2015 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival to Feature 13 World Premieres This Summer
Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to announce the line-up for its second annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, featuring an unprecedented 13 world-premiere musicals by local artists. Created to showcase Chicago's burgeoning field of musical theatre creators, this year's festival will include nine full-length musicals and four one-acts. The CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL will be presented June 30 - July 19, 2015 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 1, 2015 at www.cmtf.org.
From a new spin on the Chicago Mayoral race - to a Chekhov-inspired rock musical - to a fantastical journey back in time to a 1980s prom - the CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL offers something for everyone. Productions are chosen from two categories: mentored submissions, in which writers and composers submit completed works of musical theatre to be produced by Underscore Theatre - and independent submissions, in which producers submit "production-ready" works of musical theatre to be produced independently by the submitters. After receiving 45 submissions, the festival's team has selected two mentored musicals and eleven independent musicals to be performed at the festival.
"Chicago has a vibrant, growing community of musical theatre creators who need an artistic home, and we aim to give them one," comments Festival Director and Underscore Theatre Company Artistic Director Alex Higgin-Houser. "Sources of support often go to larger institutions, and with the exception of the well-connected, there are few avenues in Chicago to produce a new musical. Which makes sense - musicals are risky, and more expensive than putting on a play. But by creating the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, Underscore is providing a platform for emerging composer/lyricist teams to have their work supported, explored and most importantly - performed!," adds Higgin-Houser.
The Full CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL Line-Up Includes:
Book and Lyrics by Nick Jester, Music by David von Kampen
Brian is an IT technician at the corporate headquarters of American Smoothie Inc. He pines after the cute accountant, stews in jealousy over his too-good coworkers and prays to the spirit of John Grisham for salvation. Part thriller, part romance, and all hilarious, American Smoothie is a world premiere chock-full of bombs, bird fetishes and nutritious whole-fruit flavor.
Music and Lyrics by Kevin Wong
How well can you come to know a person you never meet? A mother sings a lullaby to her child. A teacher imparts 'wordly wisdom' upon a student. A man recounts his emotional journey on his wedding day. These and more seemingly disparate lives are bound together by a common thread of recurrence; they have all been touched and impacted in some way by the same person. This contemporary and unique conceptual take on the song cycle aims to explore the impact of one life through presenting seven chronological vignettes of individuals affected by a man named John, who never appears to the audience.
Presented by New American Folk Theatre
Book, Music and Lyrics by Anthony Whitaker
Dirty Girl is a musical comedy one-act following a girl who wishes she could go to the prom. Her fairy god-cousin-through-marriage appears and answers her wish with the 1980s prom of her dreams. At the prom, she faces off with the popular jock, the nerd and the cheerleaders, quickly learning that the real world can be even better than fairytales.
Faces of Eurydice
Presented by CUBE ensemble
Book by Janet Howe, Music and Lyrics by Hope Littwin
Choreography by Hope Goldman
Faces of Eurydice is a new retelling of the myth of Orpheus. Three singers. Two dancers. One actor. One cello. Through dance, opera, and theatre, the often-overlooked perspective of Eurydice, Orpheus's legendary lover, comes alive.
Presented by American Demigods
Book by Reina Hardy, Music and Lyrics by Matt Board
This sci-fi convention is a geek's paradise - costumes, robots and the chance to meet Scott Furnish, creator of spies-in-space TV show Angel 8. But this gathering of devoted Angel 8 fans has been infiltrated by a real-life spy: a reporter for anti-nerd lads' mag "Pump." Even worse, when Scott Furnish finally arrives, he has terrible news. Angel 8 has been cancelled! With their inspiration off the air, the con-goers must band together to restore faith to their devastated hero, and to themselves. Along the way, they will prove that no power in the universe can keep a story from its fans.
Presented by Duplicity Ensemble
Conceived and Composed by Pamela Maurer (aka Baby Money)
Devised by Duplicity Ensemble and the Marble, GA cast.
Lucy's last living relative has passed away, and she is summoned from Chicago to the rural Georgia town of Marble, home of the mythic Georgia guidestones. An orphan, Lucy had clung to fantastical stories of fame and fortune, hoping to discover she was meant to be among them - but when she arrives in Marble, the mystery of the guidestones teaches her more about her family and herself than she ever imagined.
Felix is a young man who possesses an amazing ability, passed down to him from generations past: he has nine lives. Felix can awaken from death as if it never happened. Drama, comedy, fantasy and mystery collide as Felix's gift forces him to choose for himself whether he lives or dies.
One Thousand Words
Book and Lyrics by Michael Braud, Music by Curran Latas
Richard Hanks knows that writing a thousand words about two men who were in love in the 1940s will help promote himself at the Forward Magazine, but what he doesn't realize is how much hearing the story of the men will change his perspective on equality. The audience follows Richard's journey, and in doing so, gets a glimpse at a love story that must struggle against a quickly changing, unacceptable culture.
Book, Music and Lyrics by Patrick Thompson
Passing By is about firsts. Your first kiss, your first dance, your first best friend, your first true love. This is a story about two young people who grew up in a small town and experienced many of their "firsts" with each other. They go through their first 18 years of life without ever leaving their hometown so when it finally comes time to grow up and make decisions about the rest of their lives, they quickly find out what they will get to experience together or on their own.
Book, Music and Lyrics by Beth Hyland
Seagulls is an indie-rock musical loosely based on Anton Chekov's The Seagull. This contemporary retelling of the classic tragicomedy follows four friends and bandmates at a small college as they struggle to achieve artistic greatness without losing themselves - or each other.
Girl versus Corinth
Presented by Jenna Lloyd
Book, Music and Lyrics by Danny Baird
Directed by Catie Davis
Medea has returned from exile and rouses the women of Corinth into battle for their rights using an electronic score and the spirits of three feminist vanguards: her backup singers, the Furies.
How to Run for Mayor
Book by Gilbert Tanner, Music and Lyrics by Aaron Aptaker
Kim needs a job. Unfortunately, she just graduated college, which means she isn't really qualified for anything. So... she decides to run for mayor of Chicago. After her campaign goes viral, Kim winds up as the leading opponent to Rahm Emanuel. How to Run for Mayor is an irreverent and hilarious take on elections in the 21st century.
Slide (part 1)
Book by Kalena Victoria Chevalier, Music and Lyrics by Steve Clark and Ed Plough
Loosely inspired by Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Slide follows and immigrant family's arrival in an amazing new land or opportunity and beauty. But that beauty comes at a terrible price. As the inner workings of its mysterious factory are revealed, the family discovers that it is their very lives greasing the wheels. Broken and alone, one of them begins an impossible journey to make peace with the machine.
The festival runs Tuesday, June 30 - Sunday, July 19, 2015. Schedule: Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays from 6 pm - 10 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm - 9:30 pm. The full schedule of performances will be available at www.cmtf.org when tickets go on sale on Friday, May 1, 2015. Tickets: $15 for one-acts; $20 full-length productions; all-festival pass are available at a discounted rate. Tickets go on-sale sale Friday, May 1, 2015 at www.cmtf.org.
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to creating out-of-the-park original musical theatre. The composer Jean Sibelius said, "Music begins where the possibilities of language end," and we fully embrace this mentality in our work. We believe musicals offer something more than other performing arts, with music, text, and actors' interpretation coming together create a transcendent experience for performers and audience alike.