Now in its 4th season, The Choreography Lab works to elevate and expand the use of dance in Musical Theatre. The lab’s unique programming supports choreographer development, fosters collaboration between writers and choreographers earlier in the creative process, and serves as an educational forum where all parties can strengthen and specify how dance can be used to convey story and character. The Choreography Lab is the only curated choreography platform where choreographers and writers collaborate to develop movement for new musicals during incubation. Conceived + Curated by Avital Asuleen
4 choreographers work on and present a number from a new musical they conceive through dance.
Marc Acito (Allegiance, Bastard Jones, Chasing Rainbows)
Christopher Noffke (Lab Consultant)
Concept/Choreography by Christian Denzel Bufford
I'm looking to adapt a contemporary musical version of Romeo & Juliet. I would like to combine an original score and contemporary dance with a millennial adaptation of Shakespeare's text to reimagine a classic coming of age adventure. With a small ensemble of actors, many playing multiple roles, I imagine a world of vivid make-believe, intense physicality, poignant social commentary and a love letter to our muse Shakespeare.
Concept/Choreography by Sonia Dawkins
Inspired by the play by Cheryl West
Juan Pablo Alba Dennis
Chloe Mollis McBride
This concept is inspired by the playBefore It Hits Home by Cheryl West. When Wendal Bailey, a black jazz musician, is diagnosed with AIDS, the duality of his existence and the two worlds he has been straddling reach an impasse. There's the world of music which he shares mostly with his male married lover and the world inhabited by his naive pregnant fiancé. Wendell suddenly finds his ability to compartmentalize his two worlds almost impossible.
Concept/Choreography by Jennifer Delac
Elli Stovall Brown
It's 1942 and women across the nation join the workforce in factory assembly lines, including Rosa. Behind the conveyor belt, Rosa meets Rosalind, Rose and Geralidine, and over time, the women bond over the collective hardships they face: the low pay, the high demand, and the knowledge that their work could be what keeps the soldiers-their husbands, their sons, their brothers alive. Dear Rosie explores the true stories of the bandana-clad hero that helped win the war and toys with the inspiration for the Rosie The Riveter icon that we have come to know and love.
Concept/Choreography by Briana Fallon
Lydia Ruth Dawson
Sherry becomes a foster child at 3, when her mother is incapable of taking care of her. After five different homes in less than a year, she is adopted into a loving family. Haunted by her past, school is difficult, friends don't come easy and she is bullied beyond belief her entire educational life. She joins a depression group where there are a bunch of kids just like her, and they start to befriend her. Sheree seems to be doing much better until a girl from her depression program has an episode and takes her own life. In honor of her new friend, Sheree starts a Suicide Awareness group at school.
Edie Cowan (choreographer of the original Little Shop of Horrors) pictured right
Melinda Atwood (creator of DanceBreak) pictured middle
Adolpho Blaire pictured left
4 choreographers present a number from 4 diverse new musicals. Primarily focused on engaging mid-career to established choreographers, this lab focuses on bringing production numbers from never before staged musicals to life. Each choreographer works to stage their piece as closely to the way they envision it to be staged in a fully realized production of said new musical. Both the choreographers and writers benefit from seeing their piece staged while it is still in development.
Book & Lyrics by Deborah Brevoort
Music & Lyrics by Stephanie Salzman
Choreography by Rickey Tripp
Music Direction by Benji Goldsmith
Reverend Blue Forest Van Dyke
Blue Jay Kendra Vernon
Rebecca Tara Halper
Dancers Roddy Kennedy
Rebecca, an Amish girl, loves to sing but she lives in a world where solos and self expression are forbidden. When she meets Reverend Blue, an itinerant hip-hop preacher, and former gang member, she connects with his music and joins him in his street corner “Hymn Hops” only to draw media attention and the anger of her family and community. Crossing Over explores the conflicts and cross-cultural relationships at the heart of contemporary American life. Crossing Over will be featured in the 2018 season of New York Theatre Barn's New Works Series.
Book & Lyrics by Jeremy Alan Richards
Music by Anika Noni Rose, Eugene Gwozdz & Jeremy Alan Richards
Choreography by Lorna Ventura
Consultant Joe Barros
Tara Palsha Moats
Travis, a bi-racial adoptee, searches for his roots, his identity, and ultimately his birth parents, when he meets Dominique, who inspires him to find himself. During this humorous and heartfelt journey, Travis confronts many obstacles and trials that shake him to the core, forcing him and his family into a head-on collision with mental health, and a peeling back of levels of sanity that they are not prepared to face. When Travis gains a sense of clarity, he ultimately learns that his true parents are the ones that loved and raised him his entire life.
Music & Lyrics by Andrew J. Hanley
Book & Lyrics by Anderson John Heinz
Choreography by Avital Asuleen
Directed by Ashley Brooke Monroe
Todd Michael Cook
Daniel Lynn Evans
The fabulous Faye Conway depends on her best friend and television producer Jackie Babineau-Miller and has done so for the entirety of their lives. But as the two celebrate Faye’s much-anticipated comeback to television, old wounds are re-opened - and they must face the truth about the girls they were, the women they’ve become, and what it means to part ways with the things they love the most.
Book/Music/Lyrics by Dan Furman
Choreography by Christopher Noffke
Lucie Jane Walker
When Tina’s favorite combat video game is attacked by a virus, Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” is uploaded into the game. Tina soon discovers that the characters have come to life, and one of them has fallen in love--with her! Blue, Sultana and other characters from “Quest” begin building a new game world based on Proust. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency has gotten word of the “Proust Virus” and sends an agent to eliminate it.
4 choreographers present their own narrative dance pieces, each with a specific personal choreographic development goal.
The Choreography Lab is the only platform where choreographers and writers can collaborate on new work during incubation. Associate Artistic Director, Katharine Pettit, will explore movement from the musical Pretty to the Bone, also featured in the New Works Series this month. Pettit will collaborate with Artistic Director/Director Joe Barros (pictured left), the writers: Yvonne Adrian (pictured middle), Tom Kochan, and Cheryl Stern (pictured right), and dancers from her company.
The lab is sponsored in part by a generous gift from the Amber Foundation.
"Pretty to the Bone" from PRETTY TO THE BONE
Book by Yvonne Adrian
Music by Tom Kochan
Lyrics by Cheryl Stern
Music Direction by Karen Dryer
Pretty to the Bone is a dynamic, provocative and contemporary musical based on a true story. When fifteen-year-old Polly develops an eating disorder, a “perfect and happy” American family is shaken to the core and embarks on the emotional roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Humorous, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting, Pretty to the Bone is about family, survival and love. Winner of the Jonathan Larson Award, Pretty to the Bone was previously titled Normal. It was originally produced Off-Broadway at Transport Group Theatre Company with direction by Jack Cummings III.
"Eleanor's Waltz" from DIVIDED
Music by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld
Lyrics by Lauanne Aronen Rosenfeld
Music Direction/Piano Lisa Lawrence
Violin Brian Russell Carey
Sarah Hanlon (Eleanor)
Carl Michael Ogle (Connor)
Corey Joseph M.
Divided is a new musical by Luanne and Kristen Rosenfeld. It is a story of young love and old prejudice set in 1880 Boston and tells the story of young Bridget O'Neill's quest to uncover the truth about her family's past.
Natalia Lepore Hagan
4 choreographers explore dance from 4 different moments of the new musical Days of Rage, a civil rights musical about the Black Panthers and the Weathermen Underground. Currently in development with New York Theatre Barn, Days of Rage is written by Shoshana Greenberg and Hyeyoung Kim (left)