The York Theatre Company Is Set To Premiere Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s Unexpected Joy

The York Theatre Company Is Set To Premiere Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s Unexpected Joy

The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director; Evans Haile, Executive Director), dedicated to the development of new musicals and the preservation of musical gems from the past, in association with Jim Kierstead, presents the New York premiere of the new musical Unexpected Joy, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell (Side Show) and music by Janet Hood (Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens). Amy Anders Corcoran (Escape to Margaritaville) is set to direct, with music direction by Beth Falcone (Les Misérables).  Opening Night is set for Thursday evening, May 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

The video is from the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater version.

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air. In modern day Cape Cod, Joy, a baby boomer and proud hippie, is holding a memorial concert for the other half of her popular musical duo, Jump & Joy.  When her tightly wound conservative daughter and her sweet rebellious granddaughter arrive from Oklahoma, the sparks fly as one family seeks to find the common ground in their different values, dreams and goals. A heartfelt and hilarious story that celebrates diversity and acceptance, Unexpected Joy weaves folk-rock, pop, and blues in bringing together a family that hasn’t experienced true joy together for decades.  “Genuinely refreshing!” –– New York Times.  “A musical celebration – truly a winner.” – BroadwayWorld.  Cast and creative team will be announced shortly.  Casting is by Stephen DeAngelis.

Bill Russell (Book and Lyrics) received Tony nominations for the book and lyrics of Side Show. He wrote book and lyrics for Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens with music by Janet Hood and has directed it in New York and the Fringe and West End of London. Bill co-wrote book and lyrics for Pageant and directed it in the Fringe and West End. Other book and lyric credits include Lucky Duck, The Last Smoker in America, Fourtune, and The Texas Chainsaw Musical. He has also written lyrics for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the official theme of the Gay Games.

Janet Hood (Music) has performed as pianist and singer and has played on many albums, including her own, Jade and Sarsaparilla. She has toured throughout Cape Cod and New England, and performed on local and national television. Janet composed the music for Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens (book and lyrics by Bill Russell), which has toured the U.S., London, Tel Aviv, Glasgow, and Sydney, among many locations.

Amy Anders Corcoran (Director) currently works as the associate director on Escape to Margaritaville, which is now in previews on Broadway. She was also the Resident Tour/Associate Director for Disney’s Freaky Friday. Favorite directing/choreographing credits include: 21 Chump Street (European Premiere), I Am My Own Wife (NYC site-specific production), Little Women, Lippa’s The Wild Party, Mr. Burns, Crazy for You, Smokey Joe’s Café, and Circle Mirror Transformation. Her work has been seen at American Conservatory Theatre, the Guthrie, Goodspeed Musicals, Asolo Rep, and in London and Canada. Amy specializes in new works, and works for London’s Aria Entertainment as the US Creative Associate and helps cultivate their From Page to Stage Festival in London every year. Last summer, she directed four new musicals in the festival. Amy received the SDC Noël Coward Fellowship for Comedic Direction and holds a BA in Psychology with Honors from the University of Kansas and a MFA in Directing from Penn State University.

Beth Falcone (Music Director) Broadway: Les Misérables, Lion King, Fame Becomes Me (keyboards). The Chicago Sun-Times noted Beth for her “fiery piano playing,” and she has played for numerous national tours and regional productions. At the York, Beth served as music director for the Mufti presentation of Hollywood Pinafore; she has also been MD for the Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference, BMI Musical Theatre and Dramatist Guild Showcases, and numerous readings of new musicals in NYC. Beth wrote the music and lyrics for the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show Wanda’s World (produced by Amas Musical Theatre in association with Terry Schnuck and licensed by TRW), and she is a recipient of the Ed Kleban Prize for Most Promising Lyricist in American Musical Theater. Beth is the supervisor of the singing department at Circle in the Square Theater School and is a member of NYSTA, NATS, PAVA and the Voice Foundation.

Jim Kierstead (Producer)  is a two-time Tony Award-winning producer of the Broadway productions of Kinky Boots and the critically-acclaimed revival of Pippin. Some of his other producing credits include Indecent, Waitress, Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, You Can’t Take It With You, The Visit (all Tony nominated), M. Butterfly, Side Show, It Shoulda Been You, and Rocky. Jim has invested in and raised funds for shows including Dear Evan Hansen (Best Musical), Hair (Best Revival), American Idiot, The Addams Family, Catch Me If You Can, the UK tour of Hairspray, and the Australian tour of Chicago. Jim developed and produced the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere of Thrill Me – The Leopold & Loeb Story with The York Theatre Company (nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical in 2005). In 2010, he was a producer of the Off-Broadway premiere of Yank! – A World War II Love Story (nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Musical). He is currently on the Board of Directors of The York Theatre Company and The New York Theatre Barn.

The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City—and one of very few in the world—dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over four decades, York’s intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, The York has focused on new musicals in its Mainstage Series—most of them world, American, or New York premieres—by some of the field’s most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Almost 40 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, including its acclaimed revival of Closer Than Ever (2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival); commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir (Tony Award Nomination for actress Judy Kaye), and Jolson & Company, and revivals of Pacific Overtures  and Sweeney Todd (four Tony Nominations including Best Revival) have all showcased the importance of The York and its programs. Recent New York premieres have included Marry Harry, A Taste of Things to Come (premiering in March in Chicago), Rothschild & Sons (just closed in London), and Desperate Measures, which just completed a three and a half month extended run. The critically acclaimed musical Yank!, which received its Off-Broadway debut at The York in 2010, recently opened to rave reviews in London, and the hit musical Cagney, which received its York premiere in 2015 and subsequently transferred to the Westside Theatre for over 15 months, had a limited engagement in Los Angeles last fall.

Unexpected Joy will play the following performance schedule:  Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 2:30 p.m.*, Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.* & 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. (*Audience discussion follow the matinee performance.)  Opening night is set for Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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