Charles Gilbert's Watch the Birdie, a Musical About Family, to Resurface in Philly

News   Charles Gilbert's Watch the Birdie, a Musical About Family, to Resurface in Philly Philadelphia Music Theater Works will present a staged reading of Philly composer Charles Gilbert's Watch the Birdie, a musical revue about contemporary family life, Aug. 8-9 at the Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5.

With words and music by Gilbert and book by Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, the "candid and insightful revue about the mixed blessings of contemporary family life" is directed by PMTW's artistic director Jeremiah Downes.

The cast includes Claudia Carlsson, Michael Doherty, Sheira Feuerstein, Alex Keiper, Stearns Matthews and Jason Michael. Musical direction is by Christopher Ertelt, and musical staging is by Nancy Berman Kantra.

Watch the Birdie is adapted from short scenes that a group called The Independent Eye produced for radio under the title "Family Snapshots," which were aired by NPR stations across the country. The revue was first performed at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater in New York and the Philadelphia Arts Bank Theater in the spring of 1998.

Gilbert, who wrote the score to Gemini, the Musical, wrote songs that "hold up a revealing and powerful mirror in the face of what lies at the foundation of our culture — family, a timely and pitch perfect show for mothers, fathers, sons and daughters," according to production notes.

Watch the Birdie plays 8 PM Aug. 8-9 at the Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, at 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. Tickets are priced $18 and are available at the door and online at www.phillymusictheater.org. *

Philadelphia Music Theater Works, rooted in the ensemble tradition, "is committed to the development and performance of the vast and ever changing world of the musical theatre," according to its mission. PMTW's inaugural project was a series of readings under the title "FRESH: New Musicals" in June. The troupe's future goal is to stage full productions of musicals.