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Friday, January 27, 2012

Salty Cricket’s First Foray into the World of Broadway (SLC: Feb 9)

Rick Mortensen
(801) 230-3118 | rick.mortensen@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2011

With Salty Cricket’s First Foray into the World of Broadway, They’ll Present Five Fully-staged Scenes from Works-in-Progress by Utah Composers


SALT LAKE CITY -- On February 9th, 2012, five new musicals will receive their first fully staged performances in productions created by the Salty Cricket Composers Collective. In a land-mark move, this concert will be Salty Cricket’s first musical theatre concert. “Broadway Bound?” will be presented on Thursday, February 9th, 2012 at 7:30pm in the Leona Wagner Black Box at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. 

The works, written by Utah-based composers, lyricists and book-writers, will be performed by five local actors. Directed by Laura Crosset, the showcase will feature a fully-staged scene from each new musical.The four works include Erica Glenn’s The Weaver from Raveloe, Rick Mortensen’s My Rock, Annelise Muryphy’s Justice at Gold Dust, Rick Rea’s Olympus isn't Heaven, and M. Ryan Taylor’s The Giant’s Heart. Composer statements are below. The show is produced by Salty Cricket board member Rick Mortensen. The performers include Rachel Shul (a WSU Musical Theatre student), Jaron Barney (a University of Utah Musical theatre student), Emilie Starr (a WSU Musical Theatre student), Thomas Kulkus (a graduate of SUU’s Musical Theatre program), and Tia Galanis (a Musical Theatre student at the University of Utah).

According to Mortensen, “Before a show gets a million-dolllar set, a full orchestra pit and over-priced souvineer T-shirts, it starts with dialogue, songs, and movement on a bare stage. Rose Wagner's Black Box theatre provides the intimate setting for this evening of new opera and musical theatre scenes. We want to get these shows in front of a discerning audience, so the writers can see what works. Come be a part of the process!”

Tickets are $15 ($10 for students) and available through ArtTix in person, online, or by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787).  This is the third of four concerts in Salty Crickets’ 2011-12 season. The final concert of the season is an evening of works for organ in March 12th at the University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Erica Glenn: The Weaver of Raveloe

In the house where I grew up, there is a large bookshelf full of novels that I have collected throughout the years. Many are well-worn and well-loved; some are still unread. I remember pulling George Eliot's Silas Marner from a dusty corner years ago and falling quickly and irreversibly under the spell of this beautifully-crafted gem of a story.  Part nineteenth century fairytale, part drama, it is also a parable of industrialization and a good, old-fashioned love saga.  Silas Marner combines the sweeping themes of a musical like Les Miserables with the psychological depth and intimacy of one like The Secret Garden.  The script, which I began drafting several years ago, was selected for an intensive, six-week WDA Workshop at BYU this past fall and is currently moving toward full production.   It is the story of an embittered clergyman, Silas Marner, who flees his hometown after being falsely accused of murder and abandoned by the woman he loves.  Silas becomes a reclusive weaver in a small village called Raveloe.  His story intersects unexpectedly with that of prominent villager Godfrey when a child named Eppie forces both men to confront past ghosts and re-discover the importance of human connection.  In the final scenes of the show, Eppie and Silas confront Godfrey about a dark secret he has hidden for many years--even from his own wife, Nancy.  Tales of love, loss, and healing intertwine against the backdrop of pre-industrial England in my musical re-imagining of this beloved classic.   (Find demo recordings and updates on the show at:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Weaver-of-Raveloe/154334254664601)

Rick Mortensen: My Rock

I read Albert Camus'  essay "The Myth of Sisyphus" my freshman year of college as part of Tim Slover's contemporary British and American Drama class, and it has been rattling around in my brain ever since. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was sentenced by the gods to roll a stone up a hill every day only to have it roll back down again. To Camus, Sisyphus's task was symbolic of the pointlessness and absurdity of life. His essay casts Sisyphus as a hero who sneered and the gods and chose to find meaning in his absurd  task. I thought about Camus' essay a lot when I worked as an in-house attorney at a large corporation -- especially when I had a stack of boring contracts to review. As I rolled my metaphorical rock, I imagined a sardonic little tune, with a deliberately clumsy, bombastic rhythm as a way of channeling the sneering sarcasm Camus ascribed to Sisyphus.  The characters and scene -- which will eventually be part of a full length musical -- arose out of this tune and the sentiment behind it. Mike is a PH.D candidate struggling with writers block on his dissertation, which forces him to face the ultimate pointlessness of his chosen career path and perhaps, his life. Kylie is a happy, well-adjusted nurse who is attracted to Mike, but sees the pointlessness of pursuing a relationship with him. Still, both characters soldier on with their seemingly pointless objectives because, what else can they do? Will they, like Camus' Sisyphus find meaning in their absurd pursuits?          

Annelise Murphy: Justice at Gold Dust
Classic westerns hold a unique place in the American experience. The romance and raw survival of the Wild West has long held captive the imaginations of dreamers. In Justice at the Gold Dust, the obsolete mining town of Silvercrest has dried up and the local residents are doing all they can to get by. Gun-slinging and gambling are just a part of the day to day routine.  "The Cards I Hold in My Hands" is a fun and upbeat number featuring the corrupt Mayor of the town, Mister Duke Mallory, the local vigilante, Jesse Joe James and resident poker player, Black Jack. The stakes are high as the newly producing gold mine is on the table. With a nod to Las Vegas, this jazzy number features brassy trumpets, swinging trombones, crisp drums and is nothing but pure,simple and raw entertainment.

Rick Rea: Olympus isn’t Heaven
The myths of the Greek gods were a reflection of the problems facing the everyday lives of the Ancient Greeks. The myths helped give their lives meaning and purpose, as all belief systems have attempted to do throughout all modern history. Somewhat uniquely to the Greeks, the gods were not omnipotent all-moral beings, but completely human in nature--their status and power is what differentiated them from mortal men and women.

When you come down to it, the gods were one big dysfunctional family.

Godville is the marriage of several myths into one through-line exploring the family and power dynamics that affected the gods: the human story behind the cosmic stories. Centering around the neglected children of Zeus—Hephaestus and Persephone, among others—Godville is an original musical about the greatest Dysfunctional family in the history of the world.

M. Ryan Taylor: The Giant's Heart:
Long before Harry Potter found out he was a Horcrux, George MacDonald's giant was hiding his heart away in a bid for immortality. Follow Trixie Wee and Buffy Bob as they attempt to thwart the jolly, child-eating, giant Thunderthump, by freeing a group of children destined for the pickle jar.

C.S. Lewis once referenced the wild-eyed Scotsman as his 'master,' and MacDonald was an influence on other great fantasy authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien and Madeleine L'Engle. The short story upon which I based this scene (our heroes' defining moment in the house of Thunderthump) is filled with a mix of humor, fairy-tale gruesomeness, and moral ambiguity. On my first reading I was imagining ways to bring it to the stage, and am excited to see the first step toward that fulfillment in this production sponsored by the Salty Cricket Composer Collective.


Crystal Young-Otterstrom
Vice-president & Marketing Director

M: 801.652.0737

The Salty Cricket Composers Collective
450 E 100 S #29
SLC, UT 84111

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