New Musical BOSTON|NEBRASKA To Have First Staged Reading

By: Mar. 29, 2017

Blake Allen, known for his innovative bridging of contemporary music and theater through composition, performance and advocacy, announces first AEA staged reading of Boston|Nebraska, based upon the literary work of Willa Cather, April 3 and 4 in Manhattan.

The premiere, based on Willa Cather's short story A Wagner Matinee as well as personal letters and journal entries from Willa Cather's life, spotlights the story of opera singer, Georgiana Carpenter. Set in the 1880's, Carpenter, on the eve of her stardom, sacrifices her successful career as a Boston based opera singer to run away with the man of her dreams. Projecting a future mirroring one of the romantic operas she always sang, Georgiana instead is trapped in Red Willow County, Nebraska, 50 miles from the nearest train station, isolated from the progressing world around her. Having lost touch with civilization and her voice, Georgiana returns to Boston, the first-time outside Nebraska in over 25 years, to discover the new sound of modernism around her. Attending a concert at a past venue with her nephew, Clark Healey-Dall, the new, lush, and impressionist sounds awaken the lost life inside her only to be forced back to Nebraska, back to the life she thought she wanted, back to her husband, children, and failing farm.

"This poignant piece is the culmination of 5 years of work," explains creator and composer, Blake Allen. "It explores the themes of societal duties, the stress of art, the loss of dreams, and ultimately, freedom. Though A Wagner Matinee is only a couple of pages long, her language was eloquent, ominous, alluring, and depressing--all qualities I admire. I wrote a couple of songs based/inspired by what I read, and the rest happened naturally."

With a talented a bold cast, Glory Crampton, Kerry Conte, Josh Daniel, Michael Lowney and Teal Wicks under the direction of Zi Alikhan, the work is not only an extrapolation of Cather's literature, but delves deeper into the characters in her life and stories from her past brought to life with an original score to weave together Cather's literary works and personal conflicts.


Blake Allen (music/book/lyrics) is a multifaceted composer and musician who is currently a PhD candidate at NYU. A published poet at age 7, Blake made his classical composition debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shows include Folk Wandering (Off-Broadway 2018), the shards of an honor code junkie (concert Dec 2017); Boston|Nebraska; HOCKET. Other credits: Ring Them Bells! (PBS); ...Very Marti Christmas (54 Below); Selections from the Truth Triptych (54 Below); Carnivorous(Magic Future Box); Rob Fisher music assistant for 5 years. Upcoming: And the Angels in the Nighttime, a modern oratorio; To the Lighthouse; 7Swans, a ballet. As a violist, Blake has served as principal of Little Orchestra Society and Gemini Orchestra, been a featured soloist with El Paso Symphony Orchestra and Choral Chameleon, and subs with the New York Pops.

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