On Monday, I had the pleasure of being a part of Musical Theatre Factory’s first 4×15 presentations. If you don’t already know about 4×15, it is an awesome series that gives MT writers the opportunity to showcase 15 minutes of their work in front of a panel of industry professionals.
This past week’s shows were SOUNDIES (Lyrics by Kimberly Hawkey, Music by Assaf Gleizner), POWERLESS (Book, Music, and Lyrics by Will Buck), MILES AND ME (Book and Lyrics by Kendell Pinkney, Music by Danny Abosch), and THAT TIME WE FOUND A SASQUATCH IN THE WOODS (Book by Nichole Jackson, Lyrics by Brandon Michael Lowden, Music by Scotty Arnold).
What’s cool is that all of these shows were AWESOME, and were all at different stages of their development process. Some scenes had just been written that week, while others were being dusted off after a few years. What’s even cooler is that I got to be a part of THREE of the four shows! Each show was given a group of actors, a director, music director, and just five hours to rehearse. That means in 5 hours, we got our scripts, learned music, and fully staged the 15 minutes of each show, most of which were presented off-book. It was wild.
Friday night I came into the MTF space to rehearse for POWERLESS, not knowing much about the process, and was nervous about the challenge that Shakina had presented us with. We were multitasking from the get-go, learning solos in one room while staging scenes in another, and switching around as needed. We got a chance to run through the fully staged, fully sung through scenes once before leaving for the night, with the hope that we’d have it down on Monday.
As nervous as I was on Friday, by the time I got into SASQUATCH rehearsal on Sunday, I had become somewhat of a pro at the five hour rehearsal process. That comes not so much from me being any better, but from the community that is being forged at the Musical Theater Factory. Everyone was working together, with passion and enthusiasm, to bring these new stories to life.
Theater naturally creates community, but shows end and people move on, and it can be hard to find a sense of belonging. Obviously MTF is new, and this was my first gig with them, but I really think it’s going to be a home for people, and I already feel at home.