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Michael Greif to Direct AMTP's 'The Boy in the Bubble'

February 20, 2007 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University has announced that award-winning Broadway director Michael Greif will direct the American Music Theatre Project's (AMTP) fourth new musical, “The Boy in the Bubble.”

“Bubble” is scheduled for production on the University's Evanston campus in late July 2007 at the Ethel M. Barber Theatre.

Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theatre in New York, will do dramaturgy on the show. The Public Theatre is involved as a future presenting theater. Eustis has long been associated with new projects for the stage.

Greif, a Northwestern alumnus, directed Jonathan Larson's long-running Broadway hit “Rent,” and received an Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination for best director in 1996. He also is the director of the highly acclaimed “Grey Gardens,” a new Broadway musical drama, and Courtney Baron's off-Broadway play “A Very Common Procedure,” an MCC Theatre presentation that recently opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. His many other New York City stage directing credits have included Noah Haidle's “Mr. Marmalade” at Roundabout Theatre Company.

“We are thrilled to bring Mr. Greif back to his alma mater,” said Dominic Missimi, executive director of AMTP. “It is an invaluable experience for our Northwestern students, faculty and staff to be working with one of Broadway's premiere directors.”

With book by Rinne Groff, music by Michael Friedman and Joe Popp, and lyrics by all three, the new musical “The Boy in the Bubble” is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a nostalgic homage to 1976. It tells the tale of Todd Travolta, a fictional character suffering from the real disease of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), which has kept him stuck behind a plastic wall, separated from human touch for the first 17 years of his life. When Todd falls in love with the wealthy and high-spirited Gina Jenner, who lives next door, he is forced to choose between his safe existence in “bubbled” captivity with a chance of a life he's always wanted, but with the risk of imminent death.

The honorary producers of “Bubble” are Barbara Whitman and David Carlyon and Mr. and Mrs. John Shields II.

AMTP's previous new musical productions have included Barry Kleinbort and Joseph Thalken's “Was,” that premiered at Northwestern University's Barber Theatre, Oct. 28 through Nov. 13, 2005; Leslie Arden's “The Boys Are Coming Home,” premiered July 28 through Aug. 13, 2006, at the University's Josephine Louis Theatre. Andrew Lippa's “Asphalt Beach,” premiered Oct. 27 through Nov. 12, 2006, at the University's Louis Theatre.

For more information about the American Music Theatre Project visit the AMTP Web site at <www.amtp.northwestern.edu/about.html>

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