Max Understood (2009)
Music by Michael Rasbury
Lyrics by Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury
Max Understood is an invitation into the life of a 7 year-old boy with autism. As Max embarks on a transformative odyssey beyond the confines of his parents’ apartment, his unique perspective reveals the beauty and mystery of the world around him. This innovative "sound-scaped" musical is written by Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury and will feature direction from celebrated opera and theater director David Schweizer.
Approximate Running Time: 1:10; no intermission
Michael Winther Broadway: 33 Variations, Mamma Mia, 1776, Artist Descending a Staircase, Damn Yankees. Off-Broadway: 2006 Drama Desk/Drama League noms for Songs From An Unmade Bed (NYTW/ CD on Ghostlight Records), Radiant Baby (NYSF/Public), Hapgood (Lincoln Center Theatre). Recent regional: Grey Gardens (Theatreworks/Palo Alto), Most Wanted (La Jolla), Falsettos (George Street), Boys from Syracuse (Baltimore/Centerstage), People’s Temple (Guthrie/Perseverance Theater). Other regional: Yale Rep, Old Globe, McCarter, Syracuse Stage, Ford’s Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Barrington Stage, Coconut Grove. Recent Film/TV: Meet Dave, Jumper, The Break Up, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Law & Order. Graduate: Williams College.
Mary Mossberg (Mom) is so happy to be part of the NYMF for the third time in this beautiful story. Other credits: Next to Normal (Standby for Alice Ripley) at Arena Stage, DC; the National Tour of Mamma Mia! (ensemble and Donna/Rosie cover); Paper Mill Playhouse’s The Baker’s Wife (yet again, cover for Alice Ripley); Gateway Playhouse’s Miss Saigon (Ellen) and The Will Rogers Follies (Betty Blake Rogers); Flat Rock Playhouse’s Children of Eden (Eve/Mama Noah) and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Woman #1); Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s Nunsense (Sister Mary Leo); and The Gallery Players’ Chess (Svetlana) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Edwin Drood). Warmest thanks to my dearest angels, Maggie Maes, Kimberly Vaughn and Nicholas Keslake. Proud member of AEA.
Everett performed as Florence Wexler in DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND in the NYC FRINGE FESTIVAL this year. Everett is a member of Cleveland State University's ...SUMMER STAGES where he recently directed THE SHADOW BOX and appeared as Vassily Luzcshki in CHEKOW IN YALTA ... Everett also recieved the 2008 Callaway Award for his performance as Fabritio in REBULL THEATER'S production of WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN. Everett was a grateful and proud member of Charles Ludlam's RIDICULOUS THEATRICAL COMPANY for 21 years!
Marlon Sherman is proud to be part of “Max Understood”. Credits- Broadway- “Mary Poppins”(Michael), “Beauty and the Beast”(Chip): Film- Freedomland(Cody), Mo (Little Mo), The Destination Party (Professor M). Numerous local theatre productions including Oliver!(Oliver),The King and I(Louis). He also loves reading, Lego, Star Wars, Pokemon, and Harry Potter. He would like to thank his mom and dad, and his brother Gordon for their help and patience in his acting pursuits.
Tricia Burns is very excited to be a part of the talented cast of Max! She is new to NYC and may have been spotted by festival-goers last month at the Fringe Festival in Eat, Drink and be Merry at the Minetta Ln. Theater, or at Town Hall in July as a part of the Broadway Rising Stars with her fellow cast member, Ali! Tricia graduated from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Musical Theatre in April 2009. Tricia grew up in Kansas City and is the oldest of 4. She has performed at venues such as Kansas City Starlight Theatre, the Lyric Opera House, New Theatre Restaurant, and many more. Favorite roles include, Little Red in Into the Woods, and Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical. She is very thankful to her family, her roomies, Michael Cassara, Abrams, and especially, Dougie Bear. Proud member of AEA. "Need to be what I believe, fly away for all to see, share a new reality - in a dream..." Enjoy the show!!!
Ali Stroker just played the role of “McKenzie” in the reading of “Mrs. Sharp” at Playwrights Horizons with Jane Krakowski. Some of her other theatre credits include: Alive at Ten, The Daughters, Only Children, Into the Woods, Pippin, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Cinderella, and The Boys from Syracuse. This year Ali has performed in concerts at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Joe’s Pub. This fall Ali will be performing in the ABC Diversity Showcase and can be seen on Sesame Street, as well as a MasterCard Commercial! She would like to thank her family, friends, and Jed and Pete for their constant support and love!
