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The Civilians' This Beautiful City to Open at Vineyard February 22 logo
Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, and
Stephen Plunkett in This Beautiful City
(© Craig Schwartz)
The Vineyard Theatre will present the New York premiere of The Civilians' This Beautiful City in a co-production with Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, February 3-March 15, with an opening set for February 22. Steven Cosson will direct.

This Beautiful City explores the growth of the evangelical Christian movement, and is centered around the mega-church movement in Colorado Springs. The piece is written by Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, based upon interviews by Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Herberlee, Stephen Plunkett, Alison Weller, and the authors with actual people over the course of 10 weeks in Colorado Springs. Every leading church in the area participated in the project, as did numerous civic organizations, progressive activists, and individuals from all walks of life. The piece has previously been seen at the Humana Festival of New American Plays and at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas.

The cast will include Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, Brandon Miller, Stephen Plunkett, and Alison Weller, along with musicians Chris Biesterfeldt , Benjamin Campbell, and Richard Huntley. The production will feature music direction by Erik James, set design by Neil Patel, costume design by Alix Hester, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by Ken Travis, projection design by Jason Thompson, and choreography by John Carrafa.

In related news, The Civilians have announced that they will commission a full-length play from their newest project, Brooklyn at Eye Level, following a successful series of initial performances. The show is the culmination of a long-term investigation of development in Brooklyn and its effect on the neighborhood and community and took its inspiration from interviews with the real life players in the story of Brooklyn: residents both old and new, community activists, developers, and politicos among many others.

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