2020 CMTP Festival of New Musicals Program

October 18, 2020

Link to Festival of New Musicals

Living the Dream

Book by: Nick Green
Music and Lyrics by: Anika Johnson and Barb Johnston
Director: Mitchell Cushman*
Music Director: Suzy Wilde
Song Producer/Mix Engineer: James Ervin
Stage Managers: Neha Ross*, Jessica Gordon

*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission from the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance-Opera-Theatre Policy.

AUDIENCE ADVISORY: Mature language (swear words and discussions about sex)

CAST
Clare……………Katie Crompton
Danielle………Krizia Natale
Brett……………Taurian Teelucksingh
Amber………..Sinéad Kennedy (she/her)
Zoe……………..Anikka Hanson
The Host…….Nick Boegel
Simone………Danie Dixon
Mandy………..Ashley Kippax
Kayla………….Naomi McGuirk
Shannon…….Julia Leclerc
Paris…………..Makenna Matwijec
Rebecca………Fae Alexander
Dana…………..Maxine Kenneally (she/her)
Brie…………….Keira Shepherd


A Note from Nick Green:

A few years ago there was this study in England that found Millenials to be the ‘loneliest generation.’ It was a pretty jarring thought: in a time when we are arguably the most connected we’ve ever been, young adults were saying that they had fewer meaningful relationships. As someone who is on the cusp of this generation (remember ICQ?), this got me thinking. I have struggled with feeling lonely through most of my life, but I’ve always attributed that to how bad I am at dating. On those quiet nights, when my friends were off with their partners or dashing to their parent’s place for dinner, I would turn to a variety of distractions that would very effectively keep me company; social media, video games, and (most often) reality television. After reading this study, I realized that these are all things that have really come into popularity during my generation. Could it be, I thought to myself, that these surrogates for real life are actually making it worse? And then I turned on Love Island and numbed out. Because it worked. It worked for a long time. And then came COVID.

Saying that I had even a faint understanding of loneliness before quarantine would be equivalent to saying I was a wine expert when I’ve only tried Apothic Red.

I learned a lot while quarantining alone, and I’m not talking about how to make ciabatta (though I did learn that). During my time in 550 sq feet, I learned that everyone is lonely a lot of the time, whether married, single, or surrounded in family. I learned that true connection over the internet is entirely possible if you try, and I can thank my co-writers in particular for teaching me that. I learned that immersing yourself in a project can actually make time speed up, that silence and stillness will slow it down, and that if you ask your Google Home if it loves you, it will offer you a compatibility test and then recite a poem. Above all, I learned that those things that you use to numb you, be it Instagram, vodka, or The Bachelor, will make you feel more lonely if you’re not careful. It’s been a disappointing and important lesson.

We are so proud of this show and the incredible work that’s been done by the students and creative team. We’re really thankful that Sheridan has given us this huge opportunity to explore such an important and timely story. We hope that this show offers a chance for folks to examine their own relationship to loneliness, and recognize it in everyone around them. With an uncertain future, let’s all remember to connect, check in, be patient, and laugh at every chance we get. Enjoy!

-Nick


A Note from Barb Johnston and Anika Johnson
Creating theatre in 2020 is an exercise in faith and flexibility.

It’s been a year since Nick first pitched us the idea of a musical about a
reality-dating-show viewing party, and since then the world (and our show) has transformed again and again. Honestly, we feel so lucky to have developed Living the Dream during this difficult, lonely, and highly creative time. It’s forced us to grow as writers in ways we could never have anticipated, and although figuring out how to work together from a distance is often frustrating, every discovery opens new possibilities for collaboration and creation in the future.

To that end, we’ve chosen to set our show on Zoom. It’s an imperfect medium(especially for music), but it’s the place where life happens these days – and it feels hopeful and powerful to make art that doesn’t treat the present as purgatory.

