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BILL HANNEY’S Theatre By The Sea’s 2019 season will open with the World Premiere of a brand new romantic screwball musical comedy, Love and Other Fables. Set on the Greek island of Samos in 600 B. C., Love and Other Fables follows the early life of Aesop, the not-yet-famous slave, as he creates the “fable,” persistently woos the headstrong girl of his dreams, enters into a battle of wits with the King of Egypt and changes the course of history. The production at Theatre By The Sea will be the first fully-staged production of the musical, as it continues its journey to Broadway.

Click the image below to continue to Theatre By The Sea’s website:


L&OF Aug2018 Reading Poster

AESOP September 2017 poster1

L&OF April 2017 emailer

Steven Strafford (“Spamalot”, “Peter Pan”) plays the world-famous fabulist before anyone knew who he, or what a fable, was. 
Alli Mauzey (“Wicked” “Cry Baby”) plays the headstrong object of Aesop’s unending desire. 
John Rapson (“A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder”, “Les Miserables”) plays King Croesus of Lydia, the richest man in the ancient world. 
Lesli Margherita (“Matilda” “Dames At Sea”) plays the wily, power-hungry, sex-obsessed courtesan to King Croesus. 
Ed Watts (“Scandalous” “The Fantasticks”) plays Philocalus, Aesop’s best friend and sex-toy of Delphinia. 
Dakin Matthews (“Waitress” “Rocky”) plays Xanthus, father-figure and owner of both Aesop and Lycaena. 
Blair Ross (“Side Show” “Cinderella”) plays Catastrophe, the status-seeking, social-climbing wife of Xanthus. 
Rachel Coloff (“Lestat”) plays Mme. Mnemosyne, the obsequious wedding shoppe owner. 
Lindsay Roberts (“The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess”) plays Delphinia’s shade-throwing Head Handmaiden. 
Jeremy Benton (“White Christmas” “Cagney”) plays the tap-dancing Captain Of The Guard. 
Jason Michael Evans plays Mercury, The Olympus Delivery Guy. 
With Rex Benincasa on drums and narrated and accompanied by the composer, John McMahon. Directed by Jay Binder.

L&OF Aesop Greek Columns
(click this image to go to the LOVE AND OTHER FABLES website)


A Chicago concert reading of
Love & Other Fables
the musical you’ve been waiting 3,000 years for!

took place at
The Windy City Playhouse
3014 W. Irving Park Rd
Chicago IL 60618

April 13 and 14, 2015
directed by Jay Binder

L&OF FWD Facebook Water Totem

The year is 600 B.C.    

The place is the Greek island of Samos.  

With one foot in 600 B. C. Greece and one foot in
1940s Hollywood, “LOVE AND OTHER FABLES” recreates 
the fun and the style of
the Golden Age of Broadway
Musicals and classic
hollywood screwball comedies
filtered through the modern sensibilities
of the audience of today.

In this madcap imagining of the his actual life,
we watch
Aesop create his famous fables
and use them to better himself and his fellow man,
win the girl of his dreams and ultimately become
the unlikeliest hero of “The Greatest Fable of All!”

With infectious, toe-tapping, 
melodies by John McMahon imbued with 
sexy, sophisticated, riotous lyrics by
Jay Jeffries
“LOVE AND OTHER FABLES” is the fabled new
musical comedy that musical comedy lovers 
have been waiting 3,000 Years for!

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Three sexy, savvy New York Women invite a wide-eyed newcomer
into their circle and a remarkable friendship springs up among them.
FRIENDS LIKE THESE an old-fashioned book musical celebration
of a new look at female independence, solidarity and sexual freedom.

FRIENDS LIKE THESE was a part of the York Theatre Developmental
Reading Series. The cast was Joanna Glushak, Kelly Howe,
Karen Mason, and Deborah Tranelli.
Kelly Briggs directed and Henry Aronson was musical director.

for more info:

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"That's My New York!"
Taking the City By Song!

An all new Original Musical Revue about the Greatest City in The World!
Winning the 2002 Manhattan Association of Cabarets Award for songwriting,
the team of John McMahon and Jay Jeffries mix up a heady cocktail of music
and comedy that will leave you shaken AND stirred!

Jay Jeffries and I met in the world of cabarets and piano bars that glitter NYC nightlife.
A revue of songs about drinking was being produced at Judy’s Chelsea called “Bottoms Up!”
I was conducting and asked the director if he wanted an original opening song;
I asked Jay to write the lyric and i would write the melody. The song “Bottoms Up!” was our first collaboration.

