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MTAP's OFF WITH HER MAIDENHEAD Reading Set for Today at Studio Theatre


Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh (MTAP) has been established to foster collaboration between musical theatre artists in the Pittsburgh region, and to create opportunities for the development, presentation, and production of new musical theatre. Initiated by Erik Schark, under the guidance and advice of Stephanie Riso - co-founder of Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre currently in its 17th season, and Cabaret Pittsburgh which operated 2004-2008, the group is now led by Stephanie Riso with managing leadership by Jeanne Drennan and the advisory role now filled by Steve Cuden, author of the new book Beating Broadway: How to Create Stories for Musicals That Get Standing Ovations.

MTAP is a diverse group of Pittsburgh regional artists - playwrights, librettists, composers, songwriters, producers, performers, and musicians - working to create and express stories through the musical theatre lens and to find professional outlets for their stories. Members have come from as far away as Wheeling, WV, Hagerstown, MD, and upstate NY for the support generated at meetings. MTAP meets one Sunday a month with presentations of new work, updates and discussions about ideas, a report on work in progress, and from time to time special guests.

MTAP is announcing its call for talent to join its roster for monthly meetings, networking, collaborations, new work development and presentation. We are seeking aspiring or established composers, lyricists, librettists, playwrights, performers, professionals, producers and anyone interested in new musical development. Email for more information.

The collaboration fostered by MTAP has led to exciting opportunities for members. Jeanne Drennan and David Berlin have begun work with a musical theatre class led by Stacey Cabaj at the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Theatre Arts on their musical in development Dear Boy, a tale of parental love pitted against a secret romantic love. Pitt's Department of Theatre Arts has also stepped up to sponsor MTAP's first public (and free) reading of a new musical in development: Off with Her Maidenhead with book/lyrics by Amy Claussen and music by James Rushin.

Claussen and Rushin met at one of the first MTAP meetings and immediately began writing this musical idea into existence. The first act was read as part of CMU's Playground Festival in early 2012, and was later presented at Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival in Auburn, New York. A full reading of the show will be held tonight, November 17th, 2013, at 7:30pm in the Studio Theatre in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning.

This deliciously irreverent musical speaks to everything hysterical (and troubling) about Disney Princess movies. Justine, our mute heroine, is a beautiful, ethnically ambiguous, disabled orphan who lives in a nunnery - perfect princess material. However, when her fairy godmother is unable to give Justine her happily-ever-after, she grows up quickly. Justine and her Sisters decide instead to solve their financial woes by turning their nunnery into a brothel, and in the process become the unlikely saviors of the kingdom. The dreams that you wish do come true, so be careful what you wish for.

James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College.

Amy Claussen recently relocated to the Bay Area and is the Content Designer for Pocket Gems' hit game, Tap Paradise Cove. She began as a playwright, director, and arts producer in New York working on the producing team of Broadway and off-Broadway shows including Nora and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore, starring Rosie O'Donnell. While in New York, Amy built The Sandbox Theatre Company where her play White Elephant was produced and then featured in The New York Times.

The new musical reading is free and open to the public with lead production by Stephanie Riso, sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Theatre Arts, and direction by Stephen Santa. The cast includes: Courtney Bassett, Bria Walker, Rebecca Covert, Natalie Hatcher, Stacey Cabaj, Emily Welsh, Lisa Ann Goldsmith, Rocky Paterra, Patrick Cannon, and Eric James Davidson. The stage manager is Monica Meyer and musical consultant is Roger Zahab.

For more information, check out the MTAP website ( or email

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