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What would you pay for a miracle? The people of the small town of Painted Post, Massachusetts have got plenty of reasons to believe. It is 1945, and not only has the town lost many of its young men in the war, but now a vision of the Virgin Mary has appeared in the window above the sickbed of a comatose young girl. So what if the girl’s mother charges admission to pray at her bedside and witness the vision? And when the girl suddenly awakens after five years, she is pregnant. Could it be yet another miracle — or just one of her mother’s hoaxes?

This is the starting place for the new musical The Angel of Painted Post, which will kick off the 2011-12 Concert Reading Series for the Academy for New Musical Theatre.

With book by Adrian Bewley, music by Matthew Levine, and lyrics by Richard Castle, The Angel of Painted Post is filled with unconventional characters and universal themes of faith, religion and family. With songs including “Mama’s Little Angel”, “Hey, Mother Mary” and a wacky dream sequence called “The Gospel of Alma”, the piece speaks to the role of faith in a society that has been ravaged by war. Wouldn’t you want to believe in miracles?

This new musical began in ANMT’s Full-Length Curriculum last year, and then won one of only eight coveted spots at Stages Musical Theatre Festival 2011. The actors involved with the development of the piece last season included: Sarah Girard, Christiana Moffa, Will Collyer, Dan Stewart, Stephen Stewart, Dana Shaw, Dina Buglione, Renee Scott, Peter Varvel, Erika Whalen, Ben Ryan, and Jonathan Dinerstein as Music Director.

“This is a dark, provocative, exciting new musical featuring the voices of three very talented writers,” says Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry. “I’m particularly excited because I will be stepping into the complex role of the manipulative mother myself. Roles like this for ‘mature’ women don’t come along all that often, and I look forward to sinking my teeth into it!”

The ANMT Concert Series will continue on February 6, 2012 with Emerald, written by Chris Burgess and Denise Wright from London, England. Emerald won ANMT’s 4th Annual Search for New Musicals, and received a workshop with the Academy Repertory Company in April 2011. The Concert Series will feature a new draft, based on the work which the writers have done since the April workshop.

The concert reading of The Angel of Painted Post will take place on Monday, December 12 at 7:30pm at the Lonny Chapman Theatre on Burbank Blvd., and will feature members of the Academy Repertory Company including Noel Britton, Elise Dewsberry, Evelyn Halus, Christopher Maikish, Sari Rose Poll, Andrea Press, Tedd Szeto, Peter Welkin, and guest Sean Hankinson as “Ben”. ARC Music Director Ross Kalling will be at the piano. Tickets are $10.

For tickets, visit www.anmt.org