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Showing posts with label Underscore Theatre Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Underscore Theatre Company. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: Underscore Theatre Company's 2019-20 Season

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Underscore Theatre Company's 2019-20 Season:


PHOTO CREDIT: Underscore Theatre Company’s 2019-20 season will feature musicals by (left to right) Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco, Austin Regan and Annabelle Revak.


Non-Equity World Premiere!
PROXY
By Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco and Austin Regan
Directed by Stephanie Rohr


World Premiere!
NOTES & LETTERS
Book, Music & Lyrics by Annabelle Revak

 The 6th Annual
CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
Full Line-Up Announced!


Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to announce its full 2019-20 Season, featuring two fully-produced musicals, plus the 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. The season kicks off this fall with the non-Equity world premiere of PROXY by Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco and Austin Regan, a story of journalistic and personal integrity set to a punk rock score, directed by Stephanie Rohr.

This winter, Underscore is pleased to present its 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond. After receiving more than 35 submissions, Underscore has chosen eight new musicals for this year’s Festival to be presented in full productions. (see full line-up below!)

Underscore’s 2019-20 Season will conclude next spring with the world premiere NOTES & LETTERS featuring book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Revak, based on the author's great-great grandfather's letters sent to his family upon his immigration to Chicago. 

PROXY and NOTES & LETTERS will play at Underscore’s new permanent home, The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL will be performed simultaneously on two stages at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway (The Broadway stage) and 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. (The Off-Broadway stage) in Chicago Edgewater neighborhood.

Tickets for the mainstage season are currently available at underscoretheatre.org. Tickets for CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL will go on-sale at a later date.

Comments Underscore Theatre Artistic Director Whitney Rhodes, "I am sparked by the theme of ‘choice’ in our shows this season, particularly the two mainstage pieces. It's fascinating to see how two very different shows in sound and style explore the similar idea of how we make choices, especially when we aren't ready yet to make them."



Underscore Theatre Company’s 2019-20 Season includes:

October 18 – November 24, 2019
PROXY – Non-Equity World Premiere!
Book by Austin Regan
Music and Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen
Lyrics and additional Book by Rachel Franco
Directed by Stephanie Rohr
at The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago
Press opening: Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30 pm

Fifteen years ago, when she was a kid, Vanessa was almost murdered by her best friend. Now she is an investigative journalist in a bind, and she decides to do what anyone would do – exploit her personal story by disguising herself and interviewing her childhood best friend and attempted murderer. Vanessa must navigate her estranged family and confront her trauma in the age of going viral. Who has the right to tell our story? When we have been traumatized, how do we pass that pain onto others – and can we ever really heal?


April 10 – May 17, 2020
NOTES & LETTERS – World Premiere!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Annabelle Revak
at The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago
Press opening: Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 pm

NOTES & LETTERS follows Joe’s journey from war-torn Prague to Williams Piano Shop in Chicago in 1917. He quickly befriends the owner Charlie, his girlfriend Nora, and composer Olivia. The foursome become inseparable – until World War I hits the U.S. Businesses, relationships and lives are put to the test. Based on a true story and set to a jazz-contemporary score, four young people struggle to make choices amid complete chaos.


February 3 – 23, 2020
The 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway (The Broadway stage) and 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. (The Off-Broadway stage).

The full-line up includes:

On the Broadway stage:
WONDER WOMEN THE MUSICAL
Book, Music and Lyrics by Gregory Becker

WONDER WOMEN THE MUSICAL is an inspiring Golden Age-style musical comedy that tells the true story of the birth of the 1941 classic comic book character, Wonder Woman®. This hilarious upbeat show follows three women who lived in a clandestine four-way polyamourous relationship with the scientist who invented the lie detector. We see how this group overcame the discrimination, misogyny, and sexual taboos of the day and eventually became a ‘family’. Working together, they fused their individual passions for reproductive rights, gender psychology, equal rights, and BDSM and gave the world a superhero who would defeat ignorance using the powers of love and acceptance,and ignite humanity’s inner desire for a matriarch.


DOUBLE VISION
Book, Music and Lyrics by Olivia Popp

Astrophysics PhD student Luke needs to prove his theory of parallel universes for his dissertation. Rising young filmmaker Sam needs to salvage her latest script for a chance at a big break. When Luke successfully opens a wormhole and finds Sam on the other side, the two discover that they can help each other more than they think. DOUBLE VISION is an original sci-fi comedy musical by Olivia Popp about science (well, sort of), love (okay, kind of), relationships (in more ways than one), and the power of seeking something new.


MOBY DICK – A MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Ed Bryan, Music by William Berry

The story of MOBY DICK is a headlong race into the jaws of death. Those on land wait, worry and go about their lives while Captain Ahab and the crew of the Pequod sail inexorably toward a tragic fate.  Honorable Starbuck, carefree Stubb, practical Flask, heroic Queequeg, mysterious Fedallah and the rest of the crew: all are lost to Ahab’s fanatical obsession as he hurls himself against the will of God and the harsh divinity of nature. From the rowdy hijinks of “The Great Leviathan” to the cheeky high spirits of “Nantucket Girls” to the poignant reverie of Ahab’s “What Price I Paid”, the music weaves a haunting spell around a diverse cast of characters who live and die by the dictates of the sea.  Ishmael, alone, lost and adrift on Queequeg’s coffin, survives to tell the tale and turn, at last, towards the comforts of hearth and family.


PAPER SWORDS
Book by Kelsey Tharp, Music and Lyrics by Matt Day

PAPER SWORDS is a romantic comedy musical, focusing on two groups of live action role-players (LARPers) as they navigate adolescence. When the king announces his retirement, the teenagers and the kingdom of Eloren are thrown into shambles. To determine the next ruler of the land, the knights of competing teams Ferndrey and Silvermore must battle one another for the throne. Full of young love, heartbreak, awkwardly-long high fives, nostalgia and wonderfully catchy tunes, PAPER SWORDS will have you in tears (from laughing and/or crying) as you exit the theatre.


