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Weston Playhouse Announces 10th Annual New Musical Award

January 29th, 2016 Comments off
Kirsten Childs (Photo provided by Weston Playhouse.)

Kirsten Childs (Photo provided by Weston Playhouse.)

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company announces Kirsten Childs’ Bella: An American Tall Tale as the winner of its tenth annual New Musical Award.

The only honor of its kind in the country, the Weston New Musical Award supports the production of a high-quality demo of a new work by writers and composers of notable promise, chosen from a group of national nominations.

Winners rehearse in Vermont under professional music direction with a cast of Broadway actors/singers, performing selections on the Weston stage. The cast then travels to New York for an invited concert and a recording session with Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. “The New Musical Award was the first of our now annual New Works Programs,” notes Weston Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler, “and it has led to ongoing relationships with an exciting group of emerging and established writers and composers, including five productions of new musicals on our stages.”

logo-300x300Nominated by The Sundance Institute Theatre Program and commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, Bella: An American Tall Tale is a musical exploring the African-American experience in the Old West. When Isabella “Bella” Patterson boards a train headed west to reunite with her Buffalo soldier sweetheart, she encounters the most colorful and lively characters ever to roam the Western plains. Calling Childs “an under-appreciated gem of the American musical theatre,” nominator Janice Paran celebrates Bella’s “heart and hope and pizzazz.”

Author Kirsten Childs is an award winner many times over. Her Off-Broadway musical The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin won an Obie and garnered a handful of impressive nominations: Lucille Lortel, NAACP, and Drama Desk among them. She holds faculty positions at NYU-Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and is a TDF Mentor in Wendy Wasserstein’s Open Doors Program.

Weston’s New Works Programs are supported by the Anton Family Foundation, Dramatists Play Service, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, Stacey Mindich Productions, Music Theatre International, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, Sh-k-Boom/Ghostlight Records, the Shubert Foundation, Tams-Witmark Music Library and many generous individual donors. The demo recording is supported in part by SAG-AFTRA.

Past recipients of the Weston New Musical Award have been produced around the country, have been chosen for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s annual Festival of New Musicals in NYC, and have received such honors as the Jonathan Larson Grant and Richard Rodgers Award.

The Vermont concert of Bella: An American Tall Tale is on Saturday, February 27 at 8:00 pm at the Weston Playhouse on the Village Green in Weston. The event is free and open to the public. The performance will be followed by a brief reception, with an opportunity to meet Childs and her cast. RSVP recommended at info@westonplayhouse.org.

Weston Playhouse Offers Sneak Peek of “Resident Alien”

February 24th, 2015 Comments off
(Photo provided by Weston Playhouse.)

(Photo provided by Weston Playhouse.)

 

Beyond Broadway’s bright lights and the concrete jungle of New York City, there are plenty of theater companies who are developing new works. If you’re headed to Vermont this weekend for a ski weekend, perhaps take a side trail to the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, which will light up a winter night with a free concert of songs from an exciting new musical performed by top Broadway talent. On Saturday, February 28 at 8 p.m., a cast of five will sing selections from Katya Stanislavskaya’s new musical Resident Alien. The event has been designated a VT Arts 2015 event by the Vermont Arts Council.

On stage will be Sarah Uriarte Berry and David Bonanno of Broadway and Weston’s The Light in the Piazza, Caitlin Kinnunen of Weston’s Pregnancy Pact and Broadway’s The Bridges of Madison County, Marissa McGowan of Broadway and Weston’s Les Miserables, and A.J. Shively of Broadway’s La Cage Aux Folles.  The musical director for the event is Charity Wicks of Broadway’s Spring Awakening.

Resident Alien is the winner of Weston’s 9th annual New Musical Award. Each year, the unique award supports one new work by a writer or writers of notable promise, chosen from a group of national nominations. The winner, along with a music director and cast, will be in Weston to rehearse and perform selections from the piece prior to a concert and recording session in New York City.

Resident Alien is an original story of the Berdichevsky family, who emigrate to New York from the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. The musical explores the theme of the main characters’ ability—or inability—to adapt to a new set of rules. The musical has been developed at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, the Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and New York Theatre Barn.

Weston’s New Works Programs are supported by the Anton Family Foundation, Dramatists Play Service, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, Stacey Mindich Productions, Music Theatre International, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, Tams-Witmark Music Library, and many generous individual donors.

The February 28 concert will be held at the Weston Playhouse, 12 Park Street, just off Route 100 S in Weston, Vermont. There is ample parking around the Village Green and in the adjacent Weston Mill Yard. The hour-long concert begins at 8pm and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception with the writer and performers. No reservations are necessary. For more information, call 802-824-8167 x110.