BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.: The ASCAP Foundation, in partnership with DreamWorks and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, has announced the four new musicals that will be developed at the 2016 ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop. The musicals were selected from a record number of 146 submissions, and performances will be open to the public at the Wallis Feb. 16–18. Stephen Schwartz will lead the weekend workshop, which will also include panelists of directors, producers, critics, and composers.
“It is a rare opportunity to get an insider’s look into the creative process of developing a new original musical work,” said Paul Crewes, artistic director of the Wallis, in a statement. “Audiences are in for a truly special treat as they watch Stephen guide these talented composers and lyricists through the transformations of their work.”
The workshop will include Joe Schmoe Saves the World (Feb. 16), with book, music, and lyrics by Brett Rybeck. The show is set during the 2011 Arab Spring and tells parallel stories of an indie rock duo in America and a pair of Iranian students in Tehran.
Next will be Gold Mountain (Feb. 16), with book, music, and lyrics by Jason Ma. The musical is about the striving immigrant spirit and the ultimate nobility of self-sacrifice, set against the backdrop of the construction of the Transcontinental railroad.
Following is Comic-Con the Musical (Feb. 17), with a book by Nicholas David Brandt and music and lyrics by Laura Watkins, about three Comic-Con attendees whose lives change after they enter a film icon’s contest.
Next will be Legendale (Feb. 17), with book and lyrics by Jeff Bienstock and music by Andrea Daly, about a gamer who fuses real life with the virtual reality of an online game.
“We were overwhelmed by the quality of submissions we received,” said Stephen Schwartz in a statement. “The four works chosen displayed a certain level of promise that we believe could develop into a fantastic finished musical. We are excited to be a part of the six emerging composers’ and lyricists’ journey.”