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Stages '99: A Festival of New Musicals in Progress

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Stages '99: A Festival of New Musicals in Progress

This weekend's musical-theater marathon--hosted by Chicago's New Tuners Theatre with the participation of LA's Lehman Engel Workshop and London's Mercury Workshop--showcases 11 new works in various stages of development, ranging from "pitches" (short excerpts from recently produced shows seeking a future) to staged readings, as shown in the schedule below. The fest gives audiences and aspiring writers a chance to discuss the art, craft, and commerce of musical theater as they rub elbows during meal breaks between performances. Repeat performances of every presentation have been scheduled to allow audiences to see all the shows. "Stages '99" opens Friday, July 30, with a gala dinner and performance at the Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E. Ontario; tickets for this event are $150. Regular performances take place Saturday-Sunday, July 31 and August 1, at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont. Admission is $10 per performance or $50 for a two-day pass. For information and reservations, call 773-327-5252.

FRIDAY, JULY 30

Opening Benefit

Broadway and TV veteran Nancy Dussault headlines the opening gala benefit at the Arts Club of Chicago; the evening also features the writers of the weekend's shows performing their own material. The 8 PM show is preceded by cocktails at 6 PM and dinner at 7 PM.

SATURDAY, JULY 31

Crazy Mary

Mary is Mary Todd Lincoln, Abe's controversial wife. She's the subject of Jan Tranen and Jay Schwandt's musical, which is performed in a reading. North theater, 9:45 AM.

Ladyhawke

Based on the fantasy film that starred Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer as two cursed lovers--he turns into a wolf by night, while she is transformed into a hawk during the day--Marsha Meyers and Joyce Bramberg's musical is performed in a staged reading. West theater, 9:45 AM.

Golem and Sleepy Hollow

Golem is Sylvia Freedman and Cathy Shostak's musical version of the medieval Jewish tale about a clay giant brought to life by magic. It's offered in a short pitch, followed by a reading of Sleepy Hollow, a family-oriented musical version of Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," by Judy Freed, Scott Sandoe, Owen Kalt, and Elizabeth Doyle. West theater, 1:15 PM.

High Fidelity and Falls

One-acts by Shaw and Chekhov inspired Philip Seward's comic opera High Fidelity. It's offered in a pitch, followed by a reading of Anthony George and Andrew Small's Falls, described as "a surrealistic musical" about "whether to risk everything by walking across Niagara Falls." North theater, 1:15 PM.

Another Summer and Past Time

Another Summer, offered in a pitch, is Ernest Thompson and Roy Rogosin's musical version of Thompson's hit play On Golden Pond. It's followed by a reading of Past Time, by Marian Partee, Jon Steinhagen, and Ilya Levinson, about a romance that results when three writers and seven actors are commissioned to develop a musical. North theater, 3:45 PM.

Mim, The Secret of the Old Queen, and Being Beautiful

Mim and The Secret of the Old Queen are presented in a double pitch; the former is Stephen Gariepy and Ronald Owen's rendition of the story of Mary and Joseph, while the latter is Timothy Cope and Paul Boesing's genial gay spoof of the Hardy Boys tales, recently presented here by Stage Left Theatre. This short double bill is followed by a reading of Being Beautiful, McKinley Johnson and Stephanie Newsom's piece about a black female impersonator. West theater, 3:45 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1

Another Summer and Past Time

See listing for 3:45 PM Saturday. North theater, 10 AM.

Mim, The Secret of the Old Queen, and Being Beautiful

See listing for 3:45 PM Saturday. West theater, 10 AM.

Crazy Mary

See listing for 9:45 AM Saturday. North theater, 2 PM.

Ladyhawke

See listing for 9:45 AM Saturday. West theater, 2 PM.

Golem and Sleepy Hollow

See listing for 1:15 PM Saturday. West theater, 6 PM.

High Fidelity and Falls

See listing for 1:15 PM Saturday. North theater, 6:30 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Drew Martin.

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