The winner of the Academy for New Musical Theatre’s 2008 Search for New Musicals is The Water, with book by Tim Werenko and Jeff Hylton, music by Georgia Stitt, and lyrics by Jeff Hylton. It will be presented in concert at the Colony Theatre on Monday evening April 27th at 7:30 p.m.
The Water tells the story of a small Missouri town that survives a flood and examines what it takes for a community to rebuild its buildings, its relationships, and its unique sense of home. The story and characters are fictitious, but inspired by real events which happen in the Midwest every year.
“I had been interested in writing about the ideas of home and community. What makes a place special, so special that you choose to rebuild after a tragedy rather than leaving?” says The Water composer Georgia Stitt. “Jeff and I have attempted to write a score that captures that sense of place, of belonging, and also deeply explores the passions of these people and their relationships with the water that both feeds and destroys their livelihoods. I have worked to write music that is full of both character and emotion, and I think Jeff and Tim have managed to do that in the script, as well. The show is funny, heartwarming, and achingly tragic. This is a particularly American story, and since we started writing it we have lived through September 11th in New York City and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. As timely as ever, The Water is a show about moving on.”
‘Having lived in a flood zone, the idea of people living with the possibility of disaster every day became a reality when I was personally flooded out,’ says bookwriter Tim Werenko. ‘The idea of potential tragedy became all too real for the whole world on September 11th. You only need to drive through your town and look at the For Sale signs to see how homes can be lost without a flood, tornado, or hurricane. Yet, when I work on this show, I see how these things can bring out the best in people. They can find a courage they might have forgotten. They come together. They inspire each other. By collectively sharing the worst of times together, they bring out the best in each other.’
First Prize in the Academy for New Musical Theatre’s Search for New Musicals was the concert reading, preceded by a workshop last spring, and detailed feedback and dramaturgy.
‘Our goal is to help the authors realize their musical’s potential,’ says Associate Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry. ‘The Water deals with some big issues, and we saw in the early draft a lot of potential for a powerful, theatrical experience. We can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the musical since we saw it last!’
Scheduled to appear in the cast are Vicki Lewis (Film: Finding Nemo; Broadway: Damn Yankees; Television: series regular on NewsRadio), Michael Arden (who appeared in the title role of the Center Theatre Group’s recent production of Pippin), Jeremy Kocal (currently appearing in Wicked in San Francisco) and other Southern California musical theatre stars including Dan Callaway, Julie Garnye, Tim Gulan and Steven Hack, and members of the Academy Repertory Company.