FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Madness and show biz collide in a new one-act comedy from ALT about a murder suspect and his unexpected stalker.

First Installment of American Lyric Theater’s popular series,

The Living Libretto

featuring Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?

by librettist David Johnston and composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith.

New York City, NY - American Lyric Theater presents the first public libretto reading for the 2013-2014 season as part of its popular series, The Living Libretto, at the National Opera Center on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013. Featuring guest actors from the Broadway and off-Broadway stage, each event is the culminating reading of an extensive libretto workshop conducted for new operas being written by ALT Resident Artists under the auspices of the company’s Composer Librettist Development Program.

The reading of Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? by librettist David Johnston and composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith will be directed by ALT’s Producing Artistic Director, Lawrence Edelson, and will feature Francis Jue and Justin Anthony Long. Following the reading, there will be an open discussion with the artists about the work-in-progress. A wine and cheese reception with Mr. Johnston, Mr. Smith, and the featured actors will precede the event.

The Living Libretto

WHY IS EARTHA KITT TRYING TO KILL ME? - Libretto Reading

Featuring Francis Jue and Justin Anthony Long

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
National Opera Center 330 7th Avenue (7th Floor), New York, NY 10001

Wine & Cheese Reception with 
librettist David Johnston and composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith

Post-reading discussion moderated by  
Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson

RECEPTION AND READING TICKETS: $20 – ADVANCE PURCHASE NECESSARY

For Tickets Please Visit: http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?EID=&showCode=WHY6

Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? is a new one-act opera by composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith and librettist David Johnston, based on Johnston’s one-act comic monodrama about a mysterious – and unlikely – murder suspect. A tour de force love story and mad scene all in one, join us as we dive into the heart and mind of a man with a singular showbiz obsession as he shares his bizarre confession concerning the fate of a hot young art world star.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

JEFFREY DENNIS SMITH is a composer, percussionist, and conductor specializing in music and sound for theatre, dance, film, and live performance.  He is developing the musical Lightning Man with lyricists Shoshana Greenberg, Katya Stanislavskaya, Janet Allard, and bookwriter Maggie-Kate Coleman.  It received a developmental production at the Tisch School of the Arts and will be presented as part of the ANT Festival in 2011 at Ars Nova. Jeffrey is also currently writing an opera with librettist Maggie-Kate Coleman entitled Lost Things.  Jeffrey’s songs have been performed at NAMT New Works Summit, Laurie Beechman Theater, Project Footlight at Dixon Place, NEO5 at the York Theatre, Goodspeed, and the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock.  His dance scores have been heard at the Cool New York 2009 and 2010 Dance Festivals, the 2009 DanceNOW [NYC] Festival, Joyce Soho, Dance Theatre Workshop and Duo Theater.  Jeffrey’s music for film includes an animation by Tarik Cherkaoui that was presented at the 2010 Williamsburg International Film Festival and the Electric Pear Production’s Synthesia in 2010 at The Wild Project.  He wrote incidental music and songs for Lucilla’s Story: A Play for Gabriel Mistral, which was produced at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival.  His piece Tiger Dance for marimba soloist and percussion ensemble will be performed at the 2011 Percussive Arts Society International Convention.  As a percussionist, Jeffrey has performed with the Chicago-based performance group, Sonic Inertia, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, New Hampshire Music Festival, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.  He was also the first place winner of the 1996 Young Artist Competition of the Minnesota Orchestra. Jeffrey was a Visiting Guest Artist in percussion at the University of Northern Iowa in the fall of 2001, and is s a graduate of the Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program (MFA), Northwestern University (MM) and the University of Northern Iowa (BM). He has been a Resident Artist at American Lyric Theater since the fall of 2011, and is currently collaborating with David Johnston on Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? at ALT.

DAVID JOHNSTON’s plays have been performed and read at the New Group, Moving Arts, the Neighborhood Playhouse, HB Playwrights Foundation and Ensemble Studio Theatre. He has had New York productions or his work with Blue Coyote Theater Group including, Conversations on Russian Literature, a new adaptation of The Oresteia (Time Out Best of 2007); Busted Jesus Comix (GLAAD nominee 2005, London, Los Angeles, DC Cap Fringe); A Bush Carol, or George Dubya and the Xmas of Evil, and Effie Jean in Tahiti (both with music and lyrics by Stephen Speights); Regional credits include The George Place (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater). Mr. Johnston has written many plays that were produced with Kevin Newbury as Director, including Candy and Dorothy (GLAAD winner 2006, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Unexpected Stage), and The Eumenides. Publications include Saturday with Martin (Short Plays to Long Remember, TnT), The Eumenides (Playing With Canons, New York Theatre Experience, Inc.), Leaving Tangier (Samuel French), A Funeral Home in Brooklyn, and A Lesson (Smith & Kraus.) Current projects include the upcoming premiere of Coney, and a film adaptation of his short play, Mothra is Waiting.  Playwriting awards include Theater Oxford, Playwright Residency at the University of Cincinnati, a Berrilla Kerr Foundation Grant, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation. He was also a New Dramatists finalist. Mr. Johnston attended the College of William and Mary and Circle in the Square and is a member of Actors Equity, Dramatists Guild, (publications committee) Charles Maryan’s Playwrights/Directors Workshop, BMI, and Blue Coyote Theater Group. He has been a Resident Artist at American Lyric Theater since the fall of 2011, and is currently collaborating with Jeffrey Dennis Smith on Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? at ALT.

FRANCIS JUE: Francis most recently starred in the world premiere of Paper Dolls at London’s Tricycle Theatre.  Broadway: Pacific Overtures, Thoroughly Modern Millie, M. Butterfly.  Off-Broadway: Yellow Face (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards, plus Drama Desk and Drama League nominations), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Coraline, Falsettoland, King Lear, A Language of Their Own.  Regional: Miss Saigon (Judy Award), In the Next Room or the vibrator play (Zoni Award), Into the Woods (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Drama-Logue Award), Cabaret (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award), The Illusion (Zoni Award), The Winter’s Tale, The King & I, Floyd Collins, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Just So.  Film: Joyful Noise.  TV: Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, The Good Wife.

JUSTIN ANTHONY LONG: Justin is the co-creator and star of the musical web-series, City of Dreams. Film: The Wolf of Wall Street, Pluto. TV: Jon Benjamin Has a Van, I’ve Never Left My House Before. Theatre: Next to Normal, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Junie B. Jones. Writing credits include City of DreamsCookie Soiree (Winner of Ken Davenport’s 2012 10-Minute Play/Musical Contest), Jake & Lindsay and Welcome to Shoofly.

ABOUT AMERICAN LYRIC THEATER

American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT’s focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire. Operas developed through the CLDP and by CLDP alumni have been presented by a wide variety of companies, including Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Urban Arias, Center City Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, New York City Opera VOX, and Beth Morrison Projects. In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member – a testament to ALT’s service to the field.

For more information about ALT, please visit: www.altnyc.org.

American Lyric Theater’s public programs are made possible by generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, OPERA America / The Opera Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, and The Friars Foundation.

Contact: American Lyric Theater

(646)216-8298 / info @ altnyc.org