This month, we chat with Festival Alumni Phillip Palmer, Stacey Luftig and Jennie Redling about their 2013 Festival Show, My Heart Is the Drum, which opens at the Village Theatre in Issaquah tonight. The show previously received a Writers Residency Grant at Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance.
My Heart Is the Drum has had quite a journey since the 2013 Festival! How did the show make its way to the Village Theatre for this production?
It has been quite a journey! And along the way, My Heart Is the Drum has become sort of a poster child for NAMT-member development. At the NAMT after-party, we met Robb Hunt, Village Theatre’s Executive Producer, who told us he loved the show. A few months later, we had a formative week-long writers retreat at Goodspeed Musicals. That summer, Drum was part of the Festival of New Musicals at Village Theatre. That was followed in the fall of 2014 by a workshop at Kent State University, and, that winter, a developmental production there—which Robb Hunt attended, and where we signed our contract with Village Theatre. Two workshops at Village happened after that, and here we are—with opening night of our World Premiere at Village Theatre [tonight]!
The last time we checked in with My Heart Is the Drum, the show was preparing for a production at NAMT member Kent State University. What has kind of response has the show had since then?
We’re thrilled to report several honors since then to complement the BMI Harrington Award for Creative Excellence that Jennie Redling had earned a few years back for the libretto. In 2015, Phillip Palmer and Stacey Luftig won the Fred Ebb Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Songwriting, and in 2016 Stacey won the Kleban Prize as Most Promising Lyricist—both awards based on songs from My Heart Is the Drum. The show was also a Finalist for the 2016 Richard Rodgers Award. And Village Theatre was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Grant to help expand understanding of issues raised in My Heart Is the Drum.