Goodspeed's Commitment to New Voices Continues With Winter Musical Theatre Institute

News   Goodspeed's Commitment to New Voices Continues With Winter Musical Theatre Institute
 
Goodspeed Musicals, the Connecticut institution known for staging revivals and launching new musicals, announced details for 2006 initiatives devoted to new voices.

Under the umbrella of Goodspeed's Musical Theatre Institute, January and February programs will allow emerging performers and writers, as well as seasoned professionals, to work together in a laboratory setting to explore new works.

Public and private presentations will result.

The 2006 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 "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," according to Goodspeed.

The Hartt School, founded in 1920 and one of three founding institutions of the University of Hartford, is the respected conservatory with programs in music, dance and theatre. The New Artists Program will be held throughout the Goodspeed campus Jan. 9-21. During the first week of the program, three teams of writers and composers "will dedicate their time to further writing and composing of their musicals in development." In the second week, 32 senior students from The Hartt School will join them for rehearsals and continued development of the material.

The New Artists program culminates with the first annual "Goodspeed Festival of New Artists" to be held at the Goodspeed Opera House Jan. 20-21. The Festival will showcase staged readings of the new musicals developed during the New Artists Program and is open to the general public.

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

  • Once Upon a Time in Narcissia (8 PM Jan. 20), "a modern take on a Cinderella who doesn't get the Prince," music by Youn-Young Park; book and lyrics by Susannah Pearse; directed by J Ranelli; music direction by Bill Thomas. The authors of this new musical participated in Goodspeed's 2005 New Writers' Residency and presented one of their songs from Once Upon a Time in Narcissia during last year's industry cabaret.
  • Romancing the Throne (2 PM Jan. 21), "a musical of secret identities, palace intrigue and a struggling actor who is cast in the role of a lifetime," by Randy Rogel and Kirby Ward, directed by Kirby Ward, music direction by Sam Kriger. Randy Rogel appeared at the Goodspeed Opera House in Very Good Eddie (2003) and Kirby Ward performed at The Norma Terris Theatre in Dear World (2000).
  • I See London I See France (The Underwear Musical) (8 PM Jan. 21), "love and romance in the pressure-filled, ultra-hyped world of advertising," by Jeremy Desmon and David Guerrerio, directed by Lawrence Thelen, music direction by Brian Cimmet. Jeremy Desmon and David Guerrerio both participated in the inaugural year of Goodspeed's New Writer's Residency (1999). Desmon's The Girl in the Frame most recently received a workshop production at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre during the 2005 season. Tickets to the "Festival of New Artists" presentations are available at the Goodspeed box office or by calling (860) 873-8668. Tickets are $10 each for one show, $25 for one ticket to all three shows, and $5 each for students.

    As part of its mission to foster emerging writers, Goodspeed will also host 22 students from New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program Feb. 13-18 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 seventh 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 and education director Will Rhys.

    The NYU students will also interact with theatre professionals through a series of "Brown Bag Lunches" while on the Goodspeed campus. The students will cap off the week with an informal cabaret of their original material, for an invited audience on 7 PM Feb. 17.

    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 (Suburb), Jeremy Desmon (The Girl in the Frame, produced last season at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre) and Rachel Sheinkin (Striking 12 and a Tony Award winner for writing the libretto of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).

    The Institute programs are run by Goodspeed Musicals' Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater.

    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."

    "It will be another exciting winter on the Goodspeed campus with so many writers, composers, actors and theatre professionals working together to create musicals for current and future generations," Michael P. Price, executive director of Goodspeed Musicals, said in the statement. "The Musical Theatre Institute is a rewarding experience for everyone involved and serves to keep Goodspeed Musicals at the forefront of our industry."

    The Musical Theatre Institute's goal is to create a bridge between emerging writers and early career performers with seasoned performers and professional artists, who experience the process of creating a new musical.

    Visit www.gooodspeed.org.

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