A workshop of Sheik and Sater's musical Nero: Another Golden Rome was presented in August under the auspices of the Public Theater. Daniel Kramer directed a cast that included Euan Morton, Jan Maxwell, Holly, Bobby Steggert, Steven Skybell, Aaron Lohr and Diane Davis. The duo hope to have a New York production of Nero fiddling about town in the near future.
Currently, Sater and Sheik are presenting a private workshop of their chamber musical, The Nightingale, in New York. The workshop is presented in affiliation with San Francisco's A.C.T. and Martin McCallum, who originally commissioned the work.
The tuner based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale has seen developmental stagings at The O'Neill Theater Center in 2003 and in New York in 2005, under the guidance of La Jolla artistic director Des McAnuff. A subsequent 2007 La Jolla workshop was scuttled as Sheik and Sater found themselves busy with their Broadway hit Spring Awakening and the numerous international and touring offers that were pouring in.
To recharge their creative engines, Sheik, Sater and Lapine spent some time at the MacDowell artists colony in New Hampshire this past September, where Sater says the team "created a new map for the musical" and penned a new song for the score. Sater is also proud of his cast, which he says is mostly all Asian and features Jason Tam as the young emperor with T.V. Carpiom, Gedde Watanabe, Julyana Soelistyo, Thom Sesma, Aaron J. Albano and Miguel Cervantes as well as 17-year old Kaitlin Kiyan.
According to Sater, the latest workshop will allow the creative team to determine the next step for The Nightingale, which could ultimately nest at A.C.T.
Sater says that The Nightingale is unlike Spring Awakening, in that it is "not a rock musical. It's a chamber piece, written for a string quartet and harp."
The Nightingale follows "the Young Emperor of Ancient China [who] learns of an ordinary nightingale whose song brings hope to the lives of the common people living outside the walls of the Forbidden City" and ventures out of his court to see "the wonders of his realm with the nightingale and her protector, a young servant girl."
Songs penned by Sheik and Sater for The Nightingale include "Heaven Untold," "This Is Good," "Think What Heaven Must See," "The Nightingale Who Sings," "Such Things," "Happily Ever After," "In My Book," "The Song of the Human Heart," "The River of Your Mind," "Night Has None," "Frightened Soul," "A Rumor of Angels," and "Everything Sings With the Nightingale."