Stages ’98: A Festival of New Musicals in Progress

New Tuners Theatre’s weekend musical-theater marathon showcases a slew of new works in various stages of development, with performances ranging from short presentations of excerpts from the shows to fully staged “skeletal productions,” as shown in the schedule below. The fest features 12 works by writers from Chicago and around the country; it also gives audiences and aspiring writers a chance to discuss the art, craft, and commerce of musical theater as they rub elbows with each other and various out-of-town celebrities. Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252. $10 per performance; $50 for a two-day pass.


Love and Order

Doug Haverty and Adryan Russ’s piece about “a modern romance complicated by celebrity” is given a sit-down reading, with a full cast reading from scripts. North theater, 9 AM.

Ducks and Lovers

Murray Schisgal’s play inspired this musical by Peter Gootkind and Marni Goltsman; it’s offered in a staged reading. South theater, 9 AM.

Hans Brinker and Jane’s Jungle Love, or A Little Ape Music

New Tuners’ Christmas cash cow Hans Brinker, adapted by Jane Boyd, John Sparks, and Philip Seward from Mary Mapes Dodge’s 1867 kids’ classic, is “pitched” in a 12-minute excerpt, followed by a sit-down reading of Jane’s Jungle Love, Rob Meurer and Berton Averre’s Tarzan spoof. North theater, 11:30 AM.


Charles Bloom’s musical, seen in a sit-down reading, focuses on Picasso’s early life. South theater, 11:30 AM.

Fat Tuesday and Cashel Byron

Tim Pelton and Elizabeth Doyle’s Mardi Gras musical Fat Tuesday is “pitched” in a short excerpt, followed by a sit-down reading of Cashel Byron, John Sparks, Ken Stone, and Jan Powell’s adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s tale of a prizefighter who falls for a wealthy woman. North theater, 3 PM

A Little Princess

William J. Brooke, Margaret Rose, and Eric Rockwell’s version of the Frances Hodgson Burnett story is offered in a sit-down reading. South theater, 3 PM.

Emma & Company

Jon Steinhagen and Judy Freed’s musical (also showcased in last year’s “Stages” festival) concerns a turn-of-the-century working woman trying to launch her son’s career while dealing with her boss’s romantic overtures. It’s presented in a “skeletal production,” with staging and choreography but minus the lights, sets, and costumes. North theater, 6:30 PM.


This tango musical by Lori McKelvey, about “forbidden love in a charged political environment,” is presented in a “skeletal production.” South theater, 6:30 PM.


The Vanishing Point and Love and Order

Porchlight Theatre’s current production The Vanishing Point (see separate listing in regular Theater listings) is “pitched” in a short excerpt, followed by a repeat performance of Love and Order (see listing for 9 AM Saturday). North theater, 9 AM.

Ducks and Lovers

See listing for 9 AM Saturday. South theater, 9 AM.

Jane’s Jungle Love, or A Little Ape Music

See listing for 11:30 AM Saturday. North theater, 11:30 AM.

Train Is Comin’ and A Little Princess

A Little Princess (see listing for 3 PM Saturday) is preceded by a “pitch” of excerpts from McKinley Johnson’s a cappella gospel musical about the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a student choir of former slaves at Fisk University in the late 1800s (this presentation is coproduced by the Chicago Theatre Company, where this show previously received a full production that Reader critic Adam Langer said was “enjoyable and educational, but . . . still a rewrite or two away from being something really special”). South theater, 11:30 AM.

Emma & Company

See listing for 6:30 PM Saturday. North theater, 3 PM.


See listing for 6:30 PM Saturday. South theater, 3 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Stages performance photo.