BroadwayWorld has a first look at Olney Theatre Center's world premiere of A.D. 16, now on stage through March 6, 2022. The new musical is by writers Cinco Paul (co-creator of Despicable Me and Schmigadoon!) and Bekah Brunstetter (producer and writer on This Is Us).
Both heartwarming and hilarious, A.D. 16 follows the story of a teenaged Mary Magdalene as she falls in love with the carpenter's son next door... who happens to be a kid named Jesus.
The show features an original score inspired by 90s R&B, hip hop, and pop, and is directed by award-winning Broadway veteran Stephen Brackett, who staged the first productions of Be More Chill, The Lightning Thief and next heads to NYC for the Broadway production of A Strange Loop.
Phoenix Best, whose past roles include Alana Beck in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway and Eponine in the Les Miserables National Tour, will star as the lovestruck Mary Magdalene. Best known for his role as Davey in Disney's Newsies, Ben Fankhauser will star opposite Best as the young and idealistic Jesus.
Three-time Tony Award-winner Doug Besterman provides the orchestrations. The show was workshopped at Olney Theatre Center in 2019, and is now mounted in association with Sloane Productions, LLC which has provided enhancement funds with an eye towards a possible New York production.
Tickets are available from $42 - $85 and can be purchased at olneytheatre.org or 301-924-3400.
A.D. 16 asks the question, what if your crush really was perfect? Both inspiring and delightfully witty, the musical comedy follows Mary Magdalene's quest to impress the boy next door, Jesus. In the process, she fends off a trio of 1st-Century Mean Girls and a bunch of Beastie Boys-inspired wiseguys from the Sanhedrin. She learns that getting Jesus to love you back is both easier - and harder - than she ever imagined. With a lush R&B score and a riotous cast of characters, A.D. 16 achieves the rare feat of being both funny and sincere. A winner of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, A.D. 16 is a thrilling and fun musical for people of all faiths, or no faith at all.
The world premiere of A.D. 16 will also feature Kelli Blackwell as Diana, Alan H. Green as Jacob, Jade Jones as Jessica, Jared Loftin as Nicholas, Calvin McCullough as Matthias, Adelina Mitchell as Ruth, Christian Montgomery as Bartimaeus, Da'Von Moody as Simeon, and Chani Wereley as Esther. The ensemble includes Alex De Bard, Sylvern Groomes, RJ Pavel, John Sygar, and Kanysha Williams; with Tiffany Lyn Royster and Chris Urquiaga as swings. The production showcases orchestrations and music supervision by Doug Besterman, music direction by Christopher Youstra, choreography by Katie Spelman, scenic design by Walt Spangler, costume design by Emilio Sosa, sound design by Matt Rowe, lighting design by Colin K. Bills and Wig Design by Anne Nesmith. Karen Currie serves as Production Stage Manager.
A.D. 16 was developed, in part, at SPACE on Ryder Farm, and at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.
Photo Credit: Teresa Castracane Photography
The ensemble of "A.D. 16" at Olney Theatre Center.
Phoenix Best as Mary of Magdala in "A.D. 16" at Olney Theatre Center