership. She was arrested twice during the United Mine Workers' strike against the Piston Company in the late 1980s and ran for Governor of West Virginia in 2000 to protest the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining. 

  PATRICIA McGREGOR    DIRECTOR – 29 HOUR READING  Patricia McGregor has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. Recent credits include  The Parchman Hour  (Guthrie Theater);  Hamlet  (The Public Theater);  Ugly Lies the Bone  (Roundabout Theater);  brownsville song: b-side for tray  (Lincoln Center); the world premiere of  Stagger Lee  (Dallas Theatre Center); and the world premiere of  Hurt Village  (Signature Theatre Center). Other credits include  Raisin in the Sun ,  Winter's Tale ,  Spunk ,  Adoration of an Old Woman ,  Blood Dazzler ,  Holding it Down ,  Four Electric Ghosts ,  Nothing Personal , and  The House That Will Not Stand . For several years she has directed the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, Co-Founder of Angela’s Pulse, and was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow at the Yale School of Drama where she also served as Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

PATRICIA McGREGOR

DIRECTOR – 29 HOUR READING Patricia McGregor has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. Recent credits include The Parchman Hour (Guthrie Theater); Hamlet (The Public Theater); Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout Theater); brownsville song: b-side for tray (Lincoln Center); the world premiere of Stagger Lee (Dallas Theatre Center); and the world premiere of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Center). Other credits include Raisin in the Sun, Winter's Tale, Spunk, Adoration of an Old Woman, Blood Dazzler, Holding it Down, Four Electric Ghosts, Nothing Personal, and The House That Will Not Stand. For several years she has directed the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, Co-Founder of Angela’s Pulse, and was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow at the Yale School of Drama where she also served as Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

  JOHN McDANIEL    MUSIC DIRECTOR – 29 HOUR READING  John McDaniel is a Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winning Composer, Music Director, Arranger, Orchestrator, Theatrical and Record Producer, and is the Artistic Director of the Tony Award winning O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret and Performance conference. John won his Emmy Awards for  The Rosie O'Donnell Show  and was nominated for 5 consecutive years for Best Music Direction. Recent credits include Maltby & Shire's  Waterfall  both in Los Angeles and Seattle and  The Daughter of the Regiment  at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. John has enjoyed collaborations with Cab Calloway, Shirley MacLaine, George Burns, Al Jarreau, Tyne Daly, Joel Grey, Carol Burnett, Frederica von Stade, Betty Buckley, and most recently, Bette Midler. He has been guest conductor at many Symphony Orchestras including San Francisco, Indianapolis, Utah, Buffalo, Colorado, Baltimore, Phoenix, and his hometown St. Louis Symphony. He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon.

JOHN McDANIEL

MUSIC DIRECTOR – 29 HOUR READING John McDaniel is a Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winning Composer, Music Director, Arranger, Orchestrator, Theatrical and Record Producer, and is the Artistic Director of the Tony Award winning O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret and Performance conference. John won his Emmy Awards for The Rosie O'Donnell Show and was nominated for 5 consecutive years for Best Music Direction. Recent credits include Maltby & Shire's Waterfall both in Los Angeles and Seattle and The Daughter of the Regiment at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. John has enjoyed collaborations with Cab Calloway, Shirley MacLaine, George Burns, Al Jarreau, Tyne Daly, Joel Grey, Carol Burnett, Frederica von Stade, Betty Buckley, and most recently, Bette Midler. He has been guest conductor at many Symphony Orchestras including San Francisco, Indianapolis, Utah, Buffalo, Colorado, Baltimore, Phoenix, and his hometown St. Louis Symphony. He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon.