Kate Baldwin, Norbert Leo Butz, Manu Narayan, More Set for Reading of Kristoffer Diaz's Things With Friends | Playbill

Readings and Workshops Kate Baldwin, Norbert Leo Butz, Manu Narayan, More Set for Reading of Kristoffer Diaz's Things With Friends

The SOMA backStage Reading Series will also include a staged reading of the new musical She Reached for Heaven.

Kate Baldwin, Norbert Leo Butz, and Manu Narayan

The South Orange Performing Arts Center's second annual SOMA backStage Reading Series will be presented May 31–June 2 featuring a mix of Broadway favorites and local artists, including young actors from the South Orange-Maplewood (SOMA) community. 

The series will include staged readings of Things With Friends, a new play by Kristoffer Diaz (Hell's Kitchen), and She Reached for Heaven, a new musical by Oliver House and Hunter Bird.

Diaz's Things With Friends will be presented May 31 at 7 PM and June 2 at 3 PM with a cast that includes Tony nominee Kate Baldwin (Hello, Dolly!), Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz (My Fair Lady), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton), Meghan Kylie Hoey, and Manu Narayan (Company). The new play follows Adele and Burt as they throw a dinner party for their dearest friends, while, simultaneously, the George Washington Bridge and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel have collapsed into their respective rivers.

She Reached for Heaven, with music, lyrics, and a book by Stephen Schwartz Award winner Houser and a book by Bird, will be offered June 1 at 3 PM and June 2 at 7 PM. Leading the cast will be Antonio Cipriano (Jagged Little Pill), Nick Gaswirth (How to Dance in Ohio), Charlie Pollock (Pretty Woman), Julie Reiber (Jagged Little Pill), Ayla Schwartz (Frozen), Ash Barton, Michayla Catron, and Evan Gray. Set against the backdrop of the greatest drug crisis in our country’s history, the new musical is a coming-of-age story about the devastations of addiction, and one woman’s journey to choose life rather than escape it.

Following the matinees, audiences are invited to stay for a talkback with the writers and creative teams of each new work.

“I am excited for SOPAC to bring new works and new artists to our stage,” says Executive Director Lana Rogachevskaya in a statement. “SOMA backStage Reading Series gives me, and everyone in the community, a chance to get to know local creative voices from South Orange, Maplewood, and beyond and tell their stories."

Readings in the series are free and open to the public, although advanced registration for tickets is required. For ticket information click here.

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