Asolo Rep Ground Floor Series Presents MAKING MUSICALS

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Asolo Rep Ground Floor Series Presents

A Four-Part New Musical Competition and Virtual Happy Hour

(SARASOTA, FL) – Asolo Rep announced today that it will present GROUND FLOOR: MAKING MUSICALS, a four-part new musical competition designed specifically for an online audience. On May 21, June 4, June 18 and July 2 at 6pm, the Theatre will preview four completely new and original musicals on its Facebook and YouTube pages. Each 30-minute session will consist of a fifteen-minute preview performance of one new musical, followed by a fifteen-minute discussion with the playwright/composer and James Monaghan, Asolo Rep Dramaturg and Literary Manager, and Celine Rosenthal, Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director, who serves as the Director of the Ground Floor Series and is also directing all four musicals. After the four musicals have aired, the audience will be asked to vote for their favorite and the winner will receive a full staged reading at Asolo Rep.
To add to the fun, the Theatre is incorporating a Virtual Happy Hour into the presentation. One day prior to each performance, patrons will receive an email notice of the broadcast that includes a cocktail recipe specifically chosen to compliment the theme of that week’s new musical.


May 21
Sophie Blanchard’s High Flyin’ Rock and Roll Extravaganza
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lizzie Hagstedt

June 4
The Fountain
Book, Music and Lyrics by Christopher Anselmo and Jared Corak

June 18
Johnny and the Devil’s Box
Book, Music and Lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman

July 2
Book and Music by Cheeyang Ng
Book and Lyrics by Eric Sorrels

“MAKING MUSICALS is a wonderful compliment to Asolo Rep’s strong focus as an incubator where great musicals are born,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “In the past fourteen seasons, Asolo Rep has produced seven musicals which have been new to the American stage. Presenting new musicals is a potential risk, but has strengthened our mission, generated new relationships in the artistic community, and established Asolo Rep as a company dedicated to fostering new work while re-envisioning classics.”
Patrons wishing to vote for their favorite musical will be required to register online through a link on Asolo Rep’s website: Following the last performance, registered patrons will be emailed a ballot to be filled out and submitted to the theatre within 48 hours. To qualify to vote, patrons must be registered, they must have viewed all four performances and they will only be able to vote once.
The original Ground Floor Series consisted of five events scheduled to be performed in a new performance space in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts this spring before four of the performances were canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. Asolo Rep continued the series online and presented its inaugural episode on April 8 with musical performances of original songs by cast members from the world premiere musical, Knoxville.
Patrons may access the livestream by visiting the Asolo Rep Facebook page where the video will appear at the top of the page starting at 6pm on Wednesday, May 21.
Viewers can also watch on Asolo Rep’s YouTube Live.
Asolo Rep will also post a recording of each broadcast on its Facebook and YouTube channels.
During this challenging time, donor support is critical. Patrons wishing to donate should visit for more information.


Christopher Anselmo (THE FOUNTAIN) is a songwriter whose work has been heard across the country and internationally. His musicals include ATLANTIC (Edinburgh Festival, American Music Theatre Project / Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); FABLE (NYMF); HAUNTED TRAIN (TNC); and the New York Times Critic’s Pick adaptation of the best-selling children’s series, THE POUT-POUT FISH (TheatreWorksUSA / The New Victory Theater). By day, he works for composer Jeanine Tesori. Member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild and the BMI Advanced Workshop. Northwestern ’16.
Jared Corak (THE FOUNTAIN) is a writer and performer originally from sunny South Florida. He has written the New York Times Critic’s Pick adaptation of The Pout-Pout Fish (TheaterWorks USA / The New Victory Theater), as well as countless musicals as a teaching artist with the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts. When he is not writing musicals, he works on the CBS TV show FBI. Proud member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and Northwestern alum.
Lizzie Hagstedt (SOPHIE BLANCHARD’S HIGH FLYIN’ ROCK AND ROLL EXTRAVAGANZA) is an actor/singer/musician/composer from Sayville, New York. She appeared on the Asolo Stage in The Music Man and composed incidental music for Lifespan of a Fact and The Tempest. Performing credits include: Southern Comfort (The Public, Barrington Stage, CAP21), playing bass for Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster, the world premiere of August Rush, and the national tour of Sweeney Todd. As a composer, she is a member of the BMI Workshop and alum of the 92Y Musical Theatre Lab.
Cheeyang Ng (MAYA) raised in Singapore, Cheeyang Ng is an award-winning singer-songwriter who has performed around the world, including Lincoln Center with Carole King and Carnegie Hall with a cappella group Vocalosity. They are the first Singaporean to headline a concert at Joe’s Pub and Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center showcasing their original music and their songs have been performed around New York, including The Duplex and Feinstein’s/54 Below. They are a graduate of Berklee College of Music (BMus) and NYU (MFA). Musicals in development include EASTBOUND (Village Theatre Festival of New Musicals, NAMT Writers Grant, NYTB IMPACT Award) with Khiyon Hursey, ONLY US (Drama League Residency) and MAYA (Live & In Color) with Eric Sorrels, and an untitled commission for NYMF with Kathy Ng. Select credits: 2019 ASCAP Foundation Lucille & Jack Yellen Award, 2019 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, 2019 Prospect Musical Theatre Lab, 2018 Front and Center at City Center with Tom Kitt, @cheeyangmusic
Eric Sorrels (MAYA) is an NYC-based performer, songwriter, and music director. As a singer, he’s performed with professional ensembles at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Bard Music Festival, as well as sacred spaces throughout Manhattan. As a music director, he’s helmed several cabarets and concerts at The Duplex and Feinstein’s/54 Below. BA: University of TN, Knoxville; MFA: NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing. Recent credits include the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project and Broadway: The Next Generation at the Kennedy Center. Projects in development include MAYA (Live & In Color, O’Neill Incubator) and ONLY US (Drama League Residency) with Cheeyang Ng, and the song cycle YAS, QUEEN! @eric.sorrels
Douglas Waterbury-Tieman (JOHNNY AND THE DEVIL’S BOX) is originally from Lexington, KY. He is a graduate of Belmont University with a BM in Musical Theatre. His credits include Off-Broadway: The Robber Bridegroom, Soot + Spit (Charles Mee/world-premiere). Regional: Once, Cotton Patch Gospel, Smoke on the Mountain, Lost Highway. TV: Succession. Fiddle: Looking For Christmas, (Clint Black/Old Globe), Disney Cruise Line, Desperate Measures (York). Bands: The Lobbyists, (Drama Desk nom. Best Music for SeaWife, NAMT), The Playbillies – Broadway’s Bluegrass Band. Writer: JOHNNY & the DEVIL’S BOX (book, music and lyrics, in development with Goodspeed Musicals), Deep Water Ballad (book, PSU Nu Musical Festival), Jenny and the Paper Pirates (book, TASIS). He is proud to be represented by Max Grossman at Abrams Artists and Boals/Winnett and Associates. He is currently sheltering in place with his wife Annabelle Fox and her family in Easton, CT. IG: @thefiddlinproject @jdwtieman Website:

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