Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera Opening July 9th

Tracy McDowell as Tonya Harding and Jenna Leigh as Nancy Kerrigan.

Photo by Robert Pushkar

New York: Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera gets its NY premiere as it kicks-off the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) this July. Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has a concept, book and lyrics by Elizabeth Searle, music by Michael Teoli, and will be directed by David Alpert (If/ Then), with musical direction by Henry Aronson (Rock of Ages), and choreography by Marc Kimelman (A Bronx Tale). Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera will play at the PTC Performing Space (555 West 42nd St.) from July 9 – July 16, 2015. The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Paul Boghosian / Harborside Film, LLC present Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera with General Management/ Creative Consulting by Kimberly Loren Eaton/Theatrum Mundi Productions, LLC & Evan Bernardin.

In 1994, skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked with a ‘knee whack’ and suspicions were focused on fellow Team USA skater Tonya Harding. Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera is a dark musical comedy, with heart, about the feud between Olympic figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, with a score in the style of Queen meets the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

“It was one of the first crazy tabloid stories that took over 24/7 news coverage. One of my inspirations for pursuing it was that at that time, the conservative commentator George Will made the comment, ‘This is a ridiculous story that has nothing whatsoever to do with life in America today.’ And I thought, ridiculous story, yes, of course. But it has everything to do with life in America.” Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, book writer Elizabeth Searle

Cast stars Tracy McDowell (Broadway: MOTOWN, RENT) as Tonya Harding and Jenna Leigh Green (Broadway: Wicked. TV: “Sabrina the Teenage Witch) as Nancy Kerrigan,  Nancy Liz McCartney (Broadway: Ever After, Annie, South Pacific) as Mom, Tony LePage (Broadway: Rock of Ages) as Jeff Gillooly, with Andrew Aaron Berlin (National Tour: A Christmas Story), Heidi Friese (National Tour: How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Chase Kamata (Regional: Miss Saigon), Tatiana Lofton (Regional: Little Shop of Horrors), Ryan MacConnell (TV: “Smallville,” “Battlestar Galatica”), and Dwayne Washington (UK: RENT).

Creative team includes: Starlet Jacobs (Scenic & Properties Designer), Vanessa Leuck (Costume Designer), Rui Rita (Lighting Designer), Alex Hawthorn (Sound Designer). Stage Management by Kelly Martindale, and Casting by Daryl Eisenberg.

The rock opera is based on the one-act chamber opera Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, which premiered to a media whirlwind at the American Repertory Theater’s Zero Arrow Theater. It was selected as one of the top three new one-act operas by Opera Vista in Houston in 2007. In 2010 and in 2014, a full production of the opera was produced company in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  In 2008, Elizabeth Searle and Michael Teoli, began to expand the opera into a rock opera and was produced in Portland, Oregon.  The show opened in Portland to strong reviews (“Brilliant and touching”; the Portland Mercury).  Tonya Harding, a Portland native, enthusiastically attended the opening night performance. It was nominated for two Portland Area Music awards.  Since its initial run, the show has been re-worked and further developed, with songs showcased at a Boston Cabaret and selected for performance at the L.A. Playwrights’ Arena, Hot Night in the City, in May, 2010.  In 2011 a new ‘club version’ of the show premiered at American Repertory Theater’s Oberon theater in Boston in January 2011 and drew enthusiastic sold-out audiences during two consecutive snowstorms. Since then, Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has been a finalist in NYC’s NAMT musical competition.  The show was most recently performed in Feb. of 2014 sold-out club dates in Hollywood, produced by the Los Angeles Rock Opera Company in association with Harborside Films, LLC.  The chamber opera version of the show was also playing in Feb. of 2014 in MN.

It has been called “Brilliant …one of the most exciting spectacles I have ever seen… Remarkable” WGBH Boston; “Tonya & Nancy’ Rock Opera A Real Knee Slapper… Undeniably entertaining… It’s like “Black Swan” on ice… Happily, Elizabeth Searle and Michael Teoli’s rock opera lives up to the madness.” Boston Herald; “Absurdly FUNNY… surprisingly POIGNANT moments amidst the comedy and a ROUSING SOUNDTRACK” Boston Phoenix ;“Michael Teoli and Elizabeth Searle have done what any smart writer does when dealing with truth that is stranger than fiction: write a rock opera about it.”; “SEX AND SPORTS AND ROCK N’ ROLL… About the only thing that could have made the 1994 Olympics any more tailor-made for the media would have been a classic rock soundtrack. Now it has one.”

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