BILLY AND THE POTATO POWERED TIME MACHINE
Story and Lyrics by Lawrence Adelson and Keith Gatchel, Music by Alex Chauncy and Nick Davio 

Two kids, Billy and Jamie, have been taken by their mom to live at their grandmother’s house while she starts a divorce with their dad. In the basement, they discover a time machine powered by potatoes. Billy uses it to make honor roll and defeat the school bully. But, when things go wrong, Billy and his mother need to try and find a better way to change the future in this rock and roll fairy tale for kids.


On the Off-Broadway Stage:
BAKED! THE MUSICAL
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jordan Liu and Deepak Kumar

When she doesn’t receive the scholarship that would send her to her dream school, habitual overachiever Jane Huang, with the help of her best friend, joins forces with the class degenerate to build the greatest drug empire ever run by high schoolers. Kept in the dark are Jane’s parents, whose inability to cope with their daughter leaving for college while maintaining a profit at their struggling Chinese bakery drives them pry and potentially unravel Jane’s web of lies.



BAKED! THE MUSICAL is a reflection on perfectionism, self-worth, and the question of what we owe the people we love. It features an all Asian-American cast, and the themes are born out of the writers’ own experiences growing up as the children of immigrants in the US.


VERVE
Book and Lyrics by Fran Zell, Music by Karena Mendoza

Five women at a gym lose the fat fetish and find friendship. Each focuses on her weight and appearance, while harboring a secret she is afraid to share. During the course of a weight loss contest and a rigged game of Truth or Dare, everyone has the opportunity to come clean and test her own capacity for friendship.


ADIRA
Book by Brittany Handler, Music by John Love, Lyrics by Brittany Handler

Adira is a musical satire that tells the story of one princess who must rescue her kingdom. After learning of a terrible curse, Adira runs away to find herself and to break the spell. Along her journey, she encounters a series of new characters, both friend and foe who teach her things that she never knew, including a troll and his bridge, some magic mushrooms and an evil sorcerer. With the help of some dancing dildos and her singing vibrator sidekick, Adira has some big O! moments and learns that she is stronger and more capable than she ever knew.


About the Artists

Alexander Sage Oyen (Music and Lyrics, Proxy) is an NYC songwriter with over five million plays on Spotify. He is the recipient of the 2017 Lotos Foundation Prize in Arts and Sciences for his lyrics and the 2014 ASCAP Foundation’s Lucille and Jack Yellen award for lyricists. His musicals include DIVA: Live From Hell (available for licensing through DPS- Director Daniel Goldstein, Book and Characters S.P. Monahan), Tethered (Book by Rachel Franco), Proxy (Book by Austin Regan, Co-lyrics and additional book by Rachel Franco), Discount Ghost Stories (world premiere 2019 Local Theatre Co., Boulder, CO. Directed by Austin Regan book by Pesha Rudnick and Rob Wright), Outlaws (Goodspeed Fest. New Musicals 2015- book by James Presson, dir. Noah Himmelstein), Archie’s Final Project (Book by James Presson and David Lee Miller), and Moment by Moment (Production at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand 2015. Available on Spotify/Apple Music). He was awarded the 2013-14 Dramatist Guild Fellowship and his musical Outlaws was featured in the 2014 ASCAP Workshop. He’s been named one of Playbill’s “Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers You Should Know,” and was selected for the 2014 Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project. Additionally, he was a 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. His music has been heard at Lincoln Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Symphony Space, 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Playwrights Horizons, The Signature Theatre, New World Stages, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and venues in Thailand, London, The Netherlands and all across the world. Proud member of ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild. 

Rachel Franco (Lyrics and Additional Book, Proxy) is an actor/writer in NYC. She’s written two musicals, the book for Tethered (SCRT Writing Retreat, 2018. Music and Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen) and co-lyrics and additional book for Proxy (Book by Austin Regan, Music and Co-Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen). As an actor she has been seen Off-Broadway in Nibbler (The Amoralists, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre) and F**k Marry Kill (Less Than Rent, The New Ohio Theatre). BFA Tisch at NYU.

Austin Regan (Book, Proxy) is a NYC-based writer and director. His other writing includes The Adventures of Pericles, adapted from Shakespeare, as co-composer and lyricist with Christy Altomare. He is currently developing The Valley, a new musical, with composer/lyricist Peter Lerman. As director: Rigoletto at Minnesota Opera ("a scorching take on politics, patriarchy, and power" – Minneapolis Star Tribune), Discount Ghost Stories at Local Theatre Company in Boulder, CO ("hauntingly beautiful" – Boulder Daily Camera), The Trojan Women (The Hangar Theatre), Mad Libs (New World Stages); Well Worn Words (Ars Nova), The Blind (The Flea Theater), Three Decembers (FM Opera). As assistant/associate director: four Broadway shows and the Metropolitan Opera. Drama League Fellow, LCT Directors Lab, MTF Founding Member, and former Resident Director at the Flea Theater. 

Annabelle Revak (Book, Music and Lyrics, Notes & Letters) is a composer, music director, arranger, and pianist. Cabaret: Antithesis (The Understudy); Keeper of the Keys (Davenport’s), TSCS (The Understudy). Arrangements/Orchestrations: Take Me (Strawdog Theatre), Wife Material (Underscore Theatre), Make Me Bad (Columbia College Chicago). MD: The Last Five Years (JPAC), The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe (asst., Underscore Theatre), The Incredible 6,000-ft. Ladder, Something Blue, The Bone Harp (CMTF 2019), High Fidelity (Columbia College Chicago). BA in Music Composition & BA in Musical Theatre at CCC. 


