Musical company

Weston Theater Company to receive National Endowment for the Arts grant

The Weston Theater Company has been approved for an award of $15,000 in Arts Project Grants to support its 2022 Original Works Programs.

The Weston Theater Company project is one of 1,248 projects across America totaling $28,840,000 that have been selected to receive this first round of FY2022 funding in the Arts Project Grants category.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this that help sustain the creative economy of the community,” said NEA Acting President Ann Eilers. “The Weston Theater Company is among the nation’s arts organizations that use the arts as a source of strength, a pathway to well-being, and provide people with access and opportunity to connect and find joy through the arts. .”

Over the past decade, Weston has developed a nationally recognized New Works program based on the belief that the voice of the author is essential in shaping conversations locally and nationally. The New Works 2022 program includes the Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award, the Spring Artist Retreat and ongoing commissioned projects.

“For more than a decade, Weston has been committed to deepening its connections with writers and theater makers, supporting new plays and musical development, and bringing a wide range of artistic voices to our beautiful corner. of Vermont,” said Weston’s executive artistic director, Susanna Gellert. “This spring, we are thrilled to welcome seven extraordinary Weston artists as they explore their latest projects. These stories, some original and others based on beloved classics, drive the imagination and innovation of theater forward. We’re proud to support their development and I can’t wait to see these musicals as they continue their journey to the stage.”

The Weston Artists’ Spring Retreat hosts artists working on three projects, including Julia Gytri and Yan Li (The Ghost Says “Boo,” a Depression-era story based on a real-life Christmas Day tragedy); Megumi Nakamura and Jacob Brandt (A new musical adaptation of Twelfth Night); and Isabella Dawis, Tidtaya Sinutoke and Nana Dakin (Sunwatcher, an experimental chamber musical inspired by classical Noh theatre).

THE GHOST SAYS “BOO” by Julia Gytri and Yan Li
Loosely based on a tragically true story, The Ghost Says “Boo” unpacks the cruel world of the Depression-era American South through the eyes of Arthur Lawson and the animals of the Lawson farm. Together, they explore the complications of extreme wealth disparity, economic oppression, and the inaccessibility of the American dream, and reveal what we all already know through a heartbreaking new lens: hard work can only accomplish so much. of things, and the status quo is the ultimate rule of fate.

Yan Li (composer) has been seen on the Weston stage as a muse and served as Music Director of An Iliad (2021) and Music Director of The Fantasticks (2019). His Made in China musicals have been selected by The New York Times, and Sweet Nothings was a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Musical Theater Conference. Li is currently a professor at AMDA.

Julia Gytri (lyricist) was recently awarded the Jonathan Larson Fellowship in 2019 with Avi Amon with whom she wrote Salonika, which she worked on during previous artist retreats at Weston in 2016 and 2018. She previously worked on Blind with Yan Li.

TWELFTH NIGHT, adapted by Jacob Brandt and Megumi Nakamura
Weston regulars Jacob Brandt and Megumi Nakamura bring a new musical adaptation of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedy about mistaken identity and love triangles.

Jacob Brandt (Musical Adaptation) was seen in Weston’s 2021 Ring of Fire as Luther and played banjo, guitar, drums, and more. He was also Andrej in Once in 2017, showing more of his musical talents on stage. He is the creator and lead performer/composer of the indie-folk musicals 1969: The Second Man and HANG ON: A Subway History-Concert.

Megumi Nakamura (writer) has been seen in several roles in Weston including Zaneeta Shinn in The Music Man in 2017, Rosalia in West Side Story in 2018, The Mute in The Fantasticks in 2019 and June Carter in Ring of Fire (2021) Megumi also contributed to Weston’s Postcard Plays project in 2020.

SUNWATCHER By Isabella Dawis and Tidtaya Sinutoke, director of Nana Dakin
An experimental chamber musical inspired by classic Noh theatre, SUNWATCHER interweaves the story of two women – the astronomer and “hidden figure” Hisako Koyama (1916-1997) and the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu. SUNWATCHER celebrates this little-known Asian woman in science and her extraordinary dedication to ordinary observation.

Isabella Dawis (writer/lyricist) won Weston’s New Musical Awards 2020 for Half The Sky with Tidtaya Sinutoke. As a team, Dawis and Sinutoke won the 2021 Fred Ebb Award recognizing excellence in musical theater songwriting and earlier this year Dawis won the Kleban Award for Most Promising Musical Theater Librettist.

Tidtaya Sinutoke (Composer) won Weston’s New Musical Awards 2020 for Half The Sky with Isabella Dawis and the Fred Ebb Award 2022 with Dawis as well. Sinutoke also received the Jonathan Larson Fellowship in 2017 along with Ty Defoe. She received a City Artist Corps Grant in 2021 for her new musical Dear Mr. C.

Nana Dakin (director) directed Half The Sky by Dawis and Sinutoke at Weston in 2020. She directed White Pearl at the Royal Court Theater in London and was Deputy Director of Wild Goose Dreams at the Public Theater and Camelot – Benefit Concert at Lincoln Center Theater.

Weston Theater Company builds on and enhances the unique strengths of its Vermont Village campus to produce a diverse, entertaining and challenging season of professional live theater and high-impact events; enrich the theatrical experience with education and awareness programs for all ages; and make meaningful contributions to American theater through training programs, play development, and retreats. It is a nonprofit organization supported in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and an ever-growing family of individuals and organizations who believe in the impact of the performing arts on his community. Learn more at westonplayhouse.org or for more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Weston Theater Company is a non-profit organization supported in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and an ever-growing family of individuals and organizations who believe in the impact the performing arts have on their community .