Ramiz Monsef’s New York credits include: Betrayed (Culture Project), Eurydice (Second Stage), All That I Will Ever Be (New York Theatre Workshop), The Leopard and the Fox (Alter Ego) Regional Credits: Mary Zimmerman’s “Arabian Nights” (Berkeley Rep, Kansas City Rep, The Lookingglass), One Short Sleepe (Humana Festival), Betrayed (Williamstown), Eurydice (Berkeley Rep., Yale Rep.), Guantanamo (Studio Theatre, Brava) Fetes de la Nuit (Berkeley Rep.), Steppenwolf production of The Time of Your Life (A.C.T, Seattle Rep) and two seasons at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. When Ramiz is not acting he performs with his hip-hop groups The Subliminal Twinkeez and Three Blind Mice.
Nancy Carlin has been a regional theatre artist for over 25 years, as a director, an actor, a writer, a choreographer, a text coach, a producer, and a teacher. A former company member of the American Conservatory Theater, Nancy has been an associate artist with the California Shakespeare Theatre for 9 years under the direction of Jonathan Moscone, where she has acted in many productions, taught, and been actively involved in their New Works/New Communities initiative. She is an affiliate artist of the Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City, CA, where she directed productions for them over 12 seasons, and participated in their New Voices as a playwright (along with composer Michael Rasbury) with her developing musical, “Max Understood”, which was further developed at the O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference in July 2008. Nancy is also a company member of PlayGround, a San Francisco Bay Area source for new play development.Nancy has performed with such theaters as A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and California Shakespeare Theatre. She has directed for the Aurora Theatre, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Foothill Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, and A.C.T.’s MFA program. Nancy co-produced the feature film, “Haiku Tunnel” written by and starring Josh Kornbluth, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Carlin is a member of SDC, AEA, SAG, and AFTRA. She is the recipient of numerous Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and DramaLogue awards for best Principle Performance, Best Supporting Performance, and Best Director. She was a 2007 participant of Directors Lab West. Nancy holds a BA in comparative literature from Brown University and an MFA in acting from A.C.T.
Since 2004, Michael Rasbury has been an Assistant Professor in Sound Design at the University of Virginia. Before that, he served on the faculty of the School of the Performing Arts at Louisiana Tech University. In 2008, his original musical script titled Max Understood (co-written by Nancy Carlin) received a staged reading by the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference. Before that, he composed music and sound for Macbeth, presented by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Since 2007, he has worked with the “Obie” and Drama Desk award winning Transport Group in New York as sound designer for Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Bury the Dead and two new musicals Crossing Brooklyn and Marcy in the Galaxy. Between 2004 and 2007 he composed music and sound for six productions presented by the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. He has served as sound designer for The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Manteo, North Carolina, since 2006. In 2001, he toured Europe and the United States with the production of An Alphabet, a John Cage piece produced by the John Cage Trust. Also in 2001, he wrote an orchestral score for Louisiana Tech University’s theatrical adaptation of The Leafmen and the Brave Good Bugs, written by award winning children’s author/illustrator, William Joyce. Michael composed music/sound for the 1998 and 1996 Humana Festivals for New American Playwrights at Actors Theatre of Louisville and for The Public in New York City. Michael has performed as a keyboardist/vocalist at two New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals with The Lightnin’ Bugs, a Louisiana band. In 2003, he was recognized as the Louisiana State Funded Theatre Artist by receiving the Artist Fellowship Grant in Theatre presented by the Louisiana Division of the Arts.
David Schweizer has been developing and directing new theater, performance and opera works nationally and internationally for over thirty years, from his debut at age twenty-two at Lincoln Center with his radical revival of Shakespeare's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, to his recent return to that locale with his triumphant staging of Richard Rodney Bennett's opera THE MINES OF SULPHUR at New York City Opera. Some career highlights include his OBIE award winning work with composer/writer/performer Rinde Eckert (AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES, HORIZON)/ his premiere productions of both new and old opera works (Stephen Hartke's THE GREATER GOOD at Glimmerglass Festival, Vivaldi's MOTEZUMA, Thomas Ades' POWDER HER FACE at Long Beach Opera)/ revivals of older opera works (Britten's ALBERT HERRING at Gotham Opera, Mozart's ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO at Houston Grand Opera, Offenbach's LA PERICHOLE at LBO) / his collaborations with innovative experimental theater companies (IT'S A MAN'S WORLD, multi-media performance with Mabou Mines, A HISTORY OF SEXUALITY from the Michel Foucault books with Theatre X, PLATO'S SYMPOSIUM with his own Modern Artist's Company). Some noteworthy recent New York area work/ Charles Mee's WINTERTIME (at Second Stage) William Hamilton's WHITE CHOCOLATE ( Century Playhouse) SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED (New York Theater Workshop) Mike Albo's MY PRICE POINT (PS 122) Marga Gomez' LOS BIG NAMES (47th Street Theater). And his extensive work in regional theater has featured this last season Tony Kushner's CAROLINE OR CHANGE (Center Stage, Baltimore), Jack Kirkland's TOBACCO ROAD (La Jolla Playhouse) and Oscar Wilde's IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (starring Lynn Redgrave at the Paper Mill Playhouse). His extensive residencies and touring projects abroad with a special focus on Eastern Europe continue to be represented by his adaptation of Ibsen's PEER GYNT, still playing in repertory in WARSAW....He attended the Yale School of Drama, and has taught at UCLA, CAL ARTS, NYU, CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE, BENNINGTON COLLEGE and elsewhere. He is developing his first feature film SUGAR DADDY with a screen play by Michael Sargent.
