WHEN THE MOON HITS YOUR EYE to Open Theater Latté Da's NEXT New Musicals Series, 4/12
Theater Latté Da announced today the line-up for the inaugural year of NEXT: New Musicals in the Making, a major new work program to develop new musical theater in the Twin Cities. NEXT opens with When the Moon Hits Your Eye, running April 12-14, followed by C., running April 19-21, and closes with Bessie's Birthday, running April 26-28, all performed at The Lab Theater in the Minneapolis Warehouse District.
When the Moon Hits Your Eye, by Jon Marans, is a multi-ethnic play with music set in an old tenement walk-up in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. The drama/comedy, tells the story of a widowed ItalIan Barber, who finally wants to marry the true love of his life - Felizbela Carvalho - his mistress for the past twenty-five years. However, the course of true love never runs smoothly. The barber, his mistress and the other five off-beat lovebirds in this play find themselves consumed with the churning, inner turmoil of passion.
When the Moon Hits Your Eye is not a musical but a play infused with music, much like Marans' play Old Wicked Songs, for which Theater Latté Da won the 2009 IVEY Award for Overall Excellence. Marans states, "With this new initiative, Theater Latté Da is one of the rare theater companies that have the expertise and the interest to help writers explore the musical aspects of a show, to allow and to help guide a show to find both its emotional center and its musical voice."
C., book and lyrics by Bradley Greenwald, music by Robert Elhai, will be the second work presented at NEXT. C. is a musical adaptation of the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Greenwald is one of the Twin Cities most cherished performers and was a key writer in the opera work of Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Elhai is a prolific film composer and orchestrator based in the Twin Cities. He was nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk award for his orchestrations for The Lion King on Broadway.
Greenwald says, "We drown in an ocean of words that are talked, typed, texted, tweeted, twisted and turned to the breaking point of losing all meaning, and thereby their truth and beauty. This new adaptation of Edmond Rostand's great play reminds us of the power of language, and of one of its greatest champions."
The final installment of this season's NEXT is Bessie's Birthday, book and lyrics by Katie Baldwin Eng, music by Jeff Tang. Set in rural Wisconsin, the musical reunites a family for its annual celebration of Bessie's birthday. Although Bessie is turning 30, she suffered a seizure while swimming in their family pool that has left her perpetually six years old, or so they think. But this year's party is different; Bessie is on the cusp of change, ready to take the plunge. In the end, everyone is indeed changed as they all leap into the pool.
Theater Latté Da presented a 40-minute version of Bessie's Birthday in 2009 as a part of Passage of Dreams, a triptych of new musicals at the Southern Theater. NEXT allows Eng and Tang to develop the piece into a full-length musical. Baldwin says, "Peter Rothstein is both intelligent and brave which allows him to be respectful of the creative process and let it unfold organically."
NEXT will provide Twin Cities' audiences the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the creative process and witness new musicals in the making. Peter Rothstein, Theater Latté Da Artistic Director, sits on the board of directors of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and has been highly involved in their festival of new musicals. NEXT enters Theater Latté Da into this national arena and fulfills the organization's commitment to the next generation of the American Musical Theater.
Rothstein says, "I have been attending and assessing new work festivals for a number of years. I believe NEXT will put playwrights, composers and lyricists at the center of the process and engage our audience as a key collaborator. It's a thrilling step for the company."
Theater Latté Da is a Twin Cities theater company recognized for its ability to connect story, music, artist and audience through diverse stories and theatrical innovation. Theater Latté Da specializes in advancing the art of musical storytelling through emotional, visceral and intellectual performances that resonate with our current world. The company's bold approach expands the genre by originating new works, radically reinventing classics from the musical theater canon, and experimenting with unusual forms, musical styles and storytelling techniques. www.LatteDa.org