After commisioning a new musical with award-winning composer, Dave Malloy, and award- winning playwright, Krista Knight, YMTC is preparing for the piece's developmental workshop in May where 20 students will collaborate to bring a brand new musical from the page to the stage.
Krista Knight tells us about how you build a musical from scratch:
We knew going into the January workshop that there was a ‘depression era type danceathon to the death’ and the piece would visit different historical dance/music eras.
After two intense days of workshopping the fodder pages and brilliant first song of this new musical, and rewriting and discussing and printing and burgers with the creative team, we now have the proper makings of a beginning of a show.
Now Dave and I are writing. We’re reading the free-writing from the YMTC actor company and anonymous digital surveys. We’re gearing up for a two-week May workshop where we’ll test out what we’ve got.
One huge understanding from the two-day January workshop is how presentational the piece wants to begin. There was a chillingly exciting moment in the closed Sunday presentation where the entire company was singing, standing close and akimbo to the audience. I now believe the musical wants to start with the live streaming-cast Plain Spring High’s Sadie Hawkins Danceathon. The musical can still have side moments when the trials and tribulations of individual constellations of characters play out, but I think we begin in the world of it (rather than an eerie trickle-in). We’ll see if this is right come the May workshop!
Spending 5 hours that Saturday in in-depth discussion with the YMTC teenagers—some of whom may ultimately be in the summer 2015 world-premiere production—Dave and I got a window into the issues that are important to them. What they’re obsessed with and afraid of. What words they use and what they hate and which they hate but still use. What they dream about for their future. What stories they don’t see enough of on stage.
The (SO) in-process presentation Sunday gave a into the larger YMTC community. The parents and siblings (some of who I know from the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre – what what!) who are passionate about the arts and making something true and new and theatrical.
I got to know YMTC because I saw their production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR in 2011 and I was blown away.
I feel incredibly lucky and excited to be going on this generative journey with Dave Malloy, Jennifer Boesing, Dave Möschler and the YMTC community.
The script is changing and growing every day. I hope you’ll come say HI in May.
Krista Knight's work includes SALAMANDER LEVIATHAN (Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre, Ars Nova, Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, New Georges, Inkwell, KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center), DOOMSURFING (Parkside Lounge, Vineyard, UCSD), CLEMENTINE AND THE CYBER DUCKS (Ontological Hysteric Incubator, Hangar Theatre, Inkwell), PHANTOM BAND (The Claque, Walden Theatre, Voice and Vision, Dixon Place, UCSD), UN-HINGED: A SILENT OPERA (Wily West, TerraNOVA, WordBRIDGE, Playhouse Creatures), and ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION (Playwrights Center of SF, NYC Fringe Festival) among others.
Come see the final product! YMTC will present a work in progress presentation on May 31 at NOCCS. Time TBA. The Danceathon piece will receive a full production as part of our 2014-2015 season so stay tuned!