University Of The Arts' POLYPHONE FESTIVAL Celebrates 10th Anniversary This Spring

Annual Festival of New Musicals to present two new works and a 10th Anniversary concert.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
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University of the Arts' Ira Brind School of Theater Arts has announced the lineup for the tenth annual Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals. The festival will present two fully staged in-progress musicals in repertory April 18 through 21, as well as two concert performances on April 20 and 21:

The Doctor is Dead

Book, Music & Lyrics by é boylan

Directed by é boylan and Rose Freeman

Music Direction by Maya Kociba

A contemporary fantasy for queer imaginations, The Doctor is Dead follows a secret society of trans outcasts living underground. Using their unique abilities to investigate a mysterious empty coffin, our outcasts sing a song of leaving, of grief that becomes giving, of what begins in the end. 


Book & Lyrics by Patricia Noonan

Music by Liz Filios & Sean Mahoney

Directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien

Music Direction by Garrick Vaughan

As World War II shakes the nation, sisters Beth and Frankie journey to Sweetwater, Texas, where they join with women from across the country to fly for the US Army Air Forces. Though they master 77 types of planes and become among the first to test the new B-29 bomber, these women know all too well they risk their lives every day without the benefit of military status. When one of their own loses her life, Frankie, Beth, and the others must decide how to serve a country that needs their skills but refuses to fully acknowledge their sacrifice – and how to honor the sisters they have found in the process.

From the fringes of the history books, Sweetwater brings the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) center stage in a story of duty, love, sisterhood, and the joys and costs that come with being pioneers.

Polyphone 10th Anniversary Concert

Directed by James Bruenger Arreguin

Music Direction by Joey Rice

Join us as we revisit ten years of Polyphone with a concert featuring songs and artists from past festivals. We will celebrate the cutting-edge work developed at Polyphone that has pushed the form toward a limitless and exciting future.  A full lineup of featured artists will be announced soon!   Alumni have received recognition for their work through countless awards, fellowships, nominations and grants including the Tony Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Obie Award, the Jonathan Larson Grant, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Fred Ebb Award, The Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, the LAMBDA Literary Award for Drama, the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

Schedule of Events

The Doctor is Dead

Public Performances:
April 18 at 8:00pm
April 20 at 5:00pm
April 21 at 5:00pm


Public Performances:
April 19 at 8:00pm
April 20 at 2:00pm
April 21 at 8:00pm

10th Anniversary Concert

Public Performances:
April 20 at 8:00pm
April 21 at 2:00pm

All events will take place at the Arts Bank Mainstage, 601 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Tickets will be available beginning Friday, April 1 at

About the Polyphone Festival 

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Maggie-Kate Coleman, Polyphone represents an institutional effort by University of the Arts to change how musicals are born and how young theater makers are trained. By putting student actors and creatives in collaboration with cutting-edge artists of new musicals and dedicating university resources to new works as they are being born, Polyphone has made a transformative impact on hundreds of young artists, audiences and the field of new musicals as a whole. 

The American Theatre Wing featured Polyphone in its Emmy-nominated series Working In Theatre in 2017. Composer and Writer César Alvarez served as Polyphone's artistic director from its founding in 2015 through 2019.