Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MHSA) and Thurston Community College of Suffolk, England, in collaboration with Skylight Opera Theatre of Milwaukee and Gecko Theatre Company of London, England, will present “TeenWrites – Change” at the MHSA, 2300 West Highland, on Friday, April 16 and Saturday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m.
The performances are open to the general public at a cost of $6 for adults and $4 for students. It is recommended for audiences aged 12 years and up.
“TeenWrites – Change” is a new musical developed from the writings, musical composition and choreography of students in many Milwaukee Public Schools including MHSA. It will feature performances by students of all majors at MHSA and students from an exchange school in Thurston, England.
The innovative musical has been more than two years in the making and has been performed in various phases in both countries. After a culminating performance weekend in Milwaukee, the company will present parts of it to a Madison audience in the rotunda at the Overture Centre on Sunday, April 18.
Two years ago the initial writing phase was started in Milwaukee around the theme of “Change” which was not only the buzzword of that election year, but also a subject that is always relevant to young people. Under the Direction of Becca Nielsen and Musical Direction of Tom Jacobsen, both of the Skylight, the writings were brought to life with staging, musical composition, choreography, and performances at MHSA.
In the fall of 2009, part of that company travelled to England, shared the work with students in Suffolk at our partner school and created new writing, music, and choreography. They also worked with Gecko Theatre Company on the theme and a section for the piece was created in the “gecko” style. Amit Lahav, Artistic Director of Gecko, is world renowned for his physical theatre approach and conceptual approach to themes and ideas. His contribution to the work is simply breathtaking.
Since then both companies, on each side of the Atlantic, have been developing and refining their work. They will be reunited in Milwaukee at the beginning of April. Dean Drews has joined the artistic team as choreographer and Doug Syme is working with Jazz musicians on pit arrangements and underscoring.
Anyone interested in musical theater, young performers, or hearing what young people have to say about their world though the arts, should call the MHSA box office at (414) 934-7020 to reserve tickets. Due to the unique staging, seating is limited. Seats should be reserved early to avoid disappointment.
For more information either look at the blog for this project at: http://teenwriteschange.wordpress.com/ or contact: Ralph Janes of MHSA at: janesrt@milwaukee. k12.wi.us or Becca Nielsen at: BeccaN@skylightopera.com.