Great Wall, which opens the festival, features a score by Kevin So and a book by Kevin Merritt. It was developed at the Village Theatre previously and was also presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in 2014. It tells the story of Asian-American aspiring rock star Kevin, who's reaching for the stars but struggling to become the next sensation. A family drama challenges him further, forcing him to choose between his dream and supporting them. For more information visit GreatWalltheMusical. Hwang is a Tony winner for his play M. Butterfly and a two-time nominee for Flower Drum Song and Golden Child.
The developmental production of Great Wall, directed by Jerry Dixon, features a cast with a number Broadway alums, including Albert Guerzon, Francis Jue, Raymond J. Lee and Pearl Sun. The staging is off-book and features limited sets and costumes. Performances run Aug. 6-8 in Issaquah and 15-16 in Everett, and tickets, priced $25, are available to the public. Visit VillageTheatre to purchase tickets.
Other participants in the Festival include Isaiah Johnson, recently cast in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Color Purple, Greg Allen, Eric Ankrim, Nell Balaban, Kyle Carter, Taryn Darr, Sarah Rose Davis, David Ira Goldstein, Rich Gray, Justin Huertas, Diana Huey, Brandon Ivie, Matthew Kacergis, John Patrick Lowrie, Ellen McLain, Jennifer Paz, Jessica Skerritt, R.J. Tancioco and Perry Young, among many others.
The five staged readings of new musicals follow:
Music by Deborah Abramson
Book and Lyrics by Peter Mills Destiny, drama, and damsels await as a young Marco Polo sets off on his intrepid quest to explore the world. With history hanging in the balance, he travels from the bustling seaport of medieval Venice to Kubla Khan’s fabled summer palace in Xanadu, and everywhere in between. Featuring music and lyrics by the lyricist of Iron Curtain, Marco Polo will sweep you away on a hilarious, heartfelt musical journey as our hero searches far and wide for the things he desires most – adventure, family, and a place he feels at home.
Book and Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson
Music and Lyrics by Jason Ma
When the death of her sister sends an American novelist into a downward spiral, it seems her creative spirit may be gone for good. That is, until a mysterious dream revives her with a jolt – and an inexplicable desire to visit Barcelona. In a city shining with architecture, music, and romance, time gets unlocked and stories merge as the spirit of her sister leads her on an extraordinary journey of healing and forgiveness. Featuring a magnificent score infused with the rich culture of Spain, Barcelona is a stunning new musical about the enduring power of inspiration, art, and love.
Death: The Musical
Music, Lyrics, and Book by Paul Gordon
When a mediocre art teacher rents a small cabin in the woods, he’s simply hoping for a quiet weekend away from it all. Much to his distress, a series of strange spirits and angels begin descending from the heavens – or rather, the attic – claiming to be preparing him for his “transition.” Sensing that something is seriously amiss, he starts to question his own sanity and everything he knows. This quirky, darkly humorous rock musical is full of unexpected twists that will leave you dying for more.
Book and Lyrics by James D. Sasser
Music and Lyrics by Charles Vincent Burwell
Based on the film "Cubamor" by Joshua Bee Alafia
Welcome to Havana, the heart of Cuba – a city alive with intoxicating music, mystical forces, and amor! Here, two Americans and two Cubans find their paths unexpectedly crossed as they attempt to escape their pasts. But when romances blossom, spurred on by the spirits of the island, everything gets complicated. Can love bridge the American-Cuban divide? With a Latin-inspired score that blends traditional rhythms and contemporary hip-hop, Cubamor is a moving new musical about cultural barriers and the transcendent power of love.
Book and Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis
Music by Douglas J. Cohen
In 1965, a young woman boldly joins a march to fight for her civil rights. Decades later, another young woman faces her own battle for equality. As their stories collide across time and distance, each must come to terms with who she is in the context of a changing and complicated world. Full of soulful melodies by the creator of No Way To Treat A Lady, Bridges is an empowering story that explores our country’s past and present – how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and the bridges we must cross to get there.
These are open to Village Originals members only. For more information and to learn more about the Festival's special events, visit VillageTheatre.