Posts Tagged ‘Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera’


***ABC showed a brief clip from TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA during its Tonya Harding special on JAN 11, 2018– The upcoming concert was featured in BroadwayWorld and more-

What better way to celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics than with songs from from the rock opera Tonya and Nancy? Based on the Tonya Harding/ Nancy Kerrigan Olympic skating scandal, Elizabeth Searle’s and Michael Teoli’s rock opera has drawn national and international media coverage, playing in Boston, Chicago and LA as well as enjoying a sold-out run at NYMF. Tony-nominated Broadway star Lauren Worsham (A Genleman’s Guide To Love and Murder) headlines as Nancy, alongside Ashley Spencer (Rock of Ages, Grease) as Tonya. Onstage, Tonya’s and Nancy’s ‘Mom’ (embodied by one powerhouse actress) will MC- and occasionally referee— as Tonya, Nancy and knee-attack conspirator ‘Gillooly’ belt out songs including Tonya’s “Watch Your Back” and Nancy’s aria, “Why Me?” Critics on both coasts have hailed this show as “brilliant.” Let the games begin.
Who could forget the biggest Olympic ice skating controversy of all time? This critically acclaimed musical from Elizabeth Searle and Michael Teoli takes on that epic scandal with a blend of dark comedy and surprising depth. Protect your knees!
Jack Smart, Backstage

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Tracy McDowell, Ryan J MacConnell and Jenna Leigh Green in the NYMF 2015 production

Tracy McDowell, Ryan J MacConnell and Jenna Leigh Green in the NYMF 2015 production

TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA played a SOLD OUT run at the New York Musical Festival, drawing national and international media, including on people.com.  Ken Davenport’s Producer’s Perspective blog listed the show as one of five ‘that stand out’ at NYMF and PLAYBILL sited it as one of the ‘Top Ten Shows to See’. Broadway World spotlighted it as a PhotoFlash feature; Best of Off Broadway listed it as a Best of Fest.

The show has earned enthusiastic reviews (“Everything I wanted it to be”; “Gloriously camp and relentlessly energetic with a scandalously good cast…You will shout with glee and love for this good-natured endlessly entertaining show”). BACKSTAGE described it as “a dark comedy with surprising depth.”

NYMF Opening night party: cast and crew

NYMF Opening night party: cast and crew

Announced in Theater Mania— Media madness has followed with stories about the show in the New York Daily News, The Nation, the UK Telegraph, Playbill, Broadway World, Hamilton Spectator, MediaIte, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Seattle Times, The Times in South Africa, The New York Times, the AFP in France and Asia and more.  Details and links can be found on our new website which tells the ongoing story of our show. Two Girls Go for the Gold!  Book, Lyrics and concept by Elizabeth Searle; Music by Michael Teoli.

MediaIte wrote: “The saga of Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding is being turned into the rock opera it deserves…That is insane and wonderful and it’s about damn time it willed its way into existence!…What is Tonya Harding if she’s not a diva? And what is a diva without her opera?…. This is beautiful and perfect, and you’re just upset that you didn’t think of it first.” Jamie Frevele, MEDIAITE

Check out our NYMF 2015 review and media quotes here.

PREVIOUS MEDIA & REVIEW QUOTES: tnkingBrilliant” Steve Almond, WGBH Boston “Absurdly FUNNY… surprisingly POIGNANT moments amidst the comedy and a ROUSING SOUNDTRACK.” Boston Phoenix.(photo: Barry Weiss)


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Dark Yet Perky: Elizabeth’s Blog Book Tour by Elizabeth Searle

Welcome to my ‘Blog Book Tour’; happy to discuss my works-in-progress here and to introduce three scribes on the rise.  THANKS, first, to PAULA TREICK DeBOARD, who asked me to take part in this ‘blog book tour.’  Paula is a stellar novelist and a Stoneocast MFA alum. I knew the minute I read Paula’s workshop work that she is a born storyteller who won’t let you go once you start her compelling tales.

Check out Paula’s blog and Blog Book Tour answers:  Live from the Bean (Go, Paula!)

