Lied Center to 'Grow a Show' during festival

· 4 min read

Lied Center to ‘Grow a Show’ during festival

Chad Beguelin (left) and Matthew Sklar
Chad Beguelin (left) and Matthew Sklar

The Lied Center for Performing Arts will host the Lincoln premiere of the ASCAP New Musical Theatre Workshop Sept. 10-12.

This event, held annually in New York and Los Angeles, offers artists the opportunity to “Grow a Show” with the help of industry experts. The workshop will center on staged readings of selected new works from across the United States. The Lied Center has developed a musical theater festival to accompany this workshop, which includes master classes and a concert that will incorporate local talent and visiting Broadway guest artists.

Annually, composers and playwrights submit new musical theatre works for development at workshops hosted by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in New York or Los Angeles. This year, ASCAP invited the Lied Center to host an additional New Musical Theatre Workshop in Lincoln. This event brings some of the finest emerging musical theater writers to the Lied Center this fall.

Guest artists and Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin will be honored guests at the workshop and festival. Broadway legend Karen Morrow will also join Sklar and Beguelin in conducting workshops, as well as performing in a concert alongside local talent, directed by Alisa Belflower, associate producer in musical theatre development with the Lied Center and coordinator of musical theatre studies in UNL’s Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. Michael Kerker, director of musical theatre for ASCAP, is the executive producer.

“The entire festival will be free and open to the public,” said Bill Stephan, executive director of the Lied Center. “Imagine a chance to see a brand-new musical as it is created, before it hits the streets of Broadway and becomes a smash hit. This festival gives you that opportunity.”

The new works selected for workshop and presentation are: “Crossing Over” by Stephanie Salzman and Deborah Brevoort, “Cross that River” by Allan and Pat Harris and “Threads” by Michael McLean.

“Crossing Over” begins in the world of Amish hymn and ends in the world of hip hop, Rhythm and Blues and pop. It centers on a young Amish woman as she embarks on Rumspringa, the time when Amish teenagers are released from the bonds of their daily life and allowed to enter into mainstream society.

“Cross that River” is the story of Blue, a Louisiana slave who steals his master’s prize stallion and rides west to freedom after witnessing the selling of his father and the brutal whipping of another slave.

“Threads” is a musical about women and clothes and what holds them together. A grandfather’s passionate desire to fill his granddaughter’s wardrobe throughout her life with perfect outfits reveals that people are so much more than what they wear.

Stephan said it is the Lied Center’s objective to identify a new Broadway musical through the workshop process, which it could produce and present at the Lied Center stage. “The Lied Center does so much more than present touring shows and community productions,” he said. “The Lied has a long history of commissioning new works.”

The ASCAP New Musical Theatre Workshop and Lied Center for Performing Arts New Musical Theatre Festival is an unprecedented opportunity for students, the Lied Center, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the local community. It provides a chance to participate in the creative process with nationally renowned musical theater writers and artists.

The ASCAP New Musical Theatre Workshop and the accompanying festival is made possible by support from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the Hixson-Lied endowment, ASCAP and the UNL Arts and Humanities Research Enhancement Program.

To attend festival activities, register with festival coordinator Becky Key Boesen at or 402-472-3215. To reserve tickets to the free main stage concert, contact the Lied Center ticket office at 402-472-4747.

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