Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat Launches This Week
After months of fund raising and preparation, the inaugural season of Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat (BCTR) is set to launch September 25th in the rural bedroom community of Salem, CT. The innovative program, which was dubbed "a theater camp for Broadway professionals" by Seth Rudetsky, and is aimed at developing new works, will workshop Call It Courage, a musical adaptation of the beloved coming of age children's' novel.
BCTR is the brainchild of Lucille Lortel Award-winning choreographer Devanand Janki (Zanna Don't), who sees the inaugural season as a homecoming. "I spent my childhood summers at The Bingham Camp," Janki said. "I am thrilled it's now going to be a home for writers, directors and actors to create innovative new works of theatre that celebrate our diversity."
BCTR's class of 2015 will include a host of Broadway professionals including: Tiffany Chalathorn (A Chorus Line), Silvan Friedman (Christmas Carol), Graham Stephens (Peter and the Starcatcher), Jeigh Madjus (Here Lies Love), Kelsey Ryan Moore (Barcelona), Luis E. Mora (Skippyjon Jones) Hansel Tan (I Am Harvey Milk), Ann Fraser Thomas (Man of La Mancha), Tobias Wong (Here Lies Love). Janki's artistic team include musical director Yan Li and artistic associate Dennis Corsi.
"Diversity" and "non-traditional" are Janki's watchcry for BCTR which he aims to be an oasis free of the distractions from commercial theater for professionals to hone new theatrical works. "In our ever-evolving world, we need more places like BCTR that provide opportunities for artists," Janki said. "I am committed to bringing stories to the stage that reflect the multicultural world in which we live. At BCTR we provide a non traditional environment so that we can create non-traditional theatre."
For BCTR's inaugural season, Janki has chosen to develop Call It Courage, a musical adaptation of the beloved children's novel written by Connecticut native Armstrong Sperry. Set in the Pacific Islands, Call It Courage is the coming of age story of a timid young boy who overcomes bullying and ostracism to find the strength he always had within. Call it Courage is written by two-time Harrington Award winning composer and librettist Adam Overett whose My Life is a Musical had its world premiere in 2014 at Bay Street Theatre. Invited presentations of Call It Courage will take place October 3rd and 4th in Salem.
In addition to Call It Courage, BCTR will also present a "fire pit" reading of Esspy, a new play by Nandita Shenoy. Esspy tells the story of an ongoing relationship between a medical student and an actor, who repeatedly cross paths as the actor performs simulations involved the medical student's education. Shenoy's play Washer/Dryer is set to have its Off-Broadway premiere in 2016.
Held at 100 year-old Bingham Camp set in the woods of Salem, CT, BCTR will be a rural retreat where theater artists create work that gives voice to under-represented communities onstage. With an emphasis on non-traditional casting, multi-ethnic participants and bold theatricality, BCTR will offer a unique opportunity for theatre-makers to develop new plays and musicals that encourage dialogue between cultures. Each season, participants work on the development of a single new play or musical that culminates in a workshop performance.