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Yale Institute for Music Theatre Announces 2016 Selections

The YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE announces the two original book musicals which have been selected for this year's two-week summer lab: Blessing, music and lyrics by Andrew R. Butler and book by Andrew Farmer, directed by Kent Nicholson; and The White City, music by Avi Amon and book and lyrics by Julia Gytri, directed by Mark Brokaw. The 2016 Institute, which runs June 12-25 at Yale School of Drama, will culminate with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, on June 24 and 25.

In addition, the Institute welcomes back Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne, authors of The Profit of Creation (2011), who are returning to work on their musical Run Away Home as this year's Alumni Residents.

ABOUT THE 2016 SELECTIONS

BLESSING
Music and Lyrics by Andrew R. Butler
Book by Andrew Farmer
Directed by Kent Nicholson

Open Rehearsal Readings: June 24 at 1PM; June 25 at 5PM

It's Spirit Week in Blessing, Alabama, the little ol' town that lives up to its name with sunny skies and friendly faces. But as storm clouds stir up unforgotten sins and unspoken secrets, the good folks of Blessing are forced to take a closer look at their lives and reconsider just how blessed their little town is.

ANDREW R. BUTLER (MUSIC AND LYRICS) is a composer, writer, and performer based in Brooklyn, New York. As a member of Ars Nova's 2014-15 Uncharted music/theatre writers' group, he wrote music and lyrics for the folk musical Finn the Fearless with playwright Andrew Farmer. Finn also received development at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Theatre Aspen, and The Polyphone Festival at University of the Arts. Also with Farmer: Blessing, commissioned by the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU; and a musical adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's children's novel, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, commissioned by TheaterWorksUSA. Other work: music and lyrics for The Dixon Family Album (Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellowship), co-composer for Jaclyn Backhaus' Folk Wandering (Joe's Pub, Ars Nova), the sci-fi folk musical Rags Parkland (Ars Nova, JACK), the musical sketch comedy group Political Subversities (Joe's Pub, Ars Nova), and the experimental theatre company harunalee. Andrew holds a BFA in Drama from NYU's Experimental Theater Wing. andrewrbutler.com

ANDREW FARMER (BOOK) is a writer and performer based in New York. Recent playwriting credits include The Gray Man (Walker Space); The Fall of Hotel Mudafier to the Toltecs (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Our Farm (The Tank, Underground Arts); and Hands (Best New Play 2006, Southeast Theatre Conference). Other musical collaborations with Andrew Butler include Finn the Fearless (Ars Nova Residency, Polyphone Festival); BLESSING, commissioned by the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU; and a musical adaptation of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, commissioned by TheaterWorksUSA. Also at Ars Nova, Andrew created and performed in I Heard Sex Noises: A Glimpse at Gardening On Roosevelt Island with Claire Rothrock, Ryann Weir and Annie Tippe, and wrote the book for the new musical Boats And (music by Nate Weida). His storytelling has been featured on F@*k! I'm In My Twenties, New York Magazine's The Cut, and Mara Wilson's What Are You Afraid Of? He currently teaches playwriting at NYU's Playwrights Horizons Theater School, where he earned his BFA. Andrewduncanfarmer.com


THE WHITE CITY
Music by Avi Amon
Book and Lyrics by Julia Gytri
Directed by Mark Brokaw

Open Rehearsal Readings: June 24 at 5PM; June 25 at 1PM

Change is in the air. It's 1893, and Chicago is hosting the World's Columbian Exposition, where scientists, scholars, and business tycoons hope to propel society into a shining new era. But trouble simmers beneath the façade of the shimmering "White City" when young women begin to go missing.

AVI AMON (MUSIC) is a composer for theatre, film, and dance. With Julia Gytri, Avi wrote The White City (O'Neill National Music Theater Conference, finalist for the Richard Rogers Award) and Step on a Crack (Prospect Theater). Thhey are developing a new musical, Salonika, a fusion of obscure fairy tales paralleled with the extermination of the Ladino-speaking Jewish community of Salonika, Greece. Avi earned his MFA from NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He's held residencies at the Weston Playhouse, New Dramatists, and Target Margin Theater. He is also a volunteer composer for the 52nd Street Project. Other recent projects include: Bread of Heaven with Kendell Pinkney (14th St. Y), The Children with Phillip Howze (2015 Carlotta Festival at Yale School of Drama, BRIC), and Rated Black with Kareem Lucas (La Mama). Upcoming: sound installation for Torn Space Theater in Buffalo's Silo City. Avi lives in Brooklyn where he tends to his immense plant collection. aviamon.com

JULIA GYTRI (BOOK AND LYRICS) is an Austin-based wordsperson, composer, and fitness instructor. She received a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2011 and completed her MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2013, where she met composer Avi Amon. Together, they wrote and continue to develop The White City, which was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award (2015), the Larson Grant (2014, 2016), and selected for the National Music Theater Conference at The O'Neill Theater Center (2014). Their catalogue has been performed at venues such as Lincoln Center and 54 Below, as well as universities across the country. Other upcoming projects include Salonika, a fusion of obscure fairy tales paralleled with the extermination of the Jews of World War II era Salonika, and Adoption, a new play exploring what life would be if we chose where (and who) we came from.


ABOUT THE ALUMNI RESIDENCY


RUN AWAY HOME
Music by Tim Rosser
Book and Lyrics by Charlie Sohne

A boy shows up on the Parkers' doorstep claiming to be the son who disappeared three years ago. He looks different than the child they remember, but his mother, still reeling from the loss, is desperate to believe-creating a rift with her more skeptical daughter.

TIM ROSSER (MUSIC) and CHARLIE SOHNE (BOOK AND LYRICS) are winners of the 2015 Jonathan Larson Award and ASCAP's 2015 Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award. Tim and Charlie were also 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Fellows, members of The Civilian's R&D Group, writers in the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and ASCAP's Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. Recently, they participated in The 24 Hour Musicals, where their short show A Better Me featured Edie Falco. Their show The Boy Who Danced on Air" was featured at the National Alliance for Music Theatre in 2013, received development and production grants from NAMT in 2014 and 2015, and will receive its world premiere at The Diversionary Theater in San Diego this spring. Their pilot script, Truth Slash Fiction, was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival and is currently being produced by Royal Prospects Productions. Their show The Profit of Creation was developed at the Yale Institute for Music Theatre in 2011. Tim and Charlie's songs have been seen at their sold-out 54 Below show, Birdland, Contemporary Classics at Seattle Rep, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe's Pub, ALNM at Rockwell in Los Angeles, Above The Arts in London, a sold out show at Broadway au Carre in Paris, and The Kennedy Center. Separately Charlie has had work seen at The Lark, The O'Neill, and New York Stage and Film, while Tim has conducted performances of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, music directed Broadway Backwards, and associate music directed Andrew Lippa's I Am Harvey Milk.


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 will be available for purchase on April 19 online at artidea.org/tickets, or by phone at (203) 498-3772; and in person starting June 1 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Box Office (INFO New Haven Visitor Center, 1000 Chapel Street).


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