Created in 2007, the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award provides new writers accessible means of producing a demo recording. Producing director Steve Stettler worked with composer Polly Pen, record producer Kurt Deutsch and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre to develop the unique outlet and opportunity for new writers in the theatre.
With book and lyrics by Liz Duffy Adams and music by John Hodian, The Listener of Junk City, according to press notes, "is set in the future, in a city built from the trash of a collapsed civilization. Into this world comes a man on a rescue mission, whose presence challenges Junk City's cobbled-together culture."
As part of the award, the Weston Playhouse also provides the selected composing team with a director, music director and five Equity actors for a three-day Vermont residency to rehearse selections from the new musical.
The project culminates in a free public reading of the new work, plus a demo recording with Sh-K-Boom records producer Kurt Deutsch. In addition, all the artists involved are paid on union contracts, and all expenses (including music copying and a recording studio rental in New York) are covered.
A concert of Junk City was held April 12 at the Weston Playhouse in anticipation of an April 16 recording session. The cast for the recording includes Gabrielle Stravelli as the Listener as well as Bill Gross, Greg Naughton, Will Reynolds and Sandie Rosa. Matt Vinson serves as the musical director and keyboardist for the recording. Nominators for the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award include the American Musical Theatre Project, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, Lark Play Development Center, New Dramatists, New York Musical Theatre Festival, NYU-Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, and Sundance Institute Theatre Program.
In addition, numerous theatrical agencies have contributed to funding the award. Those involved include Araca Group; Dramatists Play Service, Inc.; Dramatic Publishing; Music Theatre International; the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization; Samuel French, Inc.; Tams-Witmark Music Library; Theatrical Rights Worldwide; Wayne and Deborah Granquist; Sam and Barbara Lloyd; Marguerite and Peter Mason; Thomas Schumacher; and Rick Twigg.
For further information visit www.westonplayhouse.org.