Hard to believe summer is over! We were thrilled to welcome 28 writers developing nine new musicals at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. We received nearly 100 applications and these writers were selected by a panel of experts. Each team lived in a private home for one week and did nothing but write. All costs are covered by our generous donors, including the home rental, travel, food, supplies, and an artist stipend.
2014 Musical Synopses, Bios of writers, and underwriters of each weeklong residency:
June 29 – July 6: John Hobson, Ryan McCall, and Nathan Tysen, Stillwater, underwritten in part by Amy Faxon, Michael A. Jenkins, and the Harry, Cathy, Gabriella and James Rubin Foundation
Stillwater is a rock theatre piece revolving around a modern-day, drug-fueled, trailer park in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Rock, pop, and alt-country combine to tell the story of six unbridled twenty-somethings: a drug dealer, his recovering addict ex-girlfriend, and the neighbor who loves her; plus an indie musician on the brink of stardom, his unfaithful girlfriend, and her desperate one-night stand. As the story unfolds, the two love-triangles cleverly and catastrophically intersect. Stillwater is an angst-filled love letter to a generation rebounding from the highs and lows of Middle America.
JOHN HOBSON picked up the guitar at age 10. He is self-taught by way of Chuck Barry, the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, via his dad’s record collection. He started his first band in high school, which led to several other garage bands into college at Kansas University. John is a lover of all things rock. He has a passion for tone and the equipment that brings it, and je loves to experiment both live and in the studio. John is an experienced sound engineer, mixing several large touring acts. Originally from Salina, KS, he currently resides in Stillwater, OK, where he is a professional contractor. In addition to Joe’s Pet Project, he plays with the alt-country band Northcutt, and the Val Gladden Band that plays funk and soul. He dreams of the day he can stop building buildings and make music full-time.
RYAN McCALL is a Composer/Arranger/Multi-Instrumentalist currently working as the Music Director for the Theatre Department at the University of Kansas. At KU, Ryan has composed music for Man Equals Man, Summer and Smoke, and the North American Premier of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in its original pronunciation. Ryan has worked professionally with Kansas City Ballet, Second City, Improv Olympic, Dolphinback Theatre Company, and the Giordano Dance Company. He has taught songwriting workshops at the Kansas, Florida and International Thespian Conferences. Ryan has also toured the country playing dueling piano bars, and because of it has an encyclopedic knowledge of American pop music. He is currently a member of three rock bands, and the senior music director for Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts. Ryan is originally from Salina, KS.
NATHAN TYSEN is a Brooklyn-based songwriter and performer who just won the Kleban Prize for most promising musical theatre lyricist. Musical theatre work with composer Chris Miller includes lyrics for The Burnt Part Boys (2009 Lucille Lortel Nomination for Best New Musical), and Fugitive Songs (2008 Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Revue), both of which have cast albums available on Yellow Sound Label. Current projects include lyrics for the Broadway-bound adaptation of the popular novel Tuck Everlasting (Book by Claudia Shear, Music by Chris Miller, Direction by Casey Nicholaw), as well as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amelie (Book by Craig Lucas, Music by Dan Messe, Direction by Pam McKinnon). An accomplished writer and performer of children’s music, Nathan has penned tunes for Sesame Street (2012 Daytime Emmy Award), and The Electric Company.
July 6 – July 13: Cory Finley and Jeremy Lloyd, In The Dark, underwritten by The Noël Coward Foundation
Leigh, a painter, and Len, a medical assistant, have just gotten engaged and they’re filled with the generosity of young love. So when Leigh’s sister Meg works up the courage to leave her abusive husband, they let her live on their couch. One day the two sisters get in a car accident and Leigh is badly injured, losing her sight. The musical vocabulary of the show–up until then a brooding, minimalist electronic soundscape–goes crazy. As Leigh’s sense of hearing becomes her primary means of processing reality, everyday sounds take on a powerful and haunted multiplicity. Len and especially the guilt-ridden Meg work hard to tend to Leigh, but she’s cold and distant in her suffering. Spurred on by the shared pain of this alienation, Len and Meg fall for one another, undertaking an affair under Leigh’s nose, and Meg’s guilt soon brings the play to a tragic climax. With the electronic score locking the audience in Leigh’s head, the musical becomes a visceral ethical exploration of love, disability, and paranoia.
