Signature Theatre Is Developing Two New Musicals, Midwestern Gothic and Silver Belles

News   Signature Theatre Is Developing Two New Musicals, Midwestern Gothic and Silver Belles
Two new musicals that are currently in development at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA — Midwestern Gothic by composer Josh Schmidt and librettist Royce Vavrek and Silver Belles by composer/lyricist Matt Conner and book writer Ally Currin — were given industry readings Nov. 6 and 8.

Matthew Gardiner directed Midwestern Gothic with musical direction by Timothy Splain. The cast for the workshop featured Maria Egler, Lesley Hamilton, David Little, Matthew Myers, Anthony Nuccio, Graham Rowat, Paul Scanlan, Stephen Gregory Smith, Russell Sunday and Emily Zickler. Midwestern Gothic, according to press notes, "explores the wild and fantastical 'inner-barbarism' suppressed - then suddenly released between a collection of folks inhabiting an isolated rural American town. With her mostly-absent mother Deb tending endless bar-shifts in a small town several miles away, nineteen year-old Stina spends most of her aimless days immersed in books and films on television while her stepfather Red tends a nearly defunct farm. Armed with the power of her intelligence, rampant imagination, and striking beauty in a yellow one-piece swimsuit, Stina manipulates Red (wallowing in his own mid-life crisis) and an over-weight hired 'farm-boy in heat' named Anderson for daily fun, sport and entertainment. What else can she or anyone else do to pass the time as the hand of poverty, isolation and loneliness increases its grip on the inhabitants of this desolate, yet beautiful Midwestern landscape from which there is no apparent escape?"

Eric Schaeffer directed Silver Belles with music direction by Warren Freeman. The cast featured Sandy Bainum, Ilona Dulaski, Catie Flye, Rayanne Gonzales, Helen Hedman and Dan Manning.

Silver Belles, the fourth musical by Matt Conner to be developed by Signature Theatre, "looks at life, loss and love with country-fried music and down-home humor. The Silver Belles' Pageant is the highlight of Christmas in Sylva Ridge, Tennessee, and this year's production of 'A Christian Christmas for Christ' is sure to top last year's runaway hit, 'Another Naughty Nativity.' But without their peerless leader Oralene, the Belles find the pageant in jeopardy and a dear friend in dire need."

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