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New Work in Progress: Life After

Next, we chatted with Barry Edelstein, the Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director at NAMT member The Old Globe in San Diego, CA about the company’s upcoming US premiere of Life After by Britta Johnson. Life After was previously co-produced by NAMT members The Musical Stage Company and Yonge Street Theatricals. The Old Globe production is produced by special arragement with Yonge Street Theatricals.
Grieving the recent loss of her famous father, 16-year-old Alice begins to question the events surrounding his death and sets out to uncover what really happened on the night that changed her family forever. Britta Johnson’s Life After is a bittersweet, witty and life-affirming new musical that explores the mess and beauty of loss and love. Through the vivid imagination of a young woman looking for the facts, we find a more complicated truth instead. 
 

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New Work in Progress: Marie, Dancing Still

Next, we chatted with Bill Berry, the Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA about the company’s upcoming premiere of Marie, Dancing Still – A New Musical, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Marie, Dancing Still is set to begin previews on March 22. 
In 19th-century Paris, an era of groundbreaking artistry, a girl named Marie dreams of being the next star of the ballet. Despite the odds of her hard-scrabble life, she scrimps, saves and steals in pursuit of her ambitions. But when fate leads her to the studio of Impressionist Edgar Degas, she unknowingly steps into immortality—becoming the inspiration for his most famous sculpture ever: Little Dancer.

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New Work in Progress: Men With Money

This month, we chatted with Ann-Carol Pence and Anthony Rodriguez, co-founders and respectively the Associate Producer and Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA about the company’s world premiere of Men With Money, written by Bill Nelson and Joseph Trefler. Men With Money is set to open on March 7. 
Louis, Max, and Sonny are charming, young and eligible bachelors looking to marry their way from rags to riches. This romantic romp is full of dreams, schemes and lavish musical numbers set in the golden age mecca of Manhattan in the 1950’s, with a twist. It’s an alternative gleaming, fabulous and mighty Big Apple. And two of our leading men are looking for husbands, oh my!

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New Work in Progress: Alice By Heart

Next, we chatted with Jessica Chase, the Artistic Producer at NAMT member MCC Theater in New York, NY about the company’s world premiere of Alice by Heart, written by Steven Sater, Jessie Nelson and Duncan Sheik. Sheik is a Festival Alumnus for Noir (Fest ’15). Alice by Heart is set to open on January 30. 
 

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New Work in Progress: The Hello Girls

Next, we chatted with Cara Reichel, the Producing Artistic Director at NAMT member Prospect Theater Company in New York, NY about the company’s world premiere of The Hello Girls, written by Reichel and Peter Mills. Both Reichel and Mills are Festival Alumni for Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (Fest ’11) and Mills is also an alumnus for Onanov Broadway (fka Iron Curtain, Fest ’09). The Hello Girls is running now through December 22nd. 

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New Work in Progress: Renascence

Next, we chatted with Lori Fineman and Jack Cummings III, respectively the Executive Director and the Artistic Director at NAMT member Transport Group Theatre Company in New York, NY about the company’s upcoming world premiere of Renascence. We also spoke with the piece’s writers, Dick Scanlan (Fest ’96, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Carmel Dean about their experience working on the piece with Transport Group. The musical’s world premiere, funded in part by a grant from the National Fund for New Musicals, will open in October, just in time for NAMT members arriving for the Fall Events to see the show while they’re in town!

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New Work in Progress: Grumpy Old Men

Next, we chatted with Brad Kenney, the Executive Artistic Director, and Cheryl Farley, the Director of Marketing, Communications and Patron Services, at NAMT member Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, ME, about the theatre’s New Works Program and their upcoming production of Grumpy Old Men by Dan Remmes, Neil Berg and Nick Meglin. 
 

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New Work in Progress: Penn State Musical Theatre

This month, we chatted with John Simpkins, the Director of NAMT member Penn State Musical Theatre in University Park, PA about the school’s new commissioning program. The school just presented its first full production of a show developed through the program, and will be holding a concert reading of their most recent commissioned show next month.
Penn State Musical Theatre started a commissioning program for new musicals a few years ago. Can you tell us a little about Penn State’s history with new work and what inspired this program?
Penn State Musical Theatre has always been open to new work—and has done readings and workshops along the way inspired mostly by professional relationships and a desire to meaningfully connect the students to writers and process wherever possible. When I got to Penn State in 2015, one of the things I began was our New Musicals Initiative, whose key component is the commissioning program. The inspiration for this unique commissioning idea was driven by finding the intersection of multiple objectives. For the writer, we hope to give each team a safe and creative place to think write, collaborate, and experiment with talented young artists who hunger for opportunity and will apply the fullness of their artistic souls to everything they do. For the training process, there is no better way to teach character development and the ability to engage with new works than to have a new musical forming around and with the students every year. And for the collaborative engine of 21st century musical theatre, we are very proud to commission shows to add to the repertoire and even continue on as co-producers in the professional journey of some of the projects.