CORY FINLEY (Book & Lyrics) is a Brooklyn-based playwright. His plays have been produced at Theater for the New City, in Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, at Yale University, and in the NY Fringe. He’s developed plays and presented shorter work at ACT Theatre (Seattle), Ensemble Studio Theater, Prospect Theater Company, The Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, Serials @ The Flea, UglyRhino, and the Icicle Creek Theater Festival. He is a member of Youngblood, the Obie-winning writers’ group at Ensemble Studio Theater, a finalist for the P73 Fellowship, and a graduate of Yale University.
JEREMY LLOYD (Music & Lyrics) is a composer, lyricist, and music producer. He is currently a resident artist at Ars Nova where he is writing an electronic musical with Cory Finley, and is also a member of the Lehman Engel BMI Musical Theater Workshop. His first original song cycle, I Guess I Wish, has received performances at Yale University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Unity Theatre in Liverpool, England, and selections from the piece have been performed as part of the New Voices series at Symphony Space. His one-act musical, Love, Rose received a staged reading as part of Philly Fringe 2013 under director Matthew Decker (Arden Theatre Co.), and he is currently studying with Adam Guettel. He is also one-half of Marian Hill (www.soundcloud.com/MarianHill), an electronic/R&B band that has received over 600,000 Soundcloud plays to date and was listed alongside Lorde as one of Pigeons and Planes’ 25 Best New Artists of 2013. BA: Yale College ’13 www.jeremylloydmusic.com
July 13 – July 20: Chantal Bilodeau, Mindi Dickstein, and Peter Melnick, At the Beck, underwritten by Stacey Mindich Productions
At The Beck is loosely based on the events of the Cottingley Fairies. In 1917, Frances and Elsie, two young British cousins, took pictures of what they claimed were real fairies. The photos became a sensation – gaining the support of public personalities such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – and for the next 70 years, generated much media attention in England and abroad. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Elsie revealed the photos had been a hoax. Frances, however, maintained to her death that one of the photos was real. In our story, we meet the girls in 1917, just prior to them taking the first photograph, and see how this fairly innocent act had huge repercussions on everyone around them. We also catch up with the women sixty years later, in 1977, as they struggle with the consequences of having kept that secret for so long, and try to find resolution, both with the fairies and with each other. Ultimately, At The Beck is a story about friendship, about the power of believing, and about a lost child trying to find her place in the world.
CHANTAL BILODEAU (book) is a playwright, translator, and the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle. Her play Sila recently won the 2014 Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as First Prize in the 2012 Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival, and the 2011 Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She is a recipient of a NEA Fellowship and a Jerome Travel & Study grant. Productions include Sila (Underground Railway Theater, 2014), Hunger (Bated Breath Theatre Company, 2011), The Motherline (New York International Fringe Festival, 2009), Pleasure & Pain (Magic Theatre, Foro La Gruta, Teatro La Capilla and Festival de Teatro Nuevo León in Mexico City, 2007). She has translated over a dozen plays by contemporary playwrights Sébastien David (Quebec), Mohamed Kacimi (Algeria), Koffi Kwahulé (Côte d’Ivoire), Étienne Lepage (Quebec) and Larry Tremblay (Quebec), and is the author of the blog Artists and Climate Change. www.cbilodeau.com.
MINDI DICKSTEIN (lyrics) wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women. Her songs have been performed widely, most notably as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook (“Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists”) and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Other current projects include: lyrics for Snow in August, based on the novel by Pete Hamill, with music by Peter Melnick and book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; lyrics for Benny and Joon, based on the MGM film, with music by Nolan Gasser and book by Kirsten Guenther; and book for A Wind in the Willows Christmas, commissioned by the Two River Theater, with music by Mike Reid and lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger. Past work includes: book and lyrics for Trip, an original musical commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, with music by Daniel Messé, book for Toy Story – The Musical, with songs by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, for Disney Creative Entertainment, and book and lyrics for several musicals for the nationally acclaimed Theatreworks USA. Awards and honors: Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, Massachusetts Artists Foundation Playwriting Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships, ASCAP Bernice Cohen Award, Second Stage Constance Klinsky Award for Excellence in Musical Theater, and a PEN International New Playwright Award (selected by Wendy Wasserstein). Mindi received her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where she was an Oscar Hammerstein Fellow and where she now serves on the faculty.