About Underscore Theatre Company
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

OPENING: THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE VIA Underscore Theatre Company at The Understudy Through July 14, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Underscore Theatre Company Presents
THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE
Book and Lyrics by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier & Seth Macchi
Music by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther
Additional Music and Arrangements by Ryan McCall
Directed by Rusty Sneary 
Music Direction by Ryan McCall
Choreography by Jenna Schoppe
 June 8 – July 14, 2019 at The Understudy


Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to conclude its 2018-19 season with the musical comedy THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE, playing June 8 – July 14, 2019 at Underscore’s newly-remodeled, permanent home, The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Named “Best of the Fest” at the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, LEFTY & CRABBE features book and lyrics by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi, music by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, additional music and arrangements by Ryan McCall, direction by Rusty Sneary, music direction by Ryan McCall and choreography by Jenna Schoppe. Tickets are currently available at underscoretheatre.org

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE will feature Ben Auxier, Stephanie Boyd, Katy Campbell, Elisabeth Del Toro, Brian Huther, Mike Ott, Reagan Pender, Shea Pender, Natalie Rae and Kyle Ryan. Swings: Sophia Foldvari and Nate Hall.

Set at the death of vaudeville and the rise of Hollywood, THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE tracks two ultra-talented but down-on-their-luck performers and friends as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of the entertainment world. Lightning-fast and "fall down funny," Lefty & Crabbe was born as part of the Kansas City Fringe Festival in 2015, received its first full production at The Living Room Theatre in 2017 and won “Best of the Fest” for its 2018 production at The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.  

Comments Underscore Artistic Director Whitney Rhodes, “When I was living in Minneapolis, I worked for historic theaters that started as Vaudeville houses and spent years hearing truly magical stories about that history. The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe sent me on a nostalgic journey that is pure joy; it is a smart and thoughtful piece of work. It's a nod to where the craft began and we can't wait to share it with audiences.”

The production team includes Nicholas Schwartz (scenic design), Christina Leinicke (costume design), Benjamin Carne (lighting design), Robert Hornbostel (sound design), Andy Lynn (production manager), Lacey Pacheco (stage manager) and Christine Lauer (assistant stage manager).


Cast (in alphabetical order): Ben Auxier (Ensemble), Stephanie Boyd (Ensemble), Katy Campbell (Ensemble), Elisabeth Del Toro (Lolo, Ensemble), Brian Huther (Ensemble), Mike Ott (Ensemble), Reagan Pender (Ensemble), Shea Pender (Crabbe), Natalie Rae (Evelyn, Ensemble) and Kyle Ryan (Lefty).

Swings: Sophia Foldvari and Nate Hall.

Location: The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 9 at 4 pm and Monday, June 10 at 7:30 pm
Press performance: Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, June 14 – Sunday, July 14, 2019
Curtain Times: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 4 pm; Mondays at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $20 - $25. Tickets are currently available at underscoretheatre.org

About the Artists:

Brian Huther (Book, Music and Lyric) is a Chicago-based creator, performer and musician, and erstwhile radio producer and greeting-card writer. His projects with creative partners at Friend Dog Studios have accumulated millions of views on YouTube and Facebook (Drunk Trump, 2016 The Movie: The Trailer) and packed out theatres in Kansas City, Missouri (The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe, Milking Christmas, Hacks). He has written two one-act plays, and is currently developing a five-act near-future epic because he likes the pain. Performing credits include Theatre Wit, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, KC Actors Theatre, The Living Room, Chicago PD and a cornucopia of storefront projects, sketch/improv shows, music projects and commercials. www.brianhuther.com www.frienddogstudios.com

Ben Auxier (Book, Music and Lyrics) is an actor, writer and comedian originally from Kansas City who moved to Chicago in late 2016. His other co-writing endeavors include the musical comedy Milking Christmas, which premiered in Kansas City in 2017, the dark comedy straight play HACKS, which won a Best of Fringe recognition in 2016, and loads and loads of sketch, including lot of work for the occasionally-viral online comedy channel Friend Dog Studios. His acting credits over the last few years include the original Chicago run of Lefty & Crabbe, Mozart in THEATREWORKS' production of Amadeus in Colorado, and several appearances with KC-based companies The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and The Living Room Theatre. www.benauxier.com  

Seth Macchi (Book and Lyrics) is an actor, comedian and writer located in Kansas City. Previous acting appearances at New Theatre in Kansas City include Bernard in Boeing Boeing, Chris in Beau Jest, Paul in Over the Moon and Tony in You Can’t Take It With You. Seth was also in Our Town and A Christmas Carol at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Mistakes Madeline Made, H4CKS, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe and Milking Christmas at The Living Room, Not About Heroes at the MET and Fiddler on the Roof at Spinning Tree. Seth is also a co-creator of Friend Dog Studios, a creative collaboration he shares with Ben Auxier and Brian Huther. Together, they have made dozens of online comedy sketches, a podcast, and three world premiere stage productions, which they mounted at The Living Room. Check out some of the stuff they have created online at www.frienddogstudios.com

Ryan McCall (Additional Music, Arrangements, Music Direction) is a composer/arranger/performer currently serving as the Music Director/Accompanist for the Theater and Dance Department at the University of Kansas. KU credits include: Music Director for La Cage aux Folles, Spring Awakening, Company, Little Women, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Anything Goes, The Adding Machine, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate; Composer of And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, Man Equals Man, Summer and Smoke, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (North American Premiere in it’s original pronunciation). Ryan has worked professionally with Kansas City Ballet, Second City, Improv Olympic, KC Rep, Giordano Dance Company and The Living Room Theater. Recently, Ryan joined forces with Friend Dog Studios as a composer and arranger for two new musicals, The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe and Milking Christmas. He is also the composer of the family musical Noah’s Art, which he wrote with his longtime friend Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting, Amelie), and the rock musical Stillwater with Tysen and their band, Joe’s Pet Project. Ryan has taught songwriting workshops at the Kansas, Florida and International Thespian Conferences and is one of the Music Directors for the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, a program dedicated to teaching young artists how to write for the musical theater stage. Ryan is originally from Salina, KS.

