Pittsburgh CLO's New Musicals Weekend Kicks Off This Friday with Kellen Blair and More

Pittsburgh CLO has announced the Next Generation New Small Musicals Weekend, which will take place April 21-23, 2017 at the Benedum Center.

Pittsburgh CLO is poised to lead the charge in cultivating this section of the musical theater canon - musicals specifically created with casts of no more than five actors, designed for the CLO Cabaret and similar spaces nationwide.

Pittsburgh CLO welcomed 50 artists to Pittsburgh today (pictured above) for this inaugural event which will include a week of rehearsals, four readings, complete with talk-backs with the writers, as well as a Songwriter Showcase on Friday at the CLO Cabaret Theater.

The writing teams selected for this residency are: Kellen Blair (Murder for Two, Scrooge in Love ), Sarah Ziegler Blair (The Bronte Project) and Dave Christensen (Cookies) are working with director Van Kaplan (Pittsburgh CLO's Executive Producer) to develop JUST BETWEEN THE ALL OF US, commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund. Niko Tsakalakos (Into the Wild) and Janet Allard (The Unknown: A Silent Musical) are teaming up with director Mia Walker to explore a new version of their show POOL BOY. Kevin Hammonds (When Midnight Strikes) and Kristin Bair (The Phobia-Phobes) are collaborating with director Marlo Hunter to workshop new songs and the libretto for their musical UP AND AWAY.

"Pittsburgh CLO's New Musicals Weekend will provide an opportunity for writers of small musicals to devote their time to the development of this unique genre," said Pittsburgh CLO Executive Producer, Van Kaplan. "New musical development takes time and resources - both of which the Next Generation Campaign donors will provide this week to an outstanding group of artists. New Musicals Weekend is just the beginning of our commitment to a long-term effort, and will serve as the launching point to Pittsburgh CLO's 2018 new musicals festival, which will develop and showcase 10 new works."

In addition to these three new musicals, the week will also include a reading of a reimagined Cabaret version of the Tony Award-nominated XANADU by Douglas Carte Bean, Jeff Lynn and John Farrar. Based on the success of reenvisioning Broadway's FIRST DATE last season for the CLO Cabaret, the Pittsburgh CLO creative team, under the direction of Kate Galvin, will spend this week with a group of actors exploring how the show's cast size can be reduced to five actors, the possibility of audience interaction and other ways to customize the show for the unique environment of the CLO Cabaret.

The Shows:

By Kellen Blair, Sarah Ziegler and Dave Christensen
Commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO

This audience-interactive musical takes the audience on a date with our female lead and four potential suitors. At the conclusion of date #1, the audience votes on which three men should continue on to a second date; then again on which two gentlemen head off on a third date and potentially, meet the parents. Those not chosen as the "one" will transform into other characters, such as her Dad, friend, waiter, etc. In addition, as an audience member you'll have the chance to be cast as Mom, best friend and more! At the end of the show, the woman realizes she has allowed everyone else to make a decision for her, which she should be making on her own.

By Kevin Hammond and Kristen Bair

Discovered through Pittsburgh CLO's Open Submission Process
Superman meets THE 39 STEPS in this new comic musical about two brothers whose lives are turned upside-down when one of them attains super-human powers. Set in a simpler time before superheroes existed, he must learn on his own what to do with his new gifts as he struggles between "Goodness" vs. "Greatness." Does he use them to save the day, or to get the girl? This fresh take on a comic book origin story tells the epic tale of the world's FIRST super hero with a versatile cast of five in multiple roles and lightning fast costume changes, while utilizing old-fashioned stage craft and imagination, instead of special effects, to make our hero fly.

By Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard

A concert-cabaret musical inspired by the true story of Niko's time as a pool boy at the hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles. It is the story of the best/worst summer ever - a summer of making bad choices for good reasons, missed opportunities in love in pursuit of ambition and a pool boy who loses all he had hoped for only to ultimately discover what matters most.

Pittsburgh CLO gratefully acknowledges the support of the EQT Commissioning Fund of Pittsburgh CLO, and Dan and Debby Booker for their support of Show Tune Saturday Night. Thanks to the generous support of the Next Generation Capital Campaign, Pittsburgh CLO has renewed its commitment to the development of new work.

Submissions for the new musicals initiative are now open on Pittsburgh CLO's website. Visit for details.

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 21 Broadway shows (29 Tony Awards), and in 2014 produced the world premiere of An American in Paris in Paris and on Broadway, where it won four Tony Awards and was the most awarded musical of the season. For more information, visit

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