PETER MELNICK (music) is a composer for musical theater, film and television. He received a Drama Desk nomination for the music for Adrift in Macao, (book & Lyrics by Christopher Durang), which played Off-Broadway in 2007. He also composed the score for The Last Smoker in America (book & lyrics by Bill Russell), which ran at the Westside Theatre in New York in 2012. He is currently writing a musical based on Pete Hammil’s Snow in August, with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. Melnick’s film scores include LA Story, The Only Thrill, Horton Foote’s Convicts, and Farce of the Penguins. Cable/TV credits include Indictment: the McMartin Trial, Grand Avenue, and Lily Dale (also by Horton Foote). Melnick grew up in New York, the product of an extraordinary entertainment family. His father was the late film producer Daniel Melnick (All That Jazz, Straw Dogs, Altered States, and Footloose), and his grandfather was legendary composer Richard Rodgers. Melnick attended Harvard College, Berklee College of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
July 20 – July 27: Lynnette Barkley, Terry Berliner, and Tony DeSare, Girl Band, underwritten by Peter Risafi and Steven Wheeler
In San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, a 10 year-old girl named Lillie (with her Grandmother) sets out to find a saxophone for her band class at middle school. They enter a local pawnshop and discover the perfect saxophone. Little do they know that the woman who first owned this sax, Olivia, was a member of the famed first integrated all-female swing band, The International Sisters of Swing. Thus, Lillie in the present and Olivia, in the past, embark on parallel journeys of musical adventure and discovery. Along this road they come to understand how the bonds of friendship and the power of music, handed down through generations, can change everything. The spirit of the women who fought for and expressed themselves through their music is resurrected as Olivia and a band of audacious women come alive to pass on the heart and soul of their music to one little girl with a big dream.
LYNNETTE BARKLEY (Writer/Director)Since coming to New York thirty years ago to work alongside Tommy Tune in the development of the Broadway musical, My One And Only,Lynnette has directed, choreographed and developed a myriad of plays and musicals from Off-Broadway, National Tours and Regional Theatre. Off-Broadway credits include Leave It To Jane (director), and Gifts of the Magi, Anything Cole, and The Road To Hollywood (choreographer). Regional Theatre directing credits include The Voice of The Prairie, Moonshadow, Golf With Alan Shepard, Puttin’ On The Ritz, Sisters of Swing (Florida Stage), Ragtime and Jekyll & Hyde (Gateway Playhouse, NY),and most recently, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Dancing At Lughnasa at Palm Beach DramaWorks. As a freelance writer, Lynnette has co-written the original musicals Backwards In High Heels, (w/Christopher McGovern) and Beguiled Again, (w/J Barry Lewis). As director/co-creator, she has worked on the development of several highly acclaimed original shows including Puttin’ On The Ritz, Mr. Abbott: A Broadway Legacy, Dancin’ With The One I Love and Prince of The Dark. This year, she is currently writing a new musical, Girl Band, with Terry Berliner and Tony DeSare. Lynnette is a proud, long-standing member of SDC (Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers), NAMT (National Alliance of Musical Theatre).
TERRY BERLINER specializes in developing and directing new plays and musicals. Recently she directed a developmental reading of Alone in the U.S., a new musical she wrote with co-lyricist/composer Bobby Cronin. She also directed Next Thing You Know (2013 Jonathan Larson Award), Cloaked (2011 Kleban Prize and Jonathan Larson Award), the new musicals Roam the Ruins, and It Goes Like It Goes, a tribute to Grammy award-winner David Shire. Recent plays include The Tempest, Honour, The End of Days, and The Last Romance. Her Broadway credits include The Lion King, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Sound of Music, and The Red Shoes. Off-Broadway: Hereafter, Time and Again, Captains Courageous, Violet, and Merrily We Roll Along. Regional: La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Arena Stage, among many others. As a guest artist Ms. Berliner has lectured at and directed for Marymount Manhattan College, CAP21, NYU, Tisch, Pace, University of Colorado, UMass, and North Carolina School of the Arts. She has written for American Theatre magazine, Theatre Bay Area, and Theatre History Studies. This season marked Ms. Berliner’s 5th season as a member of Off Broadway’s Lucille Lortel nominating committee. She is a member of the CAP21 Resource Board of Directors, the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Stage Director’s Choreographers Society.
