ASCAP New Musical Theatre Festival at Lied Center in September

By: Star City Buzz Email
By: Star City Buzz Email

The Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced a Musical Theatre Festival to seek out new musical theatre works from across the United States with the potential to be developed and produced into full-scale productions.

Directed by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, this festival will bring some of the finest emerging musical theatre writers to the Lied Center Sept. 10-12.

Each year, playwrights and composers submit new musical theatre works for development at workshops hosted by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in New York or Los Angeles. ASCAP specifically invited the Lied Center to host an additional Musical Theatre Festival in Lincoln.

The Lied Center's Musical Theatre Festival will be directed by celebrated Broadway musical writing partners Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Sklar and Beguelin wrote the original score and lyrics for Broadway musicals "Elf" and "The Wedding Singer." They both received Tony Award nominations for their work on "The Wedding Singer," and Beguelin also won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics.

Sklar and Beguelin both bring extensive experience and skills to the Musical Theatre Festival. Sklar has been working on Broadway since age 18, and has been involved with productions such as "Shrek," "42nd Street," "Miss Saigon," "Les Miserables" and "Caroline, or Change" as a pianist, conductor and dance arranger. Beguelin wrote the book for Disney's Broadway musical, "Aladdin."

Michael Kerker, director of musical theatre for ASCAP, will facilitate the festival. An additional guest artist, yet to be announced, with experience performing in Broadway musicals will also join Sklar and Beguelin in conducting workshops for the festival, as well as performing in a student concert alongside UNL performing arts students. The student concert will be produced and directed by Alisa Belflower, associate producer in musical theatre development with the Lied Center and coordinator of musical theatre studies in UNL's Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

The New Musical Theatre Festival will provide an opportunity for students and community members to witness the musical theatre creative process, participate in educational workshops with a leading Broadway artist and potentially participate as artists in the Festival's events.

"The Musical Theatre Festival is an unprecedented opportunity for students, the Lied Center, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the local community," said Bill Stephan, executive director of the Lied Center. "It is the Lied Center's objective to identify a new Broadway musical through the workshop process, which could be produced and presented at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in the future."

The project is made possible, in part, with generous support from the Hixson-Lied Endowment and ASCAP.

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