This weekend, Dec. 1-3, the Wagner College Theatre will present “Small Town Story” in its Stage One studio theater, part of the WCT’s New Works Agenda of dramatic works in progress. The musical, written by Brandon James Gwinn and Sammy Buck and directed by WCT professor Michele Pawk, will feature performances each night at 8 p.m. and matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. All performances are free, with reservations suggested by calling 718-390-3259.
Spearheaded by theatre professor Theresa McCarthy, the New Works Agenda productions give audiences the opportunity to see theater-in-the-making, while students gain valuable new learning experiences.
“The workshop process that gives both faculty and students the opportunity to develop new theater works,” McCarthy said. “We’re interested in working with students on new plays and musical theater works that have been unknown to the actors. We want to give them the opportunity to create roles that have no precedent for them to emulate.”
“Small Town Story” follows two families in a North Texas town as they struggle through a community battle ignited by a high school production of the musical, “Rent.” As the conflict drives wedges between father and son, and mother and daughter, the small town of Speargrove discovers that the show can’t open until the minds of its residents do. Inspired by real events, “Small Town Story” explores the indelible power of theater and the inherent dangers of silence.
The musical was conceived at New York Theatre Barn by Joe Barros, Laura Brandel, Sammy Buck, Karen Marshall, Reed Prescott and Sam Willmott. It was previously developed under the title, “Speargrove Presents.”
Wagner’s production of “Small Town Story” includes Zack Blanchette (Scott Ames), Alexis Eldredge (Alex Patterson), Michelle Morris (Caroline Barnes), Kevin Atwater (Larry Ames), Cassandra Dougherty (Lois Patterson), Anne Miele (Mrs. Herrold), Devonte McCray (Mr. Ford), Savannah Beckford (Mrs. Nelson), Jonah Hale (Ricky), Rebecca Marlowe (Gwen), David Dines (Timothy), Hadly Patterson (Kristin), Audrey Robinson (Margie) and Ross Coughlin (Dave). The creative team includes David Sisco (musical director), Emily Taylor (stage manager), Meghan Gunther (assistant stage manager), Olivia Weiss (lighting designer) and Rozzie Heeger (dramaturg).
Following the run of “Small Town Story,” the New Works Agenda will present “The Mouth Pieces,” an evening of three one-act musicals directed by WCT professor Theresa McCarthy, with lyrics by Sophia Chapadjiev and music by Allison Leyton-Brown: “Pilgrimage to the Mouth,” “Theory of Kiss” and “On Teeth and Longing.” Performances will be staged April 6-8.
For more information about the Wagner College Theatre, visit the program’s website at www.wagner.edu/theatre