After “Bottoms Up,” John and I realized that we had a penchant for writing edgy,
comic songs about the quirks and eccentricities of our friends and acquaintances and their often dysfunctional lives.
The distinct New York flavor of the material led us to quickly expand the project
to a jaundiced look at our fellow Manhattanites.

I turned out about 45 lyrics in less than six months and we managed to narrow that down to 20,
attempting to keep the show to under an hour and a half. The concept was further defined by
our choice to use two couples, one twenty-something and the other thirty-something.

We very much wanted to work with Kimlee Hicks who had been such a hit in our first show.
John had heard Maurice Villa-Lobos sing in the Broadway revival of “Cabaret” and asked him to audition for us.
We knew he was right for the show. Serendipitously, Traci Reynolds had just returned from a European tour
and we added her to the cast. John then asked his friend, Kelly Briggs, to recommend of a director.
Kelly’s response was, “Let me do it!” His insightful take on our idiosyncratic New York added another layer to the project.

Still short one male lead, we auditioned the show for Andy Praskai who immediately offered to produce
“That’s My New York” and enabled us to make it really happen. The day we scheduled a photo shoot for publicity stills,
Marcus Kettles arrived at Judy’s to audition for us and joined our growing family.
At this point I knew we had our very talented and sexy cast.

We rehearsed daily for over two months, slowly putting the show together, constantly re-ordering
the sequence of musical numbers until we arrived at the ideal running order.
Marla Green came on board as our helping angel to drill lyrics into everyone’s head. Michael Barbieri oversaw
our complicated light and sound schedule, and Rex Benincasa on drums and Jered Egan on bass worked
tirelessly to help give the show it’s sophisicated “trio” sound.

As we watched “That’s My New York” take shape, we kept cutting away extraneous lyrics until
we arrived at a happy medium. As the cast began to breathe life into the multitude of characters they were playing,
they made invaluable suggestions that were incorporated into the final product. By opening night, word was out that
we had a hit and Judy’s was packed. We decided to extend the run of the show until the end of July
and we broke the house record two times.

In 2002, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets, awarded the song “Where’s Shirley?” the MAC Award for “Special Material.”

If any one of you recognize yourselves or your friends in this collection of songs, it’s pure intentional. Writing them gave me great joy.
Seeing them brought to life by such a talented company was one of the happiest experiences of my life.
Sharing them with an audience will always be a thrill. “That’s My New York” was a labor of love, a load of laughs
and our martini toast to the Greatest Piece of Real Estate in the World!

Wayman Wong for Theatermania.com writes:

New York, New York's a helluva town, so it deserves a helluva revue. Right now, there are three contenders: ''I Heart New York''
at Don't Tell Mama; ''The Newyorkers'' at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and ''That's My New York'' at Judy's Chelsea.
Having seen all three of them, I'd say the best of the bunch is ''That's My New York.'' It's as bright and shiny as the Big Apple it
takes a bite out of, and it stars the sexy and terrifically talented cast of Kimlee Hicks, Marcus Kettles, Traci Reynolds and
Maurice Villa-Lobos. But at the core of this Big Apple appreciation are the toe-tapping tunes of John McMahon
and the wonderfully witty lyrics of Jay Jeffries.Though the opening number promises a show about the idiosyncrasies of New York,
it's really a musical portrait of urban life. Directed by Kelly Briggs, it focuses on the ups and downs of modern relationships:
straight, gay and bi; solo, in pairs or in threes. The most fun and inventive ensemble number is called ''Swing,''
in which the show's guys and gals wonder about a hunk and ''which way does he swing.'' Sung and swung with pizzazz and
playful Manhattan Transfer-type harmonies, they ponder: ''Is he into fashion or computers? Does he go to Splash or Hooters?
I need to know if the guy's-a fan of Springsteen or of Liza.'' McMahon's music is infectious, and Jeffries' rhymes are fresh and first-rate.
In ''You Could Do Worse,'' Reynolds and Kettles pingpong musical insults in a comic patter song about each other's shallow
dating pool of possibilities. And in ''Where's Shirley,'' Reynolds and Hicks riotously recall how the ashes of their dear departed
pet dog was mistakenly snorted by a druggie: ''(Shirley) belongs in a vase, but got sniffed up some schnozz.''
Clearly, Jeffries is having the rhyme of his life. When he pairs ''dissertaish'' and ''sensaish'' (coined from ''dissertation'' and ''sensational''),
he's saluting the lyrical legacy of Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg and Cole Porter. Many of Jeffries' best rhymes are unexpected and funny,
like ''genitalia'' and ''impale ya''' and ''ficus'' and ''like us.'' Musically, McMahon has played for Liliane Montevecchi, Lea DeLaria and
Joanne Worley, so he certainly knows his way around parodies and pastiches (i.e., ''The Lonesomest Cowboy'' is a Western tune).
However, I'm most impressed by his dramatic work and Jeffries' on the show's 11 o'clock number, ''Big Apple Pie.'' In it, Villa-Lobos plays
a handsome young hustler who sets out to seduce, but then slips into a reverie about his roots and rotten childhood.
Unlike anything else in the show, it's really a tour de force of writing, and Villa-Lobos gives it the rich and rewarding performance it deserves.
Bravo! ''That's My New York'' plays Mondays through April at 8:30 p.m. at Judy's Chelsea, 169 Eighth Avenue and
wouldn't be surprised if it extends or moves to Off-Broadway. But until then, that's my revue ... and my review.

