NYC Monuments Inspire Original Musicals 2/3 At The TimesCenter

Prospect Theater Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cara Reichel and Managing Director Melissa Huber, will present MONUMENT, a collection of new mini-musicals in concert, the culmination of Prospect's 2018 Musical Theater Lab. MONUMENT, the company's 12th lab performance, will be presented on February 3, 2018 at 8pm at The TimesCenter (242 West 41st, NYC).

For the 2018 lab, MONUMENT, eight writing teams come together to create original short musicals inspired by monuments around New York City: including the Joan of Arc statue in Riverside Park, the Simon Bolivar monument in Central Park, the Independence Flagpole in Union Square, the Postcards 9/11 sculpture in Staten Island, the Prison Ship Martyrs' monument in Fort Greene Park, The Rocket Thrower sculpture in Flushing Meadows Park, the Stonewall National Monument, and the Harriet Tubman Memorial.

These public sites evoke songs and stories crafted through the six-week lab process of writing and development. This year's writing teams include Rebecca Aparicio & Stephen Anthony Elkins, Alanya Bridge, Jared Dembowski & Michael Lluberes, Tia DeShazor & Andy Roninson, Marella Martin Koch & Minhui Lee, Lauren Taslitz & Danny Ursetti, Justin Taylor & Jeff Tang, and Marcus Yi.

Their full biographies follow. The lab is directed by Prospect's Associate Artistic Director Dev Bondarin and music directed by Dan Pardo. The process is co-curated by Bondarin and Reichel. The full cast will be announced shortly.

"Prospect's annual writers lab is one of our most impactful programs. It engages a diverse array of artistic viewpoints and styles in dialogue with a shared theme," said Reichel. "The outcome is always compelling, and this year we are once again thrilled to showcase these talented writers and their world premiere works in our IGNITE Series of concerts."

Prospect's annual Musical Theater Lab (established in 2008) is a developmental program which offers emerging writers a platform to connect, create, and workshop new material on a compact timeline. Writing teams are selected through an open application process, and pen short new works in response to a curated assignment. The resulting pieces are rehearsed, staged and presented to public audiences as a cohesive evening performed by a versatile ensemble of performers.

Tickets ($15 - $35) are available by visiting www.ProspectTheater.org or by calling (212) 352-3101. Launched in 2015, Prospect's IGNITE Series is an ongoing concert initiative at The TimesCenter, featuring today's new voices shaping tomorrow's musical theater.

The TimesCenter (www.TheTimesCenter.com) is located at 242 West 41st Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, in the heart of NYC's Times Square District. The venue features a 378-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and video capability, and a Steinway Concert Grand Piano.

Previous lab projects have included Museum Pieces (2008), Map Quest (2009), Snapshots (2010), Souvenir Stories (2011), Rites of Passage (2012), Portraits (2013), Street Seen (2014), the By The Numbers concert (June 2015), Stage Fright (October 2015), Archetype (2016), and the World Views concert (2017).

Funding for MONUMENT is provided by the ASCAP Foundation's Irving Caesar Fund. Prospect's IGNITE Series is generously supported by the Ford Foundation's Good Neighbor Committee.

Rebecca Aparicio wrote the book for Pedro Pan (2017 NYMF Developmental Reading Series Award, Musical Theatre Factory Writer's Group 2017-18, FringeNYC 2015, and commissioned by The TRUF in 2014), Sweet Tea And Jesus (Best Musical SASF 2010) and Acceptance (EAT'S Illuminating Artists Series 2010/SASF 2009). Rebecca was recently awarded an SDC Foundation Directing Observership. Select directing credits: Downtown Urban Arts Festival (Best Play Award 2016, Best Play Nomination 2014), FringeNYC. Producing credits: The Resister Project, Nasty Women Unite Fest, Pa' Puerto Rico. Proud member of SDC and the Dramatists Guild. RebeccaAparicio.com

Alanya Bridge is an award-winning music theater composer. Her work has been featured in Broadway's Future Songbook Series (Lincoln Center, New York, 2017), In The Works (The Duplex Cabaret Theatre, NY 2017), Sound Bites 4.0 (The Pershing Square Signature Theatre, NY 2017), and Songwriters Night (Playlight Theatre Company, NY 2017). Her work has been performed in numerous theatres around Australia and London, including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Tristan Bates Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre. Alanya is currently undertaking her MFA from NYU's Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Sheet music for her compositions can be found at ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com and alanyabridge.com.

