13 world premieres comprise Chicago Musical Theatre Festival

SHARE 13 world premieres comprise Chicago Musical Theatre Festival

Thirteen world premieres will be presented at the second annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, June 30-July 19, by the Underscore Theatre Company at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee.

From a new spin on the Chicago mayoral race to a Chekhov-inspired rock musical, the festival will feature nine full-length musicals and four one-acts. The productions were selected from 45 submitted works in two categories: mentored submissions, in which writers and composers submit completed works of musical theatre to be produced by Underscore Theatre; and independent submissions, in which producers submit “production-ready” works of musical theatre to be produced independently by the submitters.

Tickets ($15-$20, with discounted festival passes as well) will go on sale May 1 at www.cmtf.org. The performance schedule will be: Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays from 6 pm – 10 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm – 9:30 pm. The full schedule will be available at www.cmtf.org May 1.

Here’s the lineup of the shows:



— “American Smoothie”: Book and lyrics by Nick Jester, music by David von Kampen. In this world premiere, Brian is an IT technician at the corporate headquarters of American Smoothie, Inc. He pines after the cute accountant, stews in jealousy over his too-good co-workers and prays to the spirit of John Grisham for salvation. Part thriller, part romance, and all hilarious.


—“Recurring John”: Music and lyrics by Kevin Wong. How well can you come to know a person you never meet? A mother sings a lullaby to her child. A teacher imparts “wordly wisdom” upon a student. A man recounts his emotional journey on his wedding day. These and more seemingly disparate lives are bound together by a common thread of recurrence; they have all been touched and impacted in some way by the same person. This contemporary and unique conceptual take on the song cycle aims to explore the impact of one life through presenting seven chronological vignettes of individuals affected by a man named John, who never appears to the audience.



—“Dirty Girl”: Presented by New American Folk Theatre. Book, music and lyrics by Anthony Whitaker. A musical comedy one-act following a girl who wishes she could go to the prom. Her fairy god-cousin-through-marriage appears and answers her wish with the 1980s prom of her dreams. At the prom, she faces off with the popular jock, the nerd and the cheerleaders, quickly learning that the real world can be even better than fairy tales.

— “Faces of Eurydice”: Presented by CUBE ensemble. Book by Janet Howe, music and lyrics by Hope Littwin. Choreography by Hope Goldman. “Faces of Eurydice” is a new retelling of the myth of Orpheus. Three singers. Two dancers. One actor. One cello. Through dance, opera, and theatre, the often-overlooked perspective of Eurydice, Orpheus’s legendary lover comes alive.

— “Fanatical”: Presented by American Demigods. Book by Reina Hardy, music and lyrics by Matt Board. This sci-fi convention is a geek’s paradise – costumes, robots and the chance to meet Scott Furnish, creator of spies-in-space TV show “Angel 8.” But this gathering of devoted “Angel 8” fans has been infiltrated by a real-life spy: a reporter for anti-nerd lads’ mag “Pump.” Even worse, when Scott Furnish finally arrives, he has terrible news. “Angel 8” has been cancelled! With their inspiration off the air, the con-goers must band together to restore faith to their devastated hero, and to themselves. Along the way, they will prove that no power in the universe can keep a story from its fans.

— “Marble, GA”: Presented by Duplicity Ensemble; conceived and composed by Pamela Maurer (aka Baby Money). Devised by Duplicity Ensemble and the Marble, GA cast. Lucy’s last living relative has passed away, and she is summoned from Chicago to the rural Georgia town of Marble, home of the mythic Georgia guidestones. An orphan, Lucy had clung to fantastical stories of fame and fortune, hoping to discover she was meant to be among them – but when she arrives in Marble, the mystery of the guidestones teaches her more about her family and herself than she ever imagined.

— “Nine Lives”: Book by Michael Gibson and Dewayne Perkins, music and lyrics by Michael Gibson. Felix is a young man who possesses an amazing ability, passed down to him from generations past: He has nine lives. Felix can awaken from death as if it never happened. Drama, comedy, fantasy and mystery collide as Felix’s gift forces him to choose for himself whether he lives or dies.

— “One Thousand Words”: Book and Lyrics by Michael Braud, music by Curran Latas. Richard Hanks knows that writing a thousand words about two men who were in love in the 1940s will help promote himself at the Forward Magazine, but what he doesn’t realize is how much hearing the story of the men will change his perspective on equality. The audience follows Richard’s journey, and in doing so, gets a glimpse at a love story that must struggle against a quickly changing, unacceptable culture.

— “Passing By”: Book, music and lyrics by Patrick Thompson. “Passing By” is about firsts: Your first kiss, your first dance, your first best friend, your first true love. This is a story about two young people who grew up in a small town and experienced many of their “firsts” with each other. They go through their first 18 years of life without ever leaving their hometown, so when it finally comes time to grow up and make decisions about the rest of their lives, they quickly find out what they will get to experience together or on their own.

— “Seagulls”: Book, music and lyrics by Beth Hyland. An indie-rock musical loosely based on Anton Chekov’s “The Seagull.” This contemporary retelling of the classic tragicomedy follows four friends and band mates at a small college as they struggle to achieve artistic greatness without losing themselves – or each other.


— “Girl versus Corinth”: Presented by Jenna Lloyd. Book, music and lyrics by Danny Baird. Directed by Catie Davis. Medea has returned from exile and rouses the women of Corinth into battle for their rights using an electronic score and the spirits of three feminist vanguards: her backup singers, the Furies.

— “How to Run for Mayor”: Book by Gilbert Tanner, music and lyrics by Aaron Aptaker. Kim needs a job. Unfortunately, she just graduated college, which means she isn’t really qualified for anything. So she decides to run for mayor of Chicago. After her campaign goes viral, Kim winds up as the leading opponent to Rahm Emanuel. An irreverent and hilarious take on elections in the 21st century.

— “Slide” (part 1): Book by Kalena Victoria Chevalier, music and lyrics by Steve Clark and Ed Plough. Loosely inspired by Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” “Slide” follows and immigrant family’s arrival in an amazing new land or opportunity and beauty. But that beauty comes at a terrible price. As the inner workings of its mysterious factory are revealed, the family discovers that it is their very lives greasing the wheels. Broken and alone, one of them begins an impossible journey to make peace with the machine.

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