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Please join us for a special reading of
LOVE & OTHER FABLES
featuring a star-studded cast of Broadway performers
at
THE CHELSEA STUDIOS
151 West 26th Street, NYC #604

reservations:
boxoffice@amasmusical.org
or call 212-563-2565
L&OF September 2017 emailer
directed by Jay Binder,
musical direction by Henry Aronson

starring (in alphabetical order)
Rachel Coloff, Ellen Harvey,
Drew Humphrey, Lesli Margherita, Alli Mauzey, Brad Oscar, Austin Pendleton, Brian Sears and Edward Watts

“Love and Other Fables,” … with a verbally brilliant score, is a witty account of the early life of Aesop —
the ancient Greek who devised all those enduring fables back in 600 B.C. And guess what?
It shows every sign of becoming a surprise hot property. The three songs sampled certainly win my prize for the most astonishing,
whip-smart lyrics, with one rapid-fire rhyming line after another
perfectly attuned to its properly pronounced syllables." - The Chicago Sun-Times

“When I first saw it some years ago, I thought it was better than any summer festival musical comedy I’d seen. Over 100 shows later,
I still feel that way and appreciate and respect it even more. Besides pining for romance and a King threatening Aesop with death,
and two women banished to the Island of Lesbos, the parable of the mighty lion and the resourceful mouse he meets,
the story includes some mind-stumping riddles that can change one’s fate.
The relevant riddle in real life is what’s taking so long for this audience-pleasing show to be booked into a New York theatre
so that the cheers and giggles I heard loud and clear can go on for more than a night here and there.
Keep your fingers crossed and one day you may need them when attending this show
(to keep your sides from splitting with laughter).” - NiteLife Exchange

“ …the selections from "Love and Other Fables" had the venue howling with laughter.” - The Chicago Tribune


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.




Penn State Nu Musical Theatre Festival Workshop presented
a staged reading of
LOVE AND OTHER FABLES
a new musical comedy
by John McMahon and Jay Jeffries.
Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Studio 119 in the Theatre Building - free admission.

There was a brief talkback following both presentations with guest composer John McMahon.
NYC Casting Director and Dramaturg Jay Binder also consulted.

This romantic screwball musical comedy, set in 600 B. C., 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.

L&OF October 2015 Penn State reading program


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On May 15, 2014,
FWD Theatre Project opened submissions for original,
unpublished full book musicals for its inaugural festival season.
By June 30 they had received over 220 plays from across the U.S. and beyond.
The reading committee narrowed the field to 30 semi-finalists, then ten finalists,
and in August selected five winners.

LOVE AND OTHER FABLES
was one of the five chosen.

These five shows went on to receive a fully-produced staged reading in the
2015 Festival of Works in Development.

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The concert reading of
Love and Other Fables
took place
at The Windy City Playhouse
directed by Jay Binder
on
April 13 and 14, 2015

L&OF FWD Facebook Water Totem

L&OF April 2015 reading program
L&OF April 2015 reading program2


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The Chicago Sun-Times covered the concert:

“When FWD Theatre Project — the Chicago-based organization designed to “push forward the discovery,
development and delivery of new musicals” — launched itself at an elaborate concert at City Winery this past September,
“Love and Other Fables,” a zesty contemporary take on Aesop’s fables, was a standout among the five initial entries.
As I wrote then: “This musical, by John McMahon and Jay Jeffries, features a verbally brilliant score, and is a witty account
of the early life of Aesop — the ancient Greek who devised all those enduring fables back in 600 B.C.
And guess what? It shows every sign of becoming a surprise hot property.

The three songs sampled certainly win my prize for the most astonishing, whip-smart lyrics,
with one rapid-fire rhyming line
after another perfectly attuned to its properly pronounced syllables.

Steven Strafford was a droll, goofy Aesop. Landree Fleming all but stole the show when she teamed with him for
‘The Song of the Assyrian Somnambulist.’ And Heidi Kettenring
(who possesses both the legs and the moxie to sing a song titled ‘Legs’)
made the case for chorus girls as a show biz essential.”

If you missed that initial event there is now good news: On April 13 and 14, FWD will be staging
a reading of this witty new musical comedy at the Windy City Playhouse,
the lively new theater space at 3014 W. Irving Park Rd.
Happily, the show will again feature Steven Strafford as Aesop and Landree Fleming as Lycaena.
Joining them will for this madcap romp that reimagines the life of Aesop as he creates his eternal fables,
and ultimately becomes the unlikeliest of heroes, is an all- Chicago cast that will include
Dale Benson, Barbara Robertson, Harter Clingman, Hillary Marren, Charlotte Ostrow, Rus Rainer,
Ryan McBride, James Nedrud, Matthew Huston, Haley Jane Schaffer, and Allie Jae.


