British-born actor Michael York will appear as narrator of a staged concert performance of the Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Musical nominee "A Tale of Two Cities" to be Broadcast Nationally on Public Television beginning on Thanksgiving Day November 26th, 2009 at 9pm. In NY the show will be first Broadcast on NJN December Sunday December 6th at 4:30pm and again Friday December 11th at 8pm.
The concert was filmed this summer at Theater Royal Brighton, England. WGBH-Boston, the home of Public Television favorites "Evening at Pops", "Masterpiece Theater", "Nova" "Mystery" and "Antiques Road Show", will be the Presenting Station for the TV musical event based on the great Charles Dickens novel of the same name.
A DVD of the concert production and accompanying international studio cast album CD of the musical will be available during the pledge program. The television program will be distributed internationally in 2010. The televised concert broadcast has Book, Music and Lyrics by Jill Santoriello and will feature a new song "Never Say Goodbye", written exclusively for the concert event, with music by Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn ("Jekyll and Hyde") and lyrics by Santoriello.
The International Studio Cast Album was recorded at London's legendary Sphere Studios, home to the Rolling Stones and many other artists, and will feature 80 minutes of music with additional songs from the Broadway show.
Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, the great granddaughter of the novelist, served as the project's historical advisor and is interviewed by Michael York at London's Charles Dickens Museum in a special added feature for the Pledge Program DVD.
Ron Sharpe and Barbra Russell, original Broadway producers of "A Tale of Two Cities ", are Executive Producers of the television program along with Emmy- nominated Executive Producer Bruce Marcus of Jersey Wooly Productions. In 2008, Jersey Wooly Productions produced the television documentary "Finding Billy Elliot" the story of the casting search for the lead role for the Broadway hit musical "Billy Elliot". Joe Locarro is the Broadcast Director and Editor. Locarro also previously served as director, producer and editor of "Finding Billy Elliot" for WNET.
2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens' classic novel. The beloved story concerns the love triangle of young beauty Lucie Manette, French aristocrat Charles Darnay and drunken cynic Sydney Carton - all caught in the clutches of the bloody French Revolution. The novel's first sentence "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." is arguably the most famous opening line in the history of literature
"A Tale of Two Cities" made its world premiere at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida and played on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The Broadway production received multiple award nominations from the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama Desk and the Drama League. Samuel French Ltd. licenses the stock and amateur performing rights for the theatrical production and will publish an Acting Edition of the script in the coming months. www.samuelfrench.com The book of Piano/Vocal Selections will be released by Alfred Publishing in December. www.alfredpublishing.com
The cast for "A Tale of Two Cities In Concert" will feature members of the original Broadway cast including the award winning James Barbour (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominee for his acclaimed role as Sydney Carton.) Natalie Toro (Madame Defarge), Brandi Burkhardt (Lucie Manette) and Kevin Earley (Ernest DeFarge) will reprise their Broadway roles. Other veteran Broadway performers featured are J. Mark McVey (Dr. Alexandre Manette) and Ed Dixon (John Barsad). The international cast members include BAFTA nominated British actress Rosemary Leach as Miss Pross, Simon Thomas as Charles Darnay ("Marguerite" in the West End) and Olivier Award winner Paul Baker ("Taboo", "Napoleon" in the West End) as the Marquis St Evremonde. Stage direction is by Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director of New York City's Transport Group.
The Musical Director for the concert is Michael Reed, the original musical director of the West End production of "Phantom of the Opera". He conducts an orchestra of 32 and the musical's cast of 35. Newly enhanced orchestrations are provided by Drama Desk nominated Orchestrator and Producer Edward B. Kessel.