Director Bill Castellino and actor-songwriter Gilles Chiasson will unwrap a new conceptual revue, Fishwrap, June 2-7 at the Adirondack Theatre Festival in upstate New York.
The new work was created curated by Castellino and Chiasson and created by songwriters who were asked to pen musical numbers based on articles that appeared in newspapers in 2001.
Participating songwriters in the piece concieved by Bill Castellino and Gilles Chiasson, and directed by Castellino, are Leo Carusone, Castellino and Chiasson, Ben Cohn, Jeremy Desmon, Lori Fischer, David Guerrerio, Bryan Scott Johnson, Sean McDaniel, Chris McGovern, Jim Price, Chris Roberts, Michael Scheman, Matthew Sherwin and Bill Whitefield.
The goal was to encourage new writers and give them a platform. The assigned writers or teams were told, "don't just musicalize the articles," Castellino said, and were encouraged to use the events of the articles to inspire something beyond the ordinary. The songs are expected be as eclectic as the writers: Serious, comic, pop, folky and more.
The pieces in the show, subtitled Yesterday's News, Tomorrow's Songs, are drawn from news items, obituaries, recipes, features in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and more. Is it a sister show the so-called "living newspaper" form of pseudo-documentary theatre that emerged in the 1930s?
"It isn't so much a living newspaper," Castellino said. "It's designed to be an of-the-moment response to the world around us."
As such, if the form takes off and has a future life, the material could be constantly updated and changed.
Chiasson, who has written a musical of his own called Chrysalis, and appeared as an actor in Rent and The Civil War on Broadway, came up with the idea for Fishwrap and brought it to Castellino.
Castellino called the show "a musical theatre event" of "pop songs flavored by musical theatre." There is some narrative connective material in the show, as well, Castellino added.
David Nehls is musical director. Designers are Neal Kerr (lighting), Kelly Tighe (set), TJ McEvoy (sound). Jerry James is stage manager.
The company includes Eric Collins, Jim Price, Maureen Russell and Renee Borys.
Tickets are $14-$19. Adirondack Theatre Festival presents in a converted former Woolworth's store in Glen Falls, NY, 30 minutes north of Albany, near Lake George. For information, visit www.atfestival.org or call (518) 798-7479.
— By Kenneth Jones