Suzanne Strempek Shea and me at Stonecoast MFA this summer

Suzanne Strempek Shea (right) and me at Stonecoast MFA this summer, 2014

Paula kindly ‘passed the torch’ and a Book Tour question-list to me.  In the Blog Book Tour, writers answer the questions below on their blogs and tap other writers to do the same.  So I’m happy to answer these questions below, then to introduce three terrific authors whose answers I will be eager to read: Suzanne Strempek Shea, Matthew Phillion and Eugenio Volpe.  All have new books out!

First: my own answers to the Blog Tour’s four questions:


This will be my longest answer because I am always juggling many balls:

Bravo Sierra Pictures & Creatrix Films are 'developing' my first novel as a feature film

My first novel is being ‘developed’ as a feature film

*A NOVEL set on the night of the Boston Marathon bombing man-hunt, centering on one messily ‘blended family,’ a Birth Night gone wrong and a stepson on the run.  The novel alternates between a husband and wife– two characters I’ve written about for almost as many years as I’ve been married myself.  I have always wanted to take a Birth Night and the ‘stages of labor’ and concoct a novel around that.  I didn’t know this novel would also wind up involving the horrifying and riveting Boston bomber man-hunt.  But I’ve felt compelled to set my tale on that unforgettable night, since I  live in a suburb of Boston that was ‘locked down.’  I take the title of this novel-to-be from a ‘Tweet’ sent out by Mayor Tom Menino after the capture of the bombing suspect: “We Got Him”.

*THREE PERSONAL ESSAYS which will come out in THREE FORTHCOMING ANTHOLOGIES in 2015: Paper Camera from New Rivers Press; an anthology edited by Elizabeth Benedict from Algonquin Press and an anthology edited by Nina Gaby from She Writes Press titled Dumped: Women Unfriending Women, about female friendships run aground.  Also we have a reading coming up in October from my most recent anthology, Knitting Yarns, edited by Ann Hood with a super group of fellow contributors.

The LA stars of Tonya & Nancy with me in Feb 2014

The LA stars of Tonya & Nancy with me in Feb 2014

*Several THEATER WORKS including the latest revisions on my ongoing theatrical adventure, TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA (see our Website).  I have written the libretto for a new classical opera, SEVEN RABBITS ON A POLE, based on the play by John Picardi.  Stay tuned.

*FILM SCRIPT revisions on an adaptation of my novel A FOUR-SIDED BED, which is being developed by a small film company,  Creatrix Films.  See the sizzler reel at www.afoursidedbed.com

*SHORT STORIES; I have two that I hope to finish to ‘finish’ a new collection…


As you can see above, I work in multiple genres.  In fiction and scriptwriting both, I aim for high intensity.  I crave a certain mix of tones that I call ‘Dark Yet Perky.’ (more…)

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 THANKS TO HOLLYWOOD FOR TWO EXCITING SOLD-OUT PERFORMANCES OF TONYA & NANCY AT THE KING KING CLUB!  Watch the T&N website for news of upcoming 2014 runs: http://www.tonyaandnancytherockopers.com
Los Angeles Rock Opera Company
in association with HarborSide Films present:
The music of 
Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera
A Concert Performance to benefit Celebration Theatre

Libretto: Elizabeth Searle
Music: Michael Teoli
Directed and Choreographed by: Janet Roston
Additional Music: Abigail Al Doory Cross
Producer: Ryan Bergmann  Associate Producer: Rebecca Eisenberg  Executive Producer: Paul T. Boghosian
Press Representative: Ken Werther Publicity
Christine Achico, Michael Ballestero, Jordan Kai Burnett, Sarah Chaney, Michael Shaw Fisher, Maegan McConnell, Jesse Merlin, Suzanne Petrela, Michael Shepperd, Jeff SumnerLaura L. Thomas and Trance Thompson
The show was originally produced by Triangle Productions.
“Brilliant…Amazing music” (WGBH Boston)….  “Something marvelous” (Portland Mercury)….  “Black Swan on ice” (Boston Herald) 
***All Proceeds benefit Celebration Theatre***
(photo from King King performance: Barry Weiss)

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Check out Elizabeth Searle talking with Doug Holder on Writer to Writer…


As the football season kicks into gear, sports fans may seek to put the scandals of summer behind them.  Headlines screamed about Lance Armstrong being ‘stripped’ of his medals.  Alleged Olympics cheaters got as much attention as the winners.  Given the immense pressure our competition-crazed culture puts on athletes, is it any wonder that they often ‘crack’ in big and small ways?

