Underscore Announces Season and Chicago Musical Theatre Festival Lineup

Underscore Announces Season and Chicago Musical Theatre Festival Lineup

Pictured: Victoria Olivier, Khaki Pixley, Royen Kent (center) Summer Hofford, David Kaplinsky, Tyler Merle Thompson and Mike Mazzocca in Underscore Theatre Company’s 2016 world premiere of HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST’S SONGBOOK. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Underscore Theatre Company has announced its full 2017-18 Season, which includes CARRIE 2: THE RAGE (An Unauthorized Musical Parody), the 4th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond, and a revival of its Jeff Award-nominated Best New Musical HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST’S SONGBOOK, the true story of Chicago’s infamous Haymarket massacre.

“As Chicago’s only company dedicated exclusively to developing new musicals and to growing the Chicago new musicals community, we’re thrilled to enter a phase where we’re able to announce a full season, especially a season that covers such a wide range of what new musicals can be,” remarked Underscore Artistic Director Alex Higgin-Houser. “With a musical parody in Carrie 2, a new genre for us, the revival of our biggest hit to-date in Haymarket, and eight exciting new works with this year’s Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, we’re doing our level best to broaden the playing field for new musicals in the city. It’s incredibly exciting.”

Underscore Theatre Company’s 2017-18 Season (from the press release):

October 13 – November 19, 2017
CARRIE 2: THE RAGE (An Unauthorized Musical Parody)
Book, Musics and Lyrics by Preston M. Allen
Co-Directed by Isaac Loomer and Rachel Elise Johnson
Music Direction by T.J. Anderson
at The Arkham, 4609 N Clark St., Chicago

More than a decade after Carrie White burned her high school to the ground with her mind, goth teenager Rachel Lang has her own issues to deal with, and Sue Snell, Carrie’s former classmate and Rachel’s guidance counselor, must grapple with surprising similarities between the two outcasts before history repeats itself. Framed as a backer’s auction for a ridiculously ambitious Broadway production, this irreverent meta-musical pokes fun at the entire “Carrie” canon through a punchy, rock-infused score.

February 2018
at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago

The full line-up includes:

Book, Music & Lyrics by Vi Nhan H. Tran

Born in Vietnam and raised in southwestern Kansas, Vi Nhan H. Tran is torn between the mysterious secrets of his heritage and the waving wheat fields of his adopted home. A poignant and humorous folk musical memoir, The Butcher’s Son chronicles the Tran family’s escape from Vietnam, imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge and resettlement in the cattle country of America. Tran weaves a thrilling refugee story and All-American tale of how family stories become family lore and where one family’s search for a home ends.

GRINDR The Opera
Book, Music and Lyrics by Erik Ransom

Four gay men, seeking different types of connection, intersect to hilarious and calamitous results in this sung-through musical parody that puts the notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from contemporary pop to baroque, GRINDR The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: GRINDR.

Book and Lyrics by Bryan Adam and Matthew Kelly, Music by Bryan Adam

When submissive Lady Sterling encounters one of her sexologist husband Dr. Wood Sterling’s newest patients, a demur man who wishes more than anything else to be a woman, she finds herself actively challenging the rigid roles prescribed by Victorian virtue. Within time, she meets all of Sterling’s patients and encourages them to pursue their diverse sexual identities. What follows is a heartfelt and hilarious challenge to Victorian principles, with Lady impersonating an esteemed French doctor and organizing a bordello pairing patients with the wives of her husband’s cheating colleagues, all in an effort to challenge the painful double standards of the time.

Book by Liz Falstreau, Lyrics by Liz Falstreau and Ashley Flanagan, Music by Ashley Flanagan

Set during the years following the American Civil War, Iron Irene tells the story of two sisters and their fight for family, equality and a better world. Upon the death of their parents, Cassie DeLanie is sent from her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to live in southwestern Wyoming with her sister, Irene. Together, the sisters must learn to adjust to this new world while still attempting to maintain the beliefs and identities of their childhood. Their adventures will lead them to Wyoming’s shining moment: being the first U.S. territory to grant women’s suffrage.

Book and Lyrics by Eric C. Jones, Music by Alex Winkler and Bradley Dean Whyte

A powerful rock musical about forgiveness, restoration, the power of friendship and what it means to be a family. This moving tale intersects and moves back and forth throughout 70 years and tells the story through the viewpoints of three unlikely men from different religious and ethnic backgrounds who are connected through a priceless family heirloom: a gold pocket watch. From the start of WWII to post-911 America, the lives of these characters will forever be changed during the historic liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau. Liberators: An American Musical encourages you to believe that even the most unlikely person can make a difference.

Music and Lyrics by Joey Katsiroubas, Book by Dan Hass

Theresa is a young, single couples’ counselor in Chicago. While she’s great (well, okay) at keeping couples together, she can’t seem to lock down a guy for herself. And the fact that she tends to get attached (well, neurotic) after just one date doesn’t help either. Cut to Mr. Wonderful moving into the office next door: beautiful, bulgy-biceped Will. It’s obsession at first sight, and no obstacle or girlfriend is going to keep Theresa from being with him. She’ll ruin relationships, sabotage dates, push people out of the closet – mixing and matching her clients until it’s just Wonderful and her. Forever. And ever.

Book by Brian Huther, Ben Auxier and Seth Macchi, Music and Lyrics by Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, Arrangements by Ryan McCall

Set in the 1920s during the decline of Vaudeville and the rise of Hollywood, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe tracks the journey of an ultra-sharp but down-on-their-luck comedy duo as they navigate the rapidly changing world of entertainment. With a cast of eight portraying nearly fifty characters, audiences will quickly lose themselves in this absurd and delightful comic world and leave with smiles on their faces.

Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Gosz and Leo Fotos

Through intricate characters and intimate music, “TRU” paints a picture of how hauntingly beautiful life can be. “TRU” explores the joys and challenges of the many relationships that are formed throughout one’s life, testing the various forms of love – between a man and his father, between a granddaughter and her grandmother, between a woman and her art, between a student and his teacher, between a man and himself. Walking hand in hand with reality, “TRU” toes the line between what is unbelievable and what is true.

May 2018
Book and Lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser
Music by David Kornfeld
Venue to be announced.

Underscore brings back its highly acclaimed Jeff Award-nominated “Best New Musical.” HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST’S SONGBOOK tells the Chicago story of the nation’s first Red Scare through the eyes of Lucy Parsons, daughter of a slave and widow of anarchist martyr Albert Parsons. On the last day of her life, and accompanied by the folk-music-playing ghosts of her past, Lucy revisits the Haymarket Affair and the unjust trial that followed it in an attempt to make peace with history. Following a series of workshops in New York and Chicago, HAYMARKET will return with an updated book, new music and songs.

For more information on Underscore Theatre Company visit underscoretheatre.org

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