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Stagestruck by Peter Filichia - Stephen Cole: New King Cole (Playbill On-line - 7/28/99)
Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been recorded, published, and produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia and Edinburgh, Scotland.
His off-Broadway musical AFTER THE FAIR (music by Matthew Ward; winner of 5 Dallas Theatre Awards for its world premiere including Best New Play or Musical) was nominated for the Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The original cast CD featuring Tony winner Michele Pawk won several awards. The 20th Anniversary concert version was a sell out success on December 21, 2017 at Urban Stages.
The NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (music by Claibe Richardson) won the presigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in San Francisco where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The musical has subsequently been produced in NYC as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006 (where Cole won a Best Lyricist nod) and in October 2010 at Lyric Stage in Dallas featuring Davis Gaines, Julie Johnson and a 24 piece orchestra. Hunter was given a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the CD has received rave reviews from the press including Billboard Magazine, who called it "one of the best CDs ever to serve to introduce a new musical. It is blessed with an accomplished score." The CD also won the prize as best new musical on CD from the German music critics.
SATURDAY NIGHT AT GROSSINGER'S (music by Claibe Richardson) has had successful runs in Dallas (Starring Gavin MacLeod and Ruta Lee), LA and Florida (starring Barbara Minkus and Barry Pearl). Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in his show CASPER (music by Matthew Ward...this also played Australia and had a new world premiere at the Cincinnati Children's Theatre in October 2019 to rapturous reviews) and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of DODSWORTH (music by Jeffrey Saver). DODSWORTH has subsequently been workshopped with John Cullum and Christine Ebersole. Stephen has been represented off Broadway with the hilarious PIANO BAR at the Triad.
In 2005 Stephen and composer David Krane were commissioned to write the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East and the result was ASPIRE, which was produced in Qatar. Their amazing and hilarious cross-cultural experiences resulted in yet another musical about the creation of the show entitled THE ROAD TO QATAR! which was produced to rave reviews at the Lyric Stage winning Best New Play or Musical from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Drama Critics Forum. THE ROAD TO QATAR! had a successful Off-Broadway run at the York Theatre Company and was recorded by Jay Records. In 2012, Qatar! was presented as part of London's Landor Theatre Page to Stage Festival and in August of 2013 played at the Edinburgh Internation Festival garnering 5 and 4 star reviews and nominations as Best Music, Lyrics, Book and Best Musical of the Festival. The show is published and licensed by Josef Weinberger Ltd. in London. Krane and Cole also wrote a short movie musical entitled THE WHEEL GOES ROUND that was accepted and shown at five International Film Festivals including The Big Apple Film Festival in NYC.
Saver and Cole's musical TIME AFTER TIME had its world premiere in Feb. 2010 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse under the direction of Gabriel Barre and was subsequently produced in Connecticut under the direction of the late Kevin Gray. Other produced shows include two family musicals commissioned by Walden Media: MERLIN'S APPRENTICE (Music by Matthew Ward) and ROCK ODYSSEY (Music and Lyrics by Billy Straus). ROCK ODYSSEY has just completed an unprecedented ten year run at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami and was preserved on video. Stephen is also a published author with four books to his credit including THAT BOOK ABOUT THAT GIRL and I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT, the Marni Nixon story, NOEL COWARD and Charles Strouse's memoir PUT ON A HAPPY FACE.
Stephen has written continuity, narration, and special material for twenty different Drama League Shows including all star tributes to Kander and Ebb, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Terrance McNally, Liz Smith, Peter Stone and most recently Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald. Some of the stars Stephen has written material for include Marlo Thomas, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, Christine Baranski, Hal Linden, Chita Rivera, Gavin MacLeod, Dee Hoty, Christine Ebersole, Keith Carradine, JoAnne Worley, Lauren Bacall, Matthew Broderick, Michael Rupert, Joel Grey and many others. Stephen is the recipient of a Gilman-Gonzales Falla Commendation for musical theatre. He was also named one of Variety's 50 Creatives to Watch- 2000. Liz Smith in her syndicated column has called Stephen's lyrics "brilliant and gifted."
