Artists have taken show on the road

So, via a personal connection, the creative musical theater team from New York is now in residence at the University of Illinois, where members are further developing the piece with the help of theater and vocal performance students, among them townies Christopher Terrell Brown and Ellen Fred, both theater majors.

"It's really a great opportunity to be a part of something at the ground level," Brown said after a workshop session Tuesday.

"What we're doing," he added, "is helping them get it out of their heads. Any time you have a story or speech you want to see it take pandora valentine's day bracelet on a life of its own other than your own."

The artists behind "Now. Here. This." are Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell, who wrote the book and lyrics; composer Jeff Bowen; director Michael Berresse; and arranger Larry Pressgrove.

Pressgrove once taught at the UI; he's pandora rings valentines day the one who began the conversation that led the group here.

"We knew of the reputation of the university and the facility; it seemed like a good match," Bell said after a session Tuesday in the Opera Rehearsal Room at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

He and his colleagues arrived last Monday and will be here through Friday; before they leave, the students will give a free public presentation of "Now. Here. This.", and the professionals will give a public talk about the creative process.

"Now. Here. This." pandora bracelets silver premiered in 2012 at the Vineyard Theatre in New York and has been released as a cast recording. On its website, the Vineyard gives this synopsis:

"Created by the '[title of show]' team, 'Now. Here. This.' is a new musical exploring life's big questions with inimitable humor and humanity. The show explores birds, bees, reptiles, early man, ancient civilizations and outer space. Also, loneliness, friendship, hoarding, hiding, laughing, living and dying. And middle school. And dinosaurs."

Bell and Bowen said, on only their second day on campus, that they had already made changes in the script, including some cuts to lyrics. The changes were "small tweaks" that have bigger implications, Bell said. If they have a lot of time, other revisions might be even bigger.

"Hopefully, it'll keep getting better and better," he said.

"We are already inspired by the students and where they are," Bowen said. "It sort of inspires us and fuels us. They're hard working and optimistic, and it's fun for the piece and it helps us."

Also helping will be a four student pop rock band that will begin working with the team this week.

In addition to working with students, Bell said he and his colleagues are subscribing to the theory that getting out of New York the creative team is staying at apartments near Krannert helps them focus on the task at hand.

They are meeting daily with a core group of eight students, who were double cast to portray the four characters in the play. Brown will play the role that Bell had.

Additional theater students are visiting the Opera Rehearsal Room to observe the workshop sessions.

On Tuesday, the pandora valentine's day bracelet theater artists and students sat in a circle, each with a copy of the script. After going through it and shortly before taking a break, Blackwell asked if the students had any questions, observations, complaints.

One asked about the repetition of lyrics in one of the songs.

Tom Mitchell, associate head of the UI Department of Theatre, organized the guest residency; he said the musical theater team will work with students for 56 hours while here. The "Now. Here. This." team also is known for using social media to build audiences, he said.

The UI theater department's 2011 Summer Studio theater season, directed by Mitchell, included "[title of show]," which originally premiered in 2008.

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