We're thrilled to announce the Chicago storefront premiere of [title of show], with music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen and book by Hunter Bell. It will run from July 17 through August 16, 2015 at Rivendell Theatre in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood (5779 N. Ridge Ave.). Audition information and more information can be found here.
Struggling writers Jeff and Hunter are working on an original musical with a unique topic: their experience writing an original musical! With friends Susan, Heidi, and accompanist Larry, they embark on a meta-journey of self-expression, documenting all the roadblocks and creative breakthroughs they encounter along the way. Nominated for the 2009 Best Book Tony Award, [title of show] is an irreverent, hilarious, and inspiring celebration of musical theatre and the joy of collaboration.
Director M. William Panek states, “We're so incredibly lucky to stage [title of show]'s Chicago storefront debut because it fits so well into The Brown Paper Box Co.’s mission statement. 'Four chairs and a keyboard' is the only set requirement, and what better way to tell a story than with only the necessities? Bell and Bowen’s show is the perfect stripped-down, bare-bones, hysterically funny vehicle for us to tell their whirlwind story of the love, dedication, and obsession that accompanies artistic creation."
Music director T.J. Anderson adds, “[title of show] just might be the most postmodern musical ever written. Die-hard theater fans will especially love it, because all the self-references and inside jokes in the script will be totally relatable to anyone who's been in or even simply seen a musical.”
The production team includes T.J. Anderson* [musical director], M. William Panek* [director], Michael Montgomery [stage manager], Eric Vigo [lighting design], Matt Sergot* [box office manager], Charlie Sheets* [graphic design], Daniel Spagnuolo* [casting associate], Damian Wille [production manager], and Michelle Kritselis* [press and media relations].
Hunter Bell [book] earned an OBIE Award, a Drama League nomination, and a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for [title of show]. Other credits include books for Now. Here. This. (with Susan Blackwell), Silence! The Musical, Bellobration! (Ringling Bros. Circus), Villains Tonight! (Disney Cruise Lines), Found, Other World, and Julie Andrews’ The Great American Mousical. He is a co-creator of the web series "the [title of show] show" and has developed television with ABC Studios.
Jeff Bowen [music and lyrics] wrote the music and lyrics for and starred in the Broadway musical [title of show], for which he won an Obie Award, as well as a GLAAD Media nomination and, along with his cast mates, a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance by an Ensemble. He was awarded the Jim Owles Human Rights Award and was named one of the 100 most influential people in Out Magazine. He has written music and lyrics for Now. Here. This., Villains Tonight! (Disney Cruise Lines), and the theme songs for the web series “the [title of show] show” and “Squad '85.” His songs can be heard on Broadway Bares Openings and Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project recordings.
T.J. Anderson [musical director] joined The Brown Paper Box Co. after serving as music director for A New Brain. Past work with the company includes Godspell, both "Character Breakdown" cabarets, and hosting the "BPB Yearbook" cabaret. Other Chicago acting credits include As You Like It (The Traveling Players), Paradise Lost (The Agency Theatre Collective) and Romeo vs. Juliet (Pretty/Windy Theatre). Regionally, he has been seen as Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Pirelli in Sweeney Todd. In addition to acting, he has been an avid music director and theater musician in Chicago and Michigan.
M. William Panek [director] is a founding member of The Brown Paper Box Co. and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BFA in Stage Direction. Most recently, he directed William Finn's A New Brain and coordinated and hosted "Proud at Mary's: A June Cabaret" at Mary's Attic. Chicago directing credits: Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Godspell, the world premiere of Aaron Golden's To Tree, Reefer Madness! The Musical with its subsequent 4/20 remounts in 2011 and 2012, as well as appearing in "Character Breakdown: A Miscast Cabaret" and "BPB Yearbook." Past highlights: Pippin at the Station Theatre in Urbana, IL and performing in Leonard Bernstein's Mass at UIUC. William was an artistic associate with The Orchard Project, a production assistant for the 24-Hour Musicals at Joe's Pub, and the business management assistant at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. company member.
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