As a producer, Stephen presented Liza Minnelli, Barbara Cook, David Hyde Pierce, and many others in an 80th Birthday Tribute to John Kander. Stephen has also released a series of CD's entitled MERMANIA on Harbinger Records. These include never before released selections sung by his favorite star and friend, Ethel Merman. Besides writing the CD booklets for these and his original cast CDs, Stephen has written the DVD booklets for the box set of THAT GIRL: SEASON ONE and ANYTHING GOES.
Stephen recently conceived, wrote and directed Lynne Halliday in MY HEART BELONGS TO MARY, a celebration of the career of Mary Martin. An Off Broadway expansion of this became INVENTING MARY MARTIN and played to rapturous audiences at the York Theater Company in the Spring of 2014 starring Emily Skinner, Jason Graae, Lynne Halliday and Cameron Adams.
Stephen's musical with composer David Evans, MERMAN'S APPRENTICE has had readings and workshops in NYC, as part of the New Musicals Festival at Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA, as part of London's Page to Stage Festival at the Landor Theatre (starring Kim Criswell) and most recently played a sold out concert performance at NYC's fabled Birdland Jazz Club. An original cast recording starring Klea Blackhurst, Elizabeth Teeter, Bill Nolte, Anita Gillette, PJ Benjamin and Eddie Korbich was recorded and released on January 18, 2016 in conjunction with the return engagement at Birdland featuring most of the original cast plus Adam Heller & Fred Applegate. MERMAN'S APPRENTICE had its world premiere at Sonoma Arts in September 2019 and received rave reviews and won Best Score from the San Francisco Drama Critics.
Cole and Saver were represented with their song "Lament for Three Jersey Girls" in the Tommy Tune musical, 54 FOREVER. Christin Dolen of the Miami Herald wrote: "The show's one original song, Lament for Three Jersey Girls (by composer Jeffrey Saver and lyricist Stephen Cole), is terrific, theatrical and funny. More like that, please." On-line critic Geoff Green called the song "funny, theatrical, and highly effective. Why not an entire score like this?"
Works in progress include THE BLACK AND WHITE BALL (with Todd Ellison), which was been chosen by Chicago's FWD Theatre Project to be their first in a series of developmental musicals and had a sold out concert version in Chicago. A NYC staged reading followed in 2017 and GOIN' HOLLYWOOD (with David Krane), which just had a staged reading in NYC and will have its World Premiere at the Water Tower Theatre in Texas July 2023. New work in progress: musical version of Stephen's short story LIP SERVICE entitled AIN'T IT THE TRUTH (music by David Evans).
Recently Stephen conceived and wrote and hosted an evening of his songs entitled COLE MINING: THE SONGS OF STEPHEN COLE at off Broadway's Urban Stages. This evening featured numbers from many of his show sung by Marni Nixon, Klea Blackhurst, George Dvorsky, Sara Zahn and many others.
Besides his published books including Marni Nixon's memoir I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT (in development as a feature film) and THAT BOOK ABOUT THAT GIRL, Stephen's won First Prize from Hickory Stump Magazine for his short story "Sisters Through a Window" and has fourteen other short stories that will soon be compiled into a book. Stephen has written two novels: FREAK SHOW and LOOKING AT THE SKY.
Stephen is developing a new sitcom based on his story CONEY ISLAND SURPRISE starring Anita Gillette. Stay tuned!
Collaborators: David Krane, Todd Ellison, David Evans, Susan Kim, Claibe Richardson, Jeffrey Saver, Steve Silverstein, Billy Straus, Matthew Ward,
PRODUCTION HISTORY FOR: (All shows Book & Lyrics by Stephen Cole unless otherwise noted.)
