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Summer Music Theatre Festival 2010 to Kick Off June 10

Stephen Schwartz, Capathia Jenkins and Shoshana Bean among featured guest stars in season

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May 7, 2010 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Broadway star appearances and performances by award-winning guest artists will mark the 2010 Summer Music Theatre Festival at the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University. A musical tribute to Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz also is planned.

Performers will include vocalists Capathia Jenkins ("Caroline, Or Change") and Shoshana Bean ("Wicked"), Tony-nominated composer and lyricist Craig Carnelia, Grammy Award-nominated composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa, and Grammy Award-winning Nashville singer and songwriter Lari White.

For the second year, the festival will kick off with a (June 10) "Summer Preview." Featuring "sneak peaks" of songs from 2010 summer festival productions and hosted by American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) Executive Director Dominic Missimi and theatre department Chair Rives Collins, the free event will include appearances by festival casts and creative teams.

"We are very excited that this upcoming summer season truly offers something for all audiences," said Missimi.  "From exclusive Broadway star appearances to a beloved all-ages classic to an epic new musical, our 2010 Festival features one of our very best line-ups."

Summer productions include (June 25 to 27) "Capathia Jenkins and Louis Rosen in Concert: The Ache of Possibility"; and (July 1 to Aug. 8) "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," a family friendly musical based on Charles M. Schultz's classic comic strip "Peanuts."
 
Also in July, Broadway writers Neil Bartram and Brian Hill ("The Story of My Life") will team up with award-winning director and Northwestern theatre faculty member Amanda Dehnert and one of Broadway's top designers, Eugene Lee ("Sweeney Todd," "Wicked"), to create the new musical "Not Wanted on the Voyage" (July 15 to Aug. 8) presented by AMTP.

The annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project takes place in August. Featuring celebrated and emerging songwriters and singers, this weeklong endeavor will conclude with two events that are open to the public -- a (Aug. 6) "Songwriters Showcase" featuring original tunes written by this year's young composers and lyricists and (Aug. 7) "A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz," a star-studded evening honoring Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked," "Godspell," "Pippen") for his mentorship of young songwriters in the tradition of Johnny Mercer. This one-night-only event featuring the music of Stephen Schwartz will include performances by Bean, Carnelia, Lippa, White and Schwartz himself. 
Prior to the Aug. 7 concert, audience members who subscribe to the all-inclusive Festival package will enjoy a complimentary private discussion, "Behind the Scenes with Stephen Schwartz," hosted by Missimi and ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre Michael Kerker and featuring stories and songs shared by Schwartz.
 
Subscriptions for the festival are currently on sale and audiences may select from two different packages: the All-Inclusive Subscription, which includes all four events in the Festival Season, plus exclusive invitations to attend the 2010 Songwriters Showcase and the "Behind the Scenes with Stephen Schwartz" events; and the Three-Show Subscription, which includes the first three events in the Festival season. The Three-Show Subscription does not include the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project events.

All-Inclusive subscription pricing is $100 for the general public; $89 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $32 for full-time students. Three-Show subscription pricing is $68 for the general public; $61 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $25 for full-time students. Either package reflects a 20 percent discount on single ticket prices.

Subscriptions and single tickets to all productions may be purchased by phone through the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu. Single tickets to all performances range in price from $10 to $40 and will go on sale May 25. Subscriptions are on sale now.

The 2010 Summer Music Theatre Festival events will include:

2010 Summer Preview, 5 p.m., Thursday, June 10, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Festival audiences are invited to celebrate the start of the Summer Music Theatre Festival 2010 with a sneak preview of songs from Festival productions -- including the newest musical from AMTP "Not Wanted on the Voyage" and the high-spirited, all-ages classic "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Hosted by AMTP Executive Director Dominic Missimi and Theatre Department Chair Rives Collins, the preview will include special appearances by members of the 2010 festival casts and creative teams. Light refreshments will be served starting at 4:30 pm. This free event is open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To make a reservation, call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

Capathia Jenkins and Louis Rosen in Concert: The Ache of Possibility, 8 p.m. Friday, June 25; 8 p.m. Saturday, June 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 27, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Jenkins is a jazz and pop vocalist and Broadway musical actress. Rosen is a multi award-winning songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Together, the duo are breaking new ground in a concert mix of smart, sexy, pitch-perfect-to-the-moment songs from their three recent albums, including their latest CD "The Ache of Possibility." Whether the words are by Rosen or African-American icons Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes or Maya Angelou, the songs are a blend of jazz, blues, soul, folk and pop styles that trace the broader patterns of life -- love, politics, loss, family, choices, memory and the passage of time. Jenkins and Rosen will be joined on stage by virtuoso bassist Dave Phillips.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," 7 p.m. Thursday, July 1; 7 p.m. Friday, July 2; 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Saturday, July 3; 7 p.m. Thursday, July 8; 7 p.m. Friday, July 9; 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Saturday, July 10; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 11; 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15; 7 p.m. Friday, July 16; 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Saturday, July 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 18; 7 p.m. Thursday, July 22; 7 p.m. Friday, July 23; 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 25; 7 p.m. Thursday, July 29; 7 p.m. Friday, July 30; 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Saturday, July 31; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1; 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6; 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive. From the trials of first loves and little league championships to battles with book reports and kite-eating trees, "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" is a musical based on Charles M. Schultz's classic comic strip. The musical captures a day in the life of the inept but ever-hopeful Charlie Brown as he searches for what it means to be a good person, finding unexpected answers from his beloved childhood gang -- bossy Lucy, brainy Linus, Beethoven super-fan Schroeder, sister Sally, savvy beagle Snoopy and the elusive Little Red-Haired Girl. The 1999 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival featured new music and lyrics by award-winning composer Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family").

"Not Wanted on the Voyage," 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15; 8 p.m. Friday, July 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 18; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22; 8 p.m. Friday, July 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 24; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 25; 8 p.m. Thursday, July 29; 8 p.m. Friday, July 30; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 31; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1; 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6; 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive. "Not Wanted on the Voyage" is a provocative new musical about an ordinary family faced with extraordinary circumstances. Secrets lie just beneath the surface in this darkly funny, modern re-imagining of the Great Flood. Broadway writers Neil Bartram and Brian Hill have teamed up with award-winning director Amanda Dehnert to create an epic production, complete with rain, fire, magic and an eclectic score. The production is presented by the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. For more information visit http://www.notwantedonthevoyage.com.

Songwriters Showcase, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. For the fifth year, emerging songwriters from across the country will entertain audiences in an evening of original pop, music theatre, hip hop, folk, Latin and country songs. Seating is limited to the first 300 All-Inclusive subscribers and reservations are required.

Behind the Scenes with Stephen Schwartz, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. This event is open only to 2010 All-inclusive Subscribers who will enjoy a complimentary private discussion with Stephen Schwartz prior to "The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project: A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz." Hosted by ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre Michael Kerker and AMTP Executive Director Dominic Missimi, Schwartz will share stories from his successful career on Broadway and beyond and perform several songs. Reservations are required.

The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project: "A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz," 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. This star-studded evening celebrates the legacy of America's legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer. This year's concert will honor Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked," "Godspell," "Pippin") for his mentorship of young songwriters in the tradition of Johnny Mercer. The evening will feature performances from Schwartz's landmark shows, along with classic Mercer tunes by Broadway star Shoshana Bean ("Wicked"), Tony-nominated composer and lyricist Craig Carnelia, Grammy Award-nominated composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa and Grammy Award-winning Nashville singer and songwriter Lari White, as well as young songwriters from the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, and Schwartz himself.