Pittsburgh CLO Announces SPARK Festival

Pittsburgh CLO Announces SPARK Festival

Pittsburgh CLO announces SPARK, an inaugural festival of new small-cast musicals, will take place in Pittsburgh's Cultural District during a two-week event March 26-April 8, 2018. A major initiative of Pittsburgh CLO's recently completed Next Generation Capital Campaign, SPARK is designed to cultivate new and innovative work from emerging and established musical theater artists.

For 71 years, Pittsburgh CLO has been delighting audiences with Broadway-scale musicals for its main stage subscription season. In 2004, it introduced smaller productions for its newly minted 250-seat CLO Cabaret Theater, where dozens of premieres and select world premieres have since debuted. SPARK is especially designed to cultivate more small-cast shows suited to this venue, bringing their creative teams in residency at Pittsburgh CLO to work in a focused and supportive environment. A commitment to artists is a chief tenet of SPARK.

During SPARK, 10 new works will be seen in various stages of development via "readings" (actors at music stands with piano accompaniment), "staged readings" (script-in-hand readings with piano accompaniment and some movement/choreography) and "workshop productions" (fully staged presentations with minimal set and costume pieces). UP AND AWAY, by Kevin Hammonds and Kristin Bair, which is receiving its world premiere this month at the CLO Cabaret, will be SPARK's feature presentation.

SPARK also seeks to engage members of the public interested in moderated Post-Show Discussions, a New Musicals Boot Camp, Master Classes led by invited guests, and social events such as a Songwriters' Cabaret Night, a Musical Theater Improvisation Night and more. A full line-up of shows, artists and special programming will be announced soon.

"Our primary goal is to support up-and-coming book writers, composers and lyricists who come to Pittsburgh CLO to develop their musicals. 'Getting up a show' in front of an audience, and seeing a professional production of one's work can be game-changing, and SPARK gives us the resources to help nurture this process," said Van Kaplan, Executive Producer.

Co-Chairmen of the Capital Campaign, William Lambert and Dan Booker said, "Thanks to the many Board Members, Foundations, and donors who supported our Next Generation Campaign, we aim to make another meaningful contribution to our community by attracting talent, engaging minds and stimulating creative thinking with SPARK. Pittsburgh CLO's educational and enrichment programs ignite positivity in everyday lives, and that's where new ideas are born."

SPARK festival passes will be available for purchase in March. For more information, please visit www.pittsburghCLO.org/SPARK.

Since 1946, Pittsburgh CLO has been the driving force behind live musical theater in Pittsburgh and the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Under the direction of Van Kaplan since 1997, this not-for-profit arts organization appreciates the support of nearly 200,000 patrons yearly who attend its performances at three venues in the Cultural District: a seasonal subscription series at the Benedum Center, A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater and year-round shows at the CLO Cabaret. Its dedication to the musical theater art form includes educational programs such as the CLO Academy for Performance and Art, the CLO Mini Stars, the Gene Kelly Awards, the Richard Rodgers Award and The National High School Theatre Awards. As part of its new works development, the organization has been involved with 22 Broadway shows (30 Tony Awards), and in 2014 produced the world premiere of An American in Paris, in Paris, on Broadway (4 Tony Awards) and in London's West End. For more information please visit pittsburghCLO.org.

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