FWD Theatre Project, Chicago’s celebrated new incubator for Musical Theatre development, kicks off its second season in style with
LaunchingFWD : Season 2
A one-of-a-kind concert featuring preview selections from five of the world’s best original musicals in process
February 8th at City Winery
CHICAGO (date) – When FWD Theatre Project introduced itself in 2014 (at City Winery Chicago,) audiences, actors, producers, and critics took notice. Something special had arrived for the city’s arts community and for the future of musical theatre in Chicago. A group of seasoned theatre professionals combined to create a Festival of Works in Development, part of an effort to build Chicago into a premiere destination for writers and creators to showcase their new musicals in process. One year later and FWD’s inaugural season of five staged readings - selected from the world’s best projects on offer - was a success, selling out many of its events at a variety of Chicago venues.
On Monday, February 8th the FWD team will present LaunchingFWD : Season 2, their second annual industry concert featuring a cast of Chicago favorites performing selections from five more new musicals, chosen from over 170 submissions this year. Last year’s event (with headliner and hometown superstar Jessie Mueller in her first Chicago appearance since winning the Best Actress Tony Award for Beautiful) sold out the 320 seat main room at City Winery and required overflow capacity seating; FWD hopes this year’s event will be even more anticipated and, therefore, see even higher demand.
Directed by Michael Gillis with Music Direction by Alex Newkirk, LaunchingFWD : Season 2 will feature favorite Chicago talents, a full band, and Chicago arts patrons, directors, and producers with an insider preview of selections from the original musicals FWD will offer in their second season of staged readings.
The season actually kicked off in September 2015 with a large concert performance of Boublil & Schönberg’s La Révolution Française at Thalia Hall, co-produced by American Music Theatre Project and directed by David H. Bell with music direction by Michael Mahler and Roberta Duchak (also written by Raymond Jeannot, Jean-Max Riviere, with English lyrics by Michael Mahler.) The multiple Tony Award-winning writers of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon joined FWD & AMTP in Chicago to prepare the showing of this work, not seen by audiences since the 1970s. The south side rock venue sold out to 450 attendees who experienced a very exclusive night of theatre.
Between February and June, FWD will offer four more staged readings of new works as part of their Festival of Works in Development : Season 2.
- Neurosis by Allan Rice (book), Ben Green (music), & Greg Edwards (lyrics)
A modern musical comedy with a psychiatric twist, Neurosis is the story of two best friends - Frank and his neurosis - who embark on a quest to find happiness. Along the way, Frank meets the girl of his dreams, but watch out; she’s got a neurosis of her own. Falling in love means breaking down barriers, which threatens the neuroses’ existence. But can happiness be true if it means giving up part of yourself?
- Coyote by Tim McCorry (music, lyrics) & Michael Aman (book)
Inspired by a true story, Coyote is a modern American tale of love and adventure. Pedro and Bernadice are young lovers, determined to be re-united, who turn to a mysterious figure known only as Coyote to help them make a perilous crossing from Mexico into the United States. They have no idea that they have engaged the services of a magical, god-like creature who can change form, leap into their dreams and is bound by neither time nor space. He is a trickster. He is also their only hope in a struggle of love against fear.
- code name: CYNTHIA by Steve Multer (book, lyrics) & Karen Multer (music)
Betty Thorpe (code name: CYNTHIA) is a stunning beauty and master spy, blackmailed into seducing the enemy to save civilization from a ruthless dictator - and her own delicate world from falling to pieces. Based on the true story of an unsung American WWII patriot, Washington DC becomes a chessboard where honor, sex, and political ethics are as up for grabs as the fate of the free world.
- Central Avenue Breakdown by Kevin Ray (book, lyrics, music), Andrea Lepcio & D.A. Taylor (book), with additional story by Suellen Vance
Central Avenue Breakdown opens at the height of the jazz scene in 1940’s Los Angeles, when swing is hot and bop is just around the corner. Two brothers, Bill and Jim Marcel, haunted by their father’s failure, play for success - older brother Bill on tenor sax digs the popular tunes while Jim blows alto and aims for a new sound. A Hollywood starlet turns both their heads as brother betrays brother, in music and then in love. Can music save their family and their dreams?
Tickets are $40 with a limited number of $100 VIP tickets through the City Winery box office at 312-733-9463 or online at citywinery.com/chicago/tickets
More about FWD Theatre Project
FWD Theatre Project is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit company dedicated to the Discovery, Development, and Delivery of the new American musical, and to building a Festival of Works in Development for the future of original musicals and benefit of the City of Chicago. The company’s mission is to advance Chicago as a premiere destination for new musical theatre by presenting public staged readings and educational opportunities to Chicago audiences and producing entities for future full production consideration.
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