AFTER THE FAIR (Music by Matthew Ward)
Full Stage Productions:
Off Broadway at the York Theatre, NYC 1999
Starring Michele Pawk
Directed by Travis Stockley
Nominated for Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off Broadway Musical
London: Kings Head Theatre, Islington 2000
Village Theatre, Seattle, WA 2000-1
Apple Tree Theatre, Chicago, IL 1997
Village Originals, Seattle WA 1998
Lyric Stage, Irving, TX 1997
20th Anniversary Concert Version Dec. 21, 2017 Urban Stages
Winner of 5 Dallas Theatre League Awards including Best New Play or Musical
Cast Album on Fynsworth Alley Records
ASPIRE (Music by David Krane)
World Premiere, Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar November 2005
THE BLACK AND WHITE BALL (Music by Todd Ellison)
Concert Reading FWD Theatre Project, Chicago January 20, 2015
NYC Staged reading directed by Hannah Ryan October 20, 2017
CASPER-the Musical (Music by Matthew Ward)
Full Stage Production at Pittsburgh CLO (and on tour to Dallas Summer Musicals, Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA, and Kansas City Starlight, Kansas City, MO) summer 2001
Starring Chita Rivera
Directed by David Bell
Full Stage Production in Sydney Australia, Fall 2003
Full Stage Production of New Adaptation at Cinncinatti Children's Theatre October 2019
DODSWORTH (Music by Jeffrey Saver)
Readings at York Theatre Company NYC 1994-95
Full Stage Production at Casa Manana Musicals, Fort Worth TX 1995
Starring Hal Linden and Dee Hoty
Directed by Bruce Lumpkin
Produced by Van Kaplan
Presented at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre's New Musical Festival, NYC 1996
Starring John Cullum and Dee Hoty
Workshop under the auspices of Dragonfly Productions 2000, NYC
Starring Walter Charles, Christine Ebersole, Dee Hoty, Patricia Morison
Directed by Scott Ellis
Presented in Stages 2003, August 2003 at the Theatre Building in Chicago, IL
NYC Staged reading directed by Jenn Thompson October 13, 2017
World Premiere at Water Tower Theatre in Addison, TX July 2023
GROSSINGER'S (Music by Claibe Richardson; Co-lyricist Ronny Graham)
Full Stage Production at Casa Manana Musicals, Fort Worth, TX
Starring Gavin MacLeod and Ruta Lee
Directed by Bruce Lumpkin
Concert Version presented by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Orchestra
Directed by John Bowab
INVENTING MARY MARTIN (Music by Various, Arranged by David Krane)
Full Stage Production Off Broadway at York Theatre, NYC April 2014
(also Directed production)
MERLIN'S APPRENTICE (Music by Matthew Ward; Book by Susan Kim)
Full Stage Production at Walden Family Playhouse in Denver April 2003
Cast CD on Walden Media
MERMAN'S APPRENTICE (Music by David Evans)
Staged Reading at Acorn Theatre, Michigan 2011 starring Klea Blackhurst
Staged Reading NYC, September 2012 starring Klea Blackhurst
New Musicals Festival Village Theatre August 2013
From Page to Stage Festival, Landor Theatre, London UK February 2014
Sold Out Concert Performance at Birdland, NYC June 15th 2015
(also Produced and Directed)
Return Concert & CD release celebration January 18, 2016 at Bridland, NYC
Full Stage Production at Sonoma Arts, Sonoma CA Sept. 2019
Original Cast CD on Jay Records
Workshop at the Vineyard Theatre
Directed by Lonny Price
Workshop at the Goodman Theatre
Directed by Robert Falls
Workshop April 2003 starring Ron Raines, Beth Fowler, Julie Johnson.
