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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

Muncie as musical theater hot spot?

January 12, 2010

When I heard that Broadway leading lady Sutton Foster would be visiting Ball State this month, my first assumption was that she would performing in concert to promote her first solo album (You can give a listen to that here.)

That, alone, would be a coup for Muncie.

Foster, in case the name doesn't ring bells, has had a remarkable run over the last few years, premiering leading roles in "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Little Women," "The Drowsy Chaperone," "Young Frankenstein," and "Shrek"--all since 2000. That's even more remarkable considering that Broadway legend Patti LuPone only appeared in the original Broadway casts of three musicals over a lengthy career.  At 34, Foster still has a long theatrical road ahead of her.

But Foster isn't doing a concert. Instead, she's coming in on the 26th for five days of observing and critiquing master classes, working with Musical Theatre students, talking with dance students, guest teaching in classes, and helping prep students who are part of the school's NY Showcase in March. She'll also advise on a workshop at the Virginia Ball Center that is focused on the development of new musicals. The current project will be performed as a benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. (Info on that project here.).

While all this is purely for students, the public can get involved in a talk back with Foster on Jan. 30. No word yet on whether or not she'll be singing but, regardless, no self-respecting musical theater fan should miss it.

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This weekend, the public is also invited to another Ball State coup: Michael Brennan and Mark Leydorf, the authors of an in-development musical theater adaptation of the Terry Gilliam film "The Fisher King," will be in town this week to work with students on a staged reading of their show, which will be presented on Saturday the 16th.

This is a rare (for Indiana) opertunity to hear a major musical in the developmental stage. Information here.

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And, finally, Ball State also has a musical version of the wonderful Cathy Day novel "The Circus in Winter" in the works. More on that as it develops.

Anyone up for a road trip?

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