Rusty Sneary (Director) graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance. In the spring of 2010, he co-founded The Living Room Theatre where he serves as the Artistic Director. Rusty has produced and served as Artistic Director on over 50 productions including over 25 world premieres. He has also served as a lighting designer, sound designer and the director of many productions, has acted in numerous productions at The Living Room, and continues to act on other professional Kansas City stages. Directing credits include the world premieres of The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, Trigger Happy and The Grave, as well as Annapurna, Some Girl(s), Talk Radio and Race.

Jenna Schoppe (Choreographer) is a choreographer, actor and dancer. She returns to Underscore after appearing in the Tiny Storefront Concert series. Her previous choreographic endeavors include Yank: A WW2 Love Story (Pride Films and Plays, Jeff Award – Best Choreography), Little Women (Brown Paper Box co.), Shrek (Windy City Performs), Book of Merman (Flying Elephant Productions), Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre) and The Producers (NightBlue Performing Arts). 



About Underscore Theatre Company

Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

OPENING: Award Winning Hit HAYMARKET Returns Via Underscore Theatre Company and The Den Theatre June 13 – July 22, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Underscore Theatre Company and The Den Theatre 
Announce Casting for
HAYMARKET
Book and Lyrics and Music by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld
Directed by Nick Thornton
Music Direction by Robert Ollis


June 13 – July 22, 2018 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we missed this critically acclaimed musical in 2016, so we're especially eager to catch Underscore Theatre and The Den Theatre's retooled remount! I'll be out for the press opening June 18th so check back soon for my full review. 

Underscore Theatre and The Den Theatre are pleased to announce casting for an all-new staging of the Jeff Award-nominated Best New Musical HAYMARKET (formerly Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook), the true story of Chicago’s infamous Haymarket massacre. With book, music and lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld, the actors accompany themselves to the stirring folk-infused score. Having spent the last two years workshopping the show, the authors alongside director Nick Thornton and music director Robert Ollis have crafted an all-new theatrical experience – creating new songs, overhauling the book, and like the union workers from the show, building anew.



HAYMARKET will feature Bridget Adams-King (Lucy Parsons), Erik Pearson (Albert Parsons), TJ Anderson (August Spies), Joey Harbert (Louis Lingg), Josiah Robinson (Adolph Fischer), Mike Mazzocca (George Engel), Sarah Beth Tanner (Mrs. Engel), Amanda Giles (Nina Van Zandt), Melanie Vitaterna (Joanna Fischer) and Kelan Smith, Eric Loughlin and Elleon Dobias (Pick Chorus).

Concluding Underscore’s 2017-18 season, HAYMARKET will play June 13 – July 22, 2018 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 10 at underscoretheatre.org or by calling (773) 697-3830. 



Based on historical events, HAYMARKET tells the dramatic story of labor unrest in Chicago, 1886, where striking workers clashed with a brutal police force, resulting in an act of terror, a corrupt trial and the death of five innocent men. Told by a cast of twelve actor-instrumentalists, HAYMARKET is a folk, bluegrass and Americana adventure, led by Lucy Parsons, the African American firebrand and wife of one of the accused anarchists.

“Underscore’s mission is to develop new musicals, and Haymarket is a perfect example of how a show can develop immensely after its initial run, building on the feedback from critics, audiences and artists” notes Co-Artistic Director Laura Stratford. “This is not a remount of our 2016 production. This is a brand-new experience, with a new team, a new cast and a new show. We’re thrilled to partner with the Den to bring this timely, enthralling story to Chicago.” 

The production team for HAYMARKET includes: Eric Luchen (scenic designer), Christina Leinicke (costume designer), Erik Barry (lighting designer), Brandon Reed (sound designer), Kate Cuellar (dramaturg), Jena Sugay (assistant director), Andy Lynn and Ellen White (co-production managers) Josh Prishing (technical director) and Kristin Davis (stage manager).

Cast (in alphabetical order): Bridget Adams-King (Lucy Parsons), TJ Anderson (August Spies), Elleon Dobias (Pick Chorus), Amanda Giles (Nina Van Zandt), Joey Harbert (Louis Lingg), Eric Loughlin (Pick Chorus), Mike Mazzocca (George Engel), Erik Pearson (Albert Parsons), Josiah Robinson (Adolph Fischer), Kelan Smith (Pick Chorus), Sarah Beth Tanner (Mrs. Engel) and Melanie Vitaterna (Joanna Fischer).



Location: The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30 pm, Friday, June 15 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 17 at 3 pm.
Press performance: Monday, June 18 at 7:30pm
Regular run: Friday, June 21 – Sunday, July 22 2018
Curtain Times: TBA.
Tickets now on sale at underscoretheatre.org.




Artist Biographies

Alex Higgin-Houser (Book and Lyrics) is a playwright, lyricist and director. Working with his frequent collaborators David Kornfeld, Laura Stratford and Brendan Siegfried, Alex has written six full-length musicals, including Haymarket (2016 Jeff Award Nomination for Best New Musical), The 57th National Mathlete Sum-it (2017 official NYMF selection, published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide in 2018), Grounds: a Fresh-Brewed Musical (2017 Actors Training Company workshop, 2010 Midwest tour), Spa Fire: The Children of the 1% (Abbiefest official selection, commissioned by Ex-Pat Theatricals), Pr0ne (Underscore world premiere 2013, CMTF workshop production 2015) and Liberal Arts: The Musical (Underscore world premiere 2012, collegiate premiere 2009). As Co-Artistic Director for Underscore, Alex co-founded the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, and has produced or co-produced 65 new musicals. In 2018, Alex will be attending NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre MFA writing program.

