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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 31, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 31
Village Theatre announces its 15th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Great Wall developmental production open to the public
Arts & Entertainment
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Village Theatre announces its 15th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Great Wall developmental production open to the public

Village Theatre is proud to announce the line-up for its 15th Annual Festival of New Musicals, coming up August 7-9. Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals began in 2000 and has long been a nationally renowned birthplace of new musicals and the foundation of the theatre's commitment to new work. This year's festival will see six new musicals brought to life through the creative collaboration of over 100 artists, performed and directed by the region's foremost theatre professionals and guest artists from across the country.

STAGED READINGS
New musicals Marco Polo, Barcelona, Death: The Musical, Cubamor, and Bridges will be presented in staged readings, rehearsed and fully sung using scripts. Though staged readings are not open to the general public, audiences are partly comprised of Village Originals members who are encouraged to offer feedback and constructive critiques of the work, thereby becoming an important part of the developmental process.

DEVELOPMENTAL PRODUCTION: GREAT WALL
The developmental production of Great Wall is also an integral part of the Festival of New Musicals, with tickets on sale and available to the general public.
Featuring limited sets and costumes, developmental productions are the next step in the process of developing a new musical, allowing authors to see a show with movement for the first time. Previously developed in the Festival of New Musicals in 2012, Great Wall is directed by Jerry Dixon with choreography by Daniel Cruz and music direction by Christopher D. Littlefield. Great Wall runs in Issaquah from August 6-9, during the Festival of New Musicals, then continues to Everett for two performances from August 15-16. This marks the first time a Village Originals developmental production has been on stage in Everett.

Great Wall will be presented at Village Theatre in Issaquah (August 6-9) and Everett (August 15-16). Tickets to Great Wall: $25 adults / $20 youth and seniors. Village Theatre box office: Issaquah (425) 392-2202 / Everett (425) 257-8600. Open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. www.villagetheatre.org/issaquah/vo-festival.php

THE FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS
The Festival of New Musicals provides an essential platform for artists to develop work at various stages. For Steve Tomkins, Village Theatre's Artistic Director, it's the best weekend of the year. 'The Festival of New Musicals is one of the most exciting aspects of what we do,' he says. 'It has grown so much since it began, and now there's truly nothing like it, with so many talented actors and artists together on one street. There is so much excitement and anticipation as authors hear their work and actors bring characters to life, often for the first time. And, of course,' Tomkins adds, 'there's the thrill of finding that gem that goes on to really impact the landscape of musical theatre.'

With a dedication to the development of new musicals that achieve national exposure, Village Theatre's Village Originals program and Festival of New Musicals has spawned such shows as Next to Normal (previously Feeling Electric), winner of three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, Million Dollar Quartet, nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award and Outstanding Musical Drama Desk Award, and It Shoulda Been You, currently on Broadway. Often, musicals developed in the Festival of New Musicals also go on to be featured in Village Theatre's Mainstage season.

During Village Theatre's upcoming 2015-2016 Mainstage season, two of five productions will be new musicals: Snapshots, debuted through the Village Originals program in 2005, and My Heart Is the Drum, developed in the Festival of New Musicals in 2014.

GREAT WALL, A Developmental Production
Music and Lyrics by Kevin So
Book by Kevin Merritt
Creative Consulting by David Henry Hwang

It's a long shot for Kevin to become an Asian-American rock star, but that's exactly what he's reaching for as he struggles to smash glass ceilings and become America's new sensation. But after the sudden death of his father, a clash of family and cultural expectations force him to choose between supporting his family and pursuing stardom. Full of soulful melodies, this bold new musical takes a fresh and honest look at the American dream, examining the choices we make, the risks we take, and the relationships that make it all worthwhile.

