Theatre Building Chicago presents the Stages Festival on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The 9th annual festival, "Stages 2002: A Festival of New Musicals in Progress," will feature seven new musicals by a host of lyricists and composers.
Tony Award winner Lillias White — of The Life and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying fame — headlines Tumpie's Dance, a new musical from Sherman Yellen (book, lyrics) and Wally Harper (music). White will play the dual role of Josephine Baker's mother and a blues singer Baker worked for during her early career in the United States. Chicago actress Angela Grovey will portray the famed Josephine Baker; Tazewell Thompson directs. Tumpie's Dance will be presented Aug. 9 and again on Aug. 10 (1:30 PM).
John Sparks, artistic director of Theatre Building Chicago, told PBOL Aug. 9 that the Festival includes "seven new shows being presented in various stages of development. They are either a seated or concertized reading, a staged reading or a skeletal production, depending on how much process the show has had."
The other musicals that comprise the festival — held at two different theatres in the three-theatre complex — include Dinner at Eight (Aug. 10 at 9:30 PM and Aug. 11 at 4:30 PM), Doctor Sex (Aug. 10 at 9:30 PM and Aug. 11 at 4:30 PM), Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class (Aug. 10 at 1:30 PM and Aug. 11 at 2 PM), The Stork Derby (Aug. 10 at 4 PM and Aug. 11 at 9:30 PM), Hard Road (Aug. 10 at 4 PM and Aug. 11 at 9:30 PM) and The Prairie (Aug. 10 at 7:45 PM and Aug. 11 at 2 PM).
The Stages Festival will be held at Theatre Building Chicago, which is located at 1225 West Valmont Avenue. Tickets are priced at $15; a pass for all seven shows is $75; and the Aug. 9 opening, Tumpie's Dance, preceded by a cocktail party is $50 (discounted to $35 for pass holders). Call (773) 327-5252 for tickets. White, who starred in the award-winning revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, garnered a Tony Award for her work in Cy Coleman's The Life. She also starred on Broadway in Barnum and Once on This Island and completed a critically hailed stint at New York's posh cabaret, Feinstein's at the Regency, this past season.