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New Work in Progress: KPOP

Ars Nova‘s upcoming production of KPOP, written by Jason Kim, Helen Park and Max Vernon and produced in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective, is not to be missed. We reached out to Jason Eagan, Ars Nova’s Artistic Director, to learn more about the show and what audience members can expect when they experience the show for themselves. KPOP previously received a NFNM Writers Residency Grant at Ars Nova.
How did KPOP first find its way to Ars Nova?

KPOP began more than four years ago! Woodshed Collective’s Artistic Director (and KPOP‘s director) Teddy Bergman invited me to lunch to share his fascination with the burgeoning Korean Pop music industry and shared the seeds of an idea to create a massive immersive show based on the phenomenon. I was immediately taken with the idea and eventually commissioned Woodshed, along with bookwriter Jason Kim and Helen Park and Max Vernon to write music and lyrics. Since then an incredible array of wildly talented collaborators have assembled around this project and we’ve become collectively obsessed with translating the behind-the-scenes craft of K-Pop into an immersive theatrical experience.

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New Work in Progress: Goddess

Every year Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival introduces their audiences to new musicals. We reached out to Peter Rothstein, Theater Latté Da’s artistic director, to learn more about a show featured in this year’s Festival, Goddess, written by Saheem Ali, Jocelyn Bioh, Mkhululi Z. Mabija and Michael Thurber. The show was recently selected to receive a Writers Residency Grant from NAMT’s NFNM.


Can you tell us a little about the history of Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival and what your goals are for the program? How does the program tie into Latté Da’s mission?

NEXT is Theater Latté Da’s new work festival showcasing three works that stretch the boundaries of musical storytelling. It officially began in the spring of 2013. Each show receives two or three public readings with time for the writers to implement changes between each presentation. Following each performance is an in-depth conversation between the audience, playwrights, composers, lyricists and directors, facilitated by a dramaturg.
Latté Da’s mission is to create new connections between story, music, artist, and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater. As our world changes, so does our need to produce work that reflects that evolution. NEXT is a significant part of Latté Da’s investment in the bold future for American Musical Theater.

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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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New Work in Progress: Deathless

Goodspeed Musicals is in rehearsal for their upcoming world premiere of Deathless, written by Zack Zadek. We chatted with Donna Lynn Hilton, the Line Producer at Goodspeed, to learn more about the musical’s history, current production and hopes for the future.
The Serling family is taking its annual road trip to Niagara Falls, but this time they’re saying goodbye to Mom. Along the way, memories of past trips, old wounds and family secrets are navigated in a not-too-distant future where no one dies of disease. For daughter Hayley, the journey means facing the big questions of life and death.
How did Goodspeed’s relationship with Zack Zadek first begin, and what about Deathless inspired you to produce the show? 
We first became of aware of Zack and his work in the fall of 2015 when Zack was nominated to participate in the 2016 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed.  The Mercer Colony, created at Goodspeed five years ago with support from the Johnny Mercer Foundation nurtures the work of writers, composers and lyricists of all backgrounds and in all stages of their careers, by providing a safe haven for creative work and collaboration.  Zack applied and was quickly invited to attend the Colony in February of 2016 with his project Deathless.  Each day during their colony residence, writers are given the opportunity to gather for a communal breakfast and again each evening, to share their work and to exchange thoughts and ideas.  Otherwise, they are free to spend each day in the manner that best suits their individual projects and writing styles.  Along the way, we strive to provide each project with individual support that best suits their needs.  On the final day of his residency, Zack requested that several other writers join him in a very casual read through of his completed script of Deathless.  At the last minute, I was invited to sit in on the reading.  My presence that day wasn’t a given. The Colony is very much by, and for, the writers participating and if Zack didn’t want to expose his work, we wouldn’t ask him to.  But in this case, Zack was comfortable and invited me to stop by.  So on a snowy Saturday morning in February, I wrapped up and trundled into town…and I am very glad that I did so.  The reading—while completely cold, with five other writers reading scene and Zack performing the songs—was transformative.  I left that reading and called Michael Gennaro…”You gotta read this piece.”  He did and had a similar reaction to my own…we were off.  

