This month, we checked in with Elise Dewsberry from New Musicals Inc. about their upcoming concert reading of Invisible, written by David Hollingsworth and David Orris. The reading is being produced in consortium with NAMT member 3-D Theatricals, and has just received a Project Development grant from the National Fund for New Musicals.
Invisible is a John-Hughes-esque musical theatre adaptation of the HG Wells classic The Invisible Man with a totally original pop/rock score that takes great joy in paying homage to popular music and popular cultural tropes of the era. The show ultimately endeavors to physically and figuratively bring the audience into their own hallowed high school hallways via the heightened and dangerous halls of Springborough High School. Invisible lives in the fairly self-concerned and narcissistic year of 1988, because at its core, it is a show about what it means to cut away all of the cultural and social melodrama and truly see another human being.
NMI is working together with 3-D Theatricals to develop this project. How did that relationship first come about, and how did the two organizations come together to work on this specific project?
Funny you should ask! Although T.J. Dawson and I both work near Los Angeles, we actually met at the NAMT Conference in the fall of 2014. We got to chatting, and T.J. mentioned that he was interested in having 3-D Theatricals get involved in the development of new musicals. Since that’s exactly what we’re about at New Musicals Inc., I suggested that he let me know if he had any new works he would like to submit for a reading as part of our STAGES Festival. Since T.J. is hoping to produce new work on his mainstage at some point in the future, it made perfect sense that we should bring him some readings so that his audience could start to feel like they were a part of the development process, and start to take ownership of some of the new shows. Once we got back to LA, we had several more meetings, and we wound up actually expanding our STAGES Festival (summer of 2015) and bringing performances of all five new musicals (including Invisible) down to Orange County for T.J.’s audience. Since then, we’ve created a Concert Reading Series to bring even more new shows down to his audience. It’s a win-win situation—our writers get a chance to hear their new works in development, and T.J.s audience gets a chance to know more about the development process.