The New York Theatre Barn produces the developmental reading of the musical that is based on actual events. Joe Barros and Laura Brandel direct. Sam Willmott serves as music supervisor and orchestrator with musical direction by Lilli Wosk.
Speargrove has a book by Sammy Buck (Like You Like It), with music and lyrics by Dan Acquisto, Buck, Barbara Anselmi, John Bronston, Michele Brourman, Sam Carner, Brian Feinstein, Derek Gregor, Brandon James Gwinn, Rob Hartmann, Will Larche, Gordon Leary, Sheilah Rae, Joshua Robinson, Charlie Sohne and Sam Willmott.
Press notes read: "In the tight-knit community of Speargrove, Texas, where the high school musical is the event of the season, an impending production of Rent shakes the town to its core. Must the show go on?"
The musical was conceived by Joe Barros, Laura Brandel, Sammy Buck, Karen Marshall, Reed Prescott and Sam Willmott. Featuring a book and score by the late Jonathan Larson, Rent opened on Broadway in 1996, earning the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The musical takes place in the East Village in the 1990s, charting the lives of friends and lovers in the age of AIDS. It touches on topics including poverty, drug abuse, the HIV/AIDS crisis, homosexuality, but above all, community, love and self-expression.
Since amateur licensing of the musical began several seasons ago (including a high school edition of the musical) several regional productions have encountered resistance from parents and conservative groups.
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