Friday, August 26, 2011

Midwest New Musicals

Are you a composer, lyricist, or playwright interested in learning more about musical theatre structure? Consider taking part in this year’s Midwest New Musicals workshop. Midwest New Musicals is a writers workshop and development program conducted by John Sparks, the Artistic Director for the Academy of New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles, in association with Light Opera Works.

The Midwest New Musicals Core Curriculum is an intensive program that assists writers through the process of creating a new musical. Writers explore the use of music, lyrics, and dialogue through hands-on assignments that introduce them to musical theatre forms and collaborative techniques.

Writers study the structure of the full musical book and score. The study and writing process leads to a mini-musical project where participants create short musicals for a pre-selected ensemble and production team. This project culminates in a formal public presentation and an evaluation.

Upon completion, writers may be invited to an ongoing forum of writing peers to participate in reading intensives, workshops, and to meet with theatre companies and producers locally and across the country.

Midwest New Musicals Core Curriculum program meets monthly on Chicago's North Shore in two four-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 1:30pm.

Fall Term: September 24&25 2011, October 22&23, November 19&20, December 17&18, January 21&22 2012

Winter/Spring Term: February 18&19 2012, March 17&18, April 21&22, May 19&20, June 23&24

The Mini-Musical writing, revisions, rehearsals, and performances take place from April through June 2012 on a schedule determined by the writers, actors, and directors involved.

Enrollment Form and Fees Information:

Enrollment forms are available here or at Light Opera Works’ offices at 927 Noyes in Evanston. Along with the enrollment form, applicants must include:

For Bookwriters: Include resume, two short contrasting scenes (or 4-5 pages of prose if you have not written plays/screenplays/musicals) and a brief statement that defines your interest in writing the book of a musical.

For Composers: Include resume, a recording and piano-vocal score of 2 contrasting songs (or instrumental music, including 3-4 pages of piano score or orchestration) and a brief statement that defines your interest in writing music for the theater.

For Lyricists: Include resume, a lyric sheet, and a recording (if possible) for 2 contrasting songs, and a brief statement that defines you interest in writing lyrics for the theater.

Fees: $645 per term or $1,200 if enrolling in two terms in advance. The fall term is the pre-requisite for the winter/spring term. Application fee (non-refundable): $25

For more information on the Workshop curriculum or to discuss your experience level, contact John Sparks at 323-371-8205 or For more information on the Workshop fees/payment contact Light Opera Works Box Office at 847-869-6300 or visit our website.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Old costumes never die, they just fray away

Five hundred Heidelberg student uniforms? Reading this in our recent newsletter made me wonder, well, where are they now? Where do all these old costumes end up?

Many of them, sadly, in dumpsters, but many more in private collections, and costume rental houses. Light Opera Works used some original costumes for My Fair Lady, and had vintage Broadway ones for Gigi. Others land in museums, including the Smithsonian. The National Museum of American History has costumes from The Lion King, Hello, Dolly!, Cats, Rent, and The King and I in the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.

Chicago designers have recently come into their own, with amazing award-winning costumes from Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare and other innovative houses; these have not found their way into collections or museums yet, but you may be sure they will. Our own designers strive to recreate the authentic look of classic productions, both by using actual vintage costumes from famous productions, and by recreating the look by building new costumes.

Some memorable Light Opera Works costumes include A Little Night Music in 2009 and The Merry Widow from 2005. We built (theater parlance for "made") a lot of the costumes for Carousel.

All of the student's costumes for the current production of The Student Prince were made for us. See what we've done to add to those 500 student uniforms in The Student Prince, opening this week, by purchasing tickets here!

What were your favorite Light Opera Works costumes?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Opening Night

Back in the day, Opening Night meant staying up until the early editions came out, so you could read your reviews. Well, at least in every theater movie I ever saw.

At Light Opera Works Opening Night is a chance to give our wonderful donors, cast and orchestra a great party.

