Theater Resources Unlimited Giving New Musicals a Chance

Theater Resources Unlimited Giving New Musicals a Chance

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces the reading of Viva Max! part of the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series, on January 15, 2018 at 7pm at The Actors Temple Theater, 339 W. 47th Street, NYC. A “Dollars and Sense” talkback on the future development of the presented works will be held after each performance. Admission is free. Please RSVP at least a day in advance (or much sooner) by calling 212/714-7628, or e-mailing

The purpose of the series is to help develop new musicals, help producers develop the skills needed to produce new works, and foster the producer-writer relationship for future development beyond our series. Each reading will be followed by a “Dollars and Sense” panel discussion with prominent New York producers, general managers and artistic directors focusing on potential venues, marketing and budgeting of the works presented. Shows that have been optioned for future development from this industry-focused series include My Life Is a Musical, Volleygirls, The Forgetting Curve, Echoes of Octavia, The Hummingbirds, Pied a Terre and The Great American Trailer Park Musical.

Viva Max! on January 15, 2018, is a new musical-comedy adventure, with music & lyrics by Skip Kennon (Time & Again, The Last Starfighter, Herringbone, Don Juan DeMarco) and a book co-written by Julie Miller (productions include Amigo Duende, Zapata, The MAC Awards Show) & Fred Landau (The Last Starfighter, I Never Miss a Larry Kramer Musical). The show is based on the novel by Jim Lehrer, who is probably best known for The MacNeil/Lehrer Reportand Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour on TV, but is also a renowned novelist and playwright. Produced by Yoni Vendriger (Right Before I Go, Sacrifices, Loveless Texas) and Mor Cohen (Shotz!, The New Galileos, Over the Wall). Directed by Evan Pappas, whose numerous credits across the country include Liberty, the upcoming A Letter To Harvey Milk and Wonderful Town.

A young, idealistic Mexican General seeks respect for himself and Mexico by marching his soldiers into Texas in an against-all-odds quest to reclaim the Alamo. The show is based on Jim Lehrer’s rollicking satiric novel set 50 years ago, but the story remains current and passionate on 21st-century matters like immigration, gun control, and respect for foreign peoples and their cultures.

The cast includes Broadway’s Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away, Sister Act, The Pee-wee Herman Show), Savannah Frazier (Amazing Grace), William Parry (Groundhog Day, Camelot, Road Show), Maureen Silliman (I Remember Mama, Shenandoah, Blue Window), Jane Smulyan (The Most Happy Fella); with Michael Cone (Brigadoon, Rags, Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme) and Sarah Corey (Prospect’s Illyria, Souvenir Stories).

“Dollars and Sense” talkback will include Margot Astrachan, producer (A Gentleman’s Guide…, The Realistic Joneses, Ghost the musical tour, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Busker Alley, On a Clear Day… revival); R. Erin Craig, La Vie Productions, producer / executive producer (Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, Austen’s Pride, Academy, Himself and Nora, Still Getting My Act Together, In the Heights, Let’s Kill Grandma This Christmas, High Fidelity, De La Guarda, Liberty: A New Musical, The Jazz Age, SPIN); Van Dean, producer (Anastasia, Cinderella, The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Evita, Bonnie & Clyde, Ching-lish); Tim Errickson, artistic director of Boomerang Theatre; Cody Lassen, producer (The Band’s Visit, Paula Vogel’s Indecent, Significant Other, Macbeth with Alan Cummings, Spring Awakening revival).

Admission is free for everyone. But reservations are required. Please reserve at (click for the show you wish to reserve), or call at least a day in advance for reservations: 212/714-7628, or e-mail The series continues January 29 and February 5, 2018:

Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical – January 29, 2017. Holly thinks Christmas is ugly until she wears “the sweater” – and goes on a high-flying storybook sleigh ride with a wacky cast of North Pole characters – including an ugly Christmas sweater that comes alive and helps her navigate her journey from naughty to nice in this fresh, grown-up holiday yarn. Book, music and lyrics by Mark William Butler (Mr. Whiskers Goes Viral, Instant Happy!, Pizza Punks from Outer Space, Patrick’s Parade, The Laundry War); directed by Richard P. Butler (In the Wilderness, Cat Gets Credit Card!, Instant Happy!, A Brooklyn Bargain Basement Christmas, Bad Christmas Sweater, The Laundry War; revivals of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Godspell, The Rocky Horror Show); presented by John Lant.

Carolina Rising – February 5, 2018, a new country-western musical. Crystal Ann McKay’s wild and independent spirit finds no outlet in her town’s unending dreariness, but life abruptly changes when a labor organizer arrives from Detroit. Inspired by true events, Carolina Rising shows how frustration mixed with courage can turn a troublemaker into a hero. Book & lyrics by Bryan D. Leys (Hell’s Belles, La Ribalta, How To Marry A Divorced Man, The White Witch of Rosehall, Murder On Broadway, Moonshadow in the 2017 TRU Voices New Plays Series); music by Kevin Kuhn (composer: Midsummer Nights, 66, Harley. Broadway guitarist: Aladdin, The Lion King); directed by Joe Barros (Bastard Jones, Cagney, Gigi, Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn); presented by Sharon Weiss and Eileen B. Weiss of Tweiss Productions (Hell’s Belles, Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking, Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging, Appendage).

TRU is currently accepting submissions for the 2018 TRU Voices Play Reading Series. For details, and to submit an application visit Deadline for submissions is January 21, 2018.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-five year old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes a community email newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and Annual New Musicals Reading Series, two new works series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings to nurture new shows as well as new producers for theater; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater; and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop the business skills they need. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition plus Resource Nights and “Speed Dating.”

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and with support from the Montage Foundation.


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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