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This month we chatted with Giovanna Sardelli, the Director of New Works at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Next month TheatreWorks goes into rehearsals for The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga, written by Min Khang and based on Manga Yonin Shosei by Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama, translated as The Four Immigrants by Frederik L. Schodt. This production is being supported by a Production Grant from the National Fund for New Musicals, and the show has previously been supported by a Writers Residency Grant.
From a tumultuous earthquake to an exhilarating world’s fair, this new musical chronicles the adventures of four endearing Japanese immigrants in a world of possibility and prejudice: turn-of-the-twentieth-century San Francisco. Driven by an infectious vaudeville and ragtime score, the quartet pursues their American Dream despite limited options in the land of opportunity.
TheatreWorks has been developing The Four Immigrants for some time now—tell us a little bit about how the piece first made its way to TheatreWorks.
Leslie Martinson, our Associate Artistic Director and the director of the upcoming production, has a gift for seeing the potential in artists, like Min Kahng, whom she has known for years, and also for seeing the potential in stories. So when Min shared his idea for The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga, Leslie was instantly intrigued by the story and by the unique way Min wanted to tell the story. She brought the show to TheatreWorks as part of our Writers’ Retreat where we were all introduced to the musical and excited by what it could become.

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New Work in Progress: Onegin

The Musical Stage Company, formerly known as Acting Up Stage Company, is preparing to open a production of the new Canadian musical Onegin, written by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. We reached out to find out more about the production and The Musical Stage Company as a whole.
A thrilling, contemporary adaptation of Pushkin’s timeless poem and Tchaikovsky’s renowned opera, Onegin features a high-energy musical score to tell a sweeping tale of unrequited love, infatuation and intrigue.  When the young and innocent Tatyana falls in love with the self-obsessed aristocrat Onegin, he firmly rejects her, arousing passionate love letters, noble duels and second chances.
What is The Musical Stage Company’s history with new works, and how does this new production of Onegin fit into your overall commitment to new works development?
On top of our regular season of programming which features contemporary musicals from around the world, we have commissioned nearly a dozen new Canadian musicals in the last five years, and produced six new Canadian musicals at home and abroad. Additionally, we have pioneered programs to support Canadian writers including training programs, commissioning programs and our new Crescendo Series which brings one writer into residence with our organization for three years alongside a commitment to produce one of their new musicals each year of their residency.
Giving Onegin its second production and bringing it to Toronto audiences for the first time helps advance our goal of sharing new Canadian works with local audiences. Our belief that we can subsequently champion Onegin across Canada and beyond through our production (we have already confirmed a tour to Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa in September) reinforces our priority to shepherd new Canadian musicals around the world.

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New Work in Progress: Fredericia Teater

Søren Møller, the creative producer at Fredericia Teater in Denmark, has been bringing NAMT Festival shows to Europe for innovative productions. This month, we reached out to him to learn more about the theatre’s history, and his process working with new musicals.
Fredericia has a long history of producing new musicals; how does this relate to the theatre’s mission, and what have been some of your favorite shows to produce?
Our mission is to produce new musicals only. All works are either developed here, co-developed or have never played Denmark before.

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This month we chatted with Lori Bales, an Associate Professor at Millikin University and the director of the school’s New Musical Workshop. Millikin is currently in rehearsal for their 10th Annual New Musical Workshop, featuring works by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, as well as songs by Festival alumni Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond (Fest ’11, Dani Girl; Fest ’14, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes).
This year Millikin University is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of producing new works—can you tell us about the history of your program?
We’d like to send out a big thank you to Scott Guy, Elise Dewsberry, and John Sparks for their support in our start-up year. In 2007 we piloted our program in collaboration with New Musicals Inc. (formerly ANMT) followed by a collaboration with Theatre Building Chicago in 2008. My initial inspiration for this program was in a breakout group at the 2004 NAMT Conference, moderated by John Sparks. In 2009 we began working with solo writing teams Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond, and Jeff Thompson and Jordan Mann. We’ve had the privilege of collaborating with many other truly gifted writers: Adam Gwon and Sarah Hammond, Andrew Lippa, Marissa Michaelson, Amy Engelhardt and Marc Acito, Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, and Millikin alums Derek Hassler and his partner Landon Braverman, and Joshua Streeter and his partner Ryan Laney. We are currently workshopping two shows with Sam Carner and Derek Gregor. In celebration of our ten-year anniversary, Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond will join us for a retrospective cabaret celebrating their canon of work. In addition to developmental workshops/residencies we also provide fully realized developmental productions on our mainstage season. To date we’ve produced Golden Gate by Kooman and Dimond and String by Gwon and Hammond.

