NY New Works Theatre Festival: Meet Sara McDermott Jain and Steven Skeels & Flesh & Spirit

Name: Sara McDermott Jain (Playwright) and Steven Skeels (composer/lyricist)

What is your current project?

Flesh & Spirit / Description: Michael, a priest, begins a journey of self-discovery that connects his life to that of Daphne, a drug addict and a prostitute. In trying to help Daphne and come to terms with his own sexuality, Michael incurs the wrath of his most devout parishioner, Mary, and Daphne incurs the wrath of David, her pimp. *The full version of this musical is 1 hour, 15 minutes. It has been cut down for NYNW.

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

At Times Square’s Elektra Theatre on the evening of Sept. 12, as part of the New York New Works Theatre Festival. Ours is a very unconventional musical, touching dark and risqué topics rarely seen in musicals. The Theatre Festival is the perfect platform to first introduce it to audiences, gauge their reactions, and make plans and connections to help further develop the piece and move it forward.

What’s next for you?

Sara is a screenwriter and filmmaker with several projects in various stages of development. The feature film, Left (Gaddis Visuals), for which she wrote an original screenplay, is releasing this fall, and Hidden Evil (Unleashed Pictures), another feature, is just now going into production. Her short film, Off the Deep End, is in post-production, and she has two other short films shooting this fall. Additionally, Sara runs the Princeton Independent Film Festival, and is looking forward to the 2016 festival on Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (www.prindiefest.com).

Steven is currently writing a new musical called CPNY (Central Park New York) with husband Jerad Bortz and a one-man show called Whole – A Spiritual Journey.

As a writing team, Sara and Steven look forward to future collaborations, and have just begun developing another musical called Driven.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Steven: Lin-Manuel Miranda, because he is an actor, writer, composer, and lyricist.

Sara: I feel like I draw inspiration from so many people all the time! I am constantly reading and researching on my craft, and there is a never-ending supply of people having brilliant insights and doing brilliant things. If I had to boil it down to one person, as cheesy as this may sound, I guess I’d pick my two-year-old, Nicholas Anshuman Jain. His coming into my life pushed me to be better, to do more, and to find inspiration everywhere.

Want More?

Twitter: @FandSMusical
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fleshandspiritmusical

Sara McDermott Jain is a produced screenwriter and playwright, as well as a published author. Her feature screenplay Left, written while at Emerson College, won the Evvy Award for Best Script Drama before being purchased by Gaddis Visuals. The finished film is releasing in Fall 2016. Additionally, she was recently hired to script the new upcoming horror film franchise Hidden Evil for Unleashed Pictures, the first film of which is going into production this Fall. Flesh & Spirit is her first experience writing a book for a musical.

Steven Skeels is a versatile artist whose accomplishments include theatre, songwriting & recording, concerts and television.

As an actor Steven originated the starring role of Rusty in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s STARLIGHT EXPRESS internationally in Bochum, Germany. His performance resulted in a hit single of the title song from that show for CBS records. Steven was then hand picked by Sir Webber to again star in the “roller-skating spectacular”, but this time at the Las Vegas Hilton. His other stage credits include the Los Angeles production of ANYTHING GOES, starring Leslie Uggams and SOUTH PACIFIC/Lt. Cable, BARNUM /Tom Thumb, and THE WIZARD OF OZ/Scarecrow.

Steven is currently debuting his new album XIII in clubs throughout New York City. He co-produced and wrote the album with established producer, Josh Harris who‘s Billboard #1‘s include Pink, Jewel, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. In addition, his debut concept album Flesh & Spirit is currently being developed as a live theatrical show to be debuted in a New York City nightclub in fall of ‘09. In 2006 Steven’s music for the documentary, Tiny Noki, was featured on Oprah, Wayne Brady, The Today Show and Good Morning America, as well as internationally on German and Japanese television. Steven also performed his original song “Light of Love” live on Oprah; the After Show, which was then recorded and sold as a fundraiser for Oprah’s Angel Network. Steven also had a top 10 hit in Japan with the song “The Letter” on Strictly Rhythm Records. His extensive concert work has taken him around the world, including New York City’s Waldorf Astoria and Central Park where in the summer of 2005 he performed with the Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra. Steven has been a featured singer with such showbiz legends as Shirley Maclaine, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Rita Moreno, Peter Allen and Carol Channing. He has toured Europe with the U.S.O., and has been a soloist for three United States Presidents and while in Germany performed regularly for the Chancellor.

Steven was seen weekly by ten million viewers on the Berlin television series ‘MUSICAL STAGES’ and later recorded his first album (Musical Stages) highlighting some of his most notable performances. He numerous television appearances also include featured spots on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, E! ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK and Extra.

Steven, the youngest of ten children, was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana and currently resides in New York City.

Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)
Sept. 12, 7pm; The Elektra Theatre at the TIMES SQUARE ARTS CENTER, 300 W 43rd Street – 2nd Floor. Tickets can be purchased via the festival’s website at http://www.nynwtheatrefestival.com/book-tickets.

300 W 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036 – 2nd Floor
AT 7PM sharp.

*Disclaimer: Please be aware shows performing after 8:30pm may not be suitable for younger audiences. No children under the age of 4 are permitted.

** Please note that tickets can be purchased after 3pm the day of the show at the door are $25.

Click HERE for tickets and other festival participants



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