Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical!

Interdisciplinary artist Kara Hearn presents a defiantly optimistic, barebones, experimentally cast musical production that uses an orphan-themed Broadway musical, (hereafter referred to as “[unnamed Broadway musical]”), as its point of departure.

April 14 - May 19th 2012 | EFA Project Space | T. 212-563-5855 x 244 | www.efanyc.org

Photos from the Q&A and reception after the final performance of Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical!

Photos from the final performance of Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical!

The Final Performance

The final performance of Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical! took place on Saturday, May 19th. The crowd poured in, and the room was soon filled to capacity, with every person eagerly anticipating the show. The evening began with screening a video of the auditions, filmed and edited by artist Kara Hearn, followed by the musical itself. The performance went off without a hitch - the crowd rejoiced as the cast danced, leapt, and sang across the stage; a heartwarming story about finding family and identity in the face of adversity unfolding before their eyes. The audience watched as not only the storylines of the different characters merged into one cohesive one, but also the dreams of these eight people came true, which was the driving force behind this project. The exuberance of the cast shone through and filled the room with a palpable joy. After the performance, there was a brief Q&A session with the cast and creative team, followed by a reception.  In the end, the seemingly impossible project of Unnamed Broadway Musical:The Musical! was a great success.

Week 5

With less than one week until the big night, the cast and creatives were still hard at work generating material to get the show ready for opening.  Some of this material was new, and some of it was culled from interviews conducted during the very first week, as a reminder of the original inspiration for the cast members and characters.  In keeping with the crazy spirit of the project, the cast remained open to changing the material and taking big risks all the way through the final hours of rehearsal.

Week 4

This past week has been about figuring out the order of the show from all of the moments improvised by the cast as well as the lyrics they have written on their own.  As the outline has been constructed, gaps have been filled in to create a cohesive story that is funny, touching, and mysterious.  By the end of the week, the whole team had started working through the show in the order it will be performed next weekend.  Also, composer Christopher Berg is back in town after his concerts in Europe, and is hard at work putting music to all of the solos in the show that the cast has written the lyrics for - some 7 or 8 new songs in total.  With all of this structure in place, the cast is ready to hit the ground running, practicing and polishing their material for opening night - less than a week away.

Week 3


This week, the performers developed not only their characters, but the relationships between the different characters. Dialogue is born. Each of the eight cast members had created their own character that fulfills their performance dream, filling the show with a wide variety of personas including a cursed old hag, a plucky optimist, a slave from ancient Rome, a girl who wants to be a Country star, and a spirit who can restore memories or take them away. All of these seemingly disparate roles now come together into a full and relatable story about loss, hope, abandonment, family, and the search for identity. The performers are also gearing up for next Saturday, May 19th, when the final performance will take place.
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Week 3

This week, the performers developed not only their characters, but the relationships between the different characters. Dialogue is born. Each of the eight cast members had created their own character that fulfills their performance dream, filling the show with a wide variety of personas including a cursed old hag, a plucky optimist, a slave from ancient Rome, a girl who wants to be a Country star, and a spirit who can restore memories or take them away. All of these seemingly disparate roles now come together into a full and relatable story about loss, hope, abandonment, family, and the search for identity. The performers are also gearing up for next Saturday, May 19th, when the final performance will take place.

Week Two

With composer Chris Berg gone, the group worked on the choreography with Pia Monique Murray for the two group numbers. Director Sarah Cameron Sunde led the group through an exercise exploring the physicality of each character and their relationships to each other. The group had a brainstorming session about what the important elements of an orphan-themed musical are, based on our memories of consuming such musicals as kids. This led to an interesting conversation about adoption and the problematic concept of “the grateful orphan”. The cast members took turns presenting their characters to the group and fielding questions to further develop the characters, and will continue to do so through the week, along with rehearsing more choreography.

Week One

In the first week of rehearsals, the cast and creative team collaboratively wrote the lyrics for two group songs. They wrote the title song, Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical! and Bright Red Lipstick, a song based on cast member Angela’s story of wanting to wear bright red lipstick, but lacking the confidence to do so because she feels that it is too bold. Chris Berg promptly composed music for both songs, before leaving the city to perform two international concerts. Artist Kara Hearn interviewed each cast member about the need they hope to fulfill through this project. While all of this was going on, cast members worked individually and in pairs to begin developing their characters and writing lyrics for their individual songs. Sarah Cameron Sunde and Chris Berg met one-on-one with each cast member to further develop their characters and develop some music for each person’s song, and Pia Monique Murray worked with cast to develop the physicality of their characters. The songs that are complete were recorded, so that the cast could keep rehearsing even in Chris’s absence.

Photos from the auditions, April 14th

Photos from the auditions, April 14th

Photos from the auditions, April 14th

Auditions!

Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical! kicked off last weekend with the auditions. Beginning at noon and stretching into the early evening, 17 hopefuls ranging from everyday people to professional actors gave it their all in front of camera, creative team, and audience. The performers revealed their dreams and aspirations in on-stage interviews with the creative team, and sang and danced their hearts out. Auditionees chose to audition with a variety of music including Broadway tunes, pop hits, and childhood songs. Choreographer Pia Monique Murray taught each hopeful a couple of steps, which proved to be deceptively complex, as composer Chris Berg accompanied on keyboard. During the interviews, the performers fielded questions from all of the creative team, led by director Sarah Cameron Sunde, while video artist Kara Hearn captured every moment. The creative team diligently took notes during each performance, which they compared in between auditions, and even from the back of the room the whispered debates could be heard. Though everyone was working hard, the mood in the Project Space was lighthearted - the room was filled with applause and laughter from beginning to end. When it was over, everyone left with a smile on their face from being a part of such pure expressions of talent and emotion, and excitedly anticipating the start of rehearsals.

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