2016 Official Selections



Book & Lyrics by Akil DuPont

1850. With dreams of freedom tuggin’ at his soul, Bali plans to escape from slavery after learning that his master, Jacob, is going to sell his young daughter, Emala. During their escape, Bali encounters a house slave, Dembi, who is content with her station in life and the comfort that her master brings her. After the master's misunderstands her intentions, she becomes an unwilling participant in this escape. The slaves strike out in the dead of night, singing Negro spirituals that they hope will protect them on their perilous journey to freedom and guide them to the Underground Railroad.

Will Dembi come to believe in the Underground Railroad, or will she betray the group and return to the comfort of her house? Can Bali protect his daughter and lead them to freedom, or will the master find them and drag them back to a life of servitude? 

"Underground" - a slave story told through song, is based on a short film that won 21 awards, including 2 Student Emmys (one for music). In March 2016, this musical play was produced as a reading in NYC with the Negro Ensemble Company and was directed by TONY-award winner, Ben Harney.


The Fine Art of Forgetting

Book by Heidi Cline McKerley
Music by S. Renee Clark
Lyrics by Jeff McKerley

It's Karen’s birthday, and she is desperately trying to make the right choices, let go of her past, and move forward.

Through magic realism and a “Greek chorus” ensemble of characters, we follow Karen’s journey as she juggles a mother battling Alzheimer's disease, a disappearing father, a non­existent romantic relationship, and a new career opportunity which seems too good to be true.

With humor, hope, love, and laughter, Karen's thoughts and memories manifest themselves when she least expects it. As Mom desperately clings to fading memories, Karen can't seem to simply forget.

 It's a fine art.


The Yellow Wallpaper

Adaptation by Hannah Church
Music & Lyrics by Julia Appleton

“The Yellow Wallpaper was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked.”

 It is 1891, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a writer, has just finished a treatment called the "rest cure". Imagine lying in bed for eight weeks in complete isolation, with only your thoughts to guide you. This cure, which in 2016 looks more like solitary confinement, was the advanced medical care of its time. But now that the treatment is over, and Charlotte’s mind is at its breaking point, her doctor Silas Mitchell has given a new prognosis. She can never write again if she intends to get better.

What will Charlotte decide?

Come and experience this classic short story with a new haunting musical twist!


What's Past

Written by Chase Peacock & Jessica De Maria

 What would you do if you could remember all the things you never knew you forgot?

 Follow a pair of extraordinary siblings on a journey through time and memory as they unravel the mystery of their parents' death while untangling the mystery of their own identity.