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World Premiere Musical

Eighty-Sixed

May 12 - June 12, 2022
Opening May 21

Book by Jeremy J. King
Music and Lyrics by Sam Salmond
Based on the novel by David B. Feinberg
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly

About the Show

New York City used to be a party town, but 1986 finds everyone paralyzed with fear of AIDS. Everyone, that is, except BJ Rosenthal, who’s determined to keep the party going. When an ex-lover becomes ill, BJ is forced to face the nightmare enveloping him and redefine his life. Based on the celebrated novel of its time and set to a soaring pop score pulsating with joy and heart wrenching melodies, Eighty-Sixed unearths an epidemic that shook the world to reveal a community’s ferocious fight to reclaim its future.

Show Details

To be announced.

Sam Salmond (he/him/his) is a Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer, lyricist, and bookwriter. Among many projects in development, Sam has written music and lyrics for an adaptation of Eighty-Sixed. His musical Mother, Me and the Monsters (a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick) was produced at Barrington Stage. His children’s show, The Dot, is currently on a Multi-Year national tour. He wrote book and lyrics for Cage Match, created Uncool: the Party, an immersive night of rock ‘n roll, games, stories, and dancing, is currently working on an original musical, The Homefront, the score to Creature, and an original musical for Penn State’s Musical Theater BFA program. Sam’s work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Symphony Space, and venues all around the country. He has been a resident writer at Goodspeed Opera House, the Johny Mercer Colony, and more. He is a 2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident, and an alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Jeremy J. King (he/him/his) grew up on the Jersey Shore and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Theatre Arts. He lived an actor’s life for several years before transitioning to writing. As a novelist, Jeremy has released three young adult titles with Bold Strokes Books (In Stone, Night Creatures, and Dark Rites), which have been listed in Advocate’s “Top 10 Books for Young LGBT Folks and Anyone Who Wants to Understand Them,” recommended by the American Library Association’s GLBT Round Table, and nominated for the Rainbow Award in fantasy. His dramatic work includes the librettos for Eighty-Sixed and Creature, as well as other works for the stage and screen. Jeremy is a 2018 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow, Affiliated Artist with Musical Theatre Factory, and a 2018 Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm. 

Kevin Newbury (he/him/his) has directed over 70 original theatre, opera, and film projects. Recent world premiere highlights include Fellow Travelers (“One of the Best Classical Music Events of 2016” by The New York Times), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (2019 GRAMMY Award Winner), Kansas City Choir Boy (starring Courtney Love: NYC, Boston, LA and Miami), Doubt (Minnesota Opera, PBS’ Great Performances), Bel Canto (Lyric Opera of Chicago, PBS’ Great Performances), Oscar (Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia), the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life Is A Dream (Santa Fe Opera), The Good Swimmer (BAM Next Wave Festival), and The Ninth Hour at Met Live Arts. Kevin’s production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Opera Production. His long association with the work of Leonard Bernstein includes directing Candide with the Philadelphia Orchestra (starring Bradley Cooper) and Bernstein’s MASS 6 times.

Raja Feather Kelly is an Obie-winning choreographer, a director, the artistic director of the feath3r theory, and a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School. In 2020, Kelly made his directorial debut at New York City’s Second Stage Theatre with We’re Gonna Die. Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, and Playwrights Horizons Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha). Most recent work: Fairview (SDCF Joe A. Callaway Award finalist for choreography; Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA, and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), A Strange Loop (Obie Award winner and SDCF Callaway finalist for choreography; Playwrights Horizons, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama).

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About Season 36: Homecoming

Diversionary bursts back into action in Season 36 with the opening of our newly renovated theatre complex, adding a third performance venue with The Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret, and four new works on our Mainstage exploring how our LGBTQ community defines home.

Decade Sponsor: Joann Clark
Season Sponsor: Bob Grinkchuk, In Memory of Reuel Olin

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