Shows in the Works

Asolo Rep Presents Making Musicals

Online audiences will get to choose their favorite in a four-part new musical competition starting May 21.

By Kay Kipling May 20, 2020

Lizzie Hagstedt, writer of Sophie Blanchard's High Flyin' Rock and Roll Extravaganza.

Missing the thrill of live theater? You might find some satisfaction if you tune in for Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor Series: Making Musicals, a four-part new musical competition designed for an online audience.

On May 21, June 4, June 18 and July 2 at 6 p.m., the theater previews four completely new and original musicals on its Facebook and YouTube pages. Each 30-minute session will consist of a 15-minute preview performance of one new musical, followed by a discussion with the playwright/composer and James Monaghan, Asolo Rep dramaturg and literary manager, and Celine Rosenthal, Asolo Rep associate artistic director.

After all four musicals have aired, the audience will be asked to vote for their favorite, and the winner will receive a full staged reading at Asolo Rep.

To spice up the performances, Asolo Rep will also incorporate a virtual happy hour into the mix. One day prior to each performance patrons will receive an email notice of the broadcast that includes a cocktail recipe chosen to complement the theme of that week’s new musical. So, you get both songs and a sip.

The schedule includes Sophie Blanchard’s High Flyin’ Rock and Roll Extravaganza, with book, music and lyrics by Lizzie Hagstedt, May 21. Hagstedt is an actor/singer/musician/composer who appeared at Asolo in The Music Man and composed incidental music for Lifespan of a Fact and The Tempest.

Jessie Shelton, a member of the original cast of Broadway's Hadestown, performs in Sophie Blanchard's High Flyin' Rock and Roll Extravaganza.

The June 4 performance brings to life The Fountain, with book, music and lyrics by Christopher Anselmo and Jared Corak. Anselmo is a songwriter whose work has been heard across the country and internationally; Corak is a writer and performer who also works on the CBS TV show FBI.

The June 18 performance offers Johnny and the Devil’s Box, with book, music and lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, whose off-Broadway credits include The Robber Bridegroom and Soot +Spit. And July 2 presents Maya with book and music by Cheeyang Ng and book and lyrics by Eric Sorrels. Ng is an award-winning singer-songwriter who has performed around the world and Sorrels is a performer, songwriter and music director based in New York City.

Patrons wishing to vote for their favorite musical need to register online through a link at Following the last performance, registered patrons will be emailed a ballot to be filled out and returned within 48 hours.

To access the livestream, visit the Asolo Rep Facebook page where the video will appear at the top of the page  starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21. Viewers can also watch at Asolo Rep’s YouTube Live.

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