"Howlin’ At The Moon!" is
a new country/rock musical by film/TV veteran actor Madison Mason about
an aging Nashville star on the road, trying to rectify his broken past
and reaching once more for the brass ring of fame. Written, composed and
directed by Mason, "Howlin’" marks his return to La MaMa
after thirty years' absence. The cast features Scott Wakefield, ("It
Ain't Nothin' but the Blues"), Trudi Posey, Mandi Gosling, Soraya
Butler, Bi Jean Ngo and Robert Zanfini.
"Howlin’ At the Moon!" is the saga of the last-ditch
tour of Sonny Ray ("The King Wolf") Buck – once a rival
to Elvis, now a washed-up rocker, sexually impotent since his days in
jail and fighting valiantly to stay in recovery from his various addictions.
His entourage consists of three aging backing singers, each with their
own worries and fears. His manager is forever shouting into his cell phone
without securing bookings. Sonny Ray is building up for a career-restoring
concert at the Broadcast Tower in Nashville. Certain the concert will
put him back on top, he schemes to bring his vengeful, estranged daughter
to the event, hoping to reconcile with her. When one of the backup singers
falls pregnant, Sonny is forced to draft in the services of Deliona, a
cunning starlet who is hungry for her own career and savvy enough to restore
his mojo through his old nemies, booze, pills and sex. Even Lynette--his
main background singer, protector and old flame--is powerless to save
him from harm. As the play builds to the explosive final broadcast, career
and family disasters loom for "The King Wolf" in a glorious
"second chance" career moment when scores will be settled and
stars, maybe, made.
Mason's score of original country-western songs contains heart-rendering,
soulful ballads, whimsical duets and trios, and thrilling company numbers
in which we see the band in action. The production offers one of those
rare opportunities for New York musical theater performers with a gift
for country western styles to really show their stuff. Orchestrations
will be performed live on stage by a four-piece live band. Set design
is by Susan Faiola.
Playwright/composer/director Madison Mason has been working in films,
television and commercials in Los Angeles since late 1975 and is glad
to be back. His films include "Thirteen Days," (with Kevin Costner),
"Crazy in Alabama," (with Melanie Griffith), "Red Dragon"
and "Pearl Harbor." He recently finished filming "Love
Her Madly," which was written and directed by Ray Manzarek, keyboardist
of The Doors.
Mason cut his teeth in the early days of Off-off Broadway: he came to
NYC in 1964 and first appeared at The Gate Theater in "The Alchemist"
(with Roy Scheider). At La MaMa, he appeared in "Horse Opera"
(1974), a musical based on a Leonard Melfi play that was directed by Wilford
Leach with music by John Braden. He also appeared in "Arms and The
Man" at the Sheridan Square Playhouse. Outside NYC, he appeared in
"Diamond Studs" (a country/western musical) at the Kennedy Center,
and became a regular at the McCarter Rep and Trinity Rep (where he appeared
with Blythe Danner in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream.") His
had similar New York roots. He recalls, "I began songwriting professionally
with the group MorganMasonDowns in 1969. We were pop hippies and recorded
on Roulette Records. We did the Tonight Show twice and toured for several
years. I was involved briefly with the Broadway production of 'Hair,'
but left the show to produce the album."
Commercial watchers will remember Mason as the "Death to Germs"
spokesman for Listerine and The Answer Man for Shell Oil. He has just
completed a full length novel regarding the Norse hero, Beowulf. There
are Hollywood biographies of Mr. Mason online at http://industrycentral.net/content/actors/m_mason.html
Scott Wakefield (Sonny Ray "The King Wolf" Buck) has performed
on Broadway in "It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues,"
Off-Broadway in "American Clock," "The Joy Luck Club"
and "The Wonderful 'O'". His extensive regional theatre credits
include "Woody Guthrie’s American Song" at Seattle Repertory,
"Fuddy Mears" at Maine’s Public Theatre, "A Flea
In Her Ear" at The Spoleto Festival, "Noises Off" at The
Walnut Street Theatre and numerous appearances at Milwaukee Repertory.
He was named best actor for his portrayal of Will Rogers in "The
Will Rogers Follies" by both the Boston Outer Critics Circle and
the Honolulu Po’Okela Society.
Trudi Posey has appeared in OOB and regional theater and has been a headliner
in NYC cabarets and revues. Mandi Gosling, originally from Canada, is
a musical theater performer and soloist at live concert venues. Soraya
Butler has appeared at Manhattan Theater Club, the Public Theater, regional
theaters and various OOB's. Bi Jean Ngo has appeared in regional theater
productions in Boston and NY productions of Actors Studio Drama School.
Robert Zanfini has appeared at the York Theatre, INTAR, the Promenade
and Pulse Ensemble Theatre, as well as in National Tours of "Fame!"
and "Fiddler on the Roof" and in regional/stock productions.
* Members of Actors Equity Association