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American Music Theatre Project’s 15th anniversary season finishes strong

Spring programs include three workshops with guest artists and new Capstone Festival

“Change My Mind,” part of the AMTP’s inaugural Capstone Festival, premieres Thursday, April 1 at 8 p.m. CDT
“Change My Mind,” part of the AMTP’s inaugural Capstone Festival, premieres Thursday, April 1 at 8 p.m. CDT

American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University announces the remainder of the 2020-2021 season. The 15th anniversary season concludes with the development of three new music theatre works and the first Capstone Festival featuring works created by senior music theatre students at Northwestern’s School of Communication.

For 15 years, AMTP has helped foster the next generation of artists and writers by producing an annual series of developmental readings, workshops and productions. These new projects are written by award-winning music theatre creators, directed by leading regional directors, and performed by Northwestern students and alumni from Northwestern’s theatre and music theatre programs.

Spring projects include “[re: CLICK] 2.0,” a cyberpunk drama for the #MeToo era, April 16-30; “Sean’s Story,” an epic two-part musical about Black identity, May 3-27; and “Expect Victory,” a new musical about the unexpected intersections between athletics, analytics and interpersonal relationships, June 1-13.

AMTP’s inaugural Capstone Festival includes three new works created by undergraduate students completing the Creating the Musical module at the School of Communication.

“We are thrilled to continue our landmark music theatre development projects this spring, and we are equally excited to be introducing three new musicals that have been generated through the module, all written by our senior music theatre writing students,” said David Bell, the Donald G. Robertson Director of Music Theatre at the School of Communication. “This will be our first capstone writing festival of a program that promises many more in the future.”

The Capstone Festival works include “Change My Mind,” “Alone,” and “A Bridge to the Moon ” and will premiere on the AMTP YouTube channel starting April 1. They will be available to stream for free until April 11. Information on public presentations of the other spring projects will be announced soon on AMTP’s website.

The schedule is as follows:

“[re: CLICK] 2.0”
April 16-30

Based on the play “Click” by Jacqueline Goldfinger, “[re: CLICK] 2.0,” is a multimedia performance installation for the #MeToo era. This story of trauma, transformation and reclaiming who you are, has been adapted for the internet and will be presented through an innovative website designed for mobile access, inviting the audience to interact with character-based content as we ask, “What is my body on the internet?” 

The work is adapted, directed and co-produced by Roger Ellis, assistant professor of theatre at Northwestern and Margaret Laurena Kemp, associate professor of theatre and dance at UC Davis, and features sound scores by four unique composers, and performances by students from both universities.

“Sean’s Story”
“Part One: The Reckoning” and “Part Two: The Awakening”
May 3-27

This two-part work follows the coming-of-age story of a young Black queer man as he experiences love and loss for the first time. Set in contemporary America, the show explores Black identity politics, the intersection of race and responsibility, and what it means to be an American today.

“Sean’s Story” is written by Los Angeles-based writer and composer Khiyon Hursey, and co-directed by the supervising and resident directors of “Hamilton,” Patrick Vassel and Tiffany Nichole Greene. Los Angeles-based choreographer Chris Emile and New York-based music director Nehemiah Luckett serve on the creative team.

“Expect Victory”
June 1-13

“Expect Victory” is a brand new musical currently being developed by Jonathan Larson,  award-winning composer Rona Siddiqui and playwright Kristoffer Diaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize for drama finalist “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” Jaime Castañeda, whose credits include three world premiere productions at La Jolla Playhouse, directs the show which follows math wiz Maxfield Chase as he attempts to use advanced statistics to rescue his university’s venerable but hapless varsity basketball program. 

The Capstone Festival
April 1-11

Northwestern students in the Creating the Musical module explore the art of book writing, lyric writing and composition, while also cultivating an understanding of what constitutes effective and healthy collaboration in music theatre. The capstone projects provide a unique opportunity for writers to obtain professional mentorship and experience in producing their own work. With the support of AMTP, each senior graduating with the module is offered the opportunity to create and present a one-hour showcase of their writing work that will premiere at the festival.

The festival projects include:

“Change My Mind”
Premieres Thursday, April 1, at 8 p.m. CDT

“Change My Mind” follows Holly, a young woman working for a doctor who has developed a procedure that allows anyone to fundamentally change one thing about themselves. Holly is tasked with interviewing the remaining candidates to determine who is most eligible for the procedure. As the candidates’ personalities and struggles clash, the line between personal and professional continues to blur. And while each patient has a very real issue they’re struggling with, the question remains — is erasing the parts of us we don’t like the best way to heal?

“Change My Mind” is written by Theo Janke-Furman and Lorenzo Pipino and is directed by Samara Malik.

 “Alone: A New Musical”
Premieres Friday, April 2, at 8 p.m. CDT

“Alone” focuses on Jack and Mia, two recent high school graduates, who fall in love and are beset by an unexpected pregnancy after their six-month anniversary. Mia must then decide what she wants to do and how to navigate a situation that, while deeply personal, has been corrupted by a community that views her situation as part of a bigger picture. “Alone” is a show about interpersonal relationships and deals with themes of isolation, fear, disownment, family and navigating love in tumultuous times.

“Alone” is written by John Ertman, Joseph Mathusek and Natalie Pereira, and is directed by Freyja Goldstein.

 “A Bridge to the Moon”
Premieres Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m. CDT

In the face of an environmental crisis, three grieving siblings are tasked with holding their island and family together. When Lil decides to take drastic action in hopes of finding their mother or at the very least, some answers, the limits of their world are tested. Through collaborative music, words, and movement this heartfelt story celebrates the power of a child’s dreams and the risks we will take to care for our community.

“A Bridge to the Moon” is written by Mikey Walden, Ruchir Khazanchi and Emmet Smith, and is directed by Autumn Thelander.

Note: Some of AMTP’s spring projects contain strong language and emotionally charged material around the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence and suicidal ideation. Visit the AMTP website for more details.

The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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