The journey from page to stage for musicals is often a much bigger ordeal than it is for plays. However, audiences don’t often get the chance to see the early incarnations of musical work.
Music Theatre of Madison is trying to change that.
For the second time MTM is offering a Festival of New Musicals. It’s a unique event and is only the second of its kind in the Midwest, according to MTM founder and executive director Meghan Randolph. Chicago also has an event like this.
MTM’s first Festival of New Musicals took place in the fall of 2015.
“Last time we did this we handpicked shows, but this year we did an open call for new musicals and we got over 100 submissions,” Randolph said. “It was hard to dwindle (submissions) down.”
Three shows, “Dumb Luck,” “The Puppet” and “Medea” were chosen as part of the festival, which spans October and ends in the beginning of November.
“Dumb Luck” is a country western comedy about a bandit named Elmer McCurdy who was killed by officers in 1911. When no one claimed his body it ended up a mummified prop passed around various sideshows before it was discovered in 1976 by the film crew with “Six Million Dollar Man.”
“It was the most complete and well developed of the musicals we received,” Randolph said.
“The Puppet” takes place during the 2020 election and uses the Gilbert and Sullivan musical style.
It is never explicitly stated that a character is Donald Trump, but he’s referred to as Mr. T so it’s pretty obvious, Randolph said.
“Medea” is a rock musical which turns the original Greek tragedy about a mother who kills her children on its head.
Randolph said this version is “very feminist” and was in the early stages of development when its creator submitted it to MTM.