Theater for the New City to present "Issue #9," new musical by Briana Bartenieff, composed by J.H. Greenwell, directed by Briana Bartenieff.
Story of the horrors of adolescence is set in an upstate gas station's convenience store.

April 4 to 21, 2024
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. Tenth Street)
Presented by Theater for the New City
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM
Fri-Sun: $20 general admission, $15 students & DGA members. Thurs. pay what you can.
Running time: 2 hours with one 10 minute intermission
Critics are invited on or after April 5. Opens April 5.

NEW YORK, March 13 -- From April 4 to 21, Theater for the New City will present the world premiere of "Issue #9," an original musical written and directed by Briana Bartenieff, composed by J.H. Greenwell. It's set in an upstate gas station's convenience store, where adolescent bullying and obsession with unattainable beauty ideals prompt tragedy in teenage girls and revenge by family members who love them.

The piece is a musical with nine pop rock songs and an all female cast. Its story revolves around Natalie and her adolescent daughter Lexi, who move to Germantown, NY (a burgh in Columbia County) in 1995. Natalie takes a job at the local gas station, and is unaware of the struggles of her daughter, Lexi,who deals with toxic friendships and an eating disorder after becoming obsessed with teen magazines. Lexi is eventually overcome by her dieting compulsion, leading to her tragic death. After her death Natalie, initially ignorant of the severity of her daughter's obsession, takes control and tries to expose the incredibly harmful influence that teen magazines hold over youth. Ultimately, she exacts a terrible revenge on her daughter's oppressors (which we won't explain here).
While it's a horror story, it's a character-driven narrative of emotional depth, unlike mainstream horror films that more often prioritize scares and spectacle. It grapples with the existential dread associated with teenage bullying and diet culture. It bears out truthfully the growing concern among mental health professionals about the harmful effects of diet culture and beauty magazines on vulnerable adolescents. The play's title refers to an issue of the mass market fan/beauty mag that the characters are obsessed with; it is found in the racks of the convenience store the play is set in.

The play was originally developed as Bartenieff's senior project at SUNY Purchase. It was written in the fall of 2022. A staged reading, which she directed, which was produced last Spring at Purchase College. Since that time, Ms. Bartenieff has expanded and developed much of the piece, adding new songs and replacing dialogue with song.

The actors are Sandy Melissa Garcia, Sarah Boess, Grace Bradley, Amy Herzberg, Audrey Latt and Ada Victoria. Understudy is Taylor Lynn. Set Design is by Mark Marcante. Lighting and Sound Design are by Alexander Bartenieff. Broken mirror costume is by Billy Little. Choreographer is Amy Herzberg. Stage Managers are Rose Desiderio and Franklyn Rodriguez.
Briana Bartenieff (writer and director) graduated with a BA in Playwriting and Screenwriting from SUNY Purchase. She has written and directed multiple short plays for TNC's Lower East Side Festival of the Arts and been Assistant Director for TNC’s summer Street Theater musical for four years in a row. She participates in Lisa Moria’s Live Poet’s Society. Her writings have been published in The Villager, The Village Sun, AM New York and Purchase College’s website as part of their Covid series. She is developing another new musical, “Scammed into Love,” to be produced by TNC in April 2025. She is daughter of lighting designer/actor/puppeteer Alexander Bartenieff and granddaughter of Crystal Field and George Bartenieff, co-founders of TNC.

J. H. Greenwell (composer and musical director) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. Originally from Highland Park, Illinois, they are currently studying music and film at Purchase College in New York. Greenwell has been composing music since third grade, beginning on their Nintendo DS with a copy of “WarioWare D.I.Y.”

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CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after April 5.