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Midwest New Musicals Presents Mini-Musicals Project, 7/17


Midwest New Musicals presents Spring Rains and Labor Pains, the 2011 Mini-Musical Project on Sunday, July 17, 6:30 PM at the McGaw YMCA Children's Center Auditorium at 1420 Maple in Evanston. Tickets for the general public are $10 at the door.

The 2011 Mini-Musicals Project is Spring Rains and Labor Pains and is comprised of four pieces: Life Has its Ups and Downs by Gail Sonkin & Laura Toffenetti, Real Life by Scott Free & John David Nelson, Surrogates by David Charles Goyette, Mike O'Mara & Jean Vanier and Another Life by J. Linn Allen & Leo Schwartz. The Mini-Musicals Project is the culminating exercise of first-year workshop writers. Participating authors create short musicals for a pre-selected ensemble and production team.

The stage director is Allan Chambers, the music director is Jessica Hunt, the stage manager is Dylan S. Roberts and the performers are Kellie Cundiff, Kevin Grubb, Sean Knight, Amy Malcom and Amanda Marcheschi.

Midwest New Musicals, a writers workshop and development program, begins a new session on September 24, 2011 and continues through June 24, 2012. Midwest New Musicals is an ongoing forum where lyricists, composers and book writers create and discuss their work. Divided into three levels, workshop members meet 10 times per year for intensive weekend sessions led by Workshop Director John Sparks and Associate Artist Larry Todd Johnson. Sessions will take place on Chicago's North Shore.

Fees for the Midwest New Musicals Core Curriculum are $645 per term, or $1,200 if enrolling for two terms in advance. The fall term is a prerequisite for the winter/spring term. The winter/spring term includes the Mini-Musicals Project. Application Fee (non-refundable): $25.

Since 2009, Midwest New Musicals has been a resident arm of Light Opera Works, Chicago's specialists in operetta and musical theater. With Midwest New Musicals, Light Opera Works is able to expand its programming and service to the field by providing an outlet for writers and for new works of musical theater.

Workshop Leader Biographies

John Sparks (Workshop Director) is the Artistic Director for the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles where he has taught since 1981. In 1987 he founded the musical theater writers workshop at the former Theatre Building Chicago where he served as Artistic Director from 1999 to 2009. John is also currently a board member and guest instructor with Mercury Musical Developments in London. John has written many musicals that have been produced in Los Angeles, Chicago and on the east coast, including: Babes In Barns (music and lyrics), Hans Brinker (lyrics), Cashel Byron (book),The Arresting Dilemma of Mister K (book), and On The Brink (book and lyrics). He has received awards such as the After Dark Award for Best Score and several commissions from Theatre Building Chicago and the Frederick Loewe Trust, awarded by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. John studied with the late Lehman Engel, renowned musical director and founder of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and with Broadway and Hollywood director Michael Gordon.

Larry Todd Johnson (Associate Artist) is a book writer and lyricist originally from Southern California. With composer Cindy O'Connor, his musical 40 is the New 15 received Stagescene LA's award for Best New Musical 2010, received a 2010 GLAAD Media Award Nomination for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, and was chosen by Stephen Schwartz to be part of the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop. Larry and Cindy won the Kennedy Center National Playwright's Award as well as the ACTF Musical Theater Award for their work on the musical-drama All That He Was. Other projects include Beautiful (with Cindy O'Connor and Adrian Bewley) Now and Then a Hero (with composer Jake Anthony) and The Last Princess (with composer Allen Hong.) For television, Larry has written animated series teleplays for Yin Yang Yo!, The Care Bears, and Angela Anaconda, to name a few. He holds a BA in Theatre from UCLA and a Masters in Playwriting from CSUF.


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