Jared M. Dembowski Musicals include Pinocchio, Lost Boy, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch & Judy, Sherlock Holmes: the early years, The Geranium on the Windowsill Just Died But Teacher You Went Right On (premiere in 2018). Member of the BMI Workshop and a graduate of the NYU Musical Theater Writing program. Honored to be a part of this year's lab with Prospect Theater.

Tia DeShazor is an actor and writer based in New York City. Onstage she plays barrier-breaking leading ladies, and these strong female voices are reflected in her writing. She is a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and she's moving the inclusion conversation forward as the co-Founder of BOLD, and is on the board of the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition and the AEA committee for EEO and Diversity.

Stephen Anthony Elkins has written several musicals including: Pedro Pan (2017 NYMF Developmental Reading Series Award, Musical Theatre Factory Writer's Group 2017-18, FringeNYC 2015, and The TRUF 2014), Sweet Tea And Jesus (Best Musical SASF 2010), Acceptance (EAT'S Illuminating Artists Series 2010/SASF 2009). Stephen has also scored multiple films, webseries, and an online MasterCard commercial. In 2015, the Oregon All-State Choir featured his song "May We All Find Home" leading to performances by choirs across the U.S. His band Wild Magnolia is releasing their EP in January. Education: Lehman/Engel BMI Workshop, ESPA, University of Montevallo.

Marella Martin Koch is a writer and director. Bookwriter/lyricist for: Danny & The Rocket (music by Casey O'Neil), developed in part at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and presented in concert by Pocono Mountains Music Festival; How Love Feels (music by Jonathan Fadner), presented by Barrington Stage Company, Common Man Musicals, and National Asian Artists Project; Ten Minutes in the Life or Death of... (music by TJ Rubin), presented by The Rally Cat at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. Forthcoming: Adam & Eve (music by Minhui Lee), Sense & Sensibility (music by Aferdian Stephens). BA: UC Berkeley; MFA: NYU/Tisch. marellamartinkoch.com

Minhui Lee is a South Korean Born, NYC-based composer, music director, and pianist. Minhui's musicals are Love In Stop Motion (with Clara Luthas), When You've Got a Gift (with Kathleen Wrinn), Adam & Eve (with Marella Martin Koch), and The Wind And The Willow (with Sam Marsden and Ariel Mitchell). Her work has been presented at Joe's Pub, Feinstein's/54 Below, Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium, National Asian Artists Project, Goodspeed Opera House, and more. MFA: NYU Tisch. Proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America and ASCAP. Resident music director of Artemis Theatrical. Minhuilee.com

Lluberes The Boy in the Bathroom (NYMF Best New Musical and Best Book Awards), Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers (BroadwayWorld L.A. Theatre Award Best Play, The Blank Theatre), The Geranium on the Windowsill Just Died (ASCAP/DreamWorks Workshop), ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, The American Harmony Prize, NEA New Artist Initiative Award, residencies at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Hambidge Center, VCCA. He is a graduate of UNCSA, a member of The Acting Company, LCT Directors Lab, and The Dramatists Guild. Michael is the new Producing Artistic Director of Flint Youth Theatre. MichaelLluberes.com

Lauren Taslitz has a BA from Princeton, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA from Tisch. She is thelibrettist-lyricist of Join the Club, After They've Gone, The Quantification of Relative Human Insignificance, You Gave Me a Sheep, Red Bean Paste, Watch Me, The Qualms, The Whole isGreater than the Sum of Its Parts, and Unicorn. Her work has been performed at Barrington Stage Company, NYTB at the Cell, Chicago Dramatists, The Porchlight Music Theatre, Princeton University, and various other venues in and around New York and Chicago. Lauren and Danny's show, Regretting Almost Everything, which premiered at Mr. Finn's cabaret at Barrington Stage in August 2017, will have its New York premiere at Feinstein's/54 Below in April of 2018. Lauren and Danny are currently developing their Elon Musk inspired musical, A Game to Save the World.

