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NEWS: New theatrical partnership to present Unexpected Joy in New York and London

Award-winning producer Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment announces a new partnership with New York City-based Tony and Olivier Award-winning theatre and film producer, Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions. The pair are joining forces to develop and present new and groundbreaking productions on both sides of the Atlantic in Off-Broadway/Off-West End-sized venues.

Their first co-production will be the new Bill Russell and Janet Hood musical, Unexpected Joy, which will receive its Off-Broadway premiere on 24 April, before a run at Southwark Playhouse from 6 – 29 September 2018. Both productions will be directed by Amy Anders Corcoran but will be individual and unique in casting and design elements.

Jim Kierstead joined Katy Lipson on the transfer of the musical Yank! from the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester to London’s Charing Cross Theatre in summer 2017. Kierstead had been one of the original producers of the show Off-Broadway in 2010 at The York Theatre Company. The two realised that they shared the same passion for developing new musicals from the ground up and reconceiving old favourites in original and inventive ways.

Katy Lipson had this to share about the new partnership, “This is a very exciting time in Aria’s journey; Not only are we delighted to be co-presenting this incredible new musical which celebrates female empowerment with 4 great roles for women both in New York Off-Broadway and London’s Southwark Playhouse, but also to be collaborating with American producer Jim Kierstead on a new relationship which will see us working on similar co-productions of new chamber musicals both in the UK and across the pond.”

Jim Kierstead said of the partnership, “From the moment I met Katy, I knew we would get along wonderfully. She has boundless energy and endless ideas. She also is a tremendous multitasker and is incredibly organized, so we get along amazingly well. We can discuss ten different ideas in the span of ten minutes without getting confused. It’s a rare trait. I’m looking forward to the first of many collaborations together using this new model, as Unexpected Joy is a show that’s near and dear to my heart as I’ve spent the past 6 years developing it with the authors.  Stay tuned for our next collaboration!” 

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air. Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she’s planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman. A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected.  Let the sparks and music fly!

The production introduces three generations of women who have different values, dreams, and goals. Through laughter, tears, self-discovery, and an original and compelling score, Unexpected Joy encourages its characters, as well as the audience, to take a journey of self-discovery because, at the end of the day, we really are all just one big family.

Full casting and creatives are expected to be announced in due course.

Unexpected Joy runs at the Southwark Playhouse from 6 – 29 September

Fraser MacDonald | Image: Contributed

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