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University of Colorado Boulder Launches New Musical Theatre Program With EDGES

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The University of Colorado Boulder's new Musical Theatre program will present its inaugural production, "Edges," Oct. 11-13 in the Old Main Chapel. In its first semester at CU Boulder's College of Music, the program has 14 first-year students and three upperclassmen.

"Edges," which was written by Tony-nominated "Dear Evan Hansen" duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is a musical about a group of young adults grappling with coming-of-age issues such as love, commitment and personal identity. The theme is fitting for the nascent program and college-aged cast.

"It's contemporary. And the characters are all the age of these students," said Matthew Chellis, director of the Musical Theatre program. "All the sentiments expressed in it are very accessible."

The program brings a fresh approach as the College of Music nears its centennial in 2020.

"I think the added energy of this type of program brings a lot to the college," said Chellis. "The students themselves are introducing a lot of music that their classical peers may not have heard."

Justin Johnson will direct October's "Edges" production and collaborative piano doctoral student Keith Teepen will serve as music director.

In the spring, the Musical Theatre program will stage Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," directed by visiting artist Gerald Steichen. Chellis emphasized the importance of exploring both new and old musicals for the growing program.

"We will be doing a lot of traditional, golden-age musicals, because it's important for students to understand where everything came from."

Chellis is thrilled to be launching the Musical Theatre program with the support of colleagues inside and outside the college. He specifically thanked the Department of Theatre & Dance for collaborating to get the program off the ground.

"We're also excited that the College of Music has embraced this new program. Of course there will be growing pains as we figure out how everything is going to work together, but the faculty has been incredibly supportive in making this happen."

"Edges" runs Oct. 11-13 in the Old Main Chapel. Performances are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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