TONY DESARE (Composer) Singer/songwriter Tony DeSare has won critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout the United States, as well as in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. From performing arts centers to jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall, his fresh take on classic standards and sophisticated original compositions have earned him a reputation as one of country’s hottest young jazz artists. Tony has three top ten Billboard jazz albums and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR and The Today Show. As an accomplished award-winning composer, Tony not only won first place in 2013’s USA Songwriting Contest, but has also written the theme song for the motion picture My Date With Drew, along with several broadcast commercials. What sets Tony apart is his ability to write original material that sounds fresh, contemporary and “now” but at the same time blends seamlessly with the classics before him. Tony is currently writing a brand new live show, “My Generation: The Contemporary American Songbook,” which pays tribute to the traditional genius of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter and Kern, while introducing the many great contemporary songwriters.
July 27 – August 3: Janet Allard and Niko Tsakalakos, Alexander Supertramp, underwritten by Alec Stais and Elissa Burke
In 1992 the body of a young man was found in the Denali Wilderness of Alaska. Who he was and how he ended up there came to light through Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild,” and more recently, Sean Penn’s movie by the same name. Alexander Supertramp follows the journey of Christopher McCandless, a twenty-something year old from a well-to-do East Coast family who rejects his upper middle class upbringing and, seeking more than a conventional lifestyle can provide, donates all his money to Oxfam and sets out on an Odyssey across the country. When he heads into the Alaska bush, he entertains no illusions that he’s trekking into the land of milk and honey; peril and adversity are exactly what he is seeking and what he finds. The story incorporates Christopher’s actual photographs and journal entries as well as interviews with his family and the people whose lives he touched along the way.
JANET ALLARD (playwright/bookwriter-lyricist) – Recent Works include: Alexander Supertramp, commissioned by Perseverance Theater and developed at Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Pool Boy (with Composer, Niko Tskaklakos), at Barrington Stage and Provincetown Playhouse, developed at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Vrooommm! A NASComedy published by Samuel French, Speed Date, Incognito, Loyal and Untold Crimes of Insomniacs, published by Playscripts, Inc. Her musical The Unknown: A Silent Movie Musical won a Jonathan Larson Award with P73 Productions and appeared at New York Music Theatre Festival. Her work has been seen at The Guthrie Lab, The Kennedy Center, Mixed Blood, Playwrights Horizons, Yale Rep, The Yale Cabaret, The Women’s Project, Perseverance Theatre, Joe’s Pub, Barrington Stage, and Internationally in Ireland, England, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. Awards and Fellowships include: two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center, three MacDowell Colony Fellowships, A North Carolina Arts Council Individual Artist Grant and a Writer’s Residency Grant from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. She is a Fulbright Fellow, has an M.F.A in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, has studied at the NYU Tisch Musical Theatre Writing program and teaches playwriting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
NIKO TSAKALAKOS (composer/lyricist) was a finalist for the 2014 Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre. Musicals: Alexander Supertramp [based on John Krakauer’s Into the Wild] (Commission, Perseverance Theatre, 2014; The Ground Floor, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2013); Fall Springs: A Musical Disaster (Retreat, Theatreworks, Palo Alto, 2013; Reading, Ars Nova, 2012; Workshop, New Dramatist, 2012), Pool Boy (NY Premier, Provincetown Playhouse, 2012; World Premier, Barrington Stage Company 2010). Cabarets: The Niko Songbook (Birdland, 2012; BSC, 2012; Bruno Walter Auditorium, Lincoln Center, 2011), Songs of a Night Owl (NY Premier, Ars Nova, 2009; World Premier, BSC, 2008). Anthologies: Two People (MuSE Sounds of Arts Festival, 2013); Duck for President and Other Stories (TheatreworksUSA, National Tour, 2010-2012), Songs by Ridiculously Talented – Hosted by William Finn (54 Below, 2013; Joe’s Pub, 2011; Kaufmann Center of the Performing Arts, 2011; BSC, 2007-2012). Albums: The First Snow (ASCAP, 2013). Film Scores: Rock, Paper, Scissors (Alliance Films, 2007). Awards: Rhinebeck Writers Retreat (2014, 2011), ASCAP Plus Award (2013), Vineyard Arts Project (2012), NAMT Writers Grant (2012), Playwrights Center Writing Grant Minneapolis (2010). Education: B.A. (Rutgers, 2002), M.F.A. (NYU, 2008). http://www.nikosongs.com
August 3 – August 10: Seth Moore, Liz Carlson, and The Lobbyists, SeaWife, underwritten by Stacey Mindich Productions
SeaWife is a concert play that follows Percy, a harpooner aboard the whaling vessel Dardana, sailing its last voyage of the Atlantic. Percy begins the play as a rare conservationist during the golden age of the whaling trade – one of the first major American industries – until he is driven to the voracious killing of leviathans after experiencing the greatest evils of man. Drawing from the deep well of 19th century nautical literature, SeaWife is an original ghost story told through a modern theatrical event that utilizes 1830s tropes, found object puppetry, and an intimate performance experience by the composers and co-creators, The Lobbyists.
