New Works in Progress: NEXT series at Theater Latté Da

An interview with Peter Rothstein, Artistic Director of Theater Latté Da about the launch of their new NEXT series developing new musicals in Minneapolis, Minnesota, next month.

Theater Latté Da will cap its 15th Anniversary Season by launching the major new works initiative 
NEXT. The inaugural season will feature readings of three new ventures into musical storytelling in various stages of development at The Lab Theater in Minneapolis’ historic warehouse district. NEXT will provide Twin Cities audiences the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the creative process and witness new musicals in the making. The musicals are When the Moon Hits Your Eye by Jon Marans; C. by Bradley Greenwald, Robert Elhai & Peter Rothstein; and Bessie’s Birthday by Kate Baldwin Eng & Jeff Tang.

Why did Theater Latté Da decide to start a new work festival?
Theater Latté Da’s mission is to explore and expand the art of musical theater. Launching a program that gives playwrights, composers and lyricists the opportunity to experiment is central to fulfilling our mission; shepherding new works from incubation to full production is a priority for our organization. We also want to be part of the national dialogue around the future of the American Musical Theater and have an impact on the next generation.

Why do you think Minneapolis is a great place to test out new works?
Minneapolis is home to one of the largest and most vibrant theater communities in the country. We have an incredible pool of talent in the Twin Cities, thinking artists who can bring talent, skill and insight to the development process. We also have a loyal and adventurous audience who I believe can play a vital role in moving a show to the next level.

This is the Festival’s first year. What will the programming of NEXT look like?

We have always been energized by the marriage of content and form, looking for innovative ways for music and story to intersect. Our inaugural year of NEXT will feature a diversity of stories, a wide range of musical styles and adventurous forms.

What do you hope your writers will get out of their Minnesota experience?
Our goal is to put the writers at the center of the process and have them articulate the next step for their work. Hopefully we can provide a safe, supportive environment and surround them with the talent to do so.

What do you hope your audience will get out of NEXT?
For a number of years we have been creating video trailers leading up to opening night that help to illuminate the design and rehearsal process. We want our audience invested in the creative process as well as the finished product. A new work series is the next logical step in that immersion, inviting our audience in on the development process from its early stages.

Why should people head to the Twin Cities to catch NEXT?
We have a dynamic line-up of shows and writers, and the snow should be melted by then.

For more info about NEXT, please visit

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