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2017 Yale Institute for Music Theatre: Cast and Creative Team Announced

The YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE (Mark Brokaw, Artistic Director) announces the creative teams and casting for the two original book musicals, COWBOY BOB, created by Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips, and Annie Tippe, book by Molly Beach Murphy, music and lyrics by Jeanna Phillips; and GUMBO, music by Brett Macias and book and lyrics by Christina Quintana, conceived by Brett Macias and Christina Quintana, which are being developed in an intensive two-week summer lab at Yale School of Drama, June 13-24. Scott Frankel is the Artistic Advisor, and Catherine Sheehy is the resident Dramaturg for this year's Institute, which culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of New Haven's International Festival of Arts & Ideas on June 23 and 24.

Established in 2009, the YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE is a program of Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre that bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, book writers, and lyricists. The Institute matches the authors of the selected works with collaborators, including professional directors and music directors, as well as a company of actors and singers that includes professionals and current Yale students.

The two-week alumni residency, introduced in 2015, provides a safe, "away from home," intensive environment for a writing team to work on a project already in development. The alumni residency is for authors only, one of whom must be a past Institute participant. The team is invited to all company events, but there is no rehearsal or public presentation of their work. Bookwriter and lyricist Gordon Leary and composer Julia Meinwald have been selected as this year's participants to work on their new musical REB + VoDKa + ME.

The Binger Center for New Theatre has distinguished itself as one of the nation's most robust and innovative new play programs. Since 2008, the Binger Center has supported the work of more than 50 commissioned artists and underwritten the world premieres and subsequent productions of 25 new American plays and musicals at Yale Rep and theatres across the country. The Binger Center also facilitates residencies of playwrights and composers at Yale School of Drama, including those who are selected to participate in the Yale Institute for Music Theatre.

Created by Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips, and Annie Tippe
Book by Molly Beach Murphy
Music and Lyrics by Jeanna Phillips
Directed by Mark Brokaw
Music Direction by Alex Thrailkill

Cast: Ken Barnett, Juliana Canfield, Tom Riis Farrell, Alison Fraser, Lizan Mitchell, and Kaia Monroe
Musicians: Alex Casimiro and Mike Skinner

Open Rehearsal Readings: Friday, June 23 at 1PM; Saturday, June 24 at 5PM

Peggy Jo Tallas was a good neighbor, a good daughter, and a great bank robber. Disguised in a fake beard and a ten-gallon hat, "Cowboy Bob" evaded police for most of her 15-year career. After her death, the local legend becomes a national sensation as Peggy Jo's true motives are questioned.

Molly Beach Murphy is a playwright and director from Galveston, Texas. Her plays include Galveston (2017 Drama League First Stage Residency), Cowboy Bob (Ars Nova), Molly Murphy & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth (New York Musical Theatre Festival, Ars Nova's ANT Fest, The Incubator Arts Project), and Big Bend in the Red Dirt Desert (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Directing credits include What It's Like When Two Geeks Love Each Other by Jaclyn Backhaus (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Sparrow (Southern Methodist University Meadows School for the Arts), and Indigo Dai: Immortal Men (Incubator Arts Project). Molly is a New York Theatre Workshop Adelphi Resident, New Georges Affiliated Artist, Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Assistant, P73's 2017 Playwriting Fellowship Semi-Finalist, a Member of Page 73's 2017 Interstate 73 Writers Group, and a Recipient of the Garland Wright Award for Achievement in Directing. She holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University.

Jeanna Phillips is an actress and songstress. She has developed new work with The Civilians, The Foundry Theatre, Tectonic Theatre Project, Clubbed Thumb, New Saloon, Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cynthia Hopkins, Dave Malloy, and Elizabeth Swados, among others. Her original music has been performed at Ars Nova, Galapagos Art Space, The Morgan Library, Dixon Place, NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing, and the workshop at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her concert play, what's this called, this spirit?, was produced at Ars Nova as part of ANTFest 2016, and was a finalist for the Mabou Mines Artist Residency Program. Andréa Lloyd Webber LIVE!, her transcendental clown cabaret, has wreaked havoc at La Mama E.T.C., Dixon Place, Littlefield, and the Ace Hotel. Performance credits include Circle Mirror Transformation (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Stop the Virgens (St Ann's Warehouse, Sydney Opera House), Troublemaker (Berkeley Rep), and La MaMa Cantata (La MaMa). Upcoming: Andréa Lloyd Webber: SUBLIME at Ars Nova.

Annie Tippe is a director and creator of new work. Her directing credits include Dave Malloy's Ghost Quartet (The Bushwick Starr), Anne Washburn's When the Tanks Break (Drama League), Washeteria (Soho Rep.), Aaron/Marie (with Rachel Chavkin, Under the Radar Festival), Far Away (Harvard University), Cowboy Bob (Ars Nova), I Heard Sex Noises (Ars Nova), and Blue Plate Special (ANT Fest). She is the creator and director of the web series BASIC WITCH. Her performance credits include Folk Wandering and I'm Miserable but Change Scares Me (New Saloon). She is Ars Nova's 2016 Director-in-Residence, Drama League Fall Directing Fellow, WTF Directing Corps, New Georges Audrey Resident.

