As part of its continued commitment to developing new works, TheatreWorks, the nationally-acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, is hosting its eighth annual Writers Retreat January 16-23, 2011.

One of the nation’s leaders in cultivating and producing new musicals, TheatreWorks provides the opportunity for collaborating teams of acclaimed, up-and-coming, and established composers and playwrights to develop New Works, uninterrupted by the hassles and distractions of their daily lives.

The company supplies performers, so that composers can try out new arrangements, and a musical director to help guide the creative process. An invitation-only presentation will feature selections from each work on January 24 in Mountain View.

New Writers Retreat - TheatreWorks

This year’s retreat participants range from stage veterans and rock musicians to emerging playwrights and first-time collaborators, and include:

A new musical by

Kara Lee Corthron and Justin Levine

Commissioned by Naked Angels Theatre Company, award-winning playwright Kara Lee Corthron and writer/composerJustin Levine are joining forces to develop a new musical.  Kara Lee Corthron’s plays include Julius By DesignEtched in Skin on a Sunlit NightHolly Down In Heaven (for which she received a Princess Grace Award), and Wild Black-Eyed Susans(for which she received a Helen Merrill Award).  Kara recently received the Vineyard Theatre’s 3rd Annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award.  She is currently developing commissions for South Coast Repertory Theatre, New Georges, and Naked Angels Theatre Company. Justin Levine works as a writer, composer, and performer. His musical Bonfire Night (Book, Music, and Lyrics) was developed at New York Stage and Film this past summer with director Alex Timbers. He also served as the music director and cast member of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson since 2009.


David Clement and Kate Moira Ryan

Singer David Clement and playwright Kate Moira Ryan are teaming up to develop Weathermen, a rock musical focusing on 6 months (1969-70) in the increasingly tumultuous history of the radical anti-Vietnam organization, The Weather Underground, as they escalated from college campus protests to a declaration of war on the United States.  Clement’s self-produced first album was featured as an Editor’s Pick in Billboard and got him signed to Mercury Records (which became Universal Music).  His songs have been played on TV shows including Dawson’s CreekPopular, and The Gilmore Girls.  He recently collaborated with Rob Bailey to create original music for Purple State of Mind, an independent documentary about the current divide in partisan politics.  Kate Moira Ryan’s recent projects include Bass for Picasso, which debuted Off-Broadway in early 2010 and It’s Jewdy’s Show written with and for Judy Gold at the Williamstown Theater Festival.  Additionally, she has another project in development expected to premiere at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York in the spring.  She is currently the co-host of Hatched by Two Chicks on Sirius Radio with her long-time collaborator Judy Gold.  The Weathermen was workshopped at La Jolla Playhouse in December of 2009.


Jason Grote and Marisa Michelson

A new musical by Jason Grote (book) and Marisa Michelson (music and lyrics), Scheherazade hyperlinks the ancient tales of1,001 Arabian Nights with the culture clashes of the 21st century to explore the ways in which narratives shape our lives.  This musical was developed in Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative and New Dramatists’ PlayTime.  Jason Grote is an award-winning playwright best known for his play 1001, which has received 14 productions between 2007 and 2010, at theaters including Denver Center Theatre Company and Boston Court Theatre, among others.  Other plays includeMaria/StuartCivilization (All You Can Eat)Hamilton Township, and This Storm is What We Call Progress.  Honors include the P73 Fellowship and a Denver Post Ovation Award, and an O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference Residency in 2008.  Marisa Michelson’s work includes book and music for Tamar and the River (commissioned by the Signature Theatre thanks to the Shen Family Foundation Next Generation grant), Still Life with Toe ShoesHotel Sarajevo at CAP 21 and hotInk Festival, and other one-acts for Prospect Theatre Company in New York City. She is the winner of the St. Botolph Award for composition, a grant from the Global Arts Village to study Indian Hindustani Singing in India, a participant in the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, and is an upcoming resident at Emerge, an interdisciplinary artists residency at Earthdance in Western Massachusetts.

The Light Princess

Music and lyrics by Mike Pettry

Book by Lila Rose Kaplan

The Light Princess, with music and lyrics by Mike Pettry and book by Lila Rose Kaplan, is the whimsical tale of a princess cursed at birth to lack gravity, both physical and emotional. The King and Queen must find the Princess’ gravity before her 16th birthday, else the kingdom will fall into the hands of the Witch who cursed her. Based on the short story by George MacDonald, The Light Princess is a musical for younger audiences.  Mike Pettry is New York-based composer/lyricist and music director. He is a 2007 Jonathan Larson Award winner, and his songs have been performed all across the US. His musicals include The Time Travelers Convention, Long Distance, World of Heroes, The Wonderful World of Zidney (featured highlight at Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival), and Flipside (2007 NYU Frederick Loewe Award winner).  Lila Rose Kaplan’s plays include Wildflower, We All Fall Down, 100 Planes, Bureau of Missing Persons, Catching Flight, and Biography of a Constellation. Her plays have been seen at Second Stage, Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse/UCSD and Chalk Rep, among others.  Upcoming projects include a Studio Retreat of 100 Planes at the Lark, a reading of We All Fall Down at New York Theatre Workshop, and a commission for a brand new play from Launchpad at UCSB.

All Writers Retreat participants will attend the opening night of TheatreWorks’ production of the uproarious spoof, THE 39 STEPS on January 22, 2010.  Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the book by John Buchan and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, the hilarious Broadway hit was called “Absurdly enjoyable, gleefully theatrical…a perfect soufflé,” by The New York Times.

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