Three New Musicals Will Be Showcased by MusiCoLab

Performances are on April 14 at 3 pm and April 15 at 7 pm.

By: Mar. 22, 2024
Three New Musicals Will Be Showcased by MusiCoLab
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New musicals by three Philadelphia-area creative teams will be in the spotlight on April 14 at 3 pm and April 15 at 7 pm, when MusiCoLab presents A Closer Look at the Louis Bluver Theater at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks St., just off Spruce near 15th in Center City Philadelphia. Guests are invited to be part of the exploration of these new works and share in the excitement of being part of the journey of a new musical.

MusiCoLab is a non-profit organization that supports musical theater and artists who write musicals in the greater Philadelphia area. Charlie Gilbert, the Executive Director of MusiCoLab, is looking forward to presenting these works by these outstanding writers from the Philadelphia area. He said, “I never cease to be amazed by the great talent right here in my hometown. Our last two showcases had full houses. We hope that Philadelphia audiences will continue to support local talent and exceptional new work.”

A Closer Look features 30-minute excerpts from three musicals representing some of the most exciting new work being created by local writers and composers:

●    Far From the Tree - Based on Andrew Solomon’s award-winning non-fiction book, this musical by Rob Maggio, Kristin Maloney and Justin Warner just won the 2024 Richard Rodgers Studio Production award. Far From The Tree weaves several stories of parents raising profoundly different children with Solomon's own atypical journey toward parenthood. 

●    Finding Madame Curie - A musical by David Kurkowski and Melissa Bell about the scientist everybody knows and the woman nobody knows, Marie Curie – the scientist who discovers radium and wins two Nobel Prizes, and the woman who dares to pursue her dream in a man’s world. This musical won the Jackie White Memorial National Playwriting Contest in 2020.

●    Red & Black - A contemporary musical by Sheridan Merrick, Nick Hatcher and Dave Thomas that dramatizes issues facing young people in America through the story of Julian, a Black boy whose mother was murdered by the police. Red & Black was featured in the 2021 Polyphone Festival and Theatre on the Verge’s Festival of New Musicals in March 2024, and its development was supported by a Corzo Center Impact Grant.

MusiCoLab has assembled an outstanding cast, including many local favorites, to perform these works. The cast for Far From The Tree includes Jeff Coon, Alex Keiper, Rob Tucker, Jessica Money, Victor Rodriguez, Jr. and Nancie Sanderson under the direction of MusiCoLab Executive Director Charlie Gilbert. Finding Madame Curie includes Kerry Conte and Ben Dibble as the power couple of the atomic age, Marie and Pierre Curie and is directed by Amy Dugas Brown, head of the program in Directing, Playwriting and Production at the University of the Arts. Music direction for these two works is by Linda Henderson. Red & Black is directed by Cheyenne Parks with music direction by composer Dave Thomas.

Since 2018, MusiCoLab has produced ten showcases featuring over a hundred songs by dozens of regional composers and lyricists. Artists and works that have been showcased by MusiCoLab have gone on to be performed in New York City and at regional theaters like Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, as well as the National Alliance for Musical Theatre annual conference, the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University and the Polyphone Festival at the University of the Arts. MusiCoLab also hosts The MusiCoLaboratory, a monthly writers’ group, and sponsors developmental readings of promising new works.

The MusiCoLab Spotlight Series presentation A Closer Look is part of Curtain Up Philly! (, a two-month celebration of new musicals in Philadelphia presented in partnership with three other Philly theater companies. The first event of Curtain Up Philly was the sold-out, critically acclaimed premiere of The Angry Grammarian by Jeffrey Barg and David Lee White, produced by Pier Players Theatre Company at Theatre Exile in South Philly earlier this month. Other events include Theatre on the Verge’s New Musicals Festival at the Abington Arts Center and the Polyphone Festival at the University of the Arts. More than 20 new musicals, many of them by local creators, will be seen on Philadelphia stages this spring, a testament to the flourishing local scene in the city.

Tickets for A Closer Look are $20 and can be purchased in advance at In addition, a limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets are available through Seating is limited and advance purchase is recommended. Learn more about MusiCoLab online at