Music by Brett Macias
Book and Lyrics by Christina Quintana
Conceived by Brett Macias and Christina Quintana
Directed by Jackson Gay
Music Direction by Daryl Waters

Cast: Cami Arboles, KLea Blackhurst, Eddie Cooper, ErRon Crawford, Ricardo Dávila, Stephen Humes, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Jared Joseph, Trent Armand Kendall, Monroe Kent, Sarita Rachelle Lilly, Sean MacLaughlin, and Malia West
Musician: Ed Fast

Open Rehearsal Readings: Friday, June 23 at 5PM; Saturday, June 24 at 1PM

With a Jazz and R&B-infused score, Gumbo begins on the eve of a monstrous hurricane when a newlywed woman accepts an ominous offer from a mysterious stranger. As the city descends into chaos, her new husband journeys beneath the rising waters to find his wife. Together they must save the soul of the city from the hellish Gumbo Pot.

Christina Quintana is a New York-based writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. Her plays have been produced in New Orleans, Atlanta, New York City, and beyond. Plays and musicals include Evensong (Astoria Performing Arts Center); Gumbo with Brett Macias (Merry Go Round's The PiTCH; Finalist, TRU New Musicals Series; Musical Theatre Factory); Enter Your Sleep (Elm Theatre New Orleans, The New York International Fringe Festival); Scissoring (Finalist Kitchen Dog New Works Festival; Finalist, Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition; Kilroys Honorable Mention), and Blank Canvas ("Best Short" Downtown Urban Theatre Festival). Her chapbook of poetry, The Heart Wants, was recently released by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry and prose is published in Front Porch Journal, Saw Palm, Nimrod Journal, Foglifter, and others. Several of her poems have been performed by Emotive Fruition, including "He-lium," featured on NPR's hit show Radiolab. She is the creator of The Live Lunch Series, a recipient of fellowships from Van Lier/The Lark, CubaOne, Queer/Art, and Lambda Literary, and commissions from the Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST)/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Project, Peppercorn Theatre, and Actor's Express. She is a proud member of EST's Obie-winning cohort of playwrights, Youngblood, and holds an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts.

Brett Macias has composed music for Webster University, Encores! (NYC), the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, and Cockeyed Optimist's production of One Thing I'd Like to Say. He also wrote the book and contributed music to the St. Louis Gay Men's Chorus' musical Broadway Bound! He received his BFA in musical theatre performance from Webster University and his MFA in Musical Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. At NYU, he wrote the music for Fishing the Moon (words by Caroline Murphy), The Lavatory (words by Frederick Sauter), and Tuesday (words by Caroline Murphy, finalist 2006 Chicago Stages Festival, 2007 and 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival). With Caroline Murphy, Brian was featured in American Theatre Magazine in 2009 as a writing team to watch. A concert of his music was performed at Lincoln Center in 2012, Vitello's in Los Angeles in 2014, and The Cutting Room in 2016. In Development: Mari, Hector, and the M.T.A. with Christina Quintana, and Not a Hero's Journey. Gumbo was selected by the Grand Jury for the 2017 Mainstreet Musicals Festival season, the 2014 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project, and was developed at the Musical Theater Factory and The PiTCH at Fingerlakes Musical Theater Festival.

REB + VoDKa + ME
Book and Lyrics by Gordon Leary (Pregnancy Pact, 2011)
Music by Julia Meinwald (Pregnancy Pact, 2011)

A member of the Columbiners, a secretive Tumblr community sympathetic to the teenagers who committed the Columbine High School massacre, Our Girl wrestles with her vow not to outlive one of the killers on her 18th birthday. Her plans are complicated when she makes a powerful connection online with a new Columbiner just as news breaks of the dramatic prison escape by another school shooter.

Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald write aggressively empathetic musical theatre. Their work includes The Loneliest Girl in the World (2016 National Alliance for Music Theatre Festival, 2015 UArts Polyphone Festival, 2014 Ars Nova OutLoud Series), Pregnancy Pact (2012 Weston Playhouse premiere, 2011 National Alliance for Music Theatre Festival, 2011 Yale Institute), Disappeared (2009 Lincoln Center Directors Lab), and the short film Galaxy Comics (2014 United Airlines in-flight programming.) They are currently at work on REB + VoDKa + ME (2016 Civilians' FINDINGS Series), The Magnificent Seven (2016 Fresh Ground Pepper), and Something Blue (2014 New York Theatre Barn). They have participated in the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, Ars Nova's Uncharted, The Civilians' R&D Group, Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Playgroup, and the Musical Theatre Factory writers group. Julia was a participant in the New Dramatists Composer Librettist Development Program, and her other musicals include Elevator Heart (2016 New Studio at NYU, Dixon Place) and Jack Perry is Alive and Dating (2011 New York Music Festival Next Link selection.) Gordon's other musicals include Across the River (2013 Seoul Musical Festival) and Cheer Wars (2015 York Theatre, 2009 Richard Rodgers Award.) Both are 2007 alumni of the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

The two-week alumni residency, introduced in 2015, provides a safe, "away from home," intensive environment for a writing team to work on a project already in development. The alumni residency is for authors only, one of whom must be a past Institute participant. There is no rehearsal or public presentation of their work.

Tickets for each open rehearsal reading are $25 and can be purchased online at, by phone at (203) 498-3772, and in person at the INFO New Haven Visitor Information Center (1000 Chapel Street).

2017 Yale Institute for Music Theatre: Cast and Creative Team Announced

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