Joel Sanchez-Avantes and Julianna McKenna Ogden
The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will launch a new series of workshop productions in July which they hope will be an annual event bringing new talent and creators into Chattanooga. With the scenic city having established itself as a destination city for visual artists and even musicians, ETC sees the city becoming a destination city for theatre, said officials.
"COVID really created an environment of survival for many artists and forced us to really redefine our goals and intentions and refocus our priorities,"' said Executive Director and Founder Garry Lee Posey. "We started with creating a podcast, LIGHTS UP, just so that we could continue creating.”
LIGHTS UP, now in its fourth season, focuses entirely on the playwright. Hosts interview a playwright about their background, their interests, their inspirations and their stories. In addition to the interview, ETC produces a radio version of one of the playwright’s short plays. LIGHTS UP has hosted playwrights from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Greece, as well as all over the United States and even into Canada.
“The success of the podcast is measured solely in the relationships ETC has been able to cultivate with playwrights from around the world,” said host and ETC Executive Christy Gallo.
“We have always been attracted to new works, to giving those new works a safe space to exist the way they were meant to, in front of an audience and filtered through an actor,” said Mr. Posey.
These relationships provided the impetus and foundation for ETC’s newest endeavor.
BRAVE NEW WORKS: Musical Development Program is a series of workshop productions featuring unpublished, new musicals. A workshop production is meant to take an almost finished product and place it before a creative team of artists and an audience. Actors carry scripts, dress simply and staging is maintained and managed giving primary focus to the words and the story, the lyrics and the music.
For 2023, ETC will present three musicals. One is a psychological thriller based on serial killer John Wayne Gacy, another exists at the intersection of a comic world and post 9/11 NYC, and the final one is a musical comedy based on a true story from a county right outside of Nashville.
BRAVE NEW WORKS refer to both the risk taken when producing something with no history and more importantly the courage it takes for our story tellers to share their creation with an audience.
CRAWLSPACE, the musical about John Wayne Gacy, was written by Jason Spraggins (TN –Memphis) and Matt Glickstein (Hawaii).
CYCLONE AND THE PIG FACED LADY, the comic book musical intersecting with 9/11, was created by Dana Leslie Goldstein and Rima Fand (both of New York).
And TITTY BARS, the based on a true story musical, is written by Ned Ginsburg (NY), McAdoo Greer (TN-Paris) and Sherry Landrum (TN-Chattanooga). All seven creators will be in residence for one week as each show is developed for two public presentations.
Performances will be held at Barking Legs Theatre on Dodds Avenue. Tickets are available now can be purchased by visiting the following link (https://www.onthestage.tickets/show/ensemble-theatre-of-chattanooga/64a643b59628cf0e391e4588). Information is also listed on the Ensemble Theatre website and Facebook page. An audience talkback session with the creators will be held on Saturday, following the performance.
For more information visit www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com.
Kenya White and Logan Young