Jenn Colella Leads a Reading of NYCCT’s Talk to Me

Mar 26, 2020 | Press Releases

Abingdon Theatre Company (Chad Austin, Artistic Director) continues its 27th season and its “Around the Table Reading Series” – a critical program serving the company’s mission to create new work by emerging and established artists – with Talk to Me, a new musical with book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, music by Tim Rosser, music direction by Paul Staroba and direction by Joe Barros. Presented with New York City Children’s Theater (NYCCT), the reading will be held at Theater 71 (152 West 71st Street – just east of Broadway) on Monday, March 30th at 7pm. The readings are free to the public and focus on challenging and thought-provoking subject matter.

Talk To Me is a family musical about Graham, a 12 year-old boy on the autism spectrum, who makes friends with the Siri app on his mom’s iPhone. Whereas other kids don’t take the time to understand Graham, Siri is able to answer any of Graham’s questions, lets him have conversations at his own pace and is patient with him when he asks the same questions more than once. It’s through his interactions with Siri that others are able to see another side to Graham – allowing him to make new friends, gain a new level of understanding in his relationship with his mother and eventually change his entire school.

“I am so pleased to be part of bringing Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser’s work once again to Abingdon audiences, says Chad Austin, Abingdon Theatre Company’s Artistic Director.” ‘The Boy Who Danced on Air’ produced by Abingdon marked the beginning of my first season with the company. Three seasons later I am proud to continue to support their artistic voices and I could not ask for a better partner than New York City Children’s Theater. I look forward to our continued collaboration and support the important work they do.”

The cast will feature Tony Award-nominee and Drama Desk winner Jenn Collella (Come From Away), Zachary Noah Piser (Dear Evan Hansen), Troy Iwata (Be More Chill), and Brynn Williams (Spongebob Squarepants).

“New York City Children’s Theater is proud to be a part of Abingdon Theatre Company’s ‘Around the Table Reading Series’, say Barbara Zinn Krieger (Founder and Artistic Director) and Andrew Frank (Executive Director). Talk to Me created by Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser, continues NYCCT’s tradition of telling important stories that ask big questions and spark important conversations. We’re excited to explore the themes of communication and technology through the eyes of our young protagonist, Graham, and share his unique view of the world with audiences.”


Tim Rosser (Music) and Charlie Sohne (Book/Lyrics) have received the 2018 Ed Kleban Award, the 2016 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Original Score, a 2015 Jonathan Larson Grant and ASCAP’s 2015 Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award. Their show, The Boy Who Danced on Air (NAMT 2013) had its world premiere at The Diversionary Theatre, its Off-Broadway premiere at the Abingdon Theatre and had its cast album released on Broadway Records (featuring ‘His Song’ – a bonus track recorded by India.Arie). Their independent TV pilot, Truth Slash Fiction, won best comedy at SeriesFest and ITVFest and their new song cycle, With The Right Music, made its premiere with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Tim and Charlie were 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Fellows, members of The Civilians’ R&D Group and writers at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, ASCAP’s Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project and the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Their songs have been seen at 54 Below, Birdland, Contemporary Classics at Seattle Rep, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub, ALNM at Rockwell in Los Angeles, Above The Arts in London, a sold out show at Broadway au Carre in Paris, with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They are the songwriting team behind India.Arie’s single, High Above.

Paul Staroba (Music Director) is currently the Associate Conductor of Company starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone on Broadway. Other conducting credits include Broadway: A Christmas Carol, My Fair Lady, War Paint, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder, Next to Normal, A Little Night Music, and Grey Gardens. Off-Broadway: The Mad Ones, Dear Evan Hansen, Far From Heaven, Carrie, The Blue Flower, Take Me Along, Happiness, and Saved. Favorite Regional Engagements Include The Flamingo Kid (Hartford Stage), Big Fish (Chicago Pre-Broadway), I Am Anne Hutchinson/I Am Harvey Milk (Strathmore). He has also performed for four seasons with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra; been featured in concert with Kristin Chenoweth, Patti LuPone, and Lea Salonga; and performed in the pit of over 25 Broadway Shows.

Joe Barros (Director) is a New York based director and an award-winning choreographer working on Broadway, regionally, and internationally. Broadway: Gigi. Off-Broadway: The Evolution of Mann (starring Max Crumm and Allie Trimm, cast recording on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon), Cagney, Bastard Jones, Love and Yogurt, A Taste of Things to Come (also Broadway in Chicago and Bucks County Playhouse), Hard Times, and Sam’s Room. Regional/Int’l: National Tours of A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage (Gershwin Entertainment), Beaches (Chicago’s Drury Lane), Aida (Singapore), Bright Star and Tuck Everlasting (SSTI), plus DC’s Signature Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Kaixinmahua (Shanghai), Music Academy International (Italy), NYMF, NYFA, CAP21/Molloy College, Michigan State University, and The Hartt School. Film Choreography: The Girl Who Left Home (with Paolo Montalbán), Petunia (with Thora Birch, Christine Lahti, Michael Urie), Mangus (with Jennifer Coolidge, Leslie Jordan). Artistic Director: New York Theatre Barn. Recipient: The Drama League’s First Stage Residency, 2017 BroadwayWorld Regional Award (Best Choreography), New York Innovative Theatre Award-nominee, Stage Directors & Choreographers Society’s 2018 Standout Moments for the direction of an immersive production of Alice in Wonderland that featured an entire cast of actors with disabilities (also co-writer). Upcoming: Frankie with Tony nominee Caitlin Kinnunen (concept album), Mommie Dearest (by Christina Crawford and David Nehls), A Complicated Woman: The John Kenley Show (directed by Jeff Calhoun).

The Abingdon Theatre Company is dedicated to developing and producing brave, new American work by emerging and established artists. The company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. We search for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. We are acutely aware of the theatre’s power to unite disparate population groups through stories about common human interests, and we strive to shed light on a variety of perspectives. In January 1993, a group of five professional theatre artists eager for ongoing collaboration and greater control over their creative lives gathered in a brownstone near New York City’s Abingdon Square Park for a series of bi-weekly readings of new plays. After a few months of informal meetings, enthusiasm swelled and the artists pooled their theatrical experience to establish an open-door home where they could collaborate, invite their colleagues to join the process, and develop new plays. Twenty-two years later, Abingdon has collaborated with more than 200 playwrights, produced 85 New York and World Premiere plays, presented more than 700 readings, staged 175 ten-minute plays, and commissioned 6 one-act plays.

New York City Children’s Theater programs cultivate children’s growth in the areas of emotional intelligence, community building and responsible decision-making. The result is empathetic, creative and independent thinkers who make a positive impact on their world. Our mission is to promote children’s literacy and social development through professional theater productions and arts-in-education programs. We reach a diverse population of children and engage them with a full spectrum of theater activities built around children’s books, including: professional productions; weekend classes; and arts-in-education programs in schools, homeless shelters, libraries, and community centers across the five boroughs. In addition to creating original, enriching productions for young audiences, we bring the power of theater arts to thousands of school children each year.

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