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New Work in Progress: Scrooge in Love!

This month, we chatted with Daniel Thomas, the Executive Director at 42nd Street Moon, and Dyan McBride, the show’s director, about their upcoming production of Scrooge in Love!, written by Larry Grossman (Fest ’95, Paper Moon), Kellen Blair and Duane Poole (Fest ’14, Beautiful Poison). 42nd Street Moon produced the world premiere of the musical last year.
What happened after A Christmas Carol? The day after that fateful Christmas we join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys to find his long-lost love Belle. Along the way he’s helped by some old friends and new ghosts! Scrooge in Love! had its smash hit World Premiere at 42nd Street Moon in 2015, and the theatre is pleased to bring back this joyous holiday tale that’s perfect for the entire family.
What is 42nd Street Moon’s mission, and how does new works development fit into that mission?
42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. We contribute to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimately produced performances of classic and rarely performed musical works. Through our productions, educational programs, and community outreach, we are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.
As we approach our 25th Anniversary, we are aware that the vitality of musical theatre is as dependent on shepherding the next generation of classic musicals as it is on preserving the rich heritage of shows that have come before. This is the third premiere or semi-premiere we have been involved with, and each experience has reinforced this belief.

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New Work in Progress: From Page to Stage

This month, we chatted with Katy Lipson, the Company Director/Producer at Aria Entertainment, about their upcoming new musical showcase, From Page to Stage. Featuring readings and showcases of new and developing musicals, this year’s group of musicals includes a show written by Festival alumni Hyeyoung Kim and Michael Cooper (Fest ’06, Sunfish) and one by Elliot Davis, who will be featured in this year’s Festival with Soho Cinders.
 
What is Aria Entertainment’s mission, and how does From Page to Stage fit into that larger picture?
Aria Entertainment is passionate about commissioning, developing and producing new musical theatre. Over the past four years as we have built the company, we have produced over 35 productions many of which have been world premieres or UK premieres of new international musicals. In 2013, I created the From Page to Stage season of new musicals as a platform for creators of new musicals. This was my opportunity to find new writers and give them development opportunities, as well as to introduce audiences to the process.

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New Work in Progress: Broadway Bounty Hunter

This month, we chatted with Branden Huldeen, the Artistic Associate & Director of New Play Development at Barrington Stage Company, about their upcoming production of Broadway Bounty Hunter, by Joe Iconis (Fest ’11-Bloodsong of Love), Lance Rubin and Jason “SweetTooth” Williams. This production has received a Production Grant from NAMT’s National Fund for New Musicals.

How did Broadway Bounty Hunter first make its way to Barrington Stage Co.?
Julie Boyd (our Artistic Director) and Megan Nussle (Literary Associate) saw a reading produced by Rhinebeck Writers Retreat last year and fell in love with the show.  Joe has a long relationship with BSC and they knew that this show would be a great addition to our season.

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This month, we chatted with Giovanna Sardelli, the Director of New Works at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, about their upcoming New Works Festival, held annually in Palo Alto. Read more about their festival, which this year coincides with NAMT’s Roundtable on Education & Outreach, being held at TWSV. 
Can you tell us a little about the history of TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival and what your goals are for the program?
The Festival began 15 years ago as a way to introduce our audiences to works in development and to get them excited about the process of making theatre. It is our goal to provide the artists we invite to TheatreWorks with a safe environment in which to explore and create – one that supports their vision. As our audiences are an invaluable part of the process, it is our goal to provide them an opportunity to engage with art and artists in a way they might not otherwise be able to do.
How does TWSV select shows for the festival?
Primarily we take submissions from agents. We also reach out to literary managers and artistic directors for suggestions since we all have works we love that we aren’t able to support – in fact I have several right now if anyone wants suggestions! Also we rely upon writers with whom we have a relationship to suggest other artists and shows. They are wonderful advocates for each other.

