Musical 'In the Bubble' Premieres at Northwestern in July

The world premiere of In the Bubble (July 27 to Aug. 12) will be the fourth new musical to emerge from the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University.

The new stage work is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a nostalgic vision of 1976, when Jimmy Carter was running for the White House, crocheted bikinis were all the rage, and teenagers could "get it on" without the fear of death.

In the Bubble features a book by Obie-winner Rinne Groff (The Ruby Sunrise, upcoming Saved), music by Michael Friedman (Civilians, upcoming Saved) and Joe Popp (The Hornrims) and lyrics by Friedman, Groff and Popp. Direction is by Michel Greif (Grey Gardens, Rent) and choreography by Luis Perez. (Man of La Mancha). Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis serves as dramaturg.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. July 27 and July 28; 2 p.m. July 29; 8 p.m. Aug. 2, Aug. 3 and Aug. 4; 2 p.m. Aug. 5; 8 p.m. Aug. 9; Aug. 10 and Aug. 11; and 2 p.m. Aug. 12, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus.

In the Bubble "tells the tale of Todd Fielding, a fictional character suffering from the real disease of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), which has kept him stuck behind a plastic wall and separated from human touch for the first 17 years of his life. When Todd falls in love with the wealthy and high-spirited Gina Jenner, who lives next door, he is forced to choose between his safe existence in 'bubbled' captivity and a risky chance at the life he's always wanted," state press notes.

AMTP's newest musical was inspired by multiple "bubble boy" sources in pop culture, including the 1976 Emmy-nominated made-for-television
movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta; the 1987 Paul Simon song The Boy in the Bubble; a 1992 "Seinfeld" television episode; and Bandeira Entertainment's 2001 screen comedy Bubble Boy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, (and more potently, the protests surrounding the Gyllenhaal film).

In the Bubble also draws on the medical history of real children who have suffered from SCID. By ruminating on these youngsters, their sickness and the families who took care of them, In the Bubble also explores parents who are overcome with fear that their children may be destroyed by the world around them, and children, on the verge of becoming adults, who are scared to grow up.

The honorary producers of In the Bubble are Barbara Whitman and avid Carlyon and Mr. and Mrs. John Shields II.

The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) is a Northwestern University initiative under the leadership of Artistic Director Stuart Oken and Executive Director Dominic Missimi. AMTP is dedicated to nourishing the vitality of American music theatre through the development and production of new musicals by music theatre's leading artists; increasing opportunities for education and training with Northwestern's theatre, dance and opera programs; and initiating a broad range of interdisciplinary research projects. Providing seed funding for this initiative is prominent Northwestern alumnus and respected Hollywood writer, producer and television, film and theatre director Garry K. Marshall and his wife Barbara.

Single tickets range from $10 to $30. A summer 2007 music theatre festival season subscription also is available.  For more information or to order a summer season subscription or single or group tickets by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.html and clicking the TicketWeb icon.


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