Thursday, February 21, 2013

Uncharted Musical Territory

Ars Nova has continually been the place to be when you're looking for new, exciting theatrical works of genius. Their Uncharted series, concerts presenting the work of up-and-coming composers, was often a go-to source for discovering new writers. This year, Uncharted comes in the form of a development incubator, a writers group based on their playwriting meet-up, PlayGroup. With artistic director Jason Eagan's promise of beer and pizza and regular meetings, the four selected writing teams to participate in the inaugural writers group will develop new works to be presented and showcased over the course of the next year.

If you read the blog, many of these names will sound familiar. Still, here are the writers and some songs they performed at the kick-off concert:

Shaina Taub -- Shaina Taub is known for her smoky vocals, folksy melodies, and whimsical lyrics. Her Greek song cycle The Daughters features some banging tunes for female powerhouses, and her EP, What Otters Do, is a common selection on my iPod.

Charles Vincent Burwell and James D. Sasser -- I was probably least familiar with Sasser and Burwell going into this concert, but the songs they played from their modern day Cuban musical, Cubamor, quickly made an impression. With some diverse styles of music and bilingual lyrics, I'm most curious to hear what comes from this team next.

Anna K. Jacobs and Michael R. Jackson -- She wrote the critically acclaimed Warhol musical POP!; he's known for his subversive subject matter and deliciously complex songs. Together, they're writing an adaptation of independent horror film Teeth, which should prove interesting.

Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald -- This duo never fails to produce rich songs for complicated characters, and their musical Pregnancy Pact never fails to showcase this. Excitingly, there seem to be a few new projects on the horizon for them, so here's hoping for more new work soon.

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