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Pittsburgh CLO has announced the line-up of shows for the inaugural SPARK, the small-musicals festival that debuts March 26-April 8.

The chosen 10, in various stages of development, will have the opportunity to rehearse and revise their work in residencies ranging from two days to three weeks. Eight of the musicals will receive public presentations, allowing writing teams to gather audience insights.

A major initiative of Pittsburgh CLO’s Next Generation Capital Campaign, SPARK is designed to cultivate new and innovative musicals for intimate venues such as the Cabaret at Theater Square in the Pittsburgh Cultural District.

Already underway at the CLO Cabaret is the world premiere of "Up and Away" by Kevin Hammonds (book and lyrics) and Kristin Bair (music). The musical has been nurtured by Pittsburgh CLO and was introduced at the company's New Musicals Weekend in the spring of last year.

 

Sharon Eberson

Pittsburgh CLO new small musicals festival is dubbed SPARK

SPARK passes will be available to the public in March. Watch for more details and venues and times are announced. To register for updates, visit pittsburghCLO.org/spark.

THE SPARK LINE-UP

•  "Game On" by Marcus Stevens (book and lyrics) and David Dabbon (music). Reading.Contestants compete to win it all on the TV show "Game On!," and at today’s taping, two exes face off as contestants. Cheer the players on from the audience – or, if you’re lucky, play against them onstage – in a high-stakes musical comedy. Commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fun

•  "The Double Threat Trio" by Adam Overett (book, music and lyrics). Workshop Presentation. An actor who can't dance, a dancer who can't sing and a singer who can't act, join forces with Millicent, an eccentric writer-director-producer-designer-choreographer-stage manager who has been waiting to vault her once-storied career back onto Broadway. She creates a three-character musical adaptation of Oedipus Rex, "Oed!," to highlight the cast’s talents while hiding their flaws. What could go wrong? Presented by the Benter Foundation.

•  "Pool Boy" by Niko Tsakalakos (music and lyrics) and Janet Allard (book and lyrics). Reading. Nick came to Los Angeles with dreams of making it in music and gets a job at the Hotel Bel-Air. What ensues is the best/worst summer ever, as Nick gets a taste of fame and finds unlikely soul connections. Inspired by the true story of composer Niko’s time as a pool boy at the Hotel Bel-Air. Developed by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund.

•  "Just Between the All of Us" by Kellen Blair and Sarah Ziegler Blair (book and lyrics) and David Christensen (music). Reading. This interactive musical comedy follows Madeline Owens, an ER doctor who suddenly finds herself interested in four different men from the online dating site Alrighty Aphrodite. She calls upon members of the audience to play the various advice-givers in her life (mom, therapist, barista, etc.) and eventually narrows down her prospects. Commissioned by Pittsburgh CLO through the EQT Commissioning Fund.

•  "These Girls Have Demons" by Meghan Brown (book and lyrics) and Sarah Taylor Ellis (music). Reading. After an ill-advised slumber party foray into the dark arts, teenagers Daisy, Hayley, Sophie and Morgan find themselves possessed by demons. As the demons grow more powerful, the girls must decide — will they give in to the anger that might destroy them, or fight to somehow become good again?

•  "SKiNFoLK: An American Show" Jillian Walker (writer and performer). Reading.Jillian Walker blends music, history and live storytelling into a cabaret experience. The big-hearted and imaginative concert-play is a sensuous celebration of our bodies and the stories they carry. Through an mix of memoir, movement and song, Walker asks: How well do we know the skin we live in? "SKiNFoLK" appeared in the 2017 ANT Fest at Ars Nova.

•  "Beyond the Moon" by Joseph Domencic and Christina McCann (book, music and lyrics). Reading. Through dramatic sketches and musical vignettes, Pittsburgh CLO’s Gallery of Heroes program takes its 50-minute mini-musicals to schools to highlight the lives and accomplishments of significant historical figures. "Beyond the Moon" is the story of Jeanette Epps, the first African-American crew member on the International Space Station.

•  "An Untitled New Play by Justin Timberlake" by Matt Schatz. Reading. Beth, an ambitious literary manager at a prestigious nonprofit theater, is poised to promote the voice of a brilliant unknown playwright ... until a certain superstar performer writes a play that changes the course of her career. The musical satire features the politics of celebrity, storytelling and fighting for one’s ideas and ideals. Presented in collaboration with City Theatre.

•  SPARK Writing Residencies: Matt Schatz’s "Where Ever It May Be" and David Rossmer and Dan Lipton’s "The Perfect Mate" will be showcased during a Late Night Event at 10:30 p.m. April 7 at the CLO Cabaret.

Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960. Twitter: @SEberson_pg.

 

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