Co-Creators and performers THE LOBBYISTS are a New York City based indie-folk band that formed in the winter of 2012 within the lobby of The Flea Theater while acting together in the downtown hit These Seven Sicknesses. Their inventive songwriting and charismatic live persona quickly caught on, prompting them to start gigging around the city. Their fresh sound–lush and intricate harmonies with influences ranging from bluegrass to pop–is at once unique and rooted in traditional folk music. The Lobbyists consist of Tommy Crawford (music director, vocals, guitar, accordion), Eloise Eonnet (vocals, tambourine), Alex Grubbs (vocals, mandolin, guitar), Will Turner (vocals, banjo, guitar), Tony Vo (vocals, percussion, guitar), and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman (vocals, fiddle). SETH MOORE, fellow Co-Creator and Playwright, is an actor/writer living in New York City whose plays have been produced in Michigan, Cincinnati and New York. Seth has written for the stage, television, radio, and poetry-inspired devised work. As an actor, he is a frequent collaborator with Ed Iskandar and his company, Exit Pursued by a Bear. SeaWife‘s director and developer, LIZ CARLSON, is a freelance director and producer in New York City, and the Artistic Director of Naked Angels. She has developed new plays and musicals with The Dramatists Guild, EST, The Flea, The New Group, The Playwrights Realm, Studio 42, and more. 2013 Drama League Directors Project Fellow. For more information on the whole team, visit www.seawife.org
August 10 – August 17: Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, Death for Five Voices, underwritten by The ASCAP Foundation
Death for Five Voices is an original musical drama based on an historic event. On October 16, 1590 the noted Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo brutally murdered his wife and her lover. The story begins five years earlier, just after the death of Carlo’s older brother has unexpectedly made Carlo the new Prince of Venosa. Carlo’s domineering mother quickly arranges a marriage to his first cousin, the renowned beauty Maria d’Avalos. But Carlo has little appetite for his new role as Prince; music is his passion—a passion encouraged by his uncle Alfonso, a powerful bishop who hopes to recruit Carlo as a composer of sacred music. Absorbed in his music, Carlo becomes estranged from Maria, who begins an affair with Carlo’s friend, Fabrizio Carafa. When Carlo’s mother learns of the affair, she urges Carlo to defend the family’s honor, leading to the fateful murders. In the aftermath, a shattered Carlo turns to writing sacred music as a kind of penitence.
PETER MILLS (composer/lyricist, co-bookwriter) is a composer/lyricist whose musicals include Illyria, The Taxi Cabaret, The Flood, and Golden Boy Of The Blue Ridge. Peter has won the 2011 Cole Porter Award, the 2010 Kleban Prize, the 2007 Fred Ebb Award, the 2003 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, a 2002 grant from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, and received two Drama Desk Award nominations for his show The Pursuit Of Persephone. He wrote lyrics for Iron Curtain, with composer Stephen Weiner and bookwriter Susan DiLallo. Peter holds an M.F.A. in Musical Theater Writing from New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts and a degree in English/Dramatic Literature from Princeton University. He is a founding member of Prospect Theater Company. He is currently writing lyrics for the Broadway-bound musical, The Honeymooners.
