Doll is a new musical by the creative team Michael Korie (lyricist and book writer) and Scott Frankel (composer); and Nobody's Lunch is an ensemble piece created by and featuring the New York-based theatre company, The Civilians.
An extension of the Sundance Institute's Utah-based Theatre Lab, the program at White Oak, in Yulee, FL, "supports company-created work and innovative musical theatre."
The Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory at White Oak "offers theatre artists the time and support to rehearse, rewrite, and develop their work over a two week period." Philip Himberg, producing artistic director of the Theatre Program, will oversee the Lab, along with an experienced team of professionals who assist the artists during each phase of development. Creative advisors include dramaturgs Janice Paran and Jocelyn Clarke.
"Our Utah-based summer Theatre Lab Program, now in its 28th season, continues to represent the broad landscape of theatre being created in this country today," Himberg said in a statement. "The two projects invited to participate in our collaboration with White Oak are a reflection of this range and we are especially excited about the risk-taking nature of these independent theatre artists."
Korie and Frankel were represented previously at Sundance with their musical Grey Gardens, written in collaboration with Doug Wright. It will have its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons this season. Himberg said, "Steve Cosson has led his company, The Civilians, into national prominence with work which has previously explored such diverse topics as the wives of dictators and the Paris Commune. The Civilians joins a long line of ensemble-created theatre that Sundance has supported over two decades."
Lonny Price will serve as director of Doll, set in 1914 Vienna, just prior to World War I. The musical "dramatizes the love affair between Alma Mahler and the painter Oskar Kokoschka. Their relationship resulted in one of the stranger entanglements of the 20th century: when Alma rejected the young artist, Kokoschka had a full sized doll created to take her place in his life."
Doll "explores the theme of self-delusion in a world on the cusp of change when the Western dream started to disintegrate, unleashing the demons of two World Wars. The cycle of rebirth and destruction is symbolized by the eternal image of the waltz with which Doll begins and concludes."
Written and directed by Steven Cosson with songs by Michael Friedman, Nobody's Lunch "is a dark ride through the landscape of American public culture. This latest creation from the Obie-winning company The Civilians asks the thorny question, 'How do we know what we know when everyone in power seems to be lying?'…Delving into the politics of information, the company — in its singular signature style — conducted extensive interviews with subjects ranging from a policymaker at Homeland Security on the verge of a nervous breakdown to a plucky extraterrestrial (channeled by an equally funny human); from every Jessica Lynch in the phone book (who was willing to talk) to soldiers guarding the New York subway with unloaded weapons. Turning these interviews into a mercurial cabaret-play, a versatile cast inhabits an eccentric cast of characters, all taken from real life. We meet a soldier guarding Penn Station from terrorists, a world-famous conspiracy theorist and an escaped sex slave for the CIA. There are market researchers working to turn our innermost feelings into sales, and ordinary citizens trying their best to make some sort of sense of it all."
White Oak is located on a 7,500-acre property in Yulee, FL. It was conceived by Howard Gilman as a sanctuary for animals, and a place of peaceful yet productive retreat for the people and activities he cared about. In 1982, Gilman established the White Oak Conservation Center on the property for the conservation and propagation of threatened and endangered species. White Oak, which houses the Baryshnikov Dance Studio, has also hosted residencies by performing artists and dance companies; national and international conferences; and seminars and workshops directly related to the Foundation’s primary fields of interest: performing arts, wildlife conservation and cardiovascular research.
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program focuses on the support and development of new work for the stage. These activities take place at the annual Sundance Theatre Laboratory and the Sundance Playwright’s Retreat at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, and contributes to the creative growth of established artists. Over 60 Sundance Theatre projects have gone on to productions at theatres across the United States, Mexico and Europe, in the last seven years. Some of the past projects that have been supported by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program include Moisés Kaufman's The Laramie Project, Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' The Light in the Piazza, Lisa Kron's Well, Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman, and Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife, which received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as Tony for Best Play.