Theatre Building Chicago’s 14th annual showcase of new musicals features eight new works plus a revival of the 1976 Broadway show Rex, in formats ranging from semistaged studio presentations to concert readings (with the actors at music stands), as shown below. The weekend-long festival, which also includes panels and social events, gives audiences and aspiring writers a chance to discuss the art, craft, and commerce of musical theater as they rub elbows between shows. It also showcases some of off-Loop theater’s brightest young performers. Stages 2007 runs Fri-Sun, 8/10-8/12, in the north and south theaters of Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont. Individual performances are $15; a Stages Pass to all Saturday and Sunday shows costs $95; other prices are listed below. For reservations and information, call 773-327-5252 or log on to theatrebuildingchicago.org or ticketmaster.com.
Rex This rarely revived 1976 musical about King Henry VIII was one of the last Broadway efforts of composer Richard Rodgers, who teamed up with lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and playwright Sherman Yellen (The Rothschilds). Yellen and Harnick will be present at this performance, and at a repeat performance Saturday. Concert reading. a South theater, 7:30 PM, $75 (includes 6 PM reception and postshow cocktail party).
Tomorrow Morning Two couples are separated by time in Laurence Mark Wythe’s musical. Concert reading. a North theater, 9 AM.
Moon Shine! Country music star Marty Stuart collaborated with Mary Willard on this comedy about a Texan who needs to find a wife pronto in order to get his inheritance. Concert reading. a South theater, 9 AM.
The Showgirl of 52nd Street This musical by Charles Leipart and John Kroner concerns a former showgirl now living on the street and reliving her life through jumbled memories. Concert reading. a North theater, 1 PM.
Children of the Night Scott Martin’s musical recounts the creation of the classic novel Dracula and its subsequent stage version. Concert reading. a South theater, 1 PM.
So Happy I Could Scream! A Musical Celebration of Motherhood The title says it all about this musical revue by Judy Freed, Sari Miller, and Randi Wolfe. Studio presentation. a North theater, 3:30 PM.
Rex See listing for Fri. Followed by a postshow discussion with the show’s coauthors, Sheldon Harnick and Sherman Yellen, and Bert Fink of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation. Concert reading. a South theater, 3:30 PM.
Despairadise A nihilistic art-film director discovers love and happiness–to the consternation of his fellow artists–in this musical by Pat Byrnes and Rich Prezioso. Studio presentation. a North theater, 7:30 PM.
Downtown The start-up of a 1950s men’s magazine is plagued by “blackmail, plagiarism and lace panties” in this musical by Barbara Georgans and Philip Seward. Concert reading. a South theater, 7:30 PM.
Despairadise See listing for Sat. a North theater, 9 AM.
Downtown See listing for Sat. a South theater, 9 AM.
Media Forum: Hold the Press Producers, writers, and critics, including the Reader’s Albert Williams, take part in this panel discussion on the relationship between the press and works in progress. a West theater, noon, free, but reservations required; a brunch at 11 AM costs $20 (Stages Pass not applicable).
Tomorrow Morning See listing for Sat. a North theater, 1:15 PM.
Moon Shine! See listing for Sat. a South theater, 1:15 PM.
The Showgirl of 52nd Street See listing for Sat. a North theater, 4 PM.
Children of the Night See listing for Sat. a South theater, 4 PM.
So Happy I Could Scream! A Musical Celebration of Motherhood See listing for Sat. a North theater, 7 PM.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): So Happy I Could Scream photo by Paul Grigonis.