Chicago's STAGES Unveils Musicals Moon Shine!, Children of the Night, So Happy I Could Scream! and More | Playbill

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News Chicago's STAGES Unveils Musicals Moon Shine!, Children of the Night, So Happy I Could Scream! and More STAGES 2007, Theatre Building Chicago's annual festival of new musicals in progress that are presented in concert-style readings, will offer seven emerging works Aug. 10-12.

Each musical gets viewed twice in the weekend fest, which is becoming regarded as a major regional showcase for new musicals — a must-see for fans and industry folk alike. (It gained national attention last year when a Windy City critic weighed in on the works in progress, raising the hackles of those who advocate the sanctity of incubators like the one at Theatre Building Chicago.)

"Now in its 14th season, STAGES focuses on the development of the material, the craft of writing and the talent of the performers," according to TBC.

The weekend will also feature a rare revival — indeed a "revised" revival, technically making it "eight" works-in-progress in the fest — of the Richard Rodgers-Sheldon Harnick-Sherman Yellen musical, Rex, about England's King Henry VIII. On Aug. 10, Harnick and Yellen will discuss the work, and the changes they made to it, in a Q&A with Bert Fink of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.

The new musicals to be seen in concert readings at STAGES 2007 include:

  • Moon Shine!, with music and lyrics by country star Marty Stuart and a book by Mary Willard. "A Texan has only a few weeks to find a wife before losing his inheritance — the family pet food business. Tumbleweeds and hairballs combine to make a hilarious musical comedy."
  • Children of the Night, with book, music and lyrics by Scott Martin. "The true story behind the creation of Dracula and author Bram Stoker's desire for the infamous actor Sir Henry Irving to portray the literary villain on stage."
  • The Showgirl of 52nd Street, with book and lyrics by Charles Leipart, and music by John Kroner. "A bag lady, once a glamorous performer, confuses fact with fantasy, and relives her life in a jumble of memories and hopes."
  • Tomorrow Morning, with book, music and lyrics by Laurence Mark Wythe. "Two couples, separated by time. Looking back or looking forward, only one thing is certain: tomorrow morning, their lives will never be the same."
  • So Happy I Could Scream! A Musical Celebration of Motherhood, book by Judy Freed, music by Sari Miller, lyrics by Randi Wolfe, additional lyrics by Sari Miller. "A touching, funny and thought-provoking musical revue for everyone who is a mother or has one."
  • Downtown, book by Barbara Georgans, music by Philip Seward, lyrics by Charlie Mehler. "A roman à clef about the founding of a 1950s magazine for men, complete with centerfolds! The romance between the originators is thwarted by blackmail, plagiarism and lace panties."
  • DESPAIRadise, book and lyrics by Pat Byrnes, music by Rich Prezioso. "Nihilist European art film makers descend to the depths of despair when their director discovers love and happiness." So Happy I Could Scream!, Downtown and DESPAIRadise were audience favorites, developed and performed during Theatre Building Chicago's 2006-2007 Monday Night Musicals concert reading series.


    Theatre Building Chicago's musical program "offers an array of works in multiple 'stages' of development," according to TBC. "TBC nurtures new works through its musical theatre writers workshop and through collaboration with theatre companies and artists across the country. Theatre Building Chicago welcomes media attention focusing on the developmental process of new musicals; however, all performances are works in progress and are considered not appropriate for critical review."

    Curtain times for the new works range from 9 AM-7:30 PM Aug. 11-12. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

    Theatre Building Chicago is located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL.

    For information call (773) 327-5252 or visit

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