David Kornfeld (Music) received his BA in composition from Carleton College and is currently pursuing his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. His musicals include Haymarket: the Anarchist’s Songbook (Jeff Nominated – Best New Musical), Liberal Arts: the Musical!, Grounds: a Fresh-Brewed Musical, Pr0ne: a Hardcore, Amateur Musical and Numbers Nerds, which premiered this summer at NYMF. His Chicago collaborations include Loyola University, Open Door Rep, Li'l Buds Theatre Company, Theatre-Hikes, The Cabaret Project, Stone Soup, Chicago Mammals, CPA Theatricals, Whiskey Wry, weAre Productions, comedienne Brittny Congleton, the Hip Young Gunslingers Big Band and many more. He is a co-founder of Underscore Theatre.  

Nick Thornton (Director) is a freelance director, dramaturg and teaching artist, in addition to being the Literary Manager and Education Coordinator at the Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC). His upcoming projects include serving as the director/curator of Other Ways to Resist, a festival of new activist theater at North Central College, and movement director of Peter and the Starcather (North Central College). Recent Chicago credits include movement director and dramaturg of Birds of a Feather (GTC), director of Mudlark Theatre’s Short Play Festival, developmental dramaturg of Miss Major Cushman (GTC), co-movement and associate director of the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Machinal (named one of the 10 best shows of 2017 by the Chicago Tribune), puppetry director of The Making of a Modern Folk Hero (Other Theatre), developmental dramaturg/assistant director of I Do Today (Other Theatre) and director of The Parking Lot Discord (Peacebook/Collaboration). Nick also serves as a teaching artist at Pegasus Theatre, Mudlark Theater and Windy City Musical Theatre. Regional credits include authoring the book of The Conductor, a new musical comedy (Metallic Mannequin Company), director/lead devisor of Maundy (Metallic Mannequin Company), assistant director and dramaturg of Other Desert Cities and The Glass Menagerie (Farmer’s Alley Theatre) and director of the workshop premiere of Adam Pasen’s Badfic Love (Queer Theatre Kalamazoo). Nick is a proud graduate of Western Michigan University’s Department of Theatre as well as an alumnus of the DirectorsLabChicago. For more information on his work please visit nickthornton.weebly.com. 

Robert Ollis (Music Director) has worked with Underscore Theatre as the score and script of Haymarket has evolved. Robert is an Artistic Associate of Pride Films & Plays and served as Music Director for PFP’s productions of YANK! A WWII Love Story, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, The Nance, The Boy from OZ, Songs from an Unmade Bed, A History of Summer, The Book of Merman and Under A Rainbow Flag. He has also music-directed a number of Chicago Casting Auction productions, including The Addams Family, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, Damn Yankees and others, as well as countless local theatre-benefit concerts. Robert received a Jeff Award for music direction of Kiss of the Spider Woman, plus Jeff nominations for five other shows. Robert has also served as Music Director for notable productions at Bailiwick Chicago and Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. Robert helped create Judy & Liza: The London Palladium Concert — a Tribute, now being presented around the country. Robert has accompanied performers Donna McKechnie, Capathia Jenkins, Andrea Marcovicci, Nancy Hays, Nick Adams and Alexandra Billings at cabaret and concert venues in New York City and Chicago. www.Robert-Ollis.com



About Underscore Theatre Company 

Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

About The Den Theatre

Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 with a single theatre space. Eight years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to five resident theatre companies including Firebrand Theatre, First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre and WildClaw Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit www.thedentheatre.com.



Pictured: (clockwise from left) Sarah Beth Tanner, Eric Loughlin, Bridget Adams-King, Erik Pearson, Mike Mazzoca, Kelan Smith, T.J. Anderson, Elleon Dobias, Josiah Robinson, Melanie Vitaterna and Joey Harbert in a publicity image for Underscore Theatre Company and The Den Theatre's production of HAYMARKET. Photo by Juli Del Prete.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

REVIEW: Sneak Peek at Underscore Theatre Company's CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL Through February 16th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
This is NOT Your Parents' Musical Theatre Fest

Underscore Theatre Company Presents
The 4th Annual
CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
February 6 – 16, 2018 at Greenhouse Theater Center

 Liberators-2 (pictured) The cast of LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Review:
It was my great pleasure to catch the press “Sneak Preview,” featuring a sampling of songs from the 2018 Festival. The diverse offerings for 2018 range from impassioned immigrant stories and historical sagas to irreverently raunchy gay dating comedies. Several of the shows have unusual personifications and one even features sock puppets. All in all, this is NOT your parents' musical theatre fest. These new shows all push the traditional boundaries of the genre in exciting ways. Standouts from the medley of offerings in the press preview were THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE -- a vaudeville adventure with fun potential, GRINDR The Opera-- a high energy ribald parody that left us wanting more, MUSICAL THERAPY-- a clever premise full of sock puppets and psychology, and finally haunting vocals of “TRU”. Do note, this run of TRU is already completely sold out.


Some of our favorite full productions from the past year, like CiviliTy of Albert Cashier': A stunningly spectacular true tale about a trans soldier, sprung from past years of the fest. Since its inception in 2014, the CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL has brought 35 new musical to Chicago stages! Come check out these fledgeling forays into new musical territory so you can claim you saw it first. 



 Discount tickets available at Chicago Theatre Week! Check it out. 


The 4th annual Festival takes place during the League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Chicago Theatre Week, with discounted tickets available to all Theatre Week performances!



Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to present its 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond. This year’s Festival, featuring full productions of seven new musicals plus two staged readings, will play February 6 – 16, 2018 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Each full production will receive at least four performances during the Festival. Single tickets are currently available at www.cmtf.org. 

