By Andrew Gans, VermontBiz.com
The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company has received a $45,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $15,000 grant from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre in support of its 2011 world-premiere musical production of Saint-Ex. These grants are the latest show of support for Weston’s New Works program which began in 2007.
“We are pleased and honored to receive these latest grants, particularly in a 75th anniversary year,” commented WPTC Producing Director Steve Stettler. “This is the first grant that we have received from NAMT and while we have received NEA funding every year since 2001, this is the largest grant in that ten year history. It is a real testament to the part that Weston is playing in the development of new work.”
WPTC’s New Works program includes the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, an annual Artists Retreat as well as rehearsed, book-in-hand Equity stage readings of new plays. In their 2010 season, the WPTC produced its first world premiere play with Gavin Broady’s The Oath. The upcoming production of Saint-Exwill mark the company’s first world-premiere musical.
Saint-Ex, with music by Jenny Giering and book and lyrics by Sean Barry, is inspired by the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the children’s classic, The Little Prince. The musical explores Saint-Exupéry’s relationship with his brother, his tempestuous marriage, and the conflict between his career as an aviator and his success as an author. The WPTC has proudly slated this production as the culmination of their 75th anniversary season and the basis for the 2011 school matinee program.
For more information about the non-profit WPTC, its 2011 75th anniversary season and its New Works program, visit westonplayhouse.org.
Photo: Alexander Gemignani in rehearsal for Weston Playhouse’s world premiere musical, Saint-Ex.