News Column

Hazleton native's work to appear on Broadway

August 6, 2013


Aug. 06--Addison O'Donnell debuted his first musical at the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts (PTPA) in Hazleton in 2009.

Since then, he's graduated from high school, enrolled in college and has continued to write music and lyrics.

On Aug. 17, the 21-year-old will showcase his work in New York City.

"Clueless: The Music and Lyrics of Addison O'Donnell" will be featured at the Laurie Beecham Theatre in the Big Apple's Theatre Row.

As an added plus, O'Donnell has secured top Broadway and off-Broadway actors for the one-night-only concert of songs.

O'Donnell sees the engagement as a way to introduce his body of work and spark further development of projects in a career he enjoys.

"I am doing what I love, and I am fortunate enough to say that," said O'Donnell, a 2010 graduate of Hazleton Area High School.

O'Donnell, a senior business student at Pace University's Lubin School in Manhattan, said the performance will feature songs from a musical he wrote while living in Hazleton, along with songs from another work in progress.

"The one musical is 'Sleepy Hollow,' and it is based on the Washington Irving legend," he said. "We workshopped that in Hazleton at the PTPA in 2009. I actually picked it back up and I'm rewriting the story and rewriting the songs."

Other songs are from a musical he is calling "Critical Acclaim." He also plans to feature a few standalone tunes.

O'Donnell said his style of writing has been called "intricate" and "very rock 'n' roll."

Performers include Nikki Bohne, a well-known actress who has performed in the Broadway hits "Bring It On" and "Legally Blonde."

"She has tremendous, tremendous credits," he said.

Rehearsing the songs with actress Cathryn Salamone has been magical, he said.

"She made something that was black and white, literally black and white -- between the (piano) keys and the sheet music -- and she made it color," he said.

Other actors include Brett Theile, Max Chernin and Cait Doyle.

"All of these people, whether they are up and coming or underground or on Broadway, they really are the best of the best," O'Donnell said.

The performance is under the direction of Joshua W. Kelley. O'Donnell will play piano.

"I owe all of what I know about show business to the PTPA and to (former PTPA artistic director) Mike Marone," he said.

A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), O'Donnell is the son of Pete and Sherri O'Donnell of Hazleton.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the theater inside the West Bank Cafe, 407 W. 42nd St. For reservations, call 212-695-6909.

Those who can't make it to the performance will be able to watch it on YouTube, O'Donnell said. To keep up with the composer, visit his website, www.addison, which will launch this weekend.


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