Sheik & Sater's ALICE BY HEART to Launch Theatre Aspen's New Development Series
Theatre Aspen announced the launch of a new play development series today, with the early workshopping of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater musical Alice By Heart, based on the Lewis Carroll novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Sheik and Sater are best known for their 2007 rock musical Spring Awakening which won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score.
From the creators of Spring Awakening, comes Alice by Heart: a fresh, modern, musical take on Alice in Wonderland. Originally commissioned by London's Royal National Theatre: Connections, Alice by Heart features a book by Steven Sater with Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), lyrics by Sater, and music by Duncan Sheik. Presented in association with Kurt Deutsch, Grammy Award-winning founder of Sh-k-boom/Ghostlight Records, the musical will be directed by Lear deBessonet (Good Person of Szechwan), with choreography by Chase Brock (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark). The team will workshop the piece in Aspen, and host a sneak-peek into their rehearsal process for an invited audience at the conclusion of the work-time. Tara Rubin Casting has assembled the company of young actors, including Riley Costello (Everyday Rapture), Mike Faist (Newsies), Noah Galvin (The Burnt Part Boys), Molly Gordon (as "Alice"), Stephanie Hsu, Rodney Ingram, Nathaly Lopez (What's It All About?), Sydney Patrick, Sydney Shepherd (First Date), Marrick Smith and Phillipa Soo (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812).
Theatre Aspen has been expanding activity beyond its summer repertory season. The new musical VICES: A Love Story (by Michael Heitzman, Ilene Reid, Susan Draus and Everett Bradley) was part of the 2010 season and the upcoming summer features a new comedy by Sandy Rustin called The Cottage.
In January, the board and artistic leadership of Theatre Aspen outlined the organization's new strategic plan, one that formally commits to developing new work in addition to its regular programming and educational offerings. Board members Barbara and Franklin Carson's lead gift of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars will support the theatre's commitment to help artists develop work from the very early stages through production. Additional support was received from the Somerled Charitable Foundation.
Theatre Aspen's Executive Artistic Director, Paige Price said, "I spoke to many colleagues about our plans, as we sought a way for Theatre Aspen to bring something unique to the table. Well, we bring Aspen to the table; a remote, stunning, safe place to work. Two weeks after announcing our plans, we were in conversations with this team."
The theatre recently announced its upcoming season, which includes the musical The Full Monty (book by Terrence McNally, music and lyrics by David Yazbek), the contemporary musical Little Women, based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, by Allan Knee ("Finding Neverland"), Jason Howland (music) and Mindi Dickstein (lyrics), and the aforementioned Noel-Coward inspired comedy The Cottage, written by Sandy Rustin Fleischer. The productions will run in repertory through August 16th. Casting will be announced shortly.
Price was recently elected to the board of the National Alliance of Musical Theatre and is currently on the selection committee for the 2014 NAMT Fall Festival of New Musicals. She is joined in steering Theatre Aspen's new strategic vision by John Thew, the organization's new Managing Director, who joined the organization in November.
Productions take place in the Hurst Theatre in Rio Grande Park and will be underwritten by season sponsor ANB Bank, with the generous support of Liz and Jane Armstrong, Nancy Wall and Chuck Wall, Hays Private Client, Jim and Brenda Grusecki, The City of Aspen, Shane Aspen Real Estate, Les Dames d'Aspen and The Aspen Club and Spa.