PLAYBILL EXCLUSIVE: Goodspeed Musicals and Johnny Mercer Foundation Create Winter Colony for Writers of Musicals
By Kenneth Jones
Writers of new musicals will find a place to sharpen their developing works on the Goodspeed Musicals campus in Connecticut in an ambitious new writers-colony program supported by The Johnny Mercer Foundation, Playbill.com has learned.
The budding program is a rare multi-week retreat devoted exclusively to composers, lyrics and librettists who are creating musicals, and represents Goodspeed's most aggressive and formal program for musical-theatre writers (short of full productions).
Goodspeed's mission is to produce revivals of musicals (mostly at its flagship Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT) and new musicals (mostly at its Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT).
Starting in winter 2013, as many as 20 writers at a time will be invited to create a temporary annual community of artists as part of The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. Residencies between one and four weeks in length will be offered to emerging writers.
A spokesman for Goodspeed Musicals confirmed that the Colony will debut in early 2013 as a major off-season program of the two-time Tony Award-winning not-for-profit. An official announcement is forthcoming.
Housing, travel expenses, a food stipend, research resources (including use of the expansive Scherer Library of Musical Theatre), studios, equipment and more are provided by the program. A mentor from the professional musical theatre community will also be assigned to support the writers.
The colony will feature informal "salons" at which writers may present songs or scenes to fellow participants and for Goodspeed artistic staff and others in the industry. The Colony experience is not expected to be open to the public; the projects are delicate works in progress that need greenhouse warmth, not the blazing light of public scrutiny.
The inaugural group of writers will be announced shortly.
Goodspeed Musicals' 50th mainstage season begins this spring. The company's full-production season runs April-December. (Read about the 2013 season here.)
Michael P. Price is executive director of Goodspeed Musicals. For more, visit goodspeed.org.
John D. Marshall. Jr. is chairman of The Johnny Mercer Foundation. Read more about the late Broadway, film and pop writer Mercer, and the programs of the Foundation, at JohnnyMercerFoundation.org.
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