This month, we chat with Bruce Lumpkin and Marley Wisnoski from Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, Texas about their upcoming premiere of the new musical The Sweet Potato Queens, written by Sharon Vaughn, Rupert Holmes and Festival Alumna Melissa Manchester (I Sent a Letter to My Love, Fest ’01).
How did The Sweet Potato Queens find its way to TUTS and your Underground season?
Melissa Manchester was doing a concert at The Hobby Center in Houston, and she requested a meeting with us to discuss the project. We then met with Rupert Holmes in New York and discussed his input in the project. After reading and listening to the piece, we believed a staged reading was the next step for this project. In March 2015, we invited Holmes (Book), Manchester (Music) and Sharon Vaughn (Lyrics) to Houston where we worked on the show with local actors and produced TUTS Underground’s first 29-hour reading. After a successful reading, we felt that the material could be developed further into a full production. The writers visited us again in November 2015 to work on the piece and do a table read. We believe that the show is now ready for a full-scale TUTS Underground production in March 2016.