University Of The Arts' Polyphone Festival Returns In-Person For 2022

'Festival of the Emerging Musical' to present four new works over the course of seven weeks. 

By: Mar. 29, 2022

University Of The Arts' Polyphone Festival Returns In-Person For 2022

University of the Arts' Ira Brind School of Theater Arts announces the lineup for the eighth annual Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals. The festival will present two fully produced musicals in repertory April 12 through 16, plus two staged readings on February 28 and March 21.

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. The Polyphone Festival would like to acknowledge the generous support of Doug Kreitzberg and the late Suzanne Kreitzberg, whose memory we hope to honor through our work.

This year's Polyphone Festival will feature presentations of four new works:

In full production:

Crimson Lit: Scarlet Letter Setlist

Book & Lyrics by Krista Knight

Music & Lyrics by Jill Sobule

Directed by Rose Freeman

Music Direction by elle.morris

Set Coordination by Ant Ma

Lighting Design by Natalie Robin

Sound Design by Chris Sannino

Poetic justice has finally come for rebellious teen Winnie. She's going to fail American Lit and have to repeat the 11th grade unless she's able to complete a book report. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that the book is Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter-which Winnie does NOT want to read. Well, that's too bad because she's in a whole play about it. A riot grrrl musical that's part Scarlet Letter adaptation and part queer romance.

Dear Mr. C

Written & Composed by Tidtaya Sinutoke

Lyrics by Lily Ali-Oshatz

Lyrics by Naomi Matlow

Directed by Marina Montesanti

Associate Directed by MingMing Wang

Choreography by Kristen Brooks Sandler

Music Direction by Dorie Byrne

Set Coordination by Ant Ma

Lighting Design by Natalie Robin

Sound Design by Chris Sannino

A musical about love, family, grief, immigration and cancer. Dear Mr. C, is an intimate, verbatim, indie-pop musical with a hint of traditional Thai lullaby. It is a memory musical that tells the story of a Thai immigrant musical theatre writer who's trying to find peace after one phone call turns her world upside-down.

Developmental readings:

Norton I

By Giacomo Fizzano

Directed by Justin Jain

Music Direction by Dan Espie

The (mostly) true tale of Joshua Norton, bankrupt venture capitalist turned self-appointed Emperor, Norton's reign over San Francisco saw the city through the Civil War and the ensuing racial violence in the city. As Norton tries to retain control over his city, he's forced to confront, in the words of our narrator, Tommy Wiseau, how to make the world a better place.

Ghost Town: The Musical

By River von Waldron, Linc Millard and Randy Louise

Directed by Emily Wanamaker

Music Direction by Nero Catalano

Olive lives in Mars, Nebraska, mourning the death of her mother. She and her girlfriend, Nellie, plan to move halfway across the country - until Olive encounters her town's ghosts, preserved only by the slivers of memory others possess of them. Olive finds herself stuck between uncovering the past and moving forward in life, wondering- Is honoring the memory truly enough if you're not still there to relive it? A musical exploring the inextricable relationship between death and memory as a neurodivergent person, through lush vignettes filled with rustic string instruments, music boxes, jars of rocks, and lesbians.

Tickets will be available beginning Friday, April 1 at 12:50 p.m. at

Dear Mr. C tickets can be directly purchased at

Crimson Lit: Scarlet Letter Setlist tickets can be directly purchased at

Please note, masks will be required indoors for all visitors. Our mask requirement extends to all visitors to campus, including guest lecturers/artists, families, contractors and visitors to public events.

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