MARCO POLO
Music by Deborah Abramson
Book and Lyrics by Peter Mills

Destiny, drama, and damsels await as a young Marco Polo sets off on his intrepid quest to explore the world. With history hanging in the balance, he travels from the bustling seaport of medieval Venice to Kubla Khan's fabled summer palace in Xanadu, and everywhere in between. Featuring music and lyrics by the lyricist of Iron Curtain, Marco Polo will sweep you away on a hilarious, heartfelt musical journey as our hero searches far and wide for the things he desires most - adventure, family, and a place he feels at home.

BARCELONA
Book and Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson
Music and Lyrics by Jason Ma

When the death of her sister sends an American novelist into a downward spiral, it seems her creative spirit may be gone for good. That is, until a mysterious dream revives her with a jolt - and an inexplicable desire to visit Barcelona. In a city shining with architecture, music, and romance, time gets unlocked and stories merge as the spirit of her sister leads her on an extraordinary journey of healing and forgiveness. Featuring a magnificent score infused with the rich culture of Spain, Barcelona is a stunning new musical about the enduring power of inspiration, art, and love.

DEATH: THE MUSICAL
Music, Lyrics, and Book by Paul Gordon

When a struggling art teacher rents a small cabin in the woods, he's simply hoping for a quiet weekend away from it all. Much to his distress, a series of strange spirits and angels begin descending from the heavens - or rather, the attic - claiming to be preparing him for his 'transition.' Sensing that something is seriously amiss, he starts to question his own sanity and everything he knows. This quirky, darkly humorous rock musical is full of unexpected twists that will leave you dying for more.

CUBAMOR
Book and Lyrics by James D. Sasser
Music and Lyrics by Charles Vincent Burwell
Based on the film CUBAMOR by Joshua Bee Alafia

Welcome to Havana, the heart of Cuba - a city alive with intoxicating music, mystical forces, and amor! Here, two Americans and two Cubans find their paths unexpectedly crossed as they attempt to escape their pasts. But when romances blossom, spurred on by the spirits of the island, everything gets complicated. Can love bridge the American-Cuban divide? With a Latin-inspired score that blends traditional rhythms and contemporary hip-hop, Cubamor is a moving new musical about cultural barriers and the transcendent power of love.

BRIDGES
Book and Lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis
Music by Douglas J. Cohen

In 1965, a young woman boldly joins a march to fight for her civil rights. Decades later, another young woman faces her own battle for equality. As their stories collide across time and distance, each must come to terms with who she is in the context of a changing and complicated world. Full of soulful melodies by the creator of No Way To Treat A Lady, Bridges is an empowering story that explores our country's past and present - how far we've come, how far we have to go, and the bridges we must cross to get there.

About Village Theatre's Village Originals Program
Village Theatre's mission stipulates a dedication to the development of new musicals that achieve national exposure, and the Village Originals program of readings, workshops, developmental productions, and Mainstage productions represents one of the strongest commitments to new musicals in the nation. Village Theatre is one of the few resident theatres to provide regular opportunities at every step of musical development, from first table reading to full-scale premiere production. Each season, new works are included as part of Village Theatre's Mainstage five-show lineup alongside the classics.

Village Theatre exists and thrives as an ongoing testament to the vitality of musical theatre; the Village Originals program, anchored by the annual Festival of New Musicals, represents a dedication to the form's continued growth and evolution, and a determination that America's musical theatre will remain vibrant and relevant for generations to come. The annual Festival of New Musicals, held each summer in August, draws participants from all over the country, even internationally.

About Village Theatre
Based in Issaquah, WA, with operations in Everett, Village Theatre is a leading producer of musical theatre in the Pacific Northwest. Producing entertaining, quality productions for the entire family since 1979, Village Theatre has grown into one of the region's best-attended Equity theatres, with over 19,400 subscribers and 200,000-projected total attendance each season. Through its Village Originals program, Village Theatre is nationally recognized for its contribution to the development of new musicals, having launched over 145 new works to date. Village Theatre also takes pride in nurturing tomorrow's audiences through its youth education programs, Pied Piper and KIDSTAGE, serving over 55,000 young people, families, and schools annually.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

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