OVERTURES: A New Musical Reading Series

The Gallery Players has created OVERTURES: A New Musical Reading Series offering staged readings of six new musicals in Park Slope.

OVERTURES: A New Musical Reading Series

Park Slope

The Gallery Players has often successfully produced new musicals as part of their season, such as Yank (2007) and Like You Like It (2008).  To further this idea, The Gallery Players has created a new program in order to directly support the development of new musicals.  OVERTURES: A New Musical Reading Series will offer staged readings of six new musicals, thereby fostering the creation of new musical theatre and supporting the talented composers and writers as they refine their work.  The series is helmed by theatre director and scholar, Barrie Gelles and will feature the talents of a roster of exceptional up-and-coming performers and directors.

Each musical will run for two consecutive nights.  One may buy individual tickets for each show or purchase a season pass to the OVERTURES series. Individual tickets are $10, or you can purchase an OVERTURES Pass to see all 6 for $50. Tickets may be purchased through Ovation by calling 212-352-3101.

Director of OVERTURES – Barrie Gelles
Production Stage Manager – Maria Cristina Garcia

2014-15 Season

Lunacy: Sunday, September 21 and Monday, September 22, 2014 @7pm
The Yellow Wallpaper:  Sunday, November 2 and Monday, November 3, 2014 @7pm
Closer Than You Think: Sunday, December 14 and Monday, December 15, 2014 @7pm
Plagued:  Sunday, January 25 and Monday, January 26, 2015 @7pm
In Search of the Bandit Queen 5: Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16, 2015 @7pm
Rebuilding: Sunday, May 3 and Monday, May 4, 2015 @7pm

Show Descriptions

Music by Jonathon Lynch
Book and Lyrics by Matt Boresi

Lunacy, “A New Musical About Shooting for the Moon” is a Rock Operetta based on the classic work of Jules Verne, and tells the tale of space race that never was. With the American Civil War over, the boys-club of American inventors who created the iron clad ships and heavy weaponry of the conflict have been left purposeless. They are reinvigorated when their spokesman proposes the building of a canon large enough to fire a manned capsule to the moon. The cannon is built, but the spokesman’s rudderless son Archie, his ridiculed friend Cannonball, and Beatrice, a fiery young lady much opposed to the creation of the cannon, accidentally launch the device – while they themselves are trapped inside!

Surviving their trip the moon, our reluctant explorers find themselves the prisoners of a staunch lunar matriarchy determined to fire back at the Americans with devastating weapons of their own. Archie and Beatrice must learn to get along long enough to save themselves and their planet, and Cannonball must navigate a relationship with the formidable Princess of the Moon before the doomsday clock runs out on the Earth.

Lunacy inhabits the popular genre known as “Steampunk” – Victorian Science-Fiction tales told with a Rock and Roll aesthetic. It is a story about young people defying pre-conceived notions of themselves and harmful societal dogma, and is an all-ages adventure in the vein of Harry Potter or Willy Wonka.

Melodic, catchy and full of the surprises, the score is a clever juxtaposition of Gilbert and Sullivan-esque operetta fugues and ensembles infused with classic rock power and Bowie-esque stellar glam rock. It should appeal to families, but also to adult fans of Steampunk and Nerdcore. It is a piece of flexible size, 9 actors and up, and can be performed with a small rock ensemble or full orchestra.

The Yellow Wallpaper
Music by Sarah Taylor Ellis
Book and Lyrics by Lane Williamson

Based on the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper is a haunting new chamber musical based on the early feminist short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. After the birth of their first child, a well-meaning physician confines his depressed wife to the upstairs bedroom of an isolated summer home. With no physical or mental outlet and only her sister-in-law Jennie for companionship, the wife grows obsessed with the tattered yellow wallpaper covering her room. The wallpaper’s intricate patterns soon begin to move in her mind, pushing her to madness. At the intersection of classic musical theater and contemporary classical music, Sarah Taylor Ellis and Lane Williamson adapt this gripping story into a provocative new theatrical work.

