Festival Show Update: Fall Springs

This month, we chatted with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Niko Tsakalakos, the writers of 2017 Festival show Fall Springs. This summer, the show will receive its world premiere at NAMT member Barrington Stage Company, which received a production grant from our Frank Young Fund for New Musicals.

The town of Fall Springs is cash-strapped but sits directly on top of America’s largest reserve of cosmetic essential oils. The town has big dreams but at what cost? With new fracking techniques being recklessly implemented, the ground beneath Fall Springs is crumbling.

What was the response to Fall Springs after the 2017 Festival presentation?
People said lots of nice things to us after our presentation! We were particularly excited that the tone and the music both seemed to leave a strong impression on folks and left people wanting to see more. Not to mention, our “willful ignorance to human-driven climate change” subject matter seemed to resonate. Almost immediately, we began a conversation with Julie Boyd and Branden Huldeen at Barrington Stage about what next steps could be in store to make the show ready for production. 

What did you discover about the show after presenting it in the Festival, and what work have you done on the show since then?
On the positive side, we felt affirmed of the show’s strengths: its comic tone, its rocking and hooky music, the oddball characters, and its underlying heart. Working towards our NAMT presentation also resulted in us having a very tight Act One, but an Act Two that still needed some work, and that’s been the biggest focus for us since the festival.  We’ve written three new songs for the act, cut the dead mother ghost and her song, and done a lot of book work with some very funny new jokes. Last summer we had a workshop and reading at Barrington where we got to try out our full show in front of an audience and continue to hone the piece, and we’ve continued to refine over the past year.  

Fall Springs is about to have its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company. What has made Barrington a great partner as you’ve prepared for this production?

Barrington’s commitment, enthusiasm and support has made them a phenomenal partner for us. They have challenged us to make the show better and given us the developmental framework to make that happen.  It’s been a rigorous and fruitful process and we feel like we are premiering a show that has grown and strengthened through our work with Barrington these last two years. And they have helped us assemble a true dream team of collaborators working with us this summer.   

What are you most excited to share with audiences when the show opens next month?
The whole damn thing! We are excited to share an original, not-based-on-anything, ballsy musical COMEDY that is about something real. This show will by no means save the world, but we hope it’s a chance for an audience to reflect on how challenging it seems to be for us as humans to truly address the existential threats we are all facing until we are waist deep in the muck. We believe it’s not like any other musical out there and we’re simply thrilled to get to share our little misfit creation with the world, before it’s too late.

What do you hope is next for the show, and how can NAMT members who are interested in its future development get involved now?
As one does in a world premiere, we are going to learn a TON throughout the rehearsal process and run and I know we’ll want to carry what we learn forward and keep making our show stronger. We want to bring the show to New York, the country, the planet (again, before it’s too late).  

Why should people plan a visit to the Berkshires to check out the world premiere?
This is a show meant to be experienced. It is action packed, it is funny, and it’s gonna rock. And did you see our cast? That cast, seriously!  And that design team! And we got genius director Stephen Brackett moving them around? It’s going to be insane!  

There’s also a really good soft serve ice cream place in Pittsfield.  And Soco Creamery in Great Barrington has made a special Fall Springs flavor that you have to try! (Think Mudslide.) And then, the Berkshires, hello!  After the show, you can get a spa treatment, swim in a lake, buy a Norman Rockwell painting and contemplate what small things you can do to to save the planet. 

For more information about Fall Springs and to buy tickets to the upcoming production, visit Barrington Stage Company’s website.

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