Designed to serve and elevate writers who are telling timely, urgent, or remarkable stories, often about communities that are underrepresented in the musical theatre canon.
We have created two programs for new work to prosper: The Salon Series and The Arena
We designed the monthly Salon Series as a “first date” between writers and our community of artists, many of whom desire to get involved in a new work in its early stages.
Curated by Associate Artistic Director Charlie Johnson, each salon is a one-night table reading of a piece that is substantially written but still at the beginning of its developmental journey. We provide actors from our community and subsidize the rehearsal room space. This program is the best way to form relationships with the composers, lyricists, and book writers who are answering the industry’s call for new work and to begin to champion them.
The Arena is where we bring a new work to the next level of its process. We began this program three years ago by asking writers what they truly needed to bring their pieces to the next crucial step of growth after being written. We then used the feedback to design our developmental resources as an alternative to the often ineffective “29-hour reading” model. The Arena is where we merge the stories we want to tell with the elements of production.
Clouds are Pillows for the Moon
In 2014, we produced a workshop of Ty DeFoe and Tidtaya Sinutoke’s Native American musical, Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon, directed by Tony-nominated Director Leigh Silverman (Violet, Chinglish, Sweet Charity). It went on to win the prestigious Jonathan Larson Award the same year. The show is continuing the journey it started at B-Side with a developmental workshop at Yale Repertory Theatre.
Costs of Living
Our 2015 workshop was Timothy Huang’s Costs Of Living, a 21st century story of two immigrant cab drivers that explores the sometimes shocking results of working class marginalization. The musical also won the Richard Rodgers Award the same year.
In 2016, we helped develop Houston by Sandy Rustin Fleischer, an innovative play with music and two families, one Muslim and one Jewish, who endure the same life-altering experience in an American cancer center. Famed contemporary choreographer Monica Bill Barnes created movement as a central storytelling element. We are very excited by our first collaboration with the concert dance world, reflecting our larger goals of working with artists of all mediums.
The Civil War Project
We have recently decided to take the journey of developing a new musical from its inception. The Civil War Project centers around the true story of Rosetta Wakeman, a woman who lived in upstate New York during the Civil War who disguised herself as a man and joined the Union Army. Her adventures are forever captured in a series of letters written to her family chronicling her daily life as Private Lyons Wakeman in the 153rd Infantry.
We have commissioned Nashville singer/songwriter Jenn Grinels to adapt this tale of freedom, gender identity, and the pursuit of the American Dream. This will be B-Side Theatricals’ first commissioned work.