New musical from the book writer of Broadway's Allegiance premieres Off-Broadway.
June 14 - July 14 at the cell
nancy manocherian’s the cell will present the World Premiere of BASTARD JONES, a rock musical comedy based on Henry Fielding’s bawdy 18th century novel, The History of Tom Jones. With book, lyrics, & direction by Marc Acito (Broadway's Allegiance) and music & lyrics by Amy Engelhardt, performances begin June 14 at the cell.
BASTARD JONES is a rollicking adventure of deception, misunderstanding and bed-hopping. It centers on Tom Jones, a bastard-born charmer with a heart of gold and a knack for trouble who’s looking for love in all the wrong places. Tom gets banished from the only home he knows simply for expressing his true self, leading him to conscription in the army, a half-naked romp at a country inn and a stint as the boy-toy to an aristocrat whose machinations make Dangerous Liaisons look like child’s play.
Henry Fielding’s novel was considered so scandalous that the Bishop of London claimed it caused the Great Earthquake of 1750, yet it was the book’s democratic values that really proved revolutionary. Well-thumbed copies can be found in the personal libraries of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Fielding’s satire of moralists and their obsession with what others do in bed is both timely and timeless, as relevant today as it was over 250 years ago. “BASTARD JONES is a fusion of the high-brow and low-brow, “what we call uni-brow,” notes writer-director Marc Acito. "If you put Candide, Spring Awakening and Noises Off in a blender, you’d get BASTARD JONES.”
Because BASTARD JONES is about young people being banished simply for being themselves, 100% of the production’s profits will benefit Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. To support the fundraising campaign, please visit www.gofundme.com/celljones.
MARC ACITO (director, book writer, lyricist) wrote the book of the Broadway musical Allegiance, which New York Newsday recognized for its “well-structured book” and “fully developed characters.” Acito’s comedy Birds of a Feather won Washington DC’s Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play. He won the Ken Kesey award for his novel How I Paid For College, which he adapted as a one-man musical starring Alex Brightman. Other projects include A Room With a View (Old Globe and 5th Avenue Theaters); Chasing Rainbows, about the adolescence of Judy Garland (Goodspeed Musicals); and It's A Secret, a musical in Mandarin for Broadway Asia in China. He’s currently working on The Man in the Moon, an Ensemble Studio Theater / Sloan Foundation commission about the Apollo space program. A former commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered, Acito now writes regularly for Playbill and teaches Musical Theater History and Story Structure at NYU.
AMY ENGELHARDT (composer-lyricist) was the sole female writer, arranger and vocalist with Grammy-nominated “band without instruments” The Bobs from 1998-2011. She has collaborated with some of the funniest people in comedy including Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Jane Lynch (the Christmas Without Tears tour 2005-2016) and the Flying Karamazov Brothers (writing music and lyrics for A Comedy of Eras at ACT Seattle). She is the Artistic Producer and Creator of Tune in Time, New York’s Hit Musical Theater Game Show, currently running at the York Theatre. Her adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact (Seattle CenterStage) won the Gregory Award for Best New Play. A frequent cabaret artist, she won the Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Club’s award for songwriting. She is also the only female honorary member of the Vienna Boys Choir.
nancy manocherian’s the cell is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the incubation and presentation of new works by emerging artists. Started in 2006 by Founding Artistic Director Nancy Manocherian and Artistic Director Kira Simring, the cell has produced over a dozen critically-acclaimed world premiere productions of new plays and musicals over the past 10 years. the cell also features the jazz @ the cell series and has served as a home base for a large community of resident artists and organizations such as Blackboard Reading Series, Artists Without Walls (AWOW), Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW), Sybarite5 and Tribeca New Music.
BASTARD JONES runs June 14 (Flag Day) to July 14 (Bastille Day); Tuesday - Thursday & Saturday at 8pm and Friday at 7 & 10 pm. the cell is located at 338 W 23rd St, between 8th & 9th Avenues -- accessible from the C & E trains at 23rd Street. Tickets are $40, available at 800-838-3006 or www.thecelltheatre.org.