Three Companies Will Develop Burnt Part Boys Musical Toward 2010 NYC Run | Playbill

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News Three Companies Will Develop Burnt Part Boys Musical Toward 2010 NYC Run It takes a village to produce a musical. Three New York not-for-profits will develop the new musical, The Burnt Part Boys, set in West Virginia coal-mining country, in 2009-10. The process culminates in a spring 2010 co-production by two respected Manhattan troupes.
Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen
Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen Photo by Kevin Sprague

Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre and Playwrights Horizons announced that the musical by Mariana Elder (book), Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and Chris Miller (music), directed by Erica Schmidt, will get a Vineyard public lab production (not open to theatre critics) May 26-June 6, 2009, in anticipation of a full Off-Broadway co-production between Vineyard and Playwrights Horizons at the Mainstage of Playwrights in 2010. Subscribers to both companies will attend the production at Playwrights, on West 42nd Street.

In between those Manhattan engagements, The Burnt Part Boys will be presented in a developmental staging this summer at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, followed by the New York City premiere in spring 2010.

This rare developmental process is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Playwrights Horizons "for the development of new musicals in partnership with a regional theatre, wholly within the non-profit system from start to finish."

The Burnt Part Boys was seen in developmental readings by Vineyard. The 2010 full staging will mark the first time that Playwrights and Vineyard have collaborated on a co-production.

According to an April 2 announcement of the project, "The Burnt Part Boys is set in West Virginia in 1962. The musical follows a group of teenagers whose fathers were killed ten years earlier in a tragic coal mining accident. When they learn that the mine will be reopened, they set out secretly in the hopes of seeing the site, and keeping it closed. A deeply moving and powerful odyssey, The Burnt Part Boys is an unforgettable coming of age tale, set to a haunting and distinctive bluegrass and pop inspired score." Composer Chris Miller and Lyricist Nathan Tysen were the 2008 winners of The Vineyard's Kitty Carlisle Hart Musical Theatre Award, as well as the Jonathan Larson Award and the Richard Rodgers Award. Their collaborations include Fugitive Songs, presented Off-Broadway last season and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (book by Joe Calarco), which received a workshop production at Barrington Stage in 2008. Book writer Mariana Elder's plays, sketch comedy and musicals have been performed across the country, including Barrington Stage Co., Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Director's Lab, Theatre for a New City and Manhattan Theater Source.

Director Schmidt's recent credits include the critically-acclaimed premiere of Humor Abuse at Manhattan Theatre Club, Uncle Vanya at Bard Summerscape, as well as the Tokyo production of Rent, Carnival at Paper Mill Playhouse, As You Like It at The Public, People Like Us at Playwrights Horizons and Debbie Does Dallas at the Jane Street Playhouse.

For more information about the seasons of the collaborating theatres, visit, or

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