CHICAGO – Festival Coordinator Courtney Fontaine and MCL Chicago Executive Producer Alex Garday are thrilled to announce the diverse lineup for MCL Chicago’s third annual Premier Premieres! A Weekend of New Musical Comedies festival, June 22-24, 2017. The festival celebrates the development of new and original musicals for Chicago’s vibrant comedy and theatrical scenes. Five never-before-produced shows will premiere over one weekend at MCL Chicago (3110 N. Sheffield Ave.) and one will be selected the “Premier Premiere” by a panel of three adjudicators from the Chicago theater and comedy communities and win a future six-performance run at MCL Chicago.
The five musicals include: “Choice: The Musical!,” “Feathers! A Superhero Musical,” “Iron Irene: A Musical Fable,” “The Election of William Henry Harrison (And His Subsequent Death)” and “The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends.” Full show descriptions below.
Several original musicals that initially debuted at the festival have gone on to find success after being showcased. Most notably are year one winner “TAPPED: A Treasonous Musical Comedy” (Theater Wit), “Motel Rasdell” (Lowell Memorial Auditorium (Mass.), “Election 2016 The Musical: Bernie Sanders and the No Good, Very Bad, Terrible Election” (Donny’s Skybox at Second City), as well as the writer and composer duo Reddyk and Krupp (“The Thanksgiving Circumcision” (voted ‘Top 5 Short-Run Comedy Shows of 2015’ by Newcity Chicago), “Jenna Roxy and The Church of Modern Love”).
“It’s such a pleasure to see these shows live on past the festival,” Fontaine said. “The purpose of Premier Premieres! is to provide a supportive outlet for artists to debut their new works, and when those works excel past the festival it feels like we’ve accomplished our goal.”
Garday added that, “what’s exciting about this year’s Premier Premieres! is that three of the five musicals are from female playwrights. Within the current political climate we live, it’s wonderful to be able to provide a stage for these important voices and stories.”
This year’s festival will include five new works each with an estimated run time between 60-90 minutes. General Admission tickets for each musical are $15, Day Passes are $25.50 and Festival Passes are $60. All tickets are available via cash, credit, or online at mclchicago.com/premier-premieres. All shows are BYOB.
Official Lineup and Show Description:
Iron Irene: A Musical Fable (Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m.)
Set in 1866-1868, the years following the American Civil War, “Iron Irene” tells the story of two sisters and their fight for equality, family, and a better world. Upon the death of their parents, Cassie DeLanie is sent from her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to live with her sister, Mrs. Irene Wright, who secretly became a widowed land owner in southwestern Wyoming. Writer and Producer: Liz Falstreau. Composer and Musical Director: Ashley Flanagan. Director: Alan Cosby. (Full Cast & Crew Bios)
The Election of William Henry Harrison (And His Subsequent Death) (Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m.)
It is 1839 in America, and for the first time in the country’s short history, everything sucks. The economy has collapsed, President Martin Van Buren will not do a thing to help the people, and hope is fleeting. In response, three failed politicians scheme up a devious campaign that changes American politics forever. “The Election of William Henry Harrison (And His Subsequent Death)” is the political satirical musical that begs the age-old electoral question: Are we better off today than we were 180 years ago? Book and Lyrics: Preston Parker. Composers: Brad Kemp and Preston Parker. Director: Preston Parker. (Full Cast & Crew Bios)
Choice: The Musical! (Friday, June 23 at 9 p.m.)
“Choice: The Musical!” is a lighthearted take on a subject that many consider no laughing matter – abortion! In the age of Trump when reproductive rights are being rolled back weekly, and Roe v. Wade is in jeopardy of being overturned, what better time to send up the intractable struggle that overwhelms the news every election cycle and prevents Americans from getting anything else done. Writer: Sheri Flanders. Composer: Brad Kemp. Director: Jeff Bouthiette. (Full Cast & Crew Bios)
Feathers! A Superhero Musical (Saturday, June 24 at 7 p.m.)
Laura Little, a high school student by day, is the high-flying sidekick Feathers by night. She’s itching to become a superhero in her own right. Can she earn the right to her own mantle? Is she willing to do what it takes? Will she find the answers to the biggest questions? Book and Lyrics: Neil Figuracion. Music: Gail Gallagher. Director: Jessica Landis. (Full Cast & Crew Bios)
The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends (Saturday, June 24 at 9 p.m.)
Stella, Grace, and Madison are BFFs about to undergo that most sacred of coming of age rituals…Senior Prom. They’ve been planning this night longer than they have had the boobs to hold their gowns up, so it had better be perfect. The most essential element for a perfect prom? The perfect date, of course! He’s got to be freakishly ripped and hot, but so sensitive he’ll cry openly. He’s gotta be whip smart and willing to speak up and show it, but humble enough to shut up and listen to your opinions. His arms have to be the safest place on earth, but with enough of a hint of danger that he’s not like boring. You know, realistic expectations. Luckily, the girls have secured such perfect dates! The only trouble is…they happen to be dead. Book and Lyrics: Annie Pulsipher. Composer and Lyrics: Alex Petti. Director: Stephen Eckert. (Full Cast & Crew Bios)
ABOUT MCL CHICAGO
MCL Chicago, formerly known as Studio BE, NFP, creates and fosters exceptional live music comedy. MCL Chicago expands the power of comedy, of theatre, and of the Chicago community at large through music, performance, workshops and community outreach. Operating since 2009, MCL Chicago, situated in the heart of Lakeview’s Belmont Theatre District, is a venue for comedians, performers and improvisers of all trades, offering a variety of self-produced work and that of visiting companies.