On Thursday, Chaz Bono ("Dancing with the Stars") visited with the company of SOUTHERN COMFORT, the new hit musical about transgender friends in rural Georgia, at CAP21 (18 West 18th Street, 5th floor). Based on Kate Davis' award-winning documentary, the musical has recently been extended through November 5.
SOUTHERN COMFORT is a uniquely American musical with a folk/bluegrass score. The musical is based on the true story of transgender friends living life openly, honestly, and courageously in rural Georgia.
Initially scheduled to run through October 29, the musical extends to November 5, due to positive reviews and enthusiastic response from sold-out audiences since opening October 6. In his New York Times review, David Rooney wrote, "this affecting folk-bluegrass musical makes a heartfelt bid to shift perceptions." In her Time Out New York review, Raven Snook proclaims "'SOUTHERN COMFORT is different, beautiful and lovable, just like its heroes." Frank Scheck, in his New
York Post review, wrote "as touching as it is idiosyncratic, SOUTHERN COMFORT effectively redefines the term 'family musical.'" And in The Advocate, Brandon Voss described the work as "uplifting and devastating."
SOUTHERN COMFORT's cast includes Annette O'Toole ("Smallville"), Jeff McCarthy (URINETOWN), Jeffrey Kuhn (ASSASSINS), Todd Cerveris (SOUTH PACIFIC), Allison Briner (MAMMA MIA), Lizzie Hagstedt (SWEENEY TODD national tour), Natalie Joy Johnson (LEGALLY BLONDE), David M. Lutken
(RING OF FIRE, THE Will Rogers FOLLIES), Robin Skye (PARADE), and Joel Waggoner. Stage Manager is Joan H. Cappello.
The production has costume design by Patricia Doherty; lighting design by Ed McCarthy; scenic design by James Fenton; choreography by Shea Sullivan; properties design by Andrew Diaz; hair and wig design by David BrIan Brown; makeup design by April Schuller; and musical direction by Emily Otto.
Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music) collaborated on the musical WOOD, presented as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival's Next Link Series in 2008, directed by
Thomas Caruso and starring Cady Huffman. Their other collaborations include OUR LADY OF THE VIADUCT and TIME TO KILL for York Theatre's 4@15 series; and WHEN WE MET, co-created with Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther.
Thomas Caruso's Off-Broadway credits include MIMI LE DUCK, starring Eartha Kitt; ZOMBIE; BINGO; TWO BOYS IN BED ON A COLD WINTER'S NIGHT; the American premiere of Clive Barker's SUBTLE BODIES. He directed the national tour of Terrence McNally's MASTER CLASS, starring Charlotte Cornwell of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was the resident director of MAMMA MIA! in Las Vegas; and has assisted on numerous Broadway productions including LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!; MASTER CLASS; and LES MISERABLES.
Kate Davis' 2001 documentary "Southern Comfort," upon which the musical is based, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Subsequent awards include First Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival and Special Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
CAP21 Theatre Company was founded by Frank Ventura and Eliza Ventura in 1993. For nearly twenty years, The CAP21 Theatre Company has produced new musicals and new plays by emerging and established theatre writers.
SOUTHERN COMFORT is an Equity Approved Showcase. This presentation of SOUTHERN COMFORT is supported in part by the National Fund for New Musicals, a program of The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performances of SOUTHERN COMFORT run through November 5 at The CAP21 Black Box Theatre (18 West 18th Street, 5th floor). Additional performances are Thursday, November 3 at 7pm; Friday, November 4 at 7pm; and Saturday, November 5 at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are $18 and are
available through OvationTix or online at www.cap21.org.
Photo Credit: Max Ruby