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Village Theatre Announces New Village Originals Writers Residency for Musical Theatre Writers


Village Theatre's Village Originals program, under the leadership of Associate Artistic Director Brandon Ivie, has announced the new Village Originals Writers Residency aimed at developing new musicals from their earliest stages. New York writing team Danny Larsen and Michelle Elliott, Seattle-based composer Orlando Morales, and local collaborators Kirsten Delohr Helland, Justin Huertas, and Sara Porkalob will make up the inaugural group of resident writers.

"The Village Originals Writers Residency aims to give shows in Early Stages of development a chance to have dedicated, focused time to further develop ideas, generate material, and test drafts with professional actors while receiving consistent feedback and dramaturgical support," says Ivie. "While not every show will continue past a residency, a Village Originals Writers Residency has the potential to be the entry point into the Village Originals program, giving writers access to the most comprehensive, concentrated musical theatre development opportunity in the country: from writing, to music stand reading, to developmental production, to world premiere."

Each writing team will be provided travel and lodging, dedicated rehearsal and office space, administrative support, dramaturgical support from Ivie and Resident Music Director Tim Symons, and a group of on-call professional actors who will be used to test new material as it is written. With both Seattle- and New York-based artists, Village Theatre continues its commitment to supporting local artists while maintaining a national impact on new musical development.

Larson- and Kleban-Award winning writing team Danny Larsen and Michelle Elliott will be developing their piece Hart Island. A moving tale of hope and a heartfelt look at social justice in America, Hart Island explores the lives of two people society has cast aside-Charles, an incarcerated man, and Marielena, an undocumented Hispanic woman. These two lost, invisible people come to see and appreciate one another as fellow human beings. Orlando Morales will develop his new musical Psalm, a piece inspired by his most vivid adolescent church daydreams. What happens when, after praying for miracles and signs our entire lives, we finally get one? And what happens when the miracle is entirely unintelligible, without any recognizable melody, harmony, or rhythm? Psalm is a meditation on friendship and faith in a world full of noise. The earliest in its development phase, writer/actor Justin Huertas, performer Kirsten Delohr Helland, and writer/actor/activist Sara Porkalob will collaborate on a new piece from conception during their residency. Each an accomplished writer/performer, Village Theatre has decided to bring them together in a room for a week to see what they will create-an act of faith in these artists in the name of true collaboration.

Village Theatre continues to dedicate itself to its renowned new musicals program, Village Originals, recently naming Brandon Ivie the head of the program and Associate Artistic Director in July. Since then, the organization has introduced its groundbreaking Beta Series, a season of three developmental productions giving writers a fully staged and designed production free from the pressures of critical scrutiny, and now, the Village Originals Writers Residency.

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