The Human Race Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals, has announced the three-play line-up for its 2012 Festival of New Musicals. This marks The Human Race’s fifth annual festival that showcases musicals in development, and the second year of including a new work from Encore Theater Company. Human Race Producing Artistic Director Kevin Moore has selected two musicals that are very close to his heart—Dani Girl and Red-Blooded, All-American Man. The third musical is Encore Theater Company’s production of 33MM: A Musical Exhibition. The festival will kick off with a welcome session on Friday, August 3 at 6:00 p.m. in The Loft Lobby. The productions perform in The Loft Theatre in rotating repertory over the course of the three-day festival. Audiences will have a chance to meet the writers of the shows during a discussion session on Saturday, August 4 at 12:30 p.m.
Dani Girl, a beautiful, touching and unexpectedly humorous story of a 9-year-old girl battling leukemia. Her incredible imagination takes her on a fantastical quest to get her hair back when she loses it to chemotherapy. With the help of a fellow patient, 10-year-old Marty, and her imaginary friend, Raph, she confronts Cancer and asks him, “Why?” Created by the award-winning team of Michael Kooman, music, and Christopher Dimond, book and lyrics, the show has been developed in a number of festivals, including the 2011 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals, the Kennedy Center and the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop, and during productions in Canada and Australia. Kooman and Dimond have received the much-coveted Jonathan Larson Award, and most recently became the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award presented by the ASCAP Foundation. “The show is a tribute to the children and families dealing with serious medical issues,” said Moore. “It is not a weepy melodrama or a bleak tragedy, but a spiritual journey accompanied by an upbeat, contemporary score that evokes feelings of hope and joy.” Dani Girl is directed by Marya Spring Cordes and music directed by Scot Woolley. The cast includes Abby E. Cates, Brendan Plate, Jamie Cordes and Katie Pees. Performances of Dani Girl are Friday, August 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m.
Native Daytonian and Human Race alumnus Todd Lawson and his writing partner, Carter Anne McGowan, have joined with the New Orleans rock n’ roll band Cowboy Mouth, to create Red-Blooded, All-American Man, the story of a regular guy having a pre-midlife crisis. Tucker, our main guy, has a beautiful fiancée and a good job, but he’s still not happy. His mind wanders—with the help of the rock band in his head that comments on everything he does. Unsure of his life and afraid of his future, he’s ready to throw it all away for the chance to make his dreams come true only to discover that sometimes getting everything you wish for is not as great as you imagine. Originally workshopped at the Penobscot Theatre Company’s Northern Writes New Play Festival, this “coming-of-age” musical “is sure to connect with our new musical audience,” says Moore. “And we are equally thrilled to be working with Todd Lawson again.” Lawson appeared in Three Days of Rain and The Vertical Hour—both directed by The Human Race’s late artistic director, Marsha Hanna. Red-Blooded, All-American Man is directed by Kevin Moore, music directed by Jay Brunner and vocal directed by Scott Stoney. The cast includes Todd Lawson, Amy Leigh, Paige Dobkins, Scott Stoney and Sara Mackie, with band members Jay Brunner, Allison Kelly and Kevin Anderson. Performances of Red-Blooded, All-American Man are Friday, August 3 at 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 5 at 7:00 p.m.