MINNEAPOLIS: Theater Latté Da has named Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses, who together form the musical duo the Kilbanes, and actor/directors Jessie Austrian and Noah Brody as the recipients of the NEXT Generation Commission. The creative team will share a $20,000 commission to create a new musical theatre project.
Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEXT Generation Commission is a new opportunity for female artists and artists of color designed to support the creation and development of new musical theatre projects. The project will receive creative and developmental support over an 18-month period, including two developmental workshops and inclusion in Latté Da’s annual NEXT Festival.
“Even in these uncertain times, we are investing in our future and the future of the art form by continuing to seed and support new work,” said founding artistic director Peter Rothstein in a statement. “At a time when so many artists have seen income and opportunities evaporate, it feels especially good to be putting money directly into the hands of artists. We are grateful to the NEA and to Latté Da’s donors who have generously given to our new works initiatives. They make these commissions possible. We may not be able to gather in theatres today, but these artists will be working now to ensure there are new stories to be shared later when we can all gather again.”
The Kilbanes began as a theatrical rock band led by married songwriting duo Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses. Their rock opera Weightless was featured at NYC’s Public Theater at Under the Radar in January 2019, and had runs at American Contemporary Theater in 2019 and Z Space in 2018. Their musical adaptation of As You Like It, commissioned by San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, played throughout the Bay Area in the summer of 2019. Their intergalactic rock epic Eddie the Marvelous, Who Will Save the World, has been developed at the O’Neill National Music Conference, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, and Theatreworks’ New Works Festival. The Kilbanes’s latest pop musical, The Code, was commissioned for ACT’s Youth Conservatory and is slated for production in August 2020. They have also been commissioned by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley to work with playwright Lynn Rosen, and are collaborating on new works with Jonathan Spector, Lauren Gunderson, and Jaime Casteneda.
Jessie Austrian is a theatremaker, educator, activist, and parent based in Brooklyn. She is one of Fiasco Theater‘s co-artistic directors and founders. Austrian’s Broadway credits include Lend Me a Tenor and The Importance of Being Earnest, and Off-Broadway credits include Fiasco’s Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Marriage of Bette and Boo. She’s also worked at the Old Globe, McCarter Theater Center, Folger Theatre, the Guthrie, Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Williamstown, among others. Her TV and film credits include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Made in Jersey, and Futurestates. As a director/co-director, Fiasco’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Helen Hayes nominee for Best Direction) at the Folger Theater and Theatre For A New Audience, Fiasco’s The Imaginary Invalid at the Old Globe, Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood at Playmakers Repertory Theatre. She’s an adjunct faculty member at NYU’s Gallatin School. Austrian is a proud graduate of Brown and the Brown/Trinity MFA Acting Program. Her proudest roles: mom to Asher and Tabitha and wife to Noah.
Noah Brody is an actor, director, teacher and co-artistic director of Fiasco Theater. For Fiasco, he has directed Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout Theatre Company). He co-directed and acted in Fiasco’s productions of Into the Woods (McCarter Theatre Center, the Old Globe, Roundabout Theatre Company, Menier Chocolate Factory); The Imaginary Invalid (the Old Globe); Measure for Measure (the New Victory Theater, Long Wharf Theatre); Twelfth Night (Classic Stage Company); and Cymbeline (Theatre for a New Audience/Barrow Street Theatre). Some of these productions won awards. He has appeared in Fiasco’s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona (Folger Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience), and co-directed the national tour of Fiasco’s production of Into the Woods. Elsewhere, he has directed a reading of Sondheim’s Saturday Night for Second Stage Theater, appeared in As You Like It (Classic Stage Company), directed Lungs at the Wolfe Street Theatre, and acted at theatres around the country and in Europe. He teaches acting and rehearsal technique through Fiasco and the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study’s summer Shakespeare Intensive.
In addition to the NEXT Generation Commission, Latté Da’s new works initiative is supporting the development of four other new musicals. Twin Cities-based writer/performers Bradley Greenwald and Steven Epp are working on a English language adaptation of Giacomo Puccini’s comic opera, Gianni Schicchi; Twin Cities based playwright Harrison David Rivers is exploring a new piece about the history surrounding Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein’s and Edna Ferber’s musical, Showboat; Mexico City-based playwright Joserra Zuniga, along with Twin Cities-based designer, Kate Sutton-Johnson, are collaborating on a musical and visual theatricalization of the life and work of Frida Kahlo.