The festival provides much-needed artistic resources for emerging composer/lyricist teams to have their work supported, explored and most importantly – performed!

Production Schedule & Tickets:

Curtain times: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 8 pm; Fridays at 7:30 pm & 10 pm; Saturdays at 12 pm, 3 pm & 8 pm; Sundays at 12 pm, 3 pm & 6 pm. For a detailed scheduled of productions, please visit www.cmtf.org.

Tickets: $20 ($15 during Chicago Theatre Week). Tickets are currently available at www.cmtf.org.



The full line-up for the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL includes:


(left to right) Vi Tran, Michael Van Pham, Carolyn Plurad and Diana Lee in THE BUTCHER'S SON, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.


THE BUTCHER'S SON
Book, Music & Lyrics by Vi Nhan H. Tran
Directed by Mackenzie Goodwin Tran, Music Direction by Ben Byard 
Cast: Todd Aulwurm, Jennifer Cheung, Carolyn Plurad, Diana Lee, Vi Tran and Michael Van Pham


(left to right) Carolyn Plurad and Vi Tran in THE BUTCHER'S SON, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Born in Vietnam and raised in southwestern Kansas, Vi Nhan H. Tran is torn between the mysterious secrets of his heritage and the waving wheat fields of his adopted home. A poignant and humorous folk musical memoir, The Butcher’s Son chronicles the Tran family’s escape from Vietnam, imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge and resettlement in the cattle country of America. Tran weaves a thrilling refugee story and All-American tale of how family stories become family lore and where one family's search for a home ends.

GRINDR The Opera
Book, Music and Lyrics by Erik Ransom
Directed by Rachel Klein, Music Direction by Oliver Townsend
Choreography by Rachel Klein and Shawn Quinlan
Cast: Connor Baty and Nathan Cooper. Additional casting to be announced.

Four gay men, seeking different types of connection, intersect to hilarious and calamitous results in this sung-through musical parody that puts the notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from contemporary pop to baroque, GRINDR The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: GRINDR.

IRON IRENE: A MUSICAL FABLE
Book by Liz Falstreau, Lyrics by Liz Falstreau and Ashley Flanagan, Music by Ashley Flanagan, Orchestration by Asher Carlson
Directed by Chris Causer, Choreography by Kira Christoforidis
Cast: Rena Ahmed, Luciana Bonifazi, Raymond Cleveland, Dylan Connelley, Casey Daniel, Liz Falstreau, Josh Greiveldinger, Tim Huggenberger, Josiah Robinson, Carly Sue Skankey, Maiko Terazawa and Elliot Watts

Set during the years following the American Civil War, Iron Irene tells the story of two sisters and their fight for family, equality and a better world. Upon the death of their parents, Cassie DeLanie is sent from her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to live in southwestern Wyoming with her sister, Irene. Together, the sisters must learn to adjust to this new world while still attempting to maintain the beliefs and identities of their childhood. Their adventures will lead them to Wyoming’s shining moment: being the first U.S. territory to grant women’s suffrage.


(pictured) The cast of LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.

LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Eric C. Jones, Music by Bradley Dean Whyte and Alex Winkler,
Orchestrations by Nate Weil
Directed by Allison Heinz, Music Direction by Samantha Westlake
Choreography by Jaime Raglow
Cast: Isabel Breanahan, Caitlin Dobbins, Shelby Edwards, Chris Furrer, Luke Halpren, Alex Iacobucci, Jillian Jocson, Kate Jordan, Natalie Kreft, Lynette Li, Cari Meixner, Emily Moon, Mike Movidio, Gage Peterson, Christopher Ratliff, Colton Schied, Kati Schwaber, Allison Taylor, Thomas Tong and Evan Wilhelm

 
(left to right) Caitlin Dobbins and Luke Halpern in LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.


 
(pictured) The cast of LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL, part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.

A powerful rock musical about forgiveness, restoration, the power of friendship and what it means to be a family. This moving tale intersects and moves back and forth throughout 70 years and tells the story through the viewpoints of three unlikely men from different religious and ethnic backgrounds who are connected through a priceless family heirloom: a gold pocket watch. From the start of WWII to post-911 America, the lives of these characters will forever be changed during the historic liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau. Liberators: An American Musical encourages you to believe that even the most unlikely person can make a difference.

MUSICAL THERAPY
Music and Lyrics by Joey Katsiroubas, Book by Dan Hass
Directed by Madison Smith, Music Direction by Joey Katsiroubas
Choreography by Katelyn Stoss
Cast: James Bleecker Jr., Kirby Gibson, Matt Lamson, Alex Madda, Tommy Ross, Sophie Scanlon and Ashlyn Seehafer

Theresa is a young, single couples’ counselor in Chicago. While she’s great (well, okay) at keeping couples together, she can’t seem to lock down a guy for herself. And the fact that she tends to get attached (well, neurotic) after just one date doesn’t help either. Cut to Mr. Wonderful moving into the office next door: beautiful, bulgy-biceped Will. It’s obsession at first sight, and no obstacle or girlfriend is going to keep Theresa from being with him. She’ll ruin relationships, sabotage dates, push people out of the closet – mixing and matching her clients until it’s just Wonderful and her. Forever. And ever. 

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE
Book by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi, Music and Lyrics by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, Arrangements and Music Direction by Ryan McCall
Cast: Ben Auxier, Molly Denninghoff, Ryan Hruza, Brian Huther, Nellie Maple, Mike Ott, Shea Pender and Elise Poehling

Set in the 1920s during the decline of Vaudeville and the rise of Hollywood, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe tracks the journey of an ultra-sharp but down-on-their-luck comedy duo as they navigate the rapidly changing world of entertainment. With a cast of eight portraying nearly fifty characters, audiences will quickly lose themselves in this absurd and delightful comic world and leave with smiles on their faces.


