NYC's Pace New Musicals Program Stages College: The Musical Jan. 22-26

News   NYC's Pace New Musicals Program Stages College: The Musical Jan. 22-26 Musical theatre students at Pace University in Manhattan will explore College: The Musical, a little-known new work that represents the musical theatre program's commitment to exposing students to untested shows.

The musical theatre program's workshop production — under the new umbrella of Pace New Musicals Presents — is billed as a "fully-produced reading," and will feature 12 BFA musical students.

College will play 8 PM Jan. 22-26 at Pace University Schaeberle Theater at 41 Park Row, Tenth Floor.

It's a bare bones staging, with no costumes and a representative set, said program director Amy Rogers, who will direct the show by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen. Music direction is by Robert Meffe, the program's resident musical director.

College: The Musical was one of 42 submissions received by Pace New Musicals Presents in the past year.

According to production notes, "College: The Musical is a tuneful and honest look at modern campus life, written by two recent Princeton graduates. The show follows the story of Nathan, a naive but enthusiastic freshman, as he discovers a world of parties, late nights, the occasional class, and of course, more parties." The "hilarious indictment of the student generation and campus apathy" takes a look at "the ridiculousness and pure fun of life in a dorm room, as well as offering a more serious reflection on growing up and trying to find oneself amid the chaos and insanity of the college experience."

The show premiered at Princeton University in May 2006, and has since been developed and performed at the University at Buffalo, and in an Equity-approved reading at the Princeton Club of New York in May 2007.

The Pace reading will be the second complete presentation of the material, and its first full presentation in New York City.

The objective of Pace New Musicals Presents is to nurture the creation of new musical theatre in New York City and "to provide an invaluable educational opportunity for students to work directly with top professionals in the field" — and to allow students to stretch their muscles experimenting with new, untested works that don't have precedent-setting productions.

The Pace musical theatre program began with six majors in 2002, and has grown to more than 80 majors, becoming a BFA degree program in 2006.

The cast of College includes Thom Caska, Lily Cohen, Jennifer DeRosa, Ariel Dobshinsky, Ari Fife, Ryan Goodale, Rob Hinderliter, Caitlin Mesiano, Nicholas Miller, Tara Novie, Eric Restive and Lindsay Sperber.

In January 2006, the program staged a workshop of Mark Waldrop and Brad Ross' musical, Luck!

Rogers previously told Playbill.com that in addition to two fully produced "name" musicals per academic year, Pace will stage an annual workshop of a new musical like Luck! and College. The former had previous undergrad development in a full staging in The University of Michigan's respected musical theatre program, as well as development at the Northlight Theatre in Illinois and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop.

Rogers said she was prompted to start a new works initiative for a number of reasons: Workshops and readings will be a major chunk of work for actors after they graduate, and this is good experience; new work stretches students' muscles (there are no existing recordings or films to rely on); and Pace's Manhattan location has natural access to musical theatre writers hungry for the development of their new shows.

Pace offers only the second musical theatre bachelor of fine arts in New York City, after New York University.

Pace's fully staged musicals of the 2007-08 season are Ragtime (fall 2007) and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (spring 2008).

For more information or reservations call (212) 346-1352 or email collegemusical@gmail.com.

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