Every day is opening night.

Tony Nominee Sheryl Kaller to direct reading of “The Last Smoker in America,” a new musical, 5/21

Rick Miramontez / Philip Carrubba
rick@oandmco.com / philip@oandmco.com
(212) 695-7400


“T H E L A S T S M O K E R I N A M E R I C A”


FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010

New York, NY – (5/12/10) – Andy Sandberg (Hair), in association with CATCO (Columbus, OH), will present a New York staged reading of the new musical The Last Smoker in America, with book and lyrics by Tony Nominee Bill Russell (Side Show) and music by Drama Desk Nominee Peter Melnick (Adrift in Macao), in anticipation of the world premiere in Ohio this fall. The musical received a developmental workshop production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in the fall of 2009 where it extended and played to sold-out audiences.

The invitation-only reading set for Friday, May 21st will be directed by Tony Award Nominee Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall; Dangerous Beauty), with music supervision by Fred Lassen (South Pacific) and music direction by Rick Hip-Flores. The four-member cast will feature Adinah Alexander (The Wedding Singer; Parade) as Pam, Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q; The Glorious Ones) as Phyllis, John Bolton (Curtains; Spamalot) as Ernie, and Paul Iacono (“The Hard Times of R.J. Berger;” “Fame”) as Jimmy, also featuring Drama Desk nominee Christina Bianco (Forbidden Broadway) as the voice of ASPHYXIA.

The Last Smoker in America is an original, four-character musical comedy about a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in a world where smoking has recently been outlawed. Pam, an English lit professor at a small college, is having an impossible time trying to quit smoking. Her husband Ernie dreams of being a rock star and relentlessly practices his electric guitar in the basement. Their teenage son Jimmy listens to so much rap music he’s convinced he’s black. Their nosy, anti-smoking zealot neighbor Phyllis lurks around trying to catch transgressors mid-puff. Will Pam kick the habit or fight for the right to light up as The Last Smoker in America?

The Last Smoker in America will have its world premiere at CATCO in Columbus, OH, this fall.

“We are very excited to be presenting the world premiere of The Last Smoker in America in Ohio this fall,” says Hair producer Andy Sandberg. “We look forward to being a part of CATCO’s 2010-2011 season and sharing this new musical comedy with Columbus before returning to New York.”

For more information, please visit www.LastSmoker.com.


Bill Russell (Book and Lyrics) received a Tony nomination for the book of Side Show and shared one with composer Henry Krieger for score. He co-wrote the book and lyrics for Off-Broadway’s Pageant and directed it at the King’s Head Theatre in London and in the West End, where it received two Olivier Award nominations. Mr. Russell subsequently directed Pageant in Chicago, Los Angeles, the University of Kansas, and Stoneham, MA. He authored book and lyrics for Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, directing it in New York and in London’s Fringe and West End, among many others. Everything’s Ducky (music by Henry Krieger)premiered with TheatreWorks and garnered the Will Glickman Award for Best Play (S.F. Bay area) and the “Backstage West” Garland Award for Best Score. A revised version under the new title Lucky Duck was produced at the Old Globe, and Mr. Russell directed a version at the Boston Conservatory. Mr. Russell’s latest creation with Henry Krieger, Up in the Air, premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His credits as lyricist include the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the official theme for Gay Games. Honorary doctorates from Morningside College and the Boston Conservatory. For more, visit www.BillRussell.net.

Peter Melnick (Music) His musical Adrift in Macao, a parody of film noir written with librettist Christopher Durang, was presented Off-Broadway at Primary Stages after a successful and award-winning run at the Philadelphia Theater Company. The New York production earned Melnick a Drama Desk Award nomination for his music. Melnick also composed the score to Twyla Tharp's Sextet and, with Bill Russell, wrote two musical one-acts, Patter for the Floating Lady based on Steve Martin's eponymous play, and A Bad Spell. Melnick’s film scoring credits include “L.A. Story,” the Steve Martin comedy; “The Only Thrill,” starring Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard; Horton Foote’s “Convicts,” with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones; and Bob Saget’s truly obscene “Farce of the Penguins,” with penguins. Melnick's television credits include the recent PBS feature-length documentary, “Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood”; “Indictment: The McMartin Trial”; “Grand Avenue”; and “Lily Dale.” For more, visit www.PeterMelnick.com.

Sheryl Kaller (Director) received a 2010 Tony Award nomination for her work on the Naked Angels production of Next Fall, by Geoffrey Nauffts. Other credits include Dangerous Beauty, music by Michele Brourman, lyrics by Amanda McBroom, and book by Jeannine Dominy (A.M.T.P.); Adrift In Macao, music by Peter Melnick, book and lyrics by Christopher Durang (Primary Stages and Philadelphia Theater Company); Jayson With a Y by Darci Picoult (The New Group); The Pursuit Of Happiness by Richard Dresser (Hudson Stage Company); and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, music by Alan Menken, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman (The York Theater). Ms. Kaller has also directed at New York Stage and Film, A.C.T., The Rubicon, E.S.T., National Theater of the Deaf, and Man In The Moon (London). Sheryl co- founded and was the Artistic Director of Two Island Productions, a New York and Bermuda-based theater company devoted to developing and producing original plays, playwright retreats/workshops, screenplays, concerts and youth arts and education programs.

Andy Sandberg (Producer) is currently represented on Broadway and London’s West End as a producer of the hit revival of HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle Awards). Off-Broadway: Vigil, a dark comedy by Morris Panych, starring Tony nominees Malcolm Gets and Helen Stenborg. Upcoming: Hal Prince’s Broadway-bound Paradise Found at the Menier Chocolate Factory (London) and A Perfect Future, by David Hay. As a director, Andy’s recent credits include R.R.R.E.D. (NYMF), Bernice Bobs Her Mullet (NYMF), and Into the Woods (Blue Hill Troupe). Upcoming: Operation Epsilon, a new play by Alan Brody; Garbo & Me, a new musical by Joanne Lessner and Joshua Rosenblum. In 2007, Andy worked with Hal Prince on the Broadway production of LoveMusik (SDC Fellowship). As an actor, some favorite credits include Huck in Big River (Mill Mountain) and Jimmy in Hot and Sweet (NYMF; opposite Golden Globe nominee Lea Michele). B.A. Yale University. Alumnus of Yale Whiffenpoofs, Alley Cats, and Dramat. Member of AEA and the SDC. For more, visit www.AndySandberg.com.

CATCO’s 2010-11, 27th anniversary is sponsored by support from The Columbus Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council, which funds CATCO with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Shubert Foundation and Nationwide. CATCO is central Ohio’s professional Equity theatre company. Its mission is to produce diverse, high quality, and exciting theatrical work that celebrates our common humanity. For more information, visit catcoistheatre.org.


# # # # #