UnsungMusicals Co.'s SHOW TIME! to Explore Seven Eras of the American Musical
UnsungMusicals Co. announced today its plans for the 2018 season.
UnsungMusicalsCo. (UMC) focuses on researching and developing prescient projects that explore the vibrancy of the American musical theatre canon, and how past works influence the artists and repertoire of today and tomorrow. This year's season will focus on a new documentary musical,
Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical, created, written, and performed by UMC founder and 2017 recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, Ben West. Developed for over four years, with more than 20 archives, in more than 10 states, Show Time! features over two dozen songs in an electrifying live-action documentary, weaving live music and live performance through a narrative of world, cultural, and, primarily, theatre history.
The documentary musical will premiere in a special engagement at the Theatre at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street) on September 13-16, 2018. Tickets, starting at $20, are now available.
There are future plans to roll out two companion pieces to Show Time! in 2019 and 2020: 45 Minutes from Coontown, a celebration and history of black musical theatre, and 68 Ways to Go, a celebration and history of female writers.
Show Time! will include seven eras of the American musical: Cosmic Collisions (1866-1899), Birth of an Art Form (1900-1924), Rise of the Golden Age (1925-1930), Golden Age, Part One (1931-1950), Golden Age, Part Two (1951-1970), Fall of the Golden Age (1971-1980) and Growing Pains, or Identity Crisis (1981-1999). A full digital, interactive Musicals Timeline: 1866-1999 can be found at www.ShowTimeMusical.com.
UMC is also launching #ShowTimeConfession, an exclusive video docu-series featuring theatre artists, theatregoers, and fans divulging the shows and artists who have influenced them. Featured artists (to date) include Terrence McNally (Ragtime), Jack O'Brien (Hairspray), Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Jenn Colella (Come From Away), Jeff Bowen ([title of show]), Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days), Richard Maltby, Jr. (Ain't Misbehavin'), Susan Birkenhead (Jelly's Last Jam), Grace McLean (The Great Comet), Douglas Carter Beane (Cinderella), Hal Luftig (Kinky Boots), Adam Kantor (The Band's Visit), and many more!
"In 2014, I began researching a project that would explore the evolution of the American musical, an iconic form of entertainment whose works - together with their audacious authors - have effectively captured the consciousness of a nation, the sensibilities of a people, the characteristics of a given time," said Ben West, UMC founder, "in 2018, said project comes to fruition in Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical. UMC was founded on a fierce desire to illuminate the vital and vibrant relationship between past, present, and future. Show Time! is the embodiment of this relationship, and I am thrilled that this new piece will lead UMC's relaunch."
The 2018 Season will also include the UMC Writers Lab, a three-week intensive fostering the creation of a new musical. The musical will be The Bergen Letters by TC Lind, Phoebe Kreutz and Derek Gregor. The show will have an exploratory reading at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. Additionally, UMC Digital will release an EP of Gatsby by Carolyn Leigh and Lee Pockriss and an Audio Play of Peggy-Ann by Herbert Fields, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers. UMC Digital gives new voice to previously unrecorded, artistically sound musicals.
UnsungMusicalsCo. (UMC) is a not-for-profit Production Company focused on researching and developing prescient projects that explore the vibrancy of the American musical theatre canon, and how past works influence the artists and repertoire of today and tomorrow. Founded in 2009, UMC embraces both live-action documentary musicals as well as original and adapted book musical programming, with the aim of presenting works which speak directly to the influence of the past on the present and future. Dedicated also to the preservation of rare musical material for future generations, the company will be receiving its own archival collection in the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Learn more at www.UnsungMusicals.org.
Ben West (Creator, Writer, Performer) is a director, producer, performer, and musical theatre historian. His directing credits include Unsung Carolyn Leigh for Lincoln Center's American Songbook; Gatsby: The Songs in Concert, a world premiere featuring an original score written circa 1969 by Carolyn Leigh and Lee Pockriss; and downtown productions of Make Mine Manhattan by Arnold B. Horwitt and Richard Lewine, and The Fig Leaves Are Falling by Allan Sherman and Albert Hague. On Broadway, he served as assistant director and dramaturg for Old Acquaintance; assistant producer for both August: Osage County and The Homecoming; and production assistant for Talk Radio. He has also worked in various capacities on productions at Hartford Stage, Paper Mill Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, and Ravinia Festival. He is a 2017 recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award.