(NEW YORK, NY) -- The York Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, presents the world premiere of Penelope, or How the Odyssey Was Really Written, a new musical comedy with book & lyrics by Peter Kellogg (York’s Desperate Measures), and music by Stephen Weiner (The Rivals), directed and choreographed by Emily Maltby (York’s Lolita, My Love), with music direction and orchestrations by David Hancock Turner (York’s Cheek to Cheek, Desperate Measures) and vocal arrangements by David Hancock Turner, Steve Delehanty, and Stephen Weiner. Cast and additional creative team will be announced shortly.
Penelope begins performances on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 7:00pm for a limited engagement through Sunday afternoon, April 24, 2022 at 2:30pm at The York’s temporary home, The Theater at St. Jean’s (150 East 76th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues). Opening Night is set for Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 7:00pm.
Penelope is married to Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. She is currently waiting for him to return from the Trojan War. She’s been waiting a long time: twenty years; ten years since the war ended. A bevy of suitors have gathered, each wanting to marry her and take over the kingdom. To stall them, Penelope writes letters to herself and pretends they’re from Odysseus saying he’s on his way. Little does she know that her letters gathered together are creating the story of The Odyssey. (Since no one knows who really wrote The Odyssey, this theory is as good as any other.) Meanwhile the suitors, having little else to do but eat and drink, form an a cappella group—the acoustics in The Great Hall are terrific.
Penelope is funny, feminist, and fully relevant to today because it’s about a woman who lives through and for her husband for 20 years, only to realize when he returns that her life, her journey is just as important as his. Book and lyrics are by Peter Kellogg, who wrote the award-winning Desperate Measures; music is by Stephen Weiner, two-time Richard Rodgers Award winner. Penelope was given a Developmental Reading at The York under the previous title Dear Pen.
“We’re delighted to bring this new musical comedy to life on our stage,” stated The York’s Producing Artistic Director Jim Morgan. “We look forward to working with the whole company of artists, but it’s particularly wonderful to reconnect with Peter Kellogg, who co-wrote Desperate Measures for us five years ago. Penelope is an unexpectedly funny take on a classic piece of literature, with a truly winning score by Stephen Weiner. Greece is the word!”
Penelope will play the following performance schedule: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays at 7:00pm, Friday at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm.
York Member Early Access tickets for Penelope are now available. Single tickets will be available to the General Public beginning January 26, 2022 and will be priced at $55 - $75 (plus $4 convenience fee). York Members receive Priority Seating and Discounted Tickets. Tickets may be purchased by visiting Ovation tickets, or by calling the Box Office at (212) 935-5820, Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 5:00pm, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GENYORK, FOR PATRONS 35 AND UNDER: The York is launching a new ticketing initiative, GenYork, focused on younger patrons. Tickets are priced at $25 (plus $4 convenience fee). A special inaugural event to launch GenYork is scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 7:00pm followed by a reception to be hosted at a local eatery.
Senior Rush tickets are available in-person beginning one hour prior to performances for $20 cash only. Student tickets can be purchased anytime in advance at the box office during regular box office business hours. Limit one ticket per valid student ID and tickets are subject to availability. Student Rush tickets are $20.00 cash or credit.
COVID NOTE: For the safety of all, COVID policies established by the CDC and WHO will be strictly enforced. Proof of vaccination status will be required upon entry, and masks must be worn at all times. Full COVID policies can be found on the York Theatre Company website.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Peter Kellogg (Book/Lyrics) has two Tony nominations for his book and lyrics to a musical of Anna Karenina (composer Dan Levine), which toured in Japan and was broadcast on Japanese Public TV. With David Friedman, he created Desperate Measures, which won 2018 Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Lyrics, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical (CD available on Amazon); Chasing Nicolette (based on the French romance Aucassin and Nicolette), produced at Westport Country Playhouse, the Prince Theatre, and Village Theatre in Seattle; and Front Page Girl (based on the life of Nellie Bly, New York City’s first female reporter). With Steve Weiner, he created a musical based on the Sheridan play, The Rivals, which premiered at Bristol Riverside Theatre.
Stephen Weiner (Music/Vocal Arrangements) has won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Jonathan Larson Grant, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award, and the Global Search for New Musicals Award. Recent shows with Peter Kellogg include Penelope, The Rivals, and Monte Cristo (in development). Other scores include The Honeymooners, Iron Curtain, Rocket Science, The Hudsucker Proxy, Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, newyorkers, and Spittin’ Image. Steve is a Dramatists Guild and ASCAP member.
Steve Delehanty (Vocal Arrangements), a 58-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, is an accomplished arranger and composer of four-part harmony music. His arrangements have been sung throughout the United States and internationally. He performed in the NoteWits comedy quartet throughout the US, Canada, and England. He also sang in the Westchesteraires quartet, which appeared six times on the “Late Night Show with David Letterman” and twice on “The View.” Steve is a retired human resources executive living the Bronx with his wife, Connie.
David Hancock Turner (Music Director/Orchestrations/Vocal Arrangements) is a composer and music director working in musical theater. His musical The World Will Not Contain Us (written with playwright Christopher Shinn) was presented in a reading by The New Group in December 2016. His original children's musical Cinderella—A Fairy's Tale was produced at the Summer Theater of New Canaan in 2015 and 2016. He is an active pianist and music director with credits that include several City Center Encores! productions (Irma La Douce, Zorba!, Do I Hear a Waltz?), The York’s Desperate Measures, which transferred to New World Stages for a seven-month run, Passion at CSC, and many seasons at the Summer Theater of New Canaan. His collection of songs and sounds have been presented at venues in New York City and beyond as diverse as Ars Nova, Anthology Film Archives, IRT Theater, New Dramatists, The Living Room, The Clurman Theater at Theater Row, The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, The Fort Salem Theater, and the Ontological-Hysteric. He also teaches piano and coaches an eclectic variety of singers.
Emily Maltby (Director/Choreographer) is an NYC-based director and choreographer. Recent credits include Evita (New York City Center), Allegory (La Jolla Playhouse WOW Festival), Lolita, My Love (York Theatre Company), and Fiddler on the Roof (Singapore). As associate: First Daughter Suite (The Public Theater), The Lion (Manhattan Theater Club). She served as a dramaturg for NYMF for three years, as well as the script supervisor for Anastasia. Emily holds a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.
The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City—and one of very few in the world—dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over five decades, York’s intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, The York has focused on new musicals in its Mainstage Series—most of them world, American, or New York premieres—by some of the field’s most esteemed creators and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Well over 40 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, including its acclaimed revival of Closer Than Ever (2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival); commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir (Tony Award Nomination for actress Judy Kaye), and Jolson & Company, and revivals of Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd (four Tony Nominations including Best Revival) have all showcased the importance of The York and its programs. Recent New York premieres have included Marry Harry, A Taste of Things to Come, and Rothschild & Sons. The critically acclaimed musical Yank! received its Off-Broadway debut at The York in 2010, and subsequently to rave reviews in London—as did York’s Rothschild & Sons. The hit musical Cagney received its York premiere in 2015, transferring to the Westside Theatre for over 15 months. In 2017, Desperate Measures received a total of 15 award nominations (and three wins) that included “Best Musical” from the Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Off-Broadway Alliance and subsequently transferred across town to New World Stages. The York is the recipient of a special Drama Desk Award for “Developing and Producing New Musicals” and, more recently, a special Outer Critics Circle Award for “50 Years of Producing New and Classic Musicals.” Due to a flood in their home of 30 years at Saint Peter’s Church in January 2021, The York is currently producing at The Theater at St. Jean’s at 76th Street and Lexington Avenue.