Chicago – In a twisted mash-up of WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and GLEE, FLIES! THE MUSICAL! follows the drama kids from Lovely Valley Performing Arts Magnet High School. The students are left behind in an abandoned forest preserve during a “research” retreat for an unauthorized teacher-written musical production of LORD OF THE FLIES. Gradually, things turn savage in a couple of unsupervised hours as the plot points of the novel begin to come true one by one, in song, until eventually the kids are “rescued” by an astonished park ranger (who happens to love musicals) but it’s much too late for them to go back to who they were before. FLIES! THE MUSICAL! will open on Friday, May 11 at 7:30 pm in The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, following previews from May 3-6 and May 10.
FLIES! THE MUSICAL! is an original musical by Chicagoan Larry Todd Cousineau (book and lyrics) and Cindy O’Connor (music). It was developed in 2016-2017 in a series of readings in Chicago at Uptown Underground and Pride Arts Center. This 2018 production is its world premiere. It will be directed by Michael Driscoll, who directed the Jeff nominated productions of CARRIE: THE MUSICAL (Bailiwick Chicago) and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (Step Up Productions), the Jeff recommended DESPERATE DOLLS (Strawdog Theatre), and many others. Sawyer Smith, whose credits include HEATHERS (Kokandy Productions, Jeff Award winner for Best Choreography) and recently, ALTAR BOYZ (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) will choreograph. J.D. Caudill will be music director.
The cast will include Ryan Armstrong, Jayla Williams Craig, Joey Fontanetta, Nicky Mendelsohn, Jeff Meyer, Christea Parent, Billy Rude, and Missy Wise. The production team will include is Jordan Kardasz (lighting design), Jamie Karas (properties design), Michael Starcher (stage manager) and Anna Zerwer (assistant director).
Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 students and seniors and will be on sale soon at www.pridefilmsandplays.com.
Cindy O’Connor (composer) and Larry Todd Cousineau (bookwriter/lyricist) have a long history together. Their works include 40 IS THE NEW 15, which had a critically-acclaimed run at the NoHo Arts Center in Los Angeles, receiving Best New Musical award from Stagescene LA and a GLAAD Media Award Nomination for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre. Their musical drama, ALL THAT HE WAS, earned them the Kennedy Center National Playwright’s Award and the ACTF Musical Theater Award and is available for license through Samuel French. Several of their songs have been featured in concerts by the Gay Men’s Choruses of Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. O’Connor’s music can be heard in ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC), CRASH (Starz), DOLPHIN TALE, and FORGIVING THE FRANKLINS (Sundance). Cousineau’s writing has been featured in animated series including YIN, YANG, YO! (Disney), THE NEW CARE BEARS, and ANGELA ANACONDA. His SONGS FROM MY CLOSET cabaret series is an annual hit at Uptown Underground.
Michael Driscoll directed the Jeff nominated productions of CARRIE: THE MUSICAL (Bailiwick Chicago) and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (Step Up Productions), the Jeff recommended Desperate Dolls (Strawdog Theatre), PEN: A MUSICAL (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), BLITHE SPIRIT (GoodLuck Macbeth Theatre Company), UP FOR IT, FOR ANOTHER (American Theater Company), and A PLANK IN REASON (Prologue Theatre). He assistant directed the Jeff Award winning production of THE ORIGINAL GREASE, RENT (American Theater Company), OH COWARD! (Writers’ Theatre), SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE (Bailiwick Chicago/Steppenwolf Garage Rep), DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN (Strawdog Theatre), SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (Porchlight Music Theatre), and THE COMPLETE WORKS… (ABRIDGED) (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). Michael curates “MAP Reading,” a monthly play reading series that asks participants to consider the power and effectiveness of a playwright’s words through the use of non-traditional casting and cold reading. Michael is also dedicated to arts education, working as a teaching artist and program manager in Chicago for over a decade. He has taught, directed, or managed education programs for American Theater Company, Northlight, Stage School, Bailiwick Chicago, StageCoach Theatre Arts School, Stage School, Changing Worlds, and Project AIM at Columbia College Chicago. Michael is an alumnus of the Teaching Artist Development Studio at Columbia College Chicago and the Teaching Artists Development Lab at the Lincoln Center. He is a graduate of Illinois State University where he studied theatre education and directing.
ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS
Pride Films and Plays creates diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. We accomplish this mission through fully-staged productions, writing contests and staged readings, and filming one short film each season.
PFP is the primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center (PAC), which connects and promotes other artists who share our values, creating a safe environment for all. PAC books one-night events or limited runs, cabaret, film, dance, comedy, and other events. PAC opened in 2016 and consists of two performance spaces: The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway which has 50 seats and The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway which has 85 seats.
Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation and Alphawood Foundation.
PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and The League of Chicago Theatres.
For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com or call 1.800.737.0984.
ABOUT PRIDE ARTS CENTER
PRIDE ARTS CENTER has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond. In addition to performances by PFP, (www.pridefilmsandplays.com), PAC hosts monthly events including play readings, film screenings, cabaret nights, and variety shows (PAC the House).
Guest productions are also included in the PAC schedule. Find a full calendar of everything happening at PAC here. http://pridefilmsandplays.com/calendar/