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Stages 2002: A Festival of New Musicals

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Theatre Building Chicago hosts a weekend-long showcase of seven new musicals, offered here in varying stages of readiness. The lineup compiled by artistic director John Sparks includes concert-style performances (with the actors at music stands), staged readings (with the actors moving about while using scripts and scores), and fully memorized and staged studio presentations. The festival gives audiences and aspiring writers a chance to discuss the art, craft, and commerce of musical theater as they rub elbows before each show and during meal breaks.

Performances take place Friday-Sunday, August 9-11, in the north and west theaters of Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont. Admission to performances on Saturday and Sunday is $15 each; a Stages Pass to all Saturday and Sunday shows costs $75. Opening night is $50 ($35 with a Stages Pass) for a 6 PM reception and 7:45 PM performance of Tumpie's Dance. A critics' panel and lunch on Sunday costs $20 (this event is not covered by the weekend pass). For reservations and more information,

call 773-327-5252.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9

Tumpie's Dance

See Critic's Choice. North theater, 7:45 PM (preceded by 6 PM reception).

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10

Dinner at Eight

George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's classic comedy about romance among the Depression-era rich is the basis of this musical by Julie Gilbert, Ben Schaechter, and Frank Evans. Steve Scott directs a concert reading. North theater, 9:30 AM.

Dr. Sex

Larry Bortniker and Sally Deering's musical recounts the life of Alfred Kinsey, the closeted bisexual Indiana University prof whose 1948 and 1953 reports on American sexual behavior still have scientists and teachers debating their accuracy and significance. David Zak directs a concert reading. West theater, 9:30 AM.

Tumpie's Dance

See Critic's Choice. North theater, 1:30 PM.

Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class

This musical by Charles Leipart and Richard B. Evans finds professor Thorstein Veblen presenting his landmark study of economics as a vaudeville show. Alison Henderson directs a staged reading. West theater, 1:30 PM.

The Stork Derby

Based on a true story, this musical by Tammy Samuels and Vadim Feichtner concerns a wealthy Canadian whose will bequeaths his fortune to the woman who bears the most babies in the decade following his death. Susan Padveen directs a staged reading. North theater, 7:45 PM.

Hard Road

The evolution of Illinois from its rural

past to the urban present--and the impact of the automobile on that evolution--is chronicled in this musical by Jane Boyd, Gerald Rizzer, and Charlie Mehler. Steve Young directs a studio presentation. West theater, 4 PM.

The Prairie

Shakespeare's The Tempest inspired this tale of a widower in rural Illinois plotting revenge. This studio presentation of Renee Enna, Mark Adamczyk, and Marianne Kallen's musical, directed by Page Hearn, employs puppets as well as live actors. North theater, 7:45 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

The Stork Derby

See listing for Saturday. North theater, 9:30 AM.

Hard Road

See listing for Saturday. West theater, 9:30 AM.

The Prairie

See listing for Saturday. North theater,

2 PM.

Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class

See listing for Saturday. West theater,

2 PM.

Dinner at Eight

See listing for Saturday. North theater, 4:30 PM.

Dr. Sex

See listing for Saturday. West theater, 4:30 PM.

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