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GIDEON AND THE BLUNDERSNORP On Demand This Holiday Season!

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Broadway and Los Angeles artists join forces in a streaming workshop of the new musical adventure from acclaimed creator Michael Gordon Shapiro.

After a successful online debut in October, Michael Gordon Shapiro and producing partner New Musicals Inc. are thrilled to announce the streaming of the theatrical adventure Gideon and the Blundersnorp starting on Thanksgiving Day and continuing through the holiday season.

In the family-friendly musical Gideon and the Blundersnorp, Gideon is a stableboy who dreams of being a knight, despite belonging to the wrong social class. Alanna is a young viscountess trapped in the system of royal succession. Together they team up to escape bandits, navigate a treacherous forest, and confront the vicious Blundersnorp, whose dream is simply to eat everyone. Gideon is a musical about aspiration, adventure, and escaping society's expectations. (And fighting giant monsters.)

This on-demand presentation is much more than a typical online play reading. Gideon's October debut garnered praise for creative use of the videoconferencing medium to convey an action adventure story.

"This workshop is a thing of our times: an online presentation, coordinated in Zoom, with each actor self-recording dialogue and songs from home, and our crack editor stitching everything together," Shapiro said. "The troupe did a fabulous job of conveying their characters from their kitchens and living rooms, as well as creating a sense of shared physicality. They tackled these challenges with good humor and we're excited to share the result."

Shapiro said that Gideon was originally conceived as a piece for a narrator and an orchestra - a spiritual cousin to Peter and the Wolf - but that he quickly realized it was better suited to musical theatre. Shapiro, who is also a professional film and game composer, made a splash with his last original musical The Bully Problem, which debuted at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival, earning multiple awards nominations and critical acclaim. Gideon was originally supposed to premiere at the 2020 Hollywood Fringe before the festival was eventually canceled, prompting the production team to find a new way to share their story.

This collaborative "Zoomsical" required ingenuity from the actors and director, as well as in audio design, filming and editing. Normally simple actions, such as one character's handing of an object to another, required duplicate props and choreographed timing.

"There have been unexpected silver linings to the need to go online," Shapiro said. "One is reach. A live show performs to local audiences for a few weeks, whereas an online version is available to the entire world. The same applies to casting. With an online show, anyone with a decent internet connection can be part of your cast. While the hiatus of Broadway is a tragic milestone for the industry, it does mean that there are some top-tier performers out there itching to exercise their skills. We were fortunate to have several performers from that echelon in our cast, joining us from thousands of miles away."

Gideon features professional talent from both L.A. and New York, including Kevin Clay (who played Elder Price both on Broadway and the North American tour of The Book of Mormon), Alan Wiggins (Broadway's The Lion King, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and Pretty Woman: The Musical) and Sarah Ellis (national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder). Shapiro is also bringing back talent from last year's successful The Bully Problem. The work is being co-produced by Elise Dewsberry, the Artistic Director of New Musicals Inc., and is directed by Matt Toronto.

Shapiro said that, public health permitting, the team will resume plans for a full commercial production at Hollywood Fringe 2021.

"We're making the most of our current situation," he said. "We're eager to reunite with audiences in person, but have had tremendous fun with this strange hybrid of theatre and film. We think that both kids and grownups will find a lot to enjoy."

Stream goes live Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020 at www.gideonmusical.com.


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