Closer Than You Think
Music, Lyrics, and Book: Brett Kristofferson
Based on the film Across the Tracks written and directed by Sandy Tung

Based on the movie Across the Tracks, Closer Than You Think charts the struggle of one family to find their way back to each other. Billy and Joe, teenage brothers from the wrong side of the tracks, have taken two very different paths, much to the dismay of their mother. One a gifted high school track star, one returning from a stint in prison, both desperately searching for something. The challenges Billy and Joe face: economic depression, substance abuse, crushing self-doubt, and recovery, are timely and universal.  Rivalry, redemption and forgiveness, Closer Than You Think is a musical about what you are running from, who you are running to, and the struggle for one family to find its way.

The musical style of the piece is Contemporary Musical Theater, familiar song structures with progressive harmonies. Brett Kristofferson is most often compared to Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown and William Finn.

Plagued (A musical comedy adventure across disease ravaged 14th century England)
Music by Nick Moore
Book and Lyrics by Daniel John Kelley
Story by Nick Moore & Daniel John Kelley

In 14th century England, being a peasant is kind of the worst. Famine, filth, slaughter, and endless toil fill a peasant’s day until eventually they die horribly and ascend to Heaven. This is the way it  is…until a young peasant girl named Sarah dares to dream of one day that is marginally better than the one before it- a day on earth that is not entirely terrible. Her tremendous, preposterous, impossible dream- sung to a score whose styles evolve as the characters change, from classical to pop, from folk to rock, from jazz to funk to heavy metal and beyond- will shake the nation to its core and change the fate of England…until tomorrow. But perhaps that is more than enough.

In Search of the Bandit Queen
Music and Lyrics by Kamala Sankaram (2013 Jonathan Larson Award)
Book and Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson (BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop)

Inspired by the real life adventures of Phoolan Devi, the “Bandit Queen” of India, CHANDRA & PHOOLAN (working title) is an original musical about two girls’ quests for justice, empowerment and family honor while navigating the treacherous waters of being born poor and female in two very different caste-driven societies.

Set in both NYC and India, 11-year old Chandra, an African-American girl who is forced to become wise beyond her years, discovers (through comic books that come to life) the story of Phoolan Devi, a self-proclaimed Indian Robin Hood who took India by storm in the 1970s. Intrigued by the way Phoolan took charge of her own fate by taking over the gang that had kidnapped her, setting out to get revenge and retribution on her attackers, and robbing from the rich to give to the poor, Chandra ultimately learns that living your destiny doesn’t necessarily mean losing your personal power, nor manifesting it through revenge and violence — and sows the seeds to become a strong, educated and empowered young woman. The piece will feature original music and lyrics (influenced by the Bollywood movies of the 1970s) by award-winning composer Kamala Sankaram, and book and lyrics by award-winning writer Christine Toy Johnson.

Music by Mark Evans
Book and Lyrics by Andrew Farmer and Max Reuben

A year after an apocalyptic nuclear event, three people are still figuring out how to live together in their fallout bunker beneath an old gas station. But just as one of them is starting to get antsy, they are visited by a representative from the surface who wants them to join the allegedly thriving utopian society that has sprouted up in the aftermath of the devastation. Love triangles, mutants, and an exercise bike that powers the bunker are just A SMALL PART of the funny, sad, and ultimately poignant story of human beings just trying to survive in the face of EVERYTHING BAD THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN.

Beyond Brooklyn

Frank Manzi's Magical Mystery Tour at Wayne & Tonja Smith's Magical Backyard Forest in Morganton, NC. ©Mark D Phillips

There’s nothing like a magical night under the stars listening to music. When that experience includes one of my favorite artists appearing in one of my favorite places in the world, it’s at the top of my bucket list.

It all came to be with a simple Facebook post.

50 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon.

On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history, achieving the goal that President John F. Kennedy had set in 1961, before Americans had even orbited the Earth.