The Yale School of Drama’s nifty youth-serving Yale Institute for Music Theatre has chosen the two shows it will develop this summer. Candidates are chosen from young composers currently in, or recently graduated from, university programs in various music theater skills. YIMT gets support from the deepest pockets in new-works development found anywhere in the American theater realm, the Binger Center for New Theatre.
The shows are workshopped privately on the Yale campus, then given two readings each before up-for-anything audiences at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. This year the readings, also billed as open rehearsals, are set for June 15 & 16.
The 2013 Yale Institute for Music Theatre selections:
• The Last Queen of Canaan, with music by Jacob Yandura and book & lyrics by Rebeckah Greer Melocik, concerns a WPA-funded writer during the Depression years gathering slave narratives in Canaan, Virginia. There’s apparently a gospel element to Yandura’s score. Both he and Rebeckah Greer attended the Music Theatre Writing program at NYU, and they have another project they’ve collaborated on, The Disillusionist.
• Mrs. Hughes, with music & lyrics by New Jersey singer/songwriter Sharon Kenny and book by New York Theatre Workshop Playwriting Fellow Janine Nabers. The Mrs. Hughes of the title refers to two women: Sylvia Plath, who was married to the established poet Ted Hughes while trying to make it as a writer herself, and Hughes’ mistress Assia Wevill who wanted to be more of a wife to Hughes than she thought Plath was. The traumatic relationship of Hughes and Plath has been plumbed at the Yale School of Drama before, in fictionalized non-musical form for the Yale Rep staging of Amy Freed’s The Psychic Life of Savages in 2003. The YIMT press release promises “an intricate contemporary score… [which] explores one of the most sensational—and tragic—literary love triangles in history.”
Expect more details about the shows when the Arts & Ideas Festival announces its schedule a few days from now.