Thank you Nick for trusting us with this idea; thank you Mitchell and Suzy for always being such brilliant friends and collaborators; thank you to our gorgeous cast for reaching out across the Zoom room, and to Neha and Jess for making it all possible. And thank you Sheridan, for letting us live the dream together this fall.

– Barb and Anika


burden of proof

Co-Composer: Scott Christian
Co-Composer: La-Nai Gabriel
Book & Lyrics by: Rob Kempson
Director: Esther Jun*
Music Director: Lily Ling
Stage Managers: Neha Ross*, Kirstyn Keeble

Supported by the Keith and Sharon Segal Fund for International Musical Development

*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission from the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance-Opera-Theatre Policy.

CAST
Angela……………..Abby Woodhouse
Nangoma…………Celeste Catena
Fatima……………..Abby Grass
Dalal…………………Ria Kapur
Susan………………..Kristena McCormack
Hamza………………Ryan Abd’u’llah Hooper
Liam………………….Spencer Laing
Jerome………………Matthew Joseph
Elbrus………………..Seth Zosky
Jon……………………..Ryley Tennant
Ensemble: Callum McGann, Jaden Weber, Madison Hill, Nicole Sherwin

A Note from the Creators

When first approaching this material, we actually tried to write another musical.

We wanted to work together, and were totally compelled by this story, but wondered if we were the right team to tell it. But we couldn’t tear ourselves away from the material, from the research we were already doing, and from the characters, stories, and songs that seemed to leap onto the page. So here we are several months (read: years) later, with a solid first act of brand new musical—one that is very special.

We were right about a few things. To do this well, we couldn’t do it alone. We conducted many interviews with refugees, lawyers, adjudicators, and non-profits, and the stories we heard have greatly impacted the trajectory of this work. We are also not finished the information gathering phase of our research; we intend to conduct more interviews, meet more people in this community, and employ cultural consultants. Despite all of this outreach, the greatest human resources have been working with us on this leg of the journey. Esther Jun is a masterful director and dramaturg, understanding exactly where to challenge the traditions of this form and where to use them for our advantage. She can tease out the exact moment where a character journey doesn’t make sense. Lily Ling’s experience speaks for itself; there are few Canadian music directors who can speak so knowingly about what is and isn’t working. Her attention to detail has catapulted our piece forward throughout this process. On top of these two creative minds, we have also been graced with the talent, skill, and honesty of our Sheridan cast. These students force us to work harder, and create something that is both meaningful and compassionate.

This is a true ensemble musical, meaning that there are ten principle characters in the piece. We wish that we could share more from our complete first act so that you could see this cast each dive into their character with so much heart. We’d also like to share this work more fully so that audience might understand the complexities within this system and the community that it is meant to serve. Ultimately, we are proud to present a show with an entirely queer cast of characters, set in contemporary Canada, and dealing with issues that are omnipresent in our world. As the first number in the show declares: “This is a story of love.”

Finally, we’d like to thank Sheridan College for inviting us to be a part of this year’s Canadian Music Theatre Project. And we’d like to thank you for tuning in for this part of our journey. We hope to be able to share more of it with you soon.

– Scott Christian, La-Nai Gabriel & Rob Kempson


Almost a Full Moon

Music and Lyrics by: Hawksley Workman
Book by: Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Director: Daryl Cloran*
Music Director: Ryan DeSouza
Stage Managers: Neha Ross*, Bridget Overvelde

Commissioned by the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton

CAST
DJ, Ensemble…………………..Callum Challis
Grandma ………………………..Michelle Fisk*
Lewis……………………………….Clarence Jura
Waitress, Ensemble………..Sarah Lacey
Marie-Éve………………………..Dominique LeBlanc
Reuben…………………………….Theo Mattias
Sébastien…………………………Oliver Moriarty
Clementine………………………Kaleigh Murphy
Tala…………………………………..Bella Wolder
Phillip………………………………Haneul Yi

*The Participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance-Opera-Theatre Policy.