UnsungMusicalsCo., the non-profit producing entity that celebrates the historic legacy and cultural impact of the American musical, will explore the first 100 years of musical theatre history in a new solo work that will arrive Off-Broadway next fall.
Conceived and performed by UMC founder Ben West, Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical charts the evolution of the American musical from the mid-1800s through 1999, incorporating more than 24 songs and covering seven eras in theatrical history.
Show Time! will premiere September 13–16, 2018, at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street). The production will have musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik and direction and musical staging by Shannon Lewis.
West is also at work on two companion pieces to the ambitious work, including 45 Minutes from Coontown, a celebration and history of black musical theatre that will debut in 2019; and 68 Ways to Go, a piece exploring the legacy of women writers that will follow in 2020.
UnsungMusicalsCo. has also launched an online video documentary series titled #ShowTimeConfession, which asks prominent theatre artists to reflect on the shows (and artists) whose work was influential to their own. Participating talent includes Tony Award winners Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Master Class), Jack O'Brien (Hairspray, The Coast of Utopia), Hal Luftig (Kinky Boots), and Richard Maltby, Jr. (Ain't Misbehavin'), as well as Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Jenn Colella (Come From Away), Jeff Bowen ([title of show]), Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days), Susan Birkenhead (Jelly's Last Jam), Grace McLean (The Great Comet), Douglas Carter Beane (Cinderella), Adam Kantor (The Band's Visit), and more.
UMC's 2018 season will also include a lab presentation of The Bergen Letters by TC Lind, Phoebe Kreutz, and Derek Gregor. Plans are also underway to release an EP of Gatsby, the Broadway-aimed 1969 musical by Carolyn Leigh and Lee Pockriss, as well as an audio play of Peggy-Ann, the 1926 musical comedy by Herbert Fields, Lorenz Hart, and Richard Rodgers.