New York Theatre Barn will present a reading of the new musical A Complicated Woman: The John Kenley Show February 27 in New York City.
Directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Bonnie and Clyde, Big River), the cast will feature Bubblezz, Stephen DeRosa (The Nance, Hairspray, Twentieth Century), Penny Fuller (Anastasia, Applause), Darius de Haas (Kiss of The Spider Woman, Rent), Kurt Hellerich, Victoria Huston-Elem (Himself and Nora), L Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop), Nora Monahan (Diva), and Cecilia Lee (The Lion King).
A Complicated Woman has a book by Ianne Fields Stewart, music by Jonathan Brielle (Himself and Nora, Foxfire), and lyrics by Sam Salmond and Jonathan Brielle. The musical is loosely based on the life of summer-stock producer John Kenley.
In a statement director Calhoun said, “A Complicated Woman explores the fascinating and mysterious life of an intersex impresario who successfully concealed their winter identity as a woman from most of us who knew and loved him as Mr. Kenley in the summer months.”
The creative team plans to do a national search to find a non-binary actor to play the 90-year-old Kenley; however, for this reading Fuller, who knew Kenley, will play the role.
The reading also has musical direction by Nathan Dame, casting by Kate Lumpkin, and associate direction by Eamon Foley (Everyday Rapture, 13).
Kenley is credited with introducing professional, live theatre to the Midwest, laying the groundwork for national tours of Broadway productions. Kenley was the first producer to desegregate live theatre in Washington, D.C.