Opening Night for The Student Prince will be after the show on Saturday, August 20 at Campagnola at 815 Chicago Avenue (just south of Main Street) in Evanston, one of our longest and most loyal supporters. If you're a donor at the $250 level, you can join us for great food, drink, and to meet the cast.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Rehearsal with Light Opera Works: Q&A with Danielle M. Knox

Hello blog buddies! Kyle here. We just began tech rehearsals for THE STUDENT PRINCE, and we're gearing up for opening night on Saturday, August 20th.

We have another exciting cast interview for you, this time with
the lovely Danielle M. Knox, who will be appearing as Kathie in our upcoming production of THE STUDENT PRINCE. Seeing a rollerskating musical, a nude Jude Law, and having to kiss your best friend's boyfriend on stage would be enough to turn any young actor away from the theatre, but not so for Danielle.

Full Name: Danielle M. Knox

Hometown: Massapequa, New York on the south shore of Long Island.

cial Skills: I make a good meatball thanks to my grandma.

l/talent you wish you had or were better at: Telling jokes. I either mess up the punch line, get lost in the middle, or start laughing at myself. Sad... I know.

First musical you ever saw: Because I lived so close to New York City, I was lucky to see a lot of musicals on Broadway. I think the first was STARLIGHT EXPRESS. There's just something about singers on roller skates.

Current Chicago show you have been recommending to friends: Come see THE STUDENT PRINCE!

Three favorite musicals: Wow, hard to narrow down, but here it goes:


Favorite show tune of all time: This always depends on my mood.. "Somewhere" from WEST SIDE STORY.. Beautiful words... Beautiful music.

The one performance you've attended that you will never forget: When I was 13, my whole family went to see a play called INDISCRETIONS. We had no idea what it was about but my mom had heard that it received good reviews. We were seated second row center, and Act 2 begins with a 30-minute nude scene by Jude Law (before he became crazy famous). I will never forget the looks on my parents' faces when he stepped out of the bath tub. Priceless!

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage? When I was in THE SORCERER, I came out to do a dialogue scene with Alexis, and the train of my dress got caught underneath the house set piece. We did the whole dialogue with me gracefully trying to pull my skirt free. Finally, I heard a lady in the audience say "Oh no, she's stuck." So, I wadded the back of my dress in my fist and gave it a huge tug. I freed myself just in time for my exit with a little less dress as a result.

Most played song on your iPod: Right now, it's a toss up between Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and Train's "Hey, Soul Sister." Adele's "Someone Like You" sneaks on as well

Performer you would drop everything to go see: My sister. She is also
a performer, and it would be a great excuse to hang out with her in France.

Tell me the story of your first stage kiss: I was a sophomore in high school playing the role of Laurie in OKLAHOMA! I had to plant a big one on Curly, my friend's boyfriend at the time. She was Ado Annie. Awkward!

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I was 9 when I did my first show. I was in a community theater show for children called "Annabelle Broom." I remember coming home from school, and my mom kept calling me Judy. I thought she had lost her mind! Really, she was trying to tell me I got the part. I was beyond excited!

Worst job you ever had: One summer I worked at an
ice-cream shop that never had any business. I read a lot of books that summer.

Who would play you in a movie? Hmm.... People say I look like Rose McGowan, but she seems way too scary to play me in a movie. Let's go with Anne Hathaway.

Three things you can't live without: My hubby, my dog, and HBO

Finish this sentence: "I'll never understand why...": I'll never understand why (SPOILER ALERT) the Prince doesn't choose Kathie.

Keep an eye out for more cast interviews next week and be sure to get your tickets for THE STUDENT PRINCE!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A commitment to the next generation

With the curtain closed on the 2011 Musical Theater Summer Workshop, we just wanted to take a moment to thank the wonderful people who keep this program open for everyone, and not just those lucky kids with the family resources to guarantee they can pay the tuition.

This year, the Workshop was able to support 11 full scholarships to eight families through the generous gifts of the Richard and Margaret Romano Charitable Trust , the North Suburban Youth Foundation, the City of Evanston Community Service Program, The Ted Fund, A.R.T. League, and the Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation.

Children receiving scholarships participated in Annie, Disney's High School Musical, and H.M.S. Pinafore.