Featuring book, music, lyrics and orchestrations by Zaitchik, the musical was developed at Lincoln Center Theater and as part of the 2009 Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Musical Theater Conference.
Lindsay's novel was inspired by the 1900 disappearance of a group of female college students at the Australian rock formation "Hanging Rock" on Valentine's Day. It was also made into an acclaimed 1975 film.
"At Lincoln Center and the O'Neill, I was lucky to have incredibly talented actors help me see what I had written, and I'm continuing to discover things from the actors here at Weber. As the emotional wallop of the musical hinges on the fragile transition between adolescence and young adulthood, these young actors – all close to the same age as their characters – are bringing a fresh and moving authenticity to the story," Zaitchik told Playbill.com.
Here's how the musical is characterized: "Set in Victoria, Australia on Valentine's Day, 1900, the girls from Appleyard College are released from their studies for an afternoon picnic. The wilderness is seductive and the girls are enraptured. However, the mystery begins when three of the girls and a teacher inexplicably vanish sending everyone into a maelstrom of fear, anxiety and intrigue."
Jim Christian directs the production that will play through March 8. The cast includes Amelia Moore, Jenessa Bowen, Casey Greenwood, Kacee Neff, Shae Wilson, Erin Crouch, Bailee DeYoung, Katie Jones, MeiLee Ballard, Emily Wells, Mandie Harris, Alice Gittins, Amanda Shaffer, Jason Baldwin, Nate Waite, Aaron Ross, Brittany Wood and Clayton Porter. Picnic at Hanging Rock has musical direction by Nicholas Maughn, lighting design by AustinHull, set design by Van Tinkham, costume design by Jean-Louise England, sound design by Jessica Greenberg, prop design by Paul Wuthrich and hair and make-up design by Kaylee Lloyd. Stage manager is Scott Nielsen. John Bizzell is technical director.
Singer-songwriter Zaitchik is also collaborating with playwright Jordan Harrison on Suprema. His musicals also include Ula (book/music/lyrics) and Grenadine (book/music/lyrics). In 2009 he created the band Blue Bottle Collection, which released the full-length album "Summer of the Soda Fountain Girls" in 2011. His debut solo EP, Bad Dancer, was released in 2013. As an actor, Zaitchik has appeared in Craig Lucas' Prayer for My Enemy at the Intiman Theatre and the premiere of The Burnt Part Boys at Barrington Stage Company.