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This month, we checked in with Brett Smock, the Producing Artistic Director at Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, a brand new NAMT member. Located in Auburn, NY, FLMTF has an exciting summer of new works lined up, including From Here to Eternity, a new musical with music by Stuart Brayson, lyrics by Tim Rice (Fest ’94, Tycoon) and book by Bill Oakes, and a festival featuring seven new musicals. Keep reading to learn more about this member’s exciting new works program! 
Can you tell us about Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival’s relationship with new works development throughout the years?
The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival was launched in 2012 to create a haven for musical theatre as an art form and to cultivate economic and artistic revitalization in the Finger Lakes region.  Operating on three stages, in two cities, the Festival produces new musicals, reimagined classics and fosters writers and creative teams of musicals in their earliest stages of development.
What are some of the new works FLMTF is developing this year?
2016 stands to be a very special year for the Festival.  Of our eight-show season, four of those shows are new musicals.  We will produce the North American premiere of Tim Rice’s From Here to Eternity [written with Stuart Brayson and Bill Oakes], followed by the regional premiere of Treasure Island [by Brett Smock, Carla Vitale and Corinne Aquilina] and a new production of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical.  On our stage in Rochester, we will produce Austen’s Pride: A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice [by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs].  I am thrilled to be able to create development opportunities for these new works and to have the works crafted by such stellar creative teams.

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This month, we chat with Kirsten Childs about her new show Bella: An American Tall Tale, which will receive its world premiere next season in a co-production with Dallas Theater Center and Playwrights Horizons. The production has just received a NFNM Production Grant. Childs is a Festival Alumna from her shows The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Fest ’98) and Funked Up Fairy Tales (Fest ’12).
How did the idea for Bella: An American Tall Tale first come to you?
I was walking home to my apartment one day, and a couple was walking in the same direction ahead of me.  Much to the appreciation of all the men (and I mean ALL the men) passing by, the woman had an extravagantly zaftig African fertility goddess figure.  I actually slowed down to watch each and every man stop, turn and look at the woman as they passed her by.  Their spellbound behavior underscored for me the fact that women are being sold a fraudulent bill of goods as to what men find attractive in a woman.  Right then and there, I decided to make a larger-than-life tall tale about a heroine modeled after this modern day Venus.  And what better place to set a larger-than-life tall tale than the American Old West?

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New Work in Progress: Invisible

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.

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New Work in Progress: Rain

This month, we checked in with Barry Edelstein from The Old Globe about their upcoming premiere of Rain, written by Michael John LaChuisa and Sybille Pearson. Rain is based on W. Somerset Maugham’s short story of the same title.


The year is 1924, the setting a boarding hotel on the island of Western Samoa, where a missionary, a doctor, and their wives are scandalized by Sadie Thompson’s arrival, particularly when they learn what she does for a living. But the missionary has secrets of his own, and when he tries to save her soul, more heats up than the South Pacific sun. This gorgeous and powerful new work reveals the explosive nature of repressed desire. 

How did Rain find its way to The Old Globe, and how does the production fit into The Old Globe’s mission?
I’ve known and admired Michael John LaChiusa for a long time. His music moves me and speaks to me in a distinct and personal way. I loved Giant when I saw it at The Public, and it introduced me to the work he and Sybille are doing together. We’re all represented by the same agent, Charles Kopelman, and it was he who asked me to read and listen to Rain. I loved it and grabbed it. The Globe has a long history of developing world premiere musical theatre (Rain is our 30th such premiere) and this piece, with its literary provenance in Maugham’s great story, seemed to combine the classic with the new in a way that resonates to me as an Old Globe show.

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New Work in Progress: Puddin' and the Grumble

This month, we checked in with Alisa Belflower from the Lied Center for the Performing Arts about their upcoming premiere of Puddin’ and the Grumble, written by Becky Boesen and David Von Kampen.
Puddin’ has big dreams and a big problem. She has to move in with her grandmother, a quirky former lounge singer who isn’t expecting a roommate. Puddin’ misses her mom, struggles with math, and is starting to feel as empty as her own tummy, when she realizes a Grumble is living inside her! Join Puddin’ and her trusty purple llama Wuzzlebutt on their heartbreaking and hilarious journey. Told through the eyes of a plucky fifth-grader, Puddin’ and the Grumble is an uplifting new family musical that takes an unconventional approach in addressing childhood hunger. 
How did Puddin’ and the Grumble find its way to the Lied Center?
[Lyricist and Librettist] Becky Boesen and [the Lied Center’s Education & Community Engagement Director] Petra Wahlqvist were incensed by a news story about a school in Utah, where school lunches had been taken away from elementary school students with delinquent lunch accounts. They immediately agreed their next big project at the Lied Center would revolve around the hunger epidemic, and its effect on families and children. A Lied Center commission for a new musical addressing childhood hunger opened the door.

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