To me, the most enduring image of the Olympics is heartbroken ‘favorite’ for the womens’ gym team Jordyn Wieber sobbing uncontrollably as she lost her chance to go for the Gold.  Her teenage teamate, of course, vaulted within minutes from being an unknown to being a single-word household name: ‘Gabby.’  I hope both young girls can handle the fallout from the rollercoaster ride we’ve put them on.

As author of both an opera and rock opera about the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan fiasco, I am attune to the poignancy of the aptly named ‘agony of defeat’ in our winning-crazed culture.  While I wrote the libretti for both shows, I found myself wondering why incidents like the fabled Kerrigan knee attack don’t happen more often in the super-high-pressure world of big-time sports.  We have a song in Tonya & Nancy: the Rock Opera– Three and a Half Minutes– about the insane pressure placed on young athletes to perform perfectly in the Olympic Minutes that they (and we, the audience) are told will determine the rest of their lives.

No wonder even supremely talented athletes are tempted by performance-enhancing drugs.  What a sad spectacle to read about Lance Armstrong, hero to millions for overcoming cancer, being ‘stripped’ of his titles and barred from newer races.

Worse, what a terrible tragedy the sickening Sandusky scandal reveals, demonstrating how warped college sports programs can become in a corporate culture of winning at all cost.  And what about the disturbing and undercovered evidence that highschool and college football players often suffer from serious brain damage?

While criticism and scorn is justifiably heaped upon athletes who cheat, there seems to me to be little examination of the Anything to Win sports culture that spawns such scandals.  Let the Blame Games begin.

(photos: telegraph.co.uk; fanpop.com)

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Attention, Generation Facebook: This just in–

shamelessplug is expanding the bounderies of self-promotion for your famously shamelessly self-promoting Generation.

So shuffle along, Generation X and your slacker successors, Generation Whatever.  A new wave of media-savvy Gen. Facebookers have arrived.  And they have a new tool, created by the same shameless force that created (here comes our own self-promo) our new website for TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA as well as our page for the film Celebrities in Disgrace (which screens in Vancouver next week) plus our very own Celeb.s blog.  The man behind the designs: Leo Ferre of ShamelessDesigns.

Here, in its own words, is the deal on his new venture,  shamelessplug:

Shamelessplug is here to help promote Indie artists and bands all for free. We want to bring a light to them, to help increase their fan base and bring them more exposure. Shamelessplug provides a way for bands and artists to put up their show flyers and let all their fans and friends know where they are playing next. We will do whatever it takes to get millions of visitors to come to our site to see all of the show flyers. Our goal is to have Shamelessplug be the main spot where Indie fans come to search for their favorite musicians and to find new music to follow and see live.

For more on how to take part, visit (and spread the word about): shamelessplug.com

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We wind up a Tonya & Nancy summer break here on the blog as TONYA & NANCY : THE ROCK OPERA finishes an exciting Return Engagement at the ART’s Oberon July 18-21.  Coverage on WGBH TV Boston and in Stuff Magazine and a super piece in the Boston Globe, as well as on ArtSake.  Check out reviews in the Boston Herald (“Black Swan on Ice”) and EDGE — which invented the word ‘TRASH-TASTIC….

Meanwhile, Taking Care of Business on the blog: a belated announcment that Disgraced Celebrity of Spring, 2011 goes to: Arnold Schwarzenegger, muscling out lesser louts to seize the prize.  ‘Congratulations’ to CA’s Conan and company.

If you can’t make our Rock Opera, the next best thing is to visit our Facebook Page and watch our 60 second highlight clip, featuring a disco moment in the music and pics from throughout the show; Rock On!

(photos: Barry Weiss and askmen.com)  On YOUTUBE:

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