John Hoglund of Backstage Magazine wrote:

Some satires needle, some slice, and others merely nick. 'That's My New York' tackles topical matter like a threshing machine,
and no subject is so sacrosanct that it will survive the onslaught, especially in matters of chasing, finding, and losing romance.
The cast of cabaret favorites -- Kimlee Hicks, Marcus Kettles, Traci Reynolds, and Maurice Villa-Lobos -- give the musical riposte
to anything irreverent in a melange of funny vignettes that had the audience holding their sides laughing. Particularly witty --
and practically libelous -- is a skit that involves the cast heartlessly mocking a drug-laden dame named 'Alice,' slumped over the piano.
'We'll just Betty Ford her.' Showing a darker side of life, Villa-Lobos offers sexual favors in exchange for money, singing a
dramatic 'Big Apple Pie' with innuendos and body language that might violate every propriety of good taste if it weren't so well acted and sung. 'Dysfunctional You and Enabling Me' has Hicks and Kettles bemoaning their deteriorating, ongoing, bipolar, psychotic relationship.
Kettles shines on a campy 'Me!' about over-the-top vanity. And Reynolds recalls Judy Holliday bellowing 'I Trusted Him' --
'It's not the egg roll, Harry, it's the whole seven years!' Deftly directed by Kelly Briggs with excellent music by John McMahon
and sharp lyrics by Jay Jeffries, the songs don't just hit the target, they skewer it. Briggs skillfully directs the show at a breathless pace
(which is how comedy should be done). Despite the fact that some of the material is geared for hip New Yorkers and
some of the chic humor is very 'in' (or gay), the show has definite commercial appeal to a wider audience and might well
find its way to a theatrical setting. The zealous cast performs with an acid-tongued campiness that makes the show's ironic
and twisted moments a delight. Playing to sell-out audiences at Judy's every Monday at 8:30pm through April (2001), you better reserve soon."

Stu Hamstra of Cabaret Hotline Online wrote:

So many exciting things are happening at JUDY'S CHELSEA lately, I don't know where to start! Mondays at 8:30 pm, you can catch
"That’s My New York," an original musical revue by lyricist Jay Jeffries and composer John McMahon, about relationships
in all their quirky glory. The show will run every Monday through April 30th. The cast of four includes Kimlee Hicks and Traci Reynolds,
well known for their celebrated solo shows at clubs such as ROSE’S TURN and DON’T TELL MAMA; Marcus Kettles, a veteran of
many Off Broadway productions; and Maurice Villa-Lobos, whose most recent credit is The Roundabout Theatre Company’s long-running production of CABARET. Kelly Briggs is the director. My friends, I saw this show on opening night, and I want to tell you that there is
no better revue than this one currently running in this town! It is bawdy, bold and brassy, and has a cast of clever, talented and totally
sexy performers who will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Mr. Jeffries lyrics are in a class with Ogden Nash, Noel Coward
and Cole Porter! If you are a performer, you are going to find at least two songs in this show that you will want to include in your own
next cabaret show. It is non-stop, bigger-than-life excitement and fun from start to finish! I shall return at least twice more
- and I don't even live in the neighborhood!

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The Rock 'n' Roll Musical Comedy from HELL!!!

What happens when poor nerdy Bernice makes a pact with the devil to become one of the "In" crowd?
Only Love, Cheerleading, and a Bloody Virgin Sacrifice! With book and lyrics by Harry Ewan, this riotous show has been performed in Chicago and Minneapolis to rave reviews and sold out houses.