World Premiere Production Opening Sept. 24, 2004 Willows Theatre, Concord, CA Starring Brian Noonan & Lynne Wintersteller. Directed by John Bowab
Full Stage Production, New York Musical Theatre Festival, NYC Starring Brian Noonan, Beth Fowler, Dee Hoty, Mary Stout
Full Staged Production with 24 piece orchestra, Lyric Stage,Irving TX October 2010 starring Davis Gaines and Julie Johnson
Concept CD on Fynsworth Alley Records
THE ROAD TO QATAR! (Music David Krane)
World Premiere Production Lyric Stage, Irving, TX October 2009
Winner of Best New Play or Musical from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Drama Critics Forum
Off Broadway Production at the York Theatre Company opened January 25, 2010
Edinburgh International Fringe Festival Venue C August 1-26, 2013
Original Cast Recording on Jay Records
ROCK ODYSSEY (Music & Lyrics by Billy Straus)
Full Stage Production at Walden Family Playhouse in Denver March 2003
Full Stage Production at the Adrienne Arscht Center, Miami, Florida Spring 2010, Fall 2010
Under exclusive license to Arscht Center thru 2020
Cast CD on Walden Media
SATURDAY NIGHT AT GROSSINGER'S (Music by Claibe Richardson; Co-lyricist Ronny Graham)
Full Stage Production of 6 character revision of the "Grossingers" at Broadhollow Theatre, Rockville Center, NY July 2003
Full Stage Production at Theatre West, LA, CA 4 month run 2005
Full Stage Production, Ft. Lauderdale FLA 3 month run 2006
Full Stage Production, Sonoma, CA 2022
TIME AFTER TIME (Music by Jeffrey Saver)
Second Reading May 2004.
World Premiere Point Park College, Pittsburgh PA in Jan. 2010
Full Stage Production, Hartt School of Music, Hartfort, CT March, 2012
THE WHEEL GOES ROUND (Music by David Krane)
Short film musical shown in five film festivals and released on DVD
WRITER/DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EVENTS, TRIBUTES & GALAS
1999 to the Present
Special Material for Marlo Thomas and Phil Donohue
Special Material for Tyne Daly
1991- to the Present
DRAMA LEAGUE TRIBUTES
Scripted and wrote special material for Galas at both the Pierre Hotel and The Rainbow Room honoring:
The 75th Anniversary, Broadway Composers, Broadway Lyricists, Broadway Librettists, A Broadway Valentine, From Broadway to Hollywood, New York, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Hart, Jerry Zaks, Cy Coleman, Comden and Green, Terrence McNally, Peter Stone, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Liz Smith, Rosie O'Donnell, Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comerly, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris
featuring such stars as Christine Baranski, Marlo Thomas, Zach Levi, Audra McDonald, Michael Rupert, Joel Grey, Nathan Lane, Lauren Bacall, Michele Lee, Valerie Harper, Tony Roberts, Celeste Holm, Tommy Tune, Dorothy Loudon, Mary Tyler Moore, Keith Carradine, Marian Seldes, Matthew Broderick, Bernadette Peters, Gary Beach, Mike Wallace, Governor Ann Richards, Katie Couric and many others.
Special Material songs include the Drama League's Diamond Jubilee Song, The Tale of the Librettist, Without the Words, Hey There Chita, Deep in the Heart of Liza, Give it to Liz, Everything's Coming Up Rosie, Be A Guest, The Wrap Up Rap etc.
Tribute to Kander and Ebb on Kander's 80th Birthday
Hosted by Sheldon Harnick
Featuring Liza Minnelli, Barbara Cook, Karen Ziemba, Cady Huffman, David Hyde Pierce, Billy Stritch and others.
(Also Produced and Directed Event)
York Theatre Company
Oscar Hammerstein Awards-Tribute to Arthur Laurents
Hosted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Musical Theatre Works Tribute to Kander and Ebb
Hosted by Rosie O'Donnell,
featuring Liza Minelli, Chita Rivera, Joel Grey, Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, Dorothy Loudon, and Marcia Lewis
Museum of the City of NY
A Valentine to Ethel Merman-All Star tribute to Ethel Merman featuring Elaine Stritch, Carol Channing, Dorothy Stickney, Radie Harris, Maria Karnilova and others.