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Not only did FOGG Theatre mount our first full length musical twice in 2015, we also hosted table reads of 6 other original musical projects! Yep, six.
It’s pretty amazing to see the world of musical theatre bursting with new work. The best part IOHO (in our humble opinion) is much of it looks incredibly different than the Busby Berkeley, jazz-hands ridden musicals of year’s past.
Don’t get us wrong, we love us some Busby Berkeley. But we also love that artists are using emerging work to challenge people’s’ preconceived notions of what musical theatre “looks like”.
This exciting evolution is why we’re naming our six table reads as the 11th milestone that shaped FOGG in 2015.
Table reads are an important part of the musical development process as they allow writers, composers, and various members of the artistic team to hear a musical’s content out loud, get a feel for rhythm, and expose any areas that might need to be revisited or refined.
We tapped 3 of the 6 writers who participated in table reads with FOGG to share with us their thoughts about working with our budding organization.
Read about how Chris Edgar (writer of The Breakout, a rock opera musical web series), Miranda Ferriss Jones (writer of the as of yet unnamed Jonestown project), and Alison Faith Levy (writer of World of Wonder, a musical for children) collaborated with FOGG in 2015.
Miranda, what excites you most about the evolutions happening in the world of musical theatre, and how is FOGG contributing to that evolution?
MFJ: I am incredibly excited by the alternative storytelling styles that are emerging in the world of musical theatre. In order for creators to break from the strict musical theatre form that has dominated the medium for decades, they need to have supportive spaces in their local communities where they can take risks as they develop new works.
FOGG has created a Bay Area theatre focused on offering artists precisely this opportunity. The fact that FOGG hosted staged readings for multiple new works within their first year is an impressive and promising sign of how they will support new, local musical theatre writers.
Chris, what do you think the biggest misconception is about musical theatre right now and what opportunity does it present for those creating new work?
CE: My sense is that many people still associate musical theatre with grandiose period pieces, but FOGG’s Bay Area-focused approach to the shows it puts on has the potential to change how the art form is perceived. As FOGG’s work illustrates, we can use musical theatre to tell stories about our own communities and lived experience. FOGG’s skill and craft in presenting pieces like The Cable Car Nymphomaniac makes clear that they’re well-suited to pioneering that approach.
I’m so privileged to have had the chance to work with Tony Asaro and FOGG Theatre on my show. In coaching me through the writing and rewriting process, Tony’s input transformed my show into something far more interesting and watchable. The insights into the music, plot and characters that FOGG offered at its table read of my show were invaluable.
Alison, why are you so passionate about the genre of musical theatre and has FOGG empowered you to grow your passion?
AFL: World of Wonder is the first musical I have written, or rather, finished! I have been writing and performing music my whole life, both for adults and children, but my first love as a kid was always musical theatre. I’ve established myself as a well-known children’s musician here in the Bay Area. But my dream had always been to write a great rock n roll musical, and creating something for children seemed a natural first step.
FOGG has really helped me realize that it’s a goal worth pursuing, and that I have something valuable to say as a theatrical composer and artist. I’m excited to see where this road will lead, and I’m very lucky to have met these visionaries at FOGG who have started something really unique and special.