T.O. Sterrett had the privilege of music directing MAX UNDERSTOOD at the O'Neill Theater Center last summer. On Broadway, he has worked as a Conductor and Keyboardist for WICKED, SHREK THE MUSICAL and CATS and has also worked with MAMMA MIA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, BOMBAY DREAMS, and the world-renowned DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES. Off-Broadway work includes Conductor for F**KING A at the Public Theatre (with Mos Def and Epatha Merkerson) and Music Direction and Arrangements for GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! Also a composer/orchestrator, he has worked on many films, including four Emmy-nominees, and is currently working on a musical with writer Brian Hargrove. His CD for children, ANIMALOOPIDY, was called "the perfect pre-school album" by Disney's Family Fun magazine. A proud veteran of Weathervane Theatre and Duke University Hoof 'n' Horn.
Born in rural Pennsylvania, Ryan Kelly trained in classical dance there before continuing his studies at the School of American Ballet and becoming a member of New York City Ballet (1998-2002.) He later explored contemporary dance and performance with choreographers and directors in New York and abroad, performing with Karole Armitage, Zvi Gotheiner, Ben Munisteri, and Todd Williams in New York and with Sasha Waltz in Berlin. In 2006 he was invited to Amsterdam as a guest choreographer at the School for New Dance Development. His most enduring collaboration has been with Brennan Gerard, with whom he founded Moving Theater in 2003. Together they have created and performed a dozen works, including How Culafroy Became Divine (2003) at Jacob’s Pillow, Without (2006) at the Guggenheim Museum and Dance New Amsterdam, Sixty (2005-07) at La Générale, L’Atelier de Paris, and Les Voutes, in Paris, and the EFA Gallery in New York, IT’S MY PARTY at the Greenwich Music Festival (2007), Impermanent Collection at the Whitney Museum (2007) and Last Dance (2009) at Prelude 08 and Park Avenue Armory. Kelly has been selected as a participant in the Whitney Museum of Art Independent Study Program in 2009-2010.
Ms. Crowley has had a varied career spanning the fields of land use planning, public administration, arts administration, and commercial theater production. She has served as a Development Consultant for the Culture Project, Shotgun Productions, and W.E.T. in NYC, as well as the O’Neill Theater Center in CT. She received her first above-the-title producing credit on the 2005-06 North American tour of The Good Body, written and performed by Eve Ensler, and also produced Beyond the Beehive, featuring rock and roll legend Ronnie Spector, at the 2008 O’Neill Theater Center’s Cabaret Conference. Michele is currently developing a play based on the best-selling book Band of Sisters, which features stories about women serving in combat roles in the Iraq war.
Caleb Wertenbaker, Set Designer, graduated from Oberlin College and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Future designs include: Cyrano, Center Stage and Les Mamelles de Tiresias, Concord Academy. Past designs include: Addicted to Bad Ideas, International Tour; Dust, West Side Theater Downstairs; Doubt, Weston Playhouse; Amistad, Spoleto Festival USA; Rinaldo, Cendrillon & Don Giovanni, Central City Opera; Psyche, Boston Early Music Festival; Mahagonny, Opera Boston and numerous productions for New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Boston Theater Works and The American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Actor Training.
Recent: sets and/or costumes for Into The Woods (Kansas City Rep),The Good Negro (Public Theater), The Temperamentals (Barrow Group), The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism with a Key to the Scriptures (Guthrie)NY: Second Stage, Public/NYSF, NYTW, Culture Project, Vineyard, Mint, Ma-Yi, Women’s Project, Red Bull, Foundry, Play Company, others. Regional: Guthrie, Alliance, ART, Asolo, Dallas Theater Center,CenterStage, Williamstown, Roundhouse, Shakespeare NJ, Folger, La Jolla, Chautauqua, Oregon Shakespeare, CalShakes, Barrington, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Opera Boston, others. International: Barbican (London), O’Reilly (Dublin), Kanon (St. Petersburg), Rijksteatern (Stockholm), Thalia (Bucharest), Teatro Pilipino (Manila), others. Honors: 2009 TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, 2007 American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Award, 2008 Drama Desk nomination, NYTW Design Fellowship, Audelco, Elliot Norton, 2007 Live Design Magazine’s Young Designer to Watch.
