New Work in Progress: Trails

At the end of the summer, Broadway Rose Theatre Company is opening Trails, written by Christy Hall, Jeff Thomson and Jordan Mann. We chatted with Dan Murphy, the Managing Director at Broadway Rose, to learn more about the theatre’s history producing new works and how this show is expanding upon that history.
After a dozen years of silence, an unexpected meeting between childhood friends Mike and Seth leads the pair to fulfill a promise made in their youth: to hike the Appalachian Trail together. As they traverse the 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, powerful memories surface, leading the men to confront their past, themselves, and the haunting secret that kept them apart for so long.
What is Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s history of producing new works and how does this production of Trails fit into your theatre’s mission?
From our very first season 26 years ago we have been producing new work. Sharon Maroney, artistic director, wrote an original musical based on a children’s book entitled The 3 Little Pigs & Freud, the telling of the story of the three pigs as told from the wolf’s perspective to his therapist. Over the years we have produced original children’s musicals as well as several jukebox musicals now licensed through Select Entertainment. Some NAMT Festival selections include I Love You Because, Band Geeks!Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, and in 2011 we produced the world premiere of Ripper with book, music, and lyrics by Duane Nelsen (Festival 2009).

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Members in the News

Know a Theatre: Broadway Rose Theatre Company

American Theatre recently featured NAMT member Broadway Rose Theatre in their monthly “Know a Theatre” feature. Sharon Maroney, Broadway Rose’s producing artistic director, was interviewed about the theatre’s history, regional impact, artistic programming and more.

We are committed to producing new or lesser-known works as well as classic Broadway musicals. We always want to balance our season with artistically satisfying productions and shows that will help us stay financially sound. Last season we did a new work called Fly by Night. It was wonderful—an artistic and critical success and our audience enjoyed it. We also did Church Basement Ladies—a definite crowd pleaser that sold out and helped support other productions that we knew wouldn’t make as much money but were important to produce.

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Some trips are quick little excursions to see a new musical and visit a couple members.But every once in a while, the stars align and I get the opportunity to see a lot of everything in a short period of time.In my recent trip to Portland and Seattle, I was able to see 4 members, 6 shows, 11 Festival alumni; all while enjoying 3 planes, 2 rental cars (which included a free upgrade from a compact to a new mustang!), and 1 train. These are my favorite trips, even though they are quite exhausting.Nothing makes me happier at NAMT than getting out to support our members’ new musicals and seeing them in action on their home turf.
Up first was Tigard, OR (just outside Portland) to catch the world premiere of Ripper at The Broadway Rose Theatre. Ripper was in our 2009 Festival of New Musicals and is written by Duane Nelsen. Luck would have it that when I was out there, Duane was back in town to see the show so I got to have dinner with him and Sharon Maroney, Producing Artistic Director of The Broadway Rose, pre-show. The dinner gave us a chance not only to catch-up but also to talk about the process for both Duane and Sharon. This was Broadway Rose’s first large-scale new musical and world premiere—a bold and brave undertaking since Ripper is not a small show. If you want to start producing new work, definitely call Sharon (listed in your Little Black Book) as her company learned a lot in its first go-around.The production was really great and fully realized…what more could any writer ask?The production was not only educational for the theatre but also for Duane who was able to learn so much about his show that he was not able to glean before from just readings.Now, Duane is ready to work on the script while looking for the next-step production, and Broadway Rose can start the hunt for their next new musical, both wiser from the experience!
The next morning, it was off to Portland’s Union Station to take a train up the coast to Seattle and Issaquah, WA for the next stop on my Pacific Northwest Tour…

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Abe Reybold directs Ripper, which will officially open Aug. 4. Performances continue through Aug. 21. Ripper has book, music and lyrics by Nelsen.
Nelsen’s musical received a 2007 reading starring Davis Gaines and Annie Golden, and was presented as part of the 2009 National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals.
Nelsen loosely based his script on the Jack the Ripper tale, according to the Broadway Rose. “Neighbors, friends, and lovers are all suspects. Some are driven to find the truth. Others stop at nothing to obscure the facts and manipulate the situation to their own advantage. From the reporter who covers the story and the magician who runs the brothel, to the police and, of course, the prostitutes, an intricate plot unfolds that interweaves magic and mayhem, the lively nightlife of the music halls, and the ever-present danger of a killer lurking in the shadows.”

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