Emerging Writers and Performers Get Goodspeed Showcase in Early 2007

News   Emerging Writers and Performers Get Goodspeed Showcase in Early 2007 Goodspeed Musicals' Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater announced its programs for the 2007 Goodspeed Musical Theatre Institute, including the second annual Goodspeed Festival of New Artists.

"The Musical Theatre Institute creates a bridge between emerging writers and early career performers with seasoned performers and professional artists," according to the Connecticut not-for-profit. "Together they experience the process of creating a new musical."

The 2007 winter program of the Institute includes the "New Artists Program," in collaboration with The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, as well as the "New Writers' Residency," in collaboration with the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University: Tisch School of the Arts.

The New Artists Program will culminate with the second annual "Goodspeed Festival of New Artists."

The New Artists program "offers new and emerging artists the rare opportunity to thoroughly work on their projects with the help of Goodspeed's renowned resources and artistic environment, while affording senior students from The Hartt School real-world experience in new musical development and performing new musicals."

The Hartt School, founded in 1920 and one of three founding institutions of the University of Hartford (CT), is an internationally acclaimed conservatory with innovative programs in music, dance and theatre. "The New Artists Program" will be held throughout the Goodspeed campus Jan. 8-19, 2007. During the first week of the program, three teams of writers and composers will dedicate their time to further writing and composing their musicals in development. In the second week, 28 senior students from The Hartt School will join them for rehearsals and continued development of the material. "The New Artists Program" culminates with the second annual Goodspeed "Festival of New Artists" to be held at the Goodspeed Opera House on Jan 17, 18 and 19.

The Festival will showcase staged readings of the new musicals developed during the "New Artists Program" and is open to the general public. Tickets are available at the Goodspeed box office or by calling (860) 873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org.

Tickets are $10 each per show, $25 for one ticket to all 3 shows, and $5 each for students.

"The Musical Theatre Institute is an important part of our commitment to developing new musicals," said Michael P. Price, executive director of Goodspeed Musicals. "It's exciting for us to see the Goodspeed campus alive during the winter with the best and brightest new writers and students working together to create the future of musical theatre."

Productions from the three composing teams included in the Goodspeed "Festival of New Artists" include:

  • Pearl Jan. 17 at 7:30 PM: A haunting re-imagination of "The Scarlet Letter," in which Hester Prynne's 12-year old daughter, Pearl, seeks the truth about her family's mysterious past and, ultimately, her own true self. Book, music and lyrics by Katie Kring, directed by J Ranelli.
  • Tinyard Hill Jan. 18 at 7:30 PM: South Georgia, 1964. A rural blacksmith and his son work to find mutual understanding and acceptance in a world that is simultaneously shrinking and getting too large to ignore. Music by Mark Allen, book and lyrics by Tommy Newman.
  • The Great American Race Jan. 19 at 7:30 PM: The life of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt told against the backdrop of the Daytona 500 — a stirring story of fall and redemption. Book, music and lyrics by Patrick Barry, directed by Nona Lloyd. All three of the musicals featured this year at the Festival of New Artists were initially graduate student projects developed during Goodspeed Musicals' "New Writers' Residency" in 2006. Now, for the first time ever, they will be presented in their entirety when they debut on the Goodspeed stage.

    As part of its mission to foster emerging artists, Goodspeed's Showalter Center will also host 26 students (the largest group ever) from NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program Jan. 28-Feb. 3, for its New Writers' Residency. NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program offers an intense curriculum of seminars, labs and rehearsals on writing for the musical theatre taught by professionals in the industry.

    Chaired by librettist Sarah Schlesinger (The Ballad of Little Jo, Swing Shift, Love Comics), the two-year program is the only one of its kind in the country to confer a Master of Fine Arts degree upon its graduates. This is the eighth year that Goodspeed and NYU have collaborated on this residency.

    While at Goodspeed, the "New Writers' Residency" participants will work with each other on their thesis projects with the help of industry leaders including Goodspeed executive director Michael P. Price, music director Michael O'Flaherty, line producer Donna Cooper Hilton and education director Will Rhys.

    The students will cap off the week with an informal cabaret of their original material to an invited audience on Feb. 2 at 7 PM. In total, 16 projects will be represented at the evening's performance.

    Past MFA recipients of NYU's Graduate School of Musical Theatre Writing Program include: Winnie Holzman (Broadway's Wicked), Mindi Dickstein (Broadway's Little Women), David Javerbaum (head writer for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," lyricist of Suburb and Cry Baby), Jeremy Desmon (The Girl in the Frame, produced Goodspeed's The Norma Terris Theatre in 2006), Joshua Salzman (Off-Broadway's I Love You Because, which he worked on during his time at Goodspeed Musicals with the "New Writers' Residency") and Rachel Sheinkin (Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Off-Broadway's Striking 12). *

    Created in 2002, the Showalter Center "inspires and nurtures musical theatre artists and students by providing a unique and comprehensive range of training and educational programs to serve both the national and local academic communities."

    Visit www.goodspeed.org.

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    Goodspeed will not offer a three-play subscription series at its Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, in 2007, Playbill.com previously reported. The Terris has been the troupe's longtime home for the development of new work. The abandonment of a subscription series doesn't mean Goodspeed has dropped its plans to develop new musicals, a spokesman previously told Playbill.com. At the company's flagship theatre, the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, three revivals were announced for 2007 — Singin' in the Rain, High Button Shoes and 1776.