Theater Latté Da Reveals Lineup For NEXT FESTIVAL 2023

Learn more about the lineup here!

By: May. 26, 2023
Theater Latté Da Reveals Lineup For NEXT FESTIVAL 2023

Theater Latté Da has announced the slate of artists and projects for this summer’s NEXT FESTIVAL 2023. Three dynamic new works, THE TEARS OF LA LLORONA: A BORDER ZARZUELA by Celeste Moreno, Bethany Brinton and Crystal Manich; MACBETH AND THE WEÏRD SISTERS by Andrew Wilkowske and Kelley Rourke; and LOVE THEM FIRST by Randy Preston and Candrice Jones will each receive two-week developmental workshops and public presentations beginning Saturday, July 29, with a fourth project–a special one-night concert presentation of THE NINTH HOUR by Kate Douglas and Shayfer James– to be presented Saturday, August 5. 

Past NEXT FESTIVALS have offered audiences a first look at new musicals that have gone on to full production at Theater Latté Da including C. (2015), LULLABY (2016), FIVE POINTS (2018), TO LET GO AND FALL (2019), CHRISTMAS AT THE LOCAL (2022), and TWELVE ANGRY MEN (2022).

“I’m thrilled to welcome these extraordinary artists and their work to the Ritz this summer.  Audiences who attend the presentations will have the thrill of seeing brand new musical theater and the opportunity to shape it through their responses and feedback to the artists,” says Elissa Adams, NEXT Festival Producer and Director of New Work at Theater Latté Da.

The first presentation of the 2023 NEXT Festival is THE TEARS OF LA LLORONA: A BORDER ZARZUELA with Songs and Libretto by Celeste Moreno, Arrangements by Bethany Brinton, Direction and Dramaturgy by Crystal Manich, and Music Direction by Sonja Thompson.

In a graveyard north of the Rio Grande, a woman is awakened from death after sixteen years.  She claws herself out of her grave.  Called by the spirit of vengeance, her past rushes back: the loss of her beloved babies and her death at the hands of her former husband. Writer/composer Celeste Moreno and arranger Bethany Brinton weave  traditional Latin American musical forms, popular music and the legend of La Llorona, the weeping woman, to create a new kind of ghost story.

Public presentation dates and times for THE TEARS OF LA LLORONA: A BORDER ZARZUELA are Saturday, July 29 at 2:00 pm and Monday, July 31 at 7:30 pm at The Ritz Theater.

The second presentation will be MACBETH AND THE WEÏRD SISTERS by Andrew Wilkowske and  Kelley Rourke, adapted from Verdi and Shakespeare, Directed by Peter Rothstein, with Music Direction by Lara Bolton

Singer/guitarist Andrew Wilkowske and librettist Kelley Rourke’s audacious take on the Verdi opera and Shakespeare’s tragic story of ambition reimagines the score for a rock band, replacing classical strings with electric guitars and envisioning Macbeth as the front man/lead singer of “Macbeth and the Weïrd Sisters,” a 70’s and 80’s-style arena rock band.

Public presentation dates and times for MACBETH AND THE WEÏRD SISTERS will be Thursday, August 10 at 7:30 pm and Monday, August 14 at 7:30 pm at the Ritz Theater.

The final presentation of the 2023 NEXT festival will be LOVE THEM FIRST, with Music and Lyrics by Randy Preston, Book by Candrice Jones, Directed by Kelli Foster Warder, Music Direction by Adam Dorfman.

Based on the KARE 11 award-winning documentary film Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary. Developed in Association with Love Them First Musical LLC with special thanks to TEGNA Inc.

Adapted from Lindsey Seavert and Ben Garvin’s award-winning documentary, Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary, this new musical chronicles a year in the life of the students, staff and charismatic principal of a North Minneapolis elementary school. It's a story of inspiration, heartbreak, perseverance and the power of love.

Public presentation dates and times for LOVE THEM FIRST will be Saturday, August 19 at 2:00 pm and Monday, August 21 at 7:30 pm at the Ritz Theater. 

The 2023 NEXT Festival lineup will also include a one-night-only special concert presentation of the rock noir musical THE NINTH HOUR: A BEOWULF FOR THE MODERN AGE, with Music and Lyrics by Kate Douglas and Shayfer James.

Inspired by one of the oldest works in the Western canon, THE NINTH HOUR explores the intricacies of mankind's relationship with power and violence.  This is a classic story of glory and ruin as told through triumphant pop anthems, heart-wrenching lullabies, heroes and monsters.

A hero, summoned to be a protector against a relentless enemy, must confront the evil within herself as a monster comes to terms with the agony of isolation at his life's end. The full album is set for release in July 2023.  To learn more visit www.ninthhourmusical.com.

The public presentation for this one-night-only event will be Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 pm at the Ritz Theater.

Theater Latté Da is an award-winning Twin Cities musical theater company that combines music and story to illuminate the breadth and depth of the human experience. The company seeks to create new and impactful connections between story, music, artists, and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater. 

2023 NEXT FESTIVAL passes are the perfect choice to see three new works with the choice of three of the six public presentations at a discounted price. This year’s festival includes a special One Night Only Concert Pass Add-On for THE NINTH HOUR. Passes offer the most flexibility and the best price to enjoy the entire festival. 

Festival Dates: July 29 - Aug 21, 2023

All public presentations will be presented at the Ritz Theater.
Tickets: $15 or purchase a 3-Show NEXT Festival pass for $30

Development of THE TEARS OF LA LLORONA: A BORDER ZARZUELA is made possible in part by the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals, a program of National Alliance for

Musical Theatre - www.namt.org. The 2023 NEXT Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Nara Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, RBC Financial, The Ruth Easton Fund, and individual contributors to Theater Latte Da’s NEXT 25x25 initiative, our campaign to develop 25 new musicals between 2021 and 2025. Learn more about NEXT 25x25 here: latteda.org/next-25x25.




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