Justin Taylor's plays and libretti have been seen at Dixon Place, Playwrights Horizons, Musical Theater Factory, Norfolk Music Festival and the Théâtre de Ménilmontant, Paris. Justin was a Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Conference and grant recipient from the JM Kaplan Fund and the Dramatists Guild. His work has been finalist for the Playwright's Realm Fellowship, Jerome NYC Fellowship, Play Penn, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New Harmony Project, Stratford New Works Lab among others. MA in opera dramaturgy from the Sorbonne and MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. justintaylorplays.com

Andy Roninson is a composer-lyricist, music director, and orchestrator. BMI Workshop Advanced: Harrington Award, Robert Sherman Scholarship. 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. 2017 Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. 2015 Prospect Theater MT Lab, Stage Fright. Creator/host of Take a Ten, the all-original ten-minute musical podcast. Episodes have been produced live in theaters, festivals, schools, and cabarets around the world from LA to Paris, France. Awards: Best Musical at TNNY's Soundbites, Winner of the 40th Samuel French OOBSP Festival, 2016 City Theater National Award for Short Playwriting. To listen to every episode for free, visit TakeATenMusicals.com. @AndyRoninson

Jeff Tang is a Brooklyn-based composer and arts + culture producer. His work has been seen in New York, Chicago, London, Minneapolis, Berkeley, and La Jolla. Commissions: NYC's Leviathan Lab, the NYU Write/Act Festival, Music Institute of Chicago, Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis, and St. Ann's School in Brooklyn. Composer Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and alumnus of the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio and the PlayLabs Festival. MFA, NYU (Musical Theater Writing), BA, University of California, Berkeley. Current projects include a hidden/mythological history of New York. jefftang.com

Danny Ursetti is a composer from Southern California. Musicals: A Game to Save The World, I Want To Eat Brains (Fresh Grind Festival 2016), Regretting Almost Everything (Barrington Stage Company 2017), and Your Brand-New Incurable Disease (NYU Tisch New Studio 2018). His music has been performed at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, 52nd St. Project, Green Room 42, The Sidewalk Café; and his arrangements have been performed by The New York Philharmonic and Pasadena Pops. In April 2018, Regretting Almost Everything will have its New York premiere at Feinstein's/54 Below and Your Brand-New Incurable Disease will have a workshop production (NYU Tisch New Studio). MFA: NYU Tisch

Marcus Yi is an award-winning writer/director and immigration lawyer based in New York. Recent work includes Micro Shrimp The Musical (Winner of 11th Annual NJ Playwrights Contest), Frank (Yangtze Rep), Lost at Sea, Flappers in Chains (NAAP), and When the Merlion Returned Home (Singapore Literature Festival). Marcus was named one of Indie Theater Now's 2014 People of the Year, is an Indie Theater Now Playwright, and a member of the 92nd St. Y Musical Theater Development Lab Collective. marcusyi.com


ABOUT PROSPECT THEATER COMPANY

Prospect Theater Company (founded in 1998) is dedicated to fostering and showcasing today's new voices shaping tomorrow's musicals. Since 2000, the company has fully produced more than 30 premiere musicals in New York City, in addition to new plays and numerous re-inventions of classic works. Reflecting its investment in the future of the field, Prospect leads a variety of developmental initiatives, including an annual Musical Theater Lab for emerging writers, and the IGNITE Series of concerts at The TimesCenter. In recognition of its enterprising and risk-taking new musical theater, the company received a 2016 OBIE Award grant. Their work as a community anchor for emerging artists that strengthens the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theater was also honored with a 2013 National Theatre Company Grant from the American Theatre Wing. Notable productions include: the Drama Desk Award-winning Working (2012), Death for Five Voices (2016), Long Story Short (2015), Jasper in Deadland (2014), the Drama-Desk nominated Tamar of the River (2013), Unlock'd (2013), Iron Curtain (2006, 2011), Myths and Hymns (2012), With Glee (2010), The Blue Flower (2008), Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (2009), The Hidden Sky (2010), Illyria (2002, 2008), and the Drama-Desk nominated The Pursuit of Persephone (2005).

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