The Times Square Chronicles says:

“A Concert Reading With Heart” —
[Steven] Strafford is the impeccable love-child blending of Jerry Lewis and Sean Hayes…”
[Landree] Fleming is his perfect match, a red-headed pixie, dripping with unabashed physical comedy skills…”
Harter Clingman “… a rib-tickling highpoint”
Shea Coffman “… a cross of Channing Tatum with Chris Evans”
— “…the glorious
Barbara Robertson and veteran character actor Dale Benson… brought voluminous laughs and thunderous applause throughout the proceedings.”
— “The songs are the showiest of highlights here. “I’ve Got Fables,” “Song of the Assyrian Somnambulist” and “Legs!” are indeed showstoppers.”



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LaunchingFWD!, a one-night-only concert event at City Winery Chicago took place on September 22, 2014 at 8 pm.

City Winery FWD Panorama

Facebook FWD Photos

Our Ensemble:
Allie Jae, Jordan Yentz, Rebecca Bradford, Ashton Byrum
John McMahon - piano
Tony Scandora - drums
Kurt Henning - bass

Music Preparation - Alex Newkirk
Rehearsal Pianist - Michael Kaisch


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Chicago FWD Fury SistersFWD Concert L&OF Projection

The Press:

The Chicago Sun-Times

“Love and Other Fables,” with book by John McMahon and Jay Jeffries, music by McMahon and lyrics by Jeffries:
This show, with a verbally brilliant  score, is a witty account of the early life of Aesop —
the ancient Greek who devised all those enduring fables back in 600 B.C.  
And guess what? It shows every sign of becoming a surprise hot property.
The three songs sampled certainly win my prize for the most astonishing,
whip-smart lyrics, with one rapidfire rhyming line after another perfectly attuned to its properly pronounced syllables.  
Steven Strafford was a drolly goofy Aesop. Landree Fleming all but stole the show when she teamed with him
for “The Song of the Assyrian Somnambulist.”
And Heidi Kettenring (who possesses both the legs and the  moxie to sing a song titled “Legs”)
made the case for chorus girls as a show biz essential.

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Click here to watch Steven Strafford perform “I’ve Got Fables”



BroadwayWorld: Chicago

It was an honor and a privilege just to be in the room on Monday night,
when the FWD Theatre Project kicked off its first full year of activity with an exciting
and star-studded night of camaraderie
and performances of new works of musical theater. City Winery,
on Chicago's Near West Side restaurant row,
was packed with enough star power, on stage and behind the scenes,
to make even the most hardened cynic believe that
the American musical will be alive and well, here and elsewhere, for a very long time. 
Steven Strafford, wowed us with the songs of John McMahon and Jay Jeffries in "Love And Other Fables,"
an Aesop-inspired burlesque romp that also featured hilarious turns from 
Landree Fleming and Heidi Kettenring. And then, it was over.
Concert stagings of each of these five shows will take place in 2015, and hopefully more shows will be chosen,
shows will be picked up for full productions, and the art form we love will keep on inventing itself.

This was a legendary night, peeps. Unless FWD pulls off a night like this every year.
Which it might! I wouldn't sell these folks short. Stars, movers and shakers, visionaries and creatives,
fans and administrators and beautiful people and the future of the American musical--
quite a heady mix! Like I said, I was honored and privileged to be there. And they're off!

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Click here to watch Landree Fleming and Steven Strafford perform “The Song Of The Assyrian Somnambulist”



The Chicago Tribune 

It's hardly fair to critique material that is not yet finished, although I will say that
I heard enough of the score of "Exposure,"
which involves a New York photographer and a homeless teen on the streets of Chicago,
to want to hear a lot more, and I'll note that the selections from
"Love and Other Fables" had the venue howling with laughter.

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Click here to watch Steven Strafford and Heidi Kettenring perform “Legs!”



The Times Square Chronicles

"The final piece of the night Love and Other Fables by John McMahon (book, music) and Jay Jeffries (book, lyrics)
was a mix of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum meets Seussical the Musical.
I’ll note that the selections from “Love and Other Fables” had the venue genuinely howling with laughter.
Any song that can rhyme “Iambic pentameter” certainly gets my vote.
A screwball comedy set in 600 BC follows the early life of Aesop
(the always winning Steven Strafford currently in his final week at Theater Wit
owning the stage with his one man show “Methtacular!”)
a not-yet-famous slave, as he creates the “fable” to woo his headstrong dream girl.
“I’ve Got Fables”, “The Song of the Assyrian Somnambulist”
and the finale “Legs” had the audience in hysterics and me definitely wanting more.
Very promising show indeed."