Musicals Belle Barth, Take Me America, Here On This Hill and Killala Bay Tested in Chicago

News   Musicals Belle Barth, Take Me America, Here On This Hill and Killala Bay Tested in Chicago
 
Stages 2008, Theatre Building Chicago's annual festival of new musicals in progress, a major Midwest showcase for dawning musicals, plays Aug. 15-17.

Four new shows will be seen in reading form over the weekend, with each musical presented twice in concert formats. Now in its 15th season, Stages "focuses on the development of the material, the craft of writing and the talent of the performers." Shows are not open to review by theatre critics.

For musical theatre practitioners and fans, Stages 2008 is considered one of the major musical theatre development events in the Midwest. Producers and industry folk have been known to take a peek at the projects.

Stages 2008 Musicals

  • Here On This Hill – book by Edward M. Cohen, lyrics by Edward M. Cohen and Marshall Coid, music by Marshall Coid, Aug. 16 at 7:30 PM, Aug. 17 at 1 PM. "Three generations of men in one amusingly dysfunctional family — eccentric grandpa, high-strung son, and rebellious grandson — struggle with love, loss and their significance in the grand scheme of things. They are poked, prodded and motivated toward a more hopeful future by a ghostly trio of the women in their lives."

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  • Take Me America – lyrics and libretto by Bill Nabel, music by Bob Christianson, Aug. 16 at 1 PM, Aug. 17 at 6:30 PM. "Follow nine refugees in their quest for asylum in the United States and the immigration agents who agonize over their fate. Who's lying? Who's telling the truth? Who stays? Who goes? How would you decide? Get it wrong and it might mean a death sentence. Based on true stories of asylum refugees, real, sometimes humorous, always compelling."
  • Belle Barth: If I Embarrass You, Tell Your Friends - book by Joanne Koch, lyrics by Owen Kalt, music by Ilya Levinson, Aug. 16 at 1 PM, Aug. 17 at 7 PM. "The bawdy humor of Belle Barth — nightclub comic who sold records in the millions — was forbidden fruit to Americans in the 1950s. Here, Belle tries to recover from a flop at Carnegie Hall, she jokes and sings and shares the life experiences that fueled her outrageous comedy."
  • Killala Bay - book and lyrics by Chris Burgess, music by Denise Wright, Aug. 16 at 7:30 PM, Aug. 17 at 1 PM. "Broadway meets Riverdance. Grace abandons her 'Sex in the City' existence to search for ancestors in an Irish backwater. But her volatile romance with the local rough diamond, and her battle to save the town from industrial devastation mean that she's in for anything but a quiet life! Manhattan values clash with the Old World in this elemental tale of an Irish-American in search of home." The panel discussions of the weekend will be "Reinventing Classic Musicals" Aug. 16, 10 AM; "New Musicals in Chicago Theatres" Aug. 16 at 4 PM; "New Musicals in American Theatres" Aug. 17, 10 AM; and "Writing and Performing Special Material," Aug. 17, 4 PM.

    Stages 2008 will kick off with a musical showcase of the past 15 years featuring songs from Robin Hood, The Untold Story, Muskie Love Tomorrow Morning, Josephine, Rex, Studio, American Klezmer, Jason & the Golden Fleece and Crazy Mary. Doors open at 6 PM Aug. 15 for the pre-show appetizer reception. Curtain is at 7:30; a champagne and dessert reception follows.

    Theatre Building Chicago is located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave. at Racine. For tickets call (773) 327-5252 or (312) 902-1500.

    Reservations are strongly encouraged. For more details visit TBC online at www.theatrebuildingchicago.org.

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    Theatre Building "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 for Stages 2008 focusing on the developmental process of new musicals, but performances are works in progress and are not open for critical review by media.

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