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‘Watcher in the Woods’ will offer industry reading

Kenita R. Miller, Julia Murney and others will appear in the musical adaptation of the Florence Engel Randall novel.

(L-R) Kenita R. Miller and Julia Murney (Credit: John Lamparski/WireImage; John Nacion/Getty Images)

Two private industry presentations of the new musical “Watcher in the Woods” will take place on April 25 at Urban Stages in Manhattan. Based on the 1976 mystery novel of the same name by Florence Engel Randall, “Watcher in the Woods” features music by Johanna Telander and a book and lyrics by Douglas Thompson. Saki Kawamura will direct, while Brian Walters will serve as music director.

The cast of “Watcher in the Woods” includes Elise F. Daniells as Saundra, Allyson Hernandez as Kate, Julie James as Mrs. Thayer, Colin Kane as Mark/Marcus, Charlotte MacLeod as Ellie, Jade McLeod as Jan/Karen, Tony Award nominee Kenita R. Miller as Mrs. Fleming, Julia Murney as Mrs. Aylwood, and Kelli Ruttle as Stage Directions.

Daniells appeared in the 2022 Off-Broadway mounting of “Harmony.” 

Hernandez is the author of the novel “Ballad of Dreams” and the composer of the book’s accompanying concept album.

The program director of Sirius XM and the host of the radio talk show “Broadway Names with Julie James,” James appeared as a special guest in Kristin Chenoweth’s “For the Girls” on Broadway.

Kane appeared Off-Broadway in “Lighthouse the Musical” at Soho Playhouse.

A current student at LaGuardia High School, MacLeod appeared in Atlantic Theater Company’s 2022 musical “The Bedwetter.”

McLeod originated the role of Jo in the national touring production of “Jagged Little Pill.”

A 2022 Tony nominee for her turn as the Lady in Red in the revival of “for colored girls,” Miller’s Main Stem credits also include “The Color Purple,” “Xanadu,” “Once on This Island” and “Come From Away.”

Murney has played Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway and on the road. She originated the role of Queenie in Andrew Lippa’s Off-Broadway adaptation of “The Wild Party.” 

Ruttle has appeared Off-Broadway in “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” at Soho Playhouse.

Set in 1976, “Watcher in the Woods” follows young Jan as she grapples with the grief following the passing of her father. In their new home, Jan reckons with the supernatural forces pushing her to investigate the 50-year disappearance of the teenaged daughter of the house’s previous owner.

“Watcher in the Woods” is being produced by Thompson. A staged production is planned for fall 2024; dates and theater will be announced.