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What is a STAGED READING?

FWD Theatre Project

A PUBLIC STAGED READING of a new musical in development is an exciting intermediate phase between the initial writing and "table readings" (where a cast sits around a table to read through early drafts of a script in a private, controlled environment) and a full theatrical production.

The purpose of a staged reading is for the writers to present their completed show before an engaged, discerning audience, allowing them to gauge the effectiveness of the play's music, lyrics, dialogue, pacing, flow, and other dramatic elements that the playwright, composer, or director may wish to adjust for further improvements to the new work.

And that's where you come in; Audience feedback contributes to the process, helping to strengthen the musical and propel it to a bigger and brighter future. As an audience member at a FWD Theatre Project staged reading, you're given an "inside view" of the development process, a personal opportunity to connect with a new musical in its early stages and be the first to experience it before the general public sees the show in a full future production.

What can you expect when you attend a FWD Theatre Project staged reading? You're in for something very special! Expert actors and directors spend a week in preparation for the performance under a standard 29-hour Actor's Equity Association contract. Some of Chicago's finest talent collaborate with the best musical writers in the world to assure every presentation is a powerful, professional, exciting experience.

The actors read from scripts, at music stands, incorporating minimal stage movement, without sets or costumes - yet the performance feels like a complete production. A narrator may read stage directions and most presentations are followed by a talkback discussion with the writers and director, a great chance for audience members to meet the creators, offer comments, ask questions, and gain insight into the show's history, process, and detail.

As a form of public performance, the staged reading of a new musical in development is like experiencing a radio play before a live audience, with emphasis on the use of imagination, music, singing, and acting over sets, props, lighting, and effects. It's all about the play.

The goal of FWD Theatre Project's staged readings is to expose a new work to Chicago's audiences and producing theatres in an effort to launch the show on its journey toward full production for the benefit of the musical art form and national theatre-going community.

Join FWD for our next staged reading - you'll be glad you did!