(left to right) Meredith Kochan and Chuckie Benson in “TRU,” part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.

“TRU” 
Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Gosz and Leo Fotos
Directed by Max Cervantes, Music Direction by Erik Pearson
Cast: Bradley Atkinson, Chuckie Benson, Kiko Laureano, Nic Mains, Hannon McEldowney, Meredith Kochan, Randolph Johnson, Marssie Mencotti, Marissa Pattullo and Marco Tzunux

 
(front, l to r) Marissa Pattullo, Bradley Atkinson and Kiko Laureano with the cast of “TRU,” part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.


TRU-3 (pictured) The cast of “TRU,” part of the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. Photo by Evan Hanover.


Through intricate characters and intimate music, “TRU” paints a picture of how hauntingly beautiful life can be. “TRU” explores the joys and challenges of the many relationships that are formed throughout one’s life, testing the various forms of love – between a man and his father, between a granddaughter and her grandmother, between a woman and her art, between a student and his teacher, between a man and himself. Walking hand in hand with reality, “TRU” toes the line between what is unbelievable and what is true.



Workshop Productions:

Monday, February 12 at 8 pm
MURDEROUS INNOCENT
Book by Tommy Jamerson, Music and Lyrics by Mark Contorno

Jacob Freeman seems to have it all; a thriving career, a bestselling novel, and an adoring wife. But when his past comes to haunt him in the form of his estranged seventeen year old daughter, Jacob’s perfect life is suddenly turned on its head and secrets long since buried begin to rise to the surface yet again.

Monday, February 19 at 8 pm
NOTES AND LETTERS
Book, Music and Lyrics by Annabelle Revak

Joe Loula departs war-torn Bohemia for Chicago in 1917 seeking a new job and a new independence. He quickly befriends Charlie, Nora and Olivia at Williams’ Custom Pianos. As the foursome become inseparable, the U.S. plunges into the World War I: businesses, relationships and pride are put to the test. A true story set to a jazz score, Notes and Letters chronicles the attempt to find an even beat in a world where the meter is constantly shifting. 




Are you a die-hard musicals fan? Do you want to see some terrific new shows and get invited to some exclusive events? Buy a festival pass and save!

What do I get?

1 ticket to all 7 festival full-length shows
Save 25% on your tickets, with no single-ticket fees
Exclusive invite to our February 5th press preview night to get a sneak-peek at all of this year's shows
Exclusive invite to our closing awards ceremony on February 25th
Stand at the FRONT of the line for every show, to make sure you get the best seats in the house

How much does it cost?
A 7-show festival pass costs only $120. Buy one HERE.

Once I get my pass, how do I use it?
Go to buy a ticket just like normal. Once you log in, you will be prompted to use your pass like any other payment method.

About Underscore Theatre Company 
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced 44 new musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

OPENING: The 4th Annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL ViA Underscore Theatre Company Slated For February 6-16th at Greenhouse Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Underscore Theatre Company Presents
The 4th Annual
CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
February 6 – 16, 2018 at Greenhouse Theater Center


Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to present its 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond. This year’s Festival, featuring full productions of seven new musicals plus two staged readings, will play February 6 – 16, 2018 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Each full production will receive at least four performances during the Festival. Single tickets are currently available at www.cmtf.org. 

I'll be out for the press “Sneak Preview,” featuring a sampling of songs from the 2018 Festival on Monday, February 5. Get your tickets early and at a discount for CTW! 

The 4th annual Festival takes place during the League of Chicago Theatres’ annual Chicago Theatre Week, with discounted tickets available to all Theatre Week performances!

Since its inception in 2014, the CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL has brought 35 new musical to Chicago stages. The festival provides much-needed artistic resources for emerging composer/lyricist teams to have their work supported, explored and most importantly – performed!

Production Schedule & Tickets:

Curtain times: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 8 pm; Fridays at 7:30 pm & 10 pm; Saturdays at 12 pm, 3 pm & 8 pm; Sundays at 12 pm, 3 pm & 6 pm. For a detailed scheduled of productions, please visit www.cmtf.org.
Tickets: $20 ($15 during Chicago Theatre Week). Tickets are currently available at www.cmtf.org.




The full line-up for the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL includes:

THE BUTCHER'S SON
Book, Music & Lyrics by Vi Nhan H. Tran
Directed by Mackenzie Goodwin Tran, Music Direction by Ben Byard 
Cast: Todd Aulwurm, Jennifer Cheung, Carolyn Plurad, Diana Lee, Vi Tran and Michael Van Pham

Born in Vietnam and raised in southwestern Kansas, Vi Nhan H. Tran is torn between the mysterious secrets of his heritage and the waving wheat fields of his adopted home. A poignant and humorous folk musical memoir, The Butcher’s Son chronicles the Tran family’s escape from Vietnam, imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge and resettlement in the cattle country of America. Tran weaves a thrilling refugee story and All-American tale of how family stories become family lore and where one family's search for a home ends.

GRINDR The Opera
Book, Music and Lyrics by Erik Ransom
Directed by Rachel Klein, Music Direction by Oliver Townsend
Choreography by Rachel Klein and Shawn Quinlan
Cast: Connor Baty and Nathan Cooper. Additional casting to be announced.

Four gay men, seeking different types of connection, intersect to hilarious and calamitous results in this sung-through musical parody that puts the notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from contemporary pop to baroque, GRINDR The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: GRINDR.