JUSTIN TOWNSEND (Lighting Design). NYC: Mahida's Extra Key to Heaven, Epic Theatre. Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, DDRevolution; Theater of a Two-Headed Calf; Lear Debessonet; Speech and Debate (Roundabout Theatre Company), Primary Stages; Epic Theatre Ensemble; Culture Project; LightBOX REGIONAL: Arden Theatre; ART, The Onion Cellar; Trojan Barbie, Baltimore Center Stage; Hartford Stage; Bard Summerscape; Portland Center Stage; Kirk Douglas Theatre; Intiman; PlayMakers Rep; Alliance Theatre. Teaches at Northeastern University.
Anne-Marie Minnick is a jill of all trades, doing props, designing costumes, and painting scenery throughout the land. Recent work includes scenic art for Tisch School of the Arts, costume designs for the Urban Youth Theatre and the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, and props fabrication for Modern Dance for Beginners at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre. She has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and she lives in Brooklyn with an awful lot of paintings and half finished sewing projects.
Matthew Compton has been Stage Managing for over 12years. For the past 8years he served as the resident Production Stage Manager for The Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City California. With FTC he worked on over 50 productions that included such great shows as Noises Off, You Can’t Take it With You, Fully Committed, Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, Doubt and worked on world premieres and staged readings like Long Shadow, Bad Axe, A Line in the Sand and of course the original workshop of Max Understood. Before his time with FTC Matt had worked for Capital Stage, Sacramento Theatre Company but he got his start as a production intern in true summer stock fashion with California Musical Theatre also known as Music Circus. Matthew is a very proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Michael Cassara, CSA (Casting Director) has cast over 35 new musicals in NYMF since the festival’s inception in 2004, and has served as the Resident Casting Director for the festival since 2007. Recent regional theatre: Old Globe, Olney, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and more. Other recent credits include Bus Stop (dir. Austin Pendelton), the films Clear Blue Tuesday and Alienated, and 11 shows in this year’s NYMF. Member, Casting Society of America. Please visit http://www.michaelcassara.net
Sam Morris runs Sam Morris PR, a firm primarily focused on clients in the theatre and entertainment industries. He's represented several highly buzzed about theatre productions, including Wood in last year's NYMF (starring Tony-winner Cady Huffman), as well as Victoria & Frederick for President (presented by Adrian Grenier) this past summer in the New York International Fringe Festival. A graduate of NYU, Sam is also Creative Director of Raine Magazine, an internationally read arts, fashion, and style publication.
Johnny Pomatto comes from Northern California where he has worked on stage and off with The Foothill Theatre Company for fifteen years. Recent credits include Urinetown The Musical (Barrel/Tiny Tom), Holes (Stanley Yelnats), Table For Three (Bradley), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II), Twelfth Night (Curio), Big Love (Piero), How To Succeed…(Bud Frump), Arcadia (Chater), and all the ladies in Shakespeare Abridged. Johnny has appeared in music videos for Tally Hall, Band of Horses, The Spinto Band, and Fatboy Slim. Johnny will not ever be seen on Law & Order because without Jerry Orbach, what’s the point?
Meet Max and Machine
Max picks up his President Machine and begins pressing buttons in a curious way. The song that follows is my attempt to capture the spirit of my son Max in music. The piece is repetitive and presents a metaphor for math.
Credit: Michael Rasbury
Max meets Albert the fact spouting kid, who also turns out to be a rapper. Kevin Turner performs this piece.
Credit: Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury (additional lyrics by Kevin Turner)
Shape Your World
Enter Munc, the leaf blowing, yard-keeping philosopher. He recognizes something in Max and attempts to pull it out of him.
Credit: Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury
Everett Quinton, Michael Winther, & Marlon Sherman to Star in MAX UNDERSTOOD at NYMF 9/28-10/7
Drama Desk Award-winner Everett Quinton (Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company), Michael Winther (33 Variations, Damn Yankees, 1776, and Mamma Mia! on Broadway), and Marlon Sherman (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast on Broadway) are set to star in Max Understood, running at the 45th Street Theatre in the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Marlon Sherman will be playing the title role of Max.