Each musical gets viewed twice in the weekend fest, which is becoming regarded as a major regional showcase for new musicals — a must-see for fans and industry folk alike. (It gained national attention last year when a Windy City critic weighed in on the works in progress, raising the hackles of those who advocate the sanctity of incubators like the one at Theatre Building Chicago.)
"Now in its 14th season, STAGES focuses on the development of the material, the craft of writing and the talent of the performers," according to TBC.
The weekend will also feature a rare revival — indeed a "revised" revival, technically making it "eight" works-in-progress in the fest — of the Richard Rodgers-Sheldon Harnick-Sherman Yellen musical, Rex, about England's King Henry VIII. On Aug. 10, Harnick and Yellen will discuss the work, and the changes they made to it, in a Q&A with Bert Fink of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.
The new musicals to be seen in concert readings at STAGES 2007 include:
DESPAIRadise, book and lyrics by Pat Byrnes, music by Rich Prezioso. "Nihilist European art film makers descend to the depths of despair when their director discovers love and happiness." So Happy I Could Scream!, Downtown and DESPAIRadise were audience favorites, developed and performed during Theatre Building Chicago's 2006-2007 Monday Night Musicals concert reading series.
Theatre Building Chicago's musical program "offers an array of works in multiple 'stages' of development," according to TBC. "TBC nurtures new works through its musical theatre writers workshop and through collaboration with theatre companies and artists across the country. Theatre Building Chicago welcomes media attention focusing on the developmental process of new musicals; however, all performances are works in progress and are considered not appropriate for critical review."
Curtain times for the new works range from 9 AM-7:30 PM Aug. 11-12. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Theatre Building Chicago is located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL.
For information call (773) 327-5252 or visit www.theatrebuildingchicago.org.