The musicals selected for the second annual development process — which serves authors who are calibrating their new projects and student performers hungry to bite into new material — are Tales From the Bad Years by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, directed by Richard Roland, and Take Me America by Bill Nabel and Bob Christianson, directed by Susan Russell.
"The purpose of the festival is to promote new works of musical theatre in a creative, educational and theatrical environment," according to Penn State.
Each musical has one week of rehearsal culminating in two performances (free to the public) in reading format. The composers and lyricists will be in residence at Penn State University Park working with Penn State students and faculty in this creative process.
Tales From the Bad Years is a five-actor musical revue "about people who are stuck between phases in their lives. Each song tells a story about being young, feeling old, and wanting something big."
Rehearsals begin March 17 toward a March 21 dress rehearsal and 2 PM and 8 PM performances March 22 at The Pavilion Theatre. Take Me America is based on the motion picture "Well Founded Fear," and has lyrics and libretto by Bill Nabel and music by Bob Christianson
In it, we "follow nine refugees in their quest for asylum in the United States, and the three INS agents who decide their fate. Do they stay or do they go? How would you decide? Get it wrong and you might as well sentence them to death, or worse. Inspired by true stories from the asylum process; stories of life and death. They are real, sometimes humorous, but always compelling." The show boasts 12 characters.
The dress rehearsal will be March 28, followed by performances March 29 at 2 PM and 8 PM at The Pavilion Theatre.
Raymond Sage, assistant professor of voice, is artistic director of Penn State New Musical Theatre Festival, an initiative of The Pennsylvania State University School of Theatre and School of Music.
For additional information, visit www.psunewmusicals.org.