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theaterA new musical about Hurricane Katrina, written by two Ithacans, will be debuted May 4 and 5 as a staged reading at the Cherry Artspace in Ithaca. Katrina, A New Musical, was written by Liz Bauman and David Frumkin, and is being presented by Walking on Water Productions (WoW). Katrina tells the story of fictional characters living in New Orleans who struggle with the storm and subsequent flooding, made so much worse by the government's slow response and the racial and economic divides in that city.

"We have a talented and diverse cast who will bring this new piece to life," says Priscilla Hummel, founding artistic director of WoW and director of Katrina. "The staged readings will present the wonderful songs by composer David Frumkin, accompanied by renowned Ithaca pianist Molly MacMillan. Liz Bauman's story, which is based on actual news reports and events, is captivating and emotionally moving."

Hummel gives this short synopsis of the plot: Hurricane Katrina is barreling toward the Gulf, bringing chaos and calamity. Sam's and Violet's romance is on the rocks just when they really need each other. Join them and the people of New Orleans as they navigate the raging waters of natural disaster, personal tragedy, racism, and politics. Although powerful people leave devastation in their wake, ordinary folks rise to the challenge, and the indomitable spirit of the Crescent City survives.

The staged reading takes place at 7 pm on Saturday, May 4, and again at 2 pm on Sunday, May 5. Both performances will be followed by a talk-back session with the authors and director. No tickets are needed, but donations are gratefully requested. The Cherry Artspace is located at 102 Cherry Street (from Meadow Street take Cecil Malone Drive, going behind Wegmans, to its end at Cherry Street, then turn right onto Cherry Street, and the theatre is the grey building on the left). Ample parking is available and the theatre is accessible to all.

A full production of Katrina will be held August 2, 3, 4 and 9, 10, 11 at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca. These performances are part of the Kitchen Theatre Company's Kitchen Sink Series.

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