New Jason Robert Brown Musical Highlights MCC Theater Season

A new musical about an aspiring writer by Jason Robert Brown, a honky-tonk lesbian romance and a musical inspired by the singer and songwriter Gavin Creel’s first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art are on the roster for MCC Theater’s 2023-24 season.

“Each of their shows asks a provocative question. What does art do for us? What is our responsibility to the truth? And what does family mean?” Bernie Telsey and Will Cantler, co-artistic directors at the theater, wrote in a statement announcing the season on Thursday.

The season will begin in November with the new musical “Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice,” a program of 17 original songs that Creel wrote after his first visit to the Met in 2019. (The title, he told The New York Times in 2021, stemmed from his discovery that if a work of art is lacking color, light, sex or story, “I usually just kind of walk on by.”) Creel, who won a Tony Award for his performance as Cornelius Hackl in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway and is currently playing Cinderella’s Prince in the national tour of “Into the Woods,” will also star in “Walk on Through,” which is his theatrical songwriting debut. Linda Goodrich will direct.

It will be followed in January by the world premiere of “The Connector,” a musical that tells the story of an up-and-coming writer who gets his first article published in a prestigious magazine — and soon faces a test of his integrity. The music and lyrics are by Brown, the three-time Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist for “Parade” and “The Bridges of Madison County,” with a book by Jonathan Marc Sherman. The show will be directed by Daisy Prince, who also helped conceive it, with casting to be announced.

Finally, in April, comes the New York premiere of “The Lonely Few,” a rock concert-style show about two musicians who navigate being an interracial gay couple in the South. It was first produced at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles earlier this year in a production starring Lauren Patten, who won a Tony Award in 2021 for “Jagged Little Pill,” and Ciara Renée (“Waitress,” “Frozen”). The show, with music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak and a book by Rachel Bonds, received mixed reviews, with Charles McNulty, the theater critic for The Los Angeles Times, calling the performances universally “terrific” while noting that the production suffered from “choppy” storytelling and a “relationship between the drama and the music that’s off-kilter.” It will be directed by Trip Cullman and Ellenore Scott, both of whom also helmed it at the Geffen, with casting to be announced.

The season will also include the world premiere of “Mary Gets Hers,” a drama-comedy by Emma Horwitz set during a 10th-century plague in Germany and inspired by “Abraham, or the Rise and Repentance of Mary,” by Hrosvitha of Gandersheim, an early European female poet and playwright (Sept. 11-Oct. 7). The production will be directed by Josiah Davis and produced by MCC Theater’s fall company-in-residence, The Playwrights Realm.

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