Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble begins new era with the revival of a 1985 musical based on stories by Horatio Alger.
January 26 - February 26 at Medicine Show Theatre

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Now entering its 47th season, Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble will present a revival of BOUND TO RISE, a 1985 musical with book and lyrics by Stephen P. Policoff and score by Robert Dennis. Oliver Conan, previews begin January 26. Opening is slated for Thursday, February 2.

Based on stories by Horatio Alger, BOUND TO RISE is a rags-to-riches musical depicting the efforts of New York City's underclass in the late 19th century to cope with extreme poverty, misfortune, and other obstacles to social mobility. Four poor but hopeful young New Yorkers make their way up the social ladder though a combination of good fortune and good morals.

In August 2015 Medicine Show Theatre lost its beloved founder and Artistic Director, Barbara Vann, who had also been a Founding Member of the Open Theater. Still reeling from that blow, the company met several times and decided to continue, notes Chris Brandt, newly appointed Managing Director. "Our goals are to put the company on a firm financial footing, to continue our training in both new and old acting techniques, to create new works and revive some of the best of our past work, and to tour both in the US and abroad. We are ambitious – we know our artistic work is very good; now we want to get that fact out to the public and broaden our audience base."

Another complication: Medicine Show currently occupies the third floor of a city-owned building on West 52nd Street. The former manufacturing building, which has been designated an arts building, is due to be renovated sometime in the next few years. That will potentially mean temporary relocation and the costs associated with moving as well as a significant increase in rent. The company is preparing for that eventuality by planning a capital campaign to begin next season.

BOUND TO RISE stars Christopher Hirschmann Brandt, John Cencio Burgos, Mark J. Dempsey, Pamela Ehn, Jonathan Emerson, Mark Gering, Beth Griffith, Richard Keyser, Justyna Kostek, Scott Schutzman, Paolo Solis, and Kathleen Wilce. The production team includes  Richard Keyser (lighting and sound design), Uta Bekaia (sets), Derek Lockwood (costumes), Theresa Duhon (choreography) and Regan Vann (assistant director).

Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble was formed in 1971 by Barbara Vann, a founding member of the legendary Open Theater, and James Barbosa, along with other long-time members of the Open Theater. Over the past 45 years, the company has presented 241 productions of all kinds, including 45 world premieres by playwrights including Kenneth Koch, Meena Alexander, Elinor Amlen, Arnold Weinstein, Rosemary Cove, Howard Pflanzer, Edgardo Yunque Vega, Jack Agüeros, Joel Shatzky, and John Jonas Gruen. Medicine Show has toured throughout the US and Europe, winning major international theatre festival prizes at the BITEF Festival in Belgrade, the Bordeaux Festival, and the Sitges Festival in Barcelona. For more info visit

BOUND TO RISE runs January 26 - February 26; Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm. Medicine Show Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street, 3rd Floor, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Tickets are $30. For more info visit 212-262-4216 or