IRON IRENE: A MUSICAL FABLE
Book by Liz Falstreau, Lyrics by Liz Falstreau and Ashley Flanagan, Music by Ashley Flanagan, Orchestration by Asher Carlson
Directed by Chris Causer, Choreography by Kira Christoforidis
Cast: Rena Ahmed, Luciana Bonifazi, Raymond Cleveland, Dylan Connelley, Casey Daniel, Liz Falstreau, Josh Greiveldinger, Tim Huggenberger, Josiah Robinson, Carly Sue Skankey, Maiko Terazawa and Elliot Watts

Set during the years following the American Civil War, Iron Irene tells the story of two sisters and their fight for family, equality and a better world. Upon the death of their parents, Cassie DeLanie is sent from her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to live in southwestern Wyoming with her sister, Irene. Together, the sisters must learn to adjust to this new world while still attempting to maintain the beliefs and identities of their childhood. Their adventures will lead them to Wyoming’s shining moment: being the first U.S. territory to grant women’s suffrage.

LIBERATORS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Eric C. Jones, Music by Bradley Dean Whyte and Alex Winkler,
Orchestrations by Nate Weil
Directed by Allison Heinz, Music Direction by Samantha Westlake
Choreography by Jaime Raglow
Cast: Isabel Breanahan, Caitlin Dobbins, Shelby Edwards, Chris Furrer, Luke Halpren, Alex Iacobucci, Jillian Jocson, Kate Jordan, Natalie Kreft, Lynette Li, Cari Meixner, Emily Moon, Mike Movidio, Gage Peterson, Christopher Ratliff, Colton Schied, Kati Schwaber, Allison Taylor, Thomas Tong and Evan Wilhelm

A powerful rock musical about forgiveness, restoration, the power of friendship and what it means to be a family. This moving tale intersects and moves back and forth throughout 70 years and tells the story through the viewpoints of three unlikely men from different religious and ethnic backgrounds who are connected through a priceless family heirloom: a gold pocket watch. From the start of WWII to post-911 America, the lives of these characters will forever be changed during the historic liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau. Liberators: An American Musical encourages you to believe that even the most unlikely person can make a difference.

MUSICAL THERAPY
Music and Lyrics by Joey Katsiroubas, Book by Dan Hass
Directed by Madison Smith, Music Direction by Joey Katsiroubas
Choreography by Katelyn Stoss
Cast: James Bleecker Jr., Kirby Gibson, Matt Lamson, Alex Madda, Tommy Ross, Sophie Scanlon and Ashlyn Seehafer

Theresa is a young, single couples’ counselor in Chicago. While she’s great (well, okay) at keeping couples together, she can’t seem to lock down a guy for herself. And the fact that she tends to get attached (well, neurotic) after just one date doesn’t help either. Cut to Mr. Wonderful moving into the office next door: beautiful, bulgy-biceped Will. It’s obsession at first sight, and no obstacle or girlfriend is going to keep Theresa from being with him. She’ll ruin relationships, sabotage dates, push people out of the closet – mixing and matching her clients until it’s just Wonderful and her. Forever. And ever. 

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY & CRABBE
Book by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi, Music and Lyrics by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, Arrangements and Music Direction by Ryan McCall
Cast: Ben Auxier, Molly Denninghoff, Ryan Hruza, Brian Huther, Nellie Maple, Mike Ott, Shea Pender and Elise Poehling

Set in the 1920s during the decline of Vaudeville and the rise of Hollywood, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe tracks the journey of an ultra-sharp but down-on-their-luck comedy duo as they navigate the rapidly changing world of entertainment. With a cast of eight portraying nearly fifty characters, audiences will quickly lose themselves in this absurd and delightful comic world and leave with smiles on their faces.

“TRU” 
Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Gosz and Leo Fotos
Directed by Max Cervantes, Music Direction by Erik Pearson
Cast: Bradley Atkinson, Chuckie Benson, Kiko Laureano, Nic Mains, Hannon McEldowney, Meredith Kochan, Randolph Johnson, Marssie Mencotti, Marissa Pattullo and Marco Tzunux

Through intricate characters and intimate music, “TRU” paints a picture of how hauntingly beautiful life can be. “TRU” explores the joys and challenges of the many relationships that are formed throughout one’s life, testing the various forms of love – between a man and his father, between a granddaughter and her grandmother, between a woman and her art, between a student and his teacher, between a man and himself. Walking hand in hand with reality, “TRU” toes the line between what is unbelievable and what is true.

Workshop Productions:

Monday, February 12 at 8 pm
MURDEROUS INNOCENT
Book by Tommy Jamerson, Music and Lyrics by Mark Contorno

Jacob Freeman seems to have it all; a thriving career, a bestselling novel, and an adoring wife. But when his past comes to haunt him in the form of his estranged seventeen year old daughter, Jacob’s perfect life is suddenly turned on its head and secrets long since buried begin to rise to the surface yet again.

Monday, February 19 at 8 pm
NOTES AND LETTERS
Book, Music and Lyrics by Annabelle Revak

Joe Loula departs war-torn Bohemia for Chicago in 1917 seeking a new job and a new independence. He quickly befriends Charlie, Nora and Olivia at Williams’ Custom Pianos. As the foursome become inseparable, the U.S. plunges into the World War I: businesses, relationships and pride are put to the test. A true story set to a jazz score, Notes and Letters chronicles the attempt to find an even beat in a world where the meter is constantly shifting. 




Are you a die-hard musicals fan? Do you want to see some terrific new shows and get invited to some exclusive events? Buy a festival pass and save!

What do I get?

1 ticket to all 7 festival full-length shows
Save 25% on your tickets, with no single-ticket fees
Exclusive invite to our February 5th press preview night to get a sneak-peek at all of this year's shows
Exclusive invite to our closing awards ceremony on February 25th
Stand at the FRONT of the line for every show, to make sure you get the best seats in the house

How much does it cost?
A 7-show festival pass costs only $120. Buy one HERE.

Once I get my pass, how do I use it?
Go to buy a ticket just like normal. Once you log in, you will be prompted to use your pass like any other payment method.

About Underscore Theatre Company 
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced 44 new musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

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