In April 1990, writer Harry Ewan showed pianist John McMahon a concept script for a new one-act musical
entitled "Satan's School for Girls." By the end of May 1990, they had a complete two-act musical written and scored,
and on Memorial Day 1990, a private "cold' reading was held at 'Eighty-Eights' cabaret in New York City,
with the author and composer singing through the majority of the score themselves.
Out of the positive response from that one small reading arose three months of recording a demo of the show,
and the first of the submission process.

In 1991, with little response from submissions, Mssrs. Ewan and McMahon assembled a cast and produced a
public reading of "Satan's School...," again at 'Eighty-Eights.' A week prior to performance, the authors received
an offer from Dudley Riggs of Minneapolis to produce the show fully
in one of his theaters. So even as the set of self-produced readings was gaining attention in New York, "Satan's School..."
was already in pre-production at Dudley Riggs' ETC Theatre in Minneapolis,
where it opened in May 1991 to largely positive response ("Good, giddy musical farce;
A winning evening!" ---MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE;
"Wicked, wild comedy!" ---MINNESOTA DAILY,) and ran through July 1991.

After extensive re-writes on the script and lyrics, and cutting and replacing over half the songs of the second act,
Mssrs. Ewan and McMahon, in conjunction with 'Don't Tell Mama' of New York City, produced a limited run staged reading of
"Satan's School..." in May 1993. Although well-received in the realm of New York City's cabarets
('Wonderful! A must-see!" --- Stuart Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline "Jubilant!" --- CAB Magazine,)
the authors felt it still needed work. The 'Don't Tell Mama' production did garner the writing team an agent.
And once again, the submission process began.

After three years, more re-writes, and at least two out-of-town contracts fallen through,
Harry and John were pleased to let Circle Theatre produce their show.

The authors would like to thank the many people who have contributed their time and talents to the development of
'Satan's School for Girls:' "Hairspray's Laura Bell Bundy and 1996 MAC award (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) winner
Virginia McMath in the role of Bernice, and New York City 1997 Drama Desk Nominee, Jay Rogers,
who created the role of Sister Grace; and all those Broadway, Off-Broadway and
cabaret luminaries who have developed roles, including our 'Pams,' 'Veronicas and back-up girls: Amber Rhodes,
Justynne Daniels, Deb Rabbai, Robin Baxter, Allison Briner, Leslie Fogelsong, Jennifer Heaney, Carol McAnn,
Heidi Mollenhauer, Amy Ryder and Kelly Wohlford; our 'Johnnys': David Meadows and Andrew Watts; and our 'Buzzlebees':
Lea Delaria, Patrick DeGennarro and Mark Harmon; Dudley Riggs and our Minneapolis cast: Ana Brandvik, Michelle Cassiopi,
Dorian Chalmers, Tom Gibis, Crystal Muirhead, Fred Wagner, Christopher Whiting and Liz Wiley;
recording technicians Matt Berman and David Hopkins; 'The Place' recording studio, N.Y.C.;
Karen Miller, Rochelle Seldin and Erv Raible of 'Eighty-Eights'; Sidney Meyer and the owners of 'Don't Tell Mama'
and Ron Gwiazda.

a review from the Chicago Reader

With a seemingly inexhaustible supply of innuendo and over-the-top sacrilege, Satan's School for Girls has a lot in common
with its raunchy off-Loop counterparts. But thankfully Harry Ewan and John McMahon's
well-tweaked musical is more campy than mean spirited, combining a rapid-fire succession of rock 'n' roll song-and-dance routines with
a liberal dose of fire and brimstone.Social outcast Bernice desperately wants to fit in at her new school. But Bernice's perfect SAT scores
can't compare with her bleached-blond classmates' favorite extracurricular activity, devil worship. When Satan appears at this
Catholic girls' school in New Jersey ("the closest place to hell," as one number suggests) disguised as substitute music teacher
Dr. Buzzlebee, it's up to Bernice and the pelvis-swinging Officer Johnny to ward off the minions of hell.
The plot is predictably thin, but director Greg Kolack keeps things brisk with tight scene changes and blocking,
and the energetic cast compensates for the few weak moments with a round
of sidesplitting performances. Although Ewan's script is saturated with intelligence-insulting puns, it also features a wicked, precise satire
of Catholicism and some subtle cultural references to everything from Cool Hand Luke to O. Henry. With a nunchaku-wielding nun and
a devil less sinister than Ben Vereen, Satan's School for Girls can't take itself too seriously, and when the dust finally settles,
it's pretty endearing in its ridiculousness.