Lewis Center for the Arts presents an evening of new musical theater comedy
The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Princeton Atelier will present an evening of new musical theater comedy on May 8 at 8:00 p.m. in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. The musical theater improv group Baby Wants Candy will premiere excerpts of its latest work-in-progress developed with Princeton students, Camp Death (A Midsummer Night’s Scream): The Musical, along with excerpts of student-written musicals. The performance is free and open to the public.
The Princeton Atelier, founded in 1994 by Nobel laureate and former faculty member Toni Morrison and currently directed by Professor Stacy Wolf, brings professional artists to the University for intensive collaborative work with students. Participating Atelier artists select a project they want to explore and experiment with in the context of a class with Princeton students before developing it for the professional art world. During the current semester Princeton students have been studying with Al Samuels, co-founder of Baby Wants Candy and critically-acclaimed comedy writer, performer, and director, in an Atelier course on “Creating Musical Comedies.”
During the past 13 weeks students in the course worked with Samuels and other artists from Baby Wants Candy using the group’s methods of developing musical comedies through improvisational techniques, creating characters, plots and musical scores based on a suggested title. Students worked with the company both to create Baby Wants Candy’s new musical and their own original, one-act works.
Camp Death (A Midsummer Night’s Scream): The Musical takes place at The Matthew McConaughey Summer Talent Initiative, one of the premier theater camps for young thespians in the Northeast, where “this year promises to be the best summer ever…or one of the deadliest!” Through the Atelier, Baby Wants Candy has not only developed the script and score for this new work but has been testing a number of concepts to see how they will work; for example, whether including immersive elements to encourage audience involvement can successfully be used in musical comedy performance that follows a narrative. Audiences attending the performance will have an opportunity to be a part of the group’s experimentation, becoming part of the show as campers and moving with members of the production to different spaces in the building. Following Baby Wants Candy’s performance, excerpts from individual student-created musicals will be performed, including Running!, iLove and Nature’s Calling (Don’t Answer).
Baby Wants Candy originated in Chicago, the home of comedy improvisation in the U.S. Each of its shows begins with the cast asking the audience for a suggestion of a musical title that has never before been performed. Accompanied by a piano, the first title that the ensemble hears becomes the title and theme for that evening’s show. Audiences experience off-the-cuff choreographed dance numbers, rhyming verses, and jaw-dropping comedy. Each hour-long performance is completely unique and its own opening and closing night.
The Lewis Center’s Performance Central presented Baby Wants Candy last March at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center Princeton and held workshops with student improv groups. A few weeks ago the group performed another evening of improv at the Berlind. Baby Wants Candy’s 50 Shades! The Musical, a parody inspired by the novel Fifty Shades of Grey, has been a hit Off-Broadway, is touring through the U.S., and has been translated into German, French, Dutch and Spanish. Princeton alumnus Adam Hyndman, Class of 2012, is currently appearing in the New York production at the Elektra Theatre.
Baby Wants Candy has performed over 2,000 completely improvised musicals around the world. Among the group’s past featured performers are Stephanie Weir and Nicole Parker (MadTV), Rachel Dratch and Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Garry Tallent (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band), and Mark Pender (Max Weinberg 7). A sample of past titles include Sarah Palin The Musical!, How the Backstreet Boys Won the Civil War, Nobody Puts Baby Jesus in the Corner, Skanks on a Plane, and Barak Obama Baby Mama Drama.
The New York Times has described the group as a “Critics’ pick! Truly amazing.” The Chicago Sun Times calls Baby Wants Candy, “Consistently funny and crowd pleasing.” The Huffington Post writes, “It’s pretty damn brilliant, it’s pretty damn hilarious, and it was made up on the spot.”
No tickets or reservations are required.
Link to photo: https://lca.sharefile.com/d/s2b91a55647547ec9
Photo caption: Students rehearsing the new musical comedy, Camp Death (A Midsummer Night’s Scream): The Musical, developed with artists from the acclaimed improv group Baby Wants Candy through a Princeton Atelier course, directed by Baby Wants Candy co-founder Al Samuels.
Photo credit: Three photos by Marcos Cisneros; photo of actor in boat by Al Samuels
Excerpts from Camp Death (A Midsummer Night’s Scream): The Musical and excerpts from student-written musicals
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Marie and Edward Matthews '53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street
Free and open to the public
The Princeton Atelier was endowed in 2009 through the generosity of a donor who has chosen to remain anonymous. The Atelier is additionally supported through The Newhouse Foundation, The Erik C. Blachford '89 Fund, The Schare-Pfaffenroth Endowment Fund, The Jordan Roth '97 Performance Fund and The Peter T. Joseph Foundation.