New Musicals SKIN & BONES and U.G.L.Y. Set for SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab

New Musicals SKIN & BONES and U.G.L.Y. Set for SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab

The Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre has announced the two musicals that have been chosen for the SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab, a new developmental workshop for musical theater writers - SKIN & BONES by Ben Clark and Andrew Kramer and U.G.L.Y. by Darius Smith.

Both musicals were selected from 160 submissions for artistic development at Signature Theatre during the summer of 2016. The projects, under the leadership of Signature's Director of New Works Joe Calarco will each receive a two-week workshop and public readings.

"Signature Theatre has become known as an incubator for new exciting and challenging musicals in this country over the past 25 years," said Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "We felt it was time to provide more opportunities for artists to help them get their work produced on American stages. With SigWorks and Joe Calarco, we are committing to an entire new level of development that will nurture and give the creative freedom to artists to explore their stories in a safe environment with the support of the entire Signature Theatre staff."

"I couldn't be more excited to welcome Darius Smith, Ben Clark and Andrew Kramer as the writers for our inaugural SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab," said Director of New Works Joe Calarco. "We received 160 submissions and we encountered a lot of fantastic writing. Hard decisions had to be made. Eric and I ideally wanted to find pieces that were not only daring and that excited us but that were also in the early stages of their development. U.G.L.Y and SKIN & BONES fit the bill perfectly. I know when I read both I got that jolt of excitement that happens when I read and listen to something that is ambitious and fresh."

SKIN & BONES features music and lyrics by Ben Clark and a book by Andrew Kramer. Set in 1870, a struggling homestead in the American Great Plains receives new life with the discovery of dinosaur bones.

U.G.L.Y. is written by Darius Smith. In small town Beulah, Alabama, a high school is thrown into confusion when a girl tries out for the wrestling team.

The projects will each receive a director and assistant director, a musical director, actors, and a stage manager. SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab will take place August 1-20, 2016. Each show will receive two public readings during the Lab - dates, times and ticket reservation information will be announced early summer 2016.

New Work at Signature Theatre is sponsored by The Reva & David Logan Foundation.

Ben Clark is a singer/songwriter from Floyds Knobs, IN currently living in Brooklyn, NY. SKIN & BONES is his second work for musical theatre aside from The Circus in Winter, (Goodspeed Musicals 2014, NAMT 2012). Ben is a graduate of Ball State University Dept. Of Theatre and Dance, during which he received fellowship from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference, and the Johnny Mercer Songwriting colony. Ben has worked with collegiate undergrad students at his alma mater Ball State, as well as University of Nebraska, and Sheridan College in Canada. His debut record release is this fall with his band Ben Clark and the Long Shadows, titled Time and Miles Apart.

Andrew Kramer was born and raised in Cleveland and is a 2010 graduate of Ball State University's Department of Theatre & Dance. He was a 2014 Nord Playwriting Fellow at Cleveland Public Theatre, where he has developed his plays: ARMATURE, Crying for Lions, and Bridge. He was a 2013 member of the Emerging Writer's Group at The Public Theatre in New York as well as a former member of the Groundbreakers Playwrights' Group with the terraNOVA Theatre Collective where he developed his playWhales & Souls. Andrew was a finalist for the 2015 Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, a former Core Apprentice Writer at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, as well as a two-time semi-finalist in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival with his plays A Map of Our Country (2010) and We Happy Animals (2011). Andrew has also served as Playwright?in?Residence at the Cairns Arts Festival in Queensland, Australia and his play The Dog(run) Diaries was shortlisted for the 2012 US/UK Old Vic New Voices. Andrew is a two-time member of the Ingram New Works Lab at Nashville Repertory Theatre where he was mentored by playwright Steven Dietz and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright. His work has been seen in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn, Lincoln, Louisville, Nashville, Houston, Williamsburg VA, New York, Sacramento, Cairns Australia and Bucharest Romania.

Darius Smith is a composer/lyricist and musical director currently living in New York and teaching musical theatre in the New Studio on Broadway at NYU. He is the 2015 Stephen Sondheim Young Artist Citation Recipient and a 2015 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Competition Finalist. His original works include Marcus Nate is Alive and Great and Living in Detroit, The Snowy Day (Helen Hayes nomination - Best TYA Production), U.G.L.Y and Songs in the Key of Chocolate. Recently, Darius appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Futurity and music directed the Off-Broadway premiere of Three Little Birds at the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street. In the DC area, Darius Smith has music directed at Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, MetroStage, and Adventure Theater-MTC. Darius is also the recipient of the 2016 San Francisco Theatre Critics Award for Outstanding Music Direction (Choir Boy).

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 47 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 94 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 386 nominations.

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