Weston's New Musical Award Goes to... String
The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company announces Sarah Hammond and Adam Gwon's String as the winner of its eighth annual New Musical Award. Book writer Hammond and composer/lyricist Gwon describe String as "a musical fable about the three Fates and a fall." To rehearse, perform and record selections from the new work, Weston has assembled a cast that features Heidi Blickenstaff in the leading role. Blickenstaff (Broadway's The Addams Family, (title of show)) played the role of Diana in Weston's acclaimed 2013 revival of Next To Normal. The cast of String will perform a free public concert at the Weston Playhouse on Saturday March 1 at 8pm.
Commissioned by Broadway Across America and developed at Milliken University, String won New Dramatists' Loewe Prize for Musical Theatre and was workshopped at the O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference. The musical was nominated for Weston's award by Emily Morse, Director of Artistic Development at New Dramatists in New York, who remarked, "String is as entertaining as it is penetrating. We are instantly captivated by the swell of Adam's melodies and the intrigue of Sarah's mysterious and charming characters."
Adam Gwon (music and lyrics) is best known for his musical, Ordinary Days, seen at the Roundabout and on London's West End. He is the recipient of many honors including the Kleban Award and Fred Ebb Award. Sarah Hammond (book) is a playwright and librettist whose credits include Green Girl (Public Theatre Summer Play Festival) and residencies at the McDowell Colony and London's Royal National Theatre.
The Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the only one of its kind in the country, has become a highly sought-after prize. It supports new work by writers and composers of notable promise, chosen from a group of national nominations. Winners rehearse their work in Vermont under professional musical direction with a cast of exceptional actor/singers. After performing selections from String in the free concert on the Weston stage on March 1, Gwon, Hammond and their cast return to New York to perform at a private concert and then go on to record a demo cd under the supervision of Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom Records.
The concerts and demo will be led by music director Matt Castle (Broadway revival of Company). Blickenstaff will play a Greek goddess banished to a modern-day high rise who finds herself breaking her own rules to offer immortality to an ordinary man. The stellar supporting cast includes Carey Anderson (Mamma Mia), Katie Thompson (Giant), Geoff Packard (Rock of Ages) and Zachary Prince (On A Clear Day...).
Weston Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler comments, "We were immediately taken by String: its fresh and adventurous score, its gripping and romantic story, and its quirky and compelling cast of characters. We can't wait to hear it in the voices of the exciting cast we've assembled."
Weston's New Works Programs have recently been supported by the Anton Family Foundation, Dramatists Play Service Inc., the Frederick Loewe Foundation, Stacey Mindich Productions LLC, Music Theatre International, National Alliance for Musical Theatre/National Fund for New Musicals, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation, Samuel French Inc., Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc., and many generous individual donors. The demo recording is supported in part by SAG-AFTRA.