CARA REICHEL (co-bookwriter) is a writer and director, and serves as the Producing Artistic Director of the acclaimed NYC-based non-profit Prospect Theater Company. Over the past decade, she has co-created 11 new musicals with writer Peter Mills, as well as collaborating with many other writers to develop new music theater works. Most recent Prospect productions as director/author include: Death for Five Voices, Evergreen and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge; as director: Iron Curtain and I Married Wyatt Earp. She also wrote the book for I Capture the Castle (lyrics by Marion Adler, music by Peter Foley), which was workshopped at Pace New Musicals in 2013. She attended Princeton University and the MFA Directing Program at Brooklyn College. Cara is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. www.carareichel.com
August 17 – August 24: Max Vernon, The View UpStairs, underwritten by The Dramatists Guild Fund
The View UpStairs is an original musical inspired by the UpStairs Lounge Fire – a tragic arson attack that occurred in 1973 at the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar. When Wes, a jaded young designer from 2014 is brought in to renovate the boarded up UpStairs Lounge space, he instead finds himself transported back to the day of the fire. In the past, Wes’ notions of intimacy and community are challenged as he learns firsthand the very real danger of being queer back in the early 70’s. The View UpStairs looks at some of the complicated ways in which gay culture has evolved over the last forty years, while illuminating a forgotten history.
Described by the New Yorker as “equal parts bohemia and Broadway,” MAX VERNON is a songwriter/performer, playwright, and visual artist based out of New York City. His work has been performed and developed at venues such as Ars Nova, Dixon Place, LaMaMa, NYU-Tisch, Two River Theater, Pride Films and Plays, and Joe’s Pub (Public Theatre), among others. His music can be heard on the TV-series EastSiders (Logo). He is also a Dramatist Guild Fellow for 2013-2014, an Out Magazine Tastemaker, and recently finished his first commission for Disney Creative Entertainment. Some of his works include The View UpStairs (NYU-Tisch, Pride Films and Plays, Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, O’Neill Conference Finalist), WIRED (Ars Nova, 2013 NAMT finalist), and Who is Rhonda Rwanda? Max graduated cum laude from NYU Gallatin, with a concentration in performance studies and gender & sexuality. He later received his MFA in musical theatre writing from NYU Tisch as a composer/lyricist. More information: www.maxvernon.com
August 24 – August 31: Andrew Butler and Andrew Farmer, Finn the Fearless, underwritten by Rick Farrar and Jeff Zadroga
There’s a boy who never felt fear. He goes south to find the devil’s house, braving choking vines, blistering heat and awful slithering things, to learn what fear is from the place it calls home. And he gets his wish…though it takes its shape as a bet from Ol’ Scratch himself. The boy takes the bet, suffers its trials, and finds that the only fear worth feeling is found in love. Finn the Fearless is dark folk tale told through the musical idioms of the American South. The songs are sung by the characters in the story, embodied by the band of storytellers, each number bringing you further into Finn’s forsaken, inescapable South.
ANDREW R. BUTLER is currently a member of Ars Nova’s Uncharted music/theater writers’ group. He has spent most of this summer writing a new musical, The Dixon Family Album, at the Williamstown Theater Festival, through the Boris Sagal Fellowship. Last summer he was the Free Theater composer at WTF, and performed as a member of the Non-Equity Acting Company. With musical-comedy group Political Subversities his writing, music and performance have been featured at Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, UCBT and The PIT as well as on MSNBC, the Huffington Post, College Humor, and Funny or Die. Andrew is a founding member of experimental theater company harunalee with whom he will be in residence this fall at Dixon Place. Andrew performs and teaches with nationally renowned arts education organization Story Pirates. He holds a BFA in Drama from the Experimental Theater Wing of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. www.andrewrbutler.com
ANDREW FARMER is a playwright, actor, improviser and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he holds a BFA in Acting. Recent writing credits include The Gray Man (HERE Arts, The New Ohio), A Christmas Carol: The First Noel (written with Ryann Weir, Ars Nova), The Magnificent and Inspiring Tale of Alfridge Von Waddlegrave (written with AGGROCRAG Theater Company, Ars Nova, Brooklyn Lyceum), The Fall of Hotel Mudafier to the Toltecs (Williamstown Theater Festival, Howl Theater Festival), The Queen of the May and Her Harvest Kings (with Evan Watkins, Galapagos Artspace and The Cookery), Tom’s Nightmare (Playwrights Horizons Theater School and further development with Cape Rep and Pipeline Theater Company), and Our Farm (The Cherry Pit, The 45th St Theater and Underground Arts). Recent acting credits include Clown Bar (New York Innovative Theater Award nom. for Best Actor in a Featured Role), Blind Date (AGGROCRAG), The Baltimore Waltz (Cape Rep), and Up The Great and Shining Sky (dir. Rachel Chavkin). He is currently a member of Ars Nova’s Uncharted 2014 Residency, Pipeline Theatre Company’s Writers’ Lab and the playwriting faculty at Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU’s Tisch School of Drama.