Once a year, every June, like clockwork, you can hear composers weeping in North Hollywood, and threatening to call attorneys, and then kissing and making up and saying they've just had the most wonderful experience of their lives. Yes, it's time for the annual 15-Minute Musical project at the Academy for New Musical Theatre: June 24th and 25th at the Met Theatre in Hollywood. For the final project of Academy's famous writers' workshop, composers and lyricists and bookwriters are put together on writing teams and are given eight short weeks to write, revise and polish a brand-new musical written for five actors whom they've never met before.
"It's like a rite of passage," says Elise Dewsberry, the Academy's Artistic Director and producer of the 15 Minute Musicals. "We design the process to imitate a full-length show in a professional theatre: draft, rehearsal, rewrites, rehearsal, opening. It's really a wonderful experience, but it's often stressful, just like a million dollar opening night. Our writers' names are in the program, and it's important to them they write the best show they possibly can, in the short amount of time we've given them."
This season there will be four 15-minute musicals, featuring the same cast of four actors. The writers have been given a theme of Haves and Have Nots; four short musicals about inequality, and they have cooked up four wildly different approaches to this theme.
These evenings are an annual highlight of the Academy's yearlong season of developing new musicals and feature many new voices in musical theatre. Every seat in the house usually sells out.
The four shows presented each evening (June 24 and 25) are:
Gracie...from Economy Class with book and lyrics by Joel Adlen and music by David Anthony Hall..
Conception of Love with book by Robert Rosen, music by David Haworth, and lyrics by Denis McCourt
In Mysterious Ways with book by R.K. Rich, music by Brian Graden, and lyrics by Ben Boquist
Coming Out of the Cave with book by John Aaron, music by Ron Barnett, and lyrics by R.K. Rich
The cast for all four musicals is: Nikki Jenkins, Kevin Noonchester, Rachel Tyler, and Peter Welkin. The four musicals are directed by Scott Guy, with music direction by Jake Anthony.
Tickets are $25; the performances begin at 7:30pm. For tickets, reservations and more info: www.anmt.org