The Writing/Composing team of Aryanna Garber and Benjamin Velez are the winners of the Weston Playhouse Theatre’s 12th Annual New Musical Award. The only award of its kind in the country, the Weston New Musical Award brings the creator or creators of a promising new project together with a small ensemble of actors to rehearse and record selections from the winning score with Grammy winner Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom Records.
Nominated for the award by Di Glazer of International Creative Management Partners, BORDERLINE is a deeply personal and affecting musical that challenges the stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder, through one remarkable young woman’s experience with the oft-misunderstood disease and her search for honest connections amidst a revolving door of therapists, medications and a former childhood chess champion. Glazer writes that “Garber’s book challenges the stigma of BPD, Velez’s lyrics capture the protagonist’s inner turmoil and the frustrations of the people she surrounds herself with, and his music works as a form of therapy for all the characters. Though seen through the lens of a specific disease, BORDERLINE expresses a universal search for honest connections that will resonate with all audiences.” BORDERLINE was developed, in part, at the Advanced BMI Musical Theater Workshop.
The Concert Cast
Weston Associate Artistic Director Michael Berresse will direct the project with Music Director Daniel Green. The cast includes Margo Seibert (Boardwalk Empire, Broadway’s ROCKY) as Anna, Derrick Baskin (25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, MEMPHIS), Stephen Bogardus (BRIGHT STAR, WHITE CHRISTMAS), Leo Ash Evens (SCHOOL OF ROCK), and Katie Thompson (City Center’s PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES).
Two free public concerts of selections from BORDERLINE are scheduled for Saturday, March 3 at 4 PM and 7 PM at Weston’s new second stage, Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm.
A Barnard graduate, Aryanna also holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in the field of Narrative Medicine, combining her passion for writing and patient advocacy. She’s worked as the personal writing assistant for best-selling author Erica Jong and as the executive assistant Emmy-Award winning producer and director Stephanie Laing (HBO’s Veep, Vice Principals). In 2016, Garber became the head writer and a contributing founder of the digital comedy network, PYPO. She is currently working at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in NYC as the writer and Special Communications Manager for President Debora Spar.
Velez is a composer/lyricist and Columbia graduate where he wrote the 114th Annual Varsity Show. A member of the BMI workshop since 2010, he won the Harrington Award in 2012. His work has been at the Yale Institute for Music Theater, Ars Nova, NAMT, NYMF, NEO, the Civilians, 4@15, Joe’s Pub, and the York Theater where his musical Afterland had a reading directed by Mark Brokaw. He was a 2017 Sundance Artist at the UCROSS Foundation. His original musical Starblasters will have its first reading this spring at Dixon Place, directed by Daniel Goldstein and music directed by David Gardos.
About Weston’s New Works Programs
Weston’s nationally respected New Works Programs reflect a commitment to the responsible development of new plays and musicals in our unique and supportive rural setting. Programs include an annual New Musical Award, Artists Retreat, Workshops and Full Productions including but not limited to world premieres. Support for Weston New Works Programs has come from the Dramatists Play Service; the Frederick Loewe Foundation; Stacey Mindich Productions; Music Theatre International; the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation; and generous individual donors.