Spring was a time for making!
Each May, Weston’s Artist Retreat provides individual and collaborating artists (writers, composers, directors, actors, choreographers, music directors, designers, artistic directors, and dramaturgs) an opportunity to further a new project with an all-expense paid week in Vermont. This year, the writing/composing team of Avi Amon & Julia Gytri, writers Steven Drukman, David Holthouse & Markus Potter, composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver, playwright/composer Riley Thomas, and actress Erin Maya spent time on our village campus. Around their work, the group hosted occasional informal readings and gathered together for dinner, sometimes with friends of the theatre. The week culminated in an informal salon where the artists shared their work and process with interested community members.
Our friend Jim Lowe recapped for us with an excellent overview, “It’s a Long Way to Broadway.” Following, he asked “However Does a New Play Make it to the Stage?” It is a wonderful, informative piece and we’ve included excerpts here and a link to read more.
“In writing about Weston Playhouse’s annual Artists Retreat, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the complexity of the process of taking a piece from idea to stage. In my [first] piece, I talked more about the diversity of the theater than the challenge of getting a new work before a paying audience. On May 7, I sat down and talked with five creators or teams about what they had accomplished over their previous expense-paid week in Weston. These were all proven professional playwrights or theater composers, but their work was at very different stages of production, from the research to preparing for scheduled premieres in Massachusetts and London.
New York writer-composer Ryan Scott Oliver hadn’t even begun writing his new musical about a marriage, “Three Points of Contact,” though he does have a situation. Flanked by an unhappy traditional couple and an open gay relationship, they must deal with infertility and her being deployed as a soldier to Iraq. At Weston, Oliver continued his four months of research, reading books, watching films. Then he’ll spend another four to six months writing a draft. We’ll do a reading of that, see how it goes, see what people think, Oliver said.”
“Writer-composer Riley Thomas in now ready to hear what people think about his WEARING BLACK, a musical about a young musician who slips into a spiral of self-destruction when his twin brother is killed in a drug-related accident. In fact, he’s ready to sell it. At Weston, collaborating with director Markus Potter, Riley reworked three sections and gave it an overall polishing. Next, he needs to assemble a cast, teach it, and present an “industry reading.” Of course, he must convince prospective buyers to attend. That’s a lot of what New York is, Thomas said. If you want something done in this climate, you have to knock on every door, you have to ask everyone you know, and you have to be not bashful.
Potter was also collaborating with David Holthouse on their co-creation, ”Stalking the Bogeyman,” the true story of Holthouse plotting the murder of the man who raped him when he was seven years old. Holthouse, now an investigative journalist, originally told his story as a first-person essay in Westward, an alternative weekly in Denver, later adapting it for “This American Life.” Potter then approached Holthouse about turning it into a play, which opened in North Carolina, going on to off-Broadway last year. At Weston, they finished the draft for its upcoming London premiere, replacing a fictional and unlikely therapist with a real-life drug dealer. Rehearsals begin in June in London, then opening at the Southwark Playhouse. We’re hoping to move the play to the West End and, if everything goes well, we’ll bring it back to New York at some point, Potter said.”
Hear from our other guest artists and read the rest of the article here…
Many thanks to all of you!!
It is a joy to be a part of your process, and we can’t wait to see what comes next. Our 2016 Artists (left to right) Ryan Scott Oliver, Julia Gytri, Avi Amon, Steven Drukman, Markus Potter, David Holthouse, Erin Maya, Riley Thomas.
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. The theatre company also owns and is in the process of transforming the five-acre Walker Farmstead in Weston into a year-round Center for the Arts for production and play development. New Works Programs are supported in part by the Anton Family Foundation; Dramatists Play Service, Inc.; the Frederick Loewe Foundation; Stacey Mindich Productions LLC; Music Theatre International; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation; the Shubert Foundation; Tams-Witmark Music Library; and many generous individuals.