First Drafts

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OVERVIEW

A new work development program by The Musical Stage Company & Sheridan College.

Grounded in the urgency of the stories we need to hear now, First Drafts is the commission, drafting, workshopping, rehearsal, and public audio presentation of three new short musicals which reimagine, reconstitute, and reanimate the Western “musical theatre canon”.

Sheridan students will audition, rehearse and perform the new works while collaborating in the creative process with experienced individuals, gaining valuable skills needed for workshop performance that is integral for their professional success but not offered in traditional theatre training programs. The culmination of the 2022 First Drafts program will be performed by the graduating class of 2022.

All three First Draft musicals will mark the continued development of three musicals chosen directly from The Musical Stage Company’s 2021 Noteworthy cohort.  

First Drafts Supporters

Leading Light
Andrew Gillespie

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OVERVIEW

A new work development program by The Musical Stage Company & Sheridan College.

Grounded in the urgency of the stories we need to hear now, First Drafts is the commission, drafting, workshopping, rehearsal, and public audio presentation of three new short musicals which reimagine, reconstitute, and reanimate the Western “musical theatre canon”.

Sheridan students will audition, rehearse and perform the new works while collaborating in the creative process with experienced individuals, gaining valuable skills needed for workshop performance that is integral for their professional success but not offered in traditional theatre training programs. The culmination of the 2022 First Drafts program will be performed by the graduating class of 2022.

All three First Draft musicals will mark the continued development of three musicals chosen directly from The Musical Stage Company’s 2021 Noteworthy cohort.  


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2021-22 Musicals In Development

All 2021-22 projects will receive dramaturgy from Kevin Wong, Ray Hogg, and Jordan Laffrenier, with copyist work by Adam Sakiyama.

Tiny Tenement of Terrors

After 57 days in stasis, Aubry and 10 of Brooklyn’s finest, must return to her boyfriend’s spore-infested tenement to destroy the multitude of plant monsters he created. TINY TENEMENT OF TERRORS is an unholy fusion of gory 80’s sci-fi and 1960’s camp, all done through the wonder of radio.

Book by Aaron Jan (he/him)
Music & Lyrics by alaska b (she/her)
Directed by Jay Northcott (they/them)
Music Direction by Robert Wilkinson 


Destination: Wedding!

When a tropical storm descends on the island of Kapalaran, our “nearlyweds” are forced to move the beach wedding of their dreams indoors. This not-so-simple relocation immediately becomes the least of their problems.  In the midst of a hurricane of drama and homicidal coconuts, our couple must let go of their best-laid wedding plans and trust that their love will find a way through the storm.

Book by Jennifer Villaverde (she/her)
Music & Lyrics by Kodie Rollan (he/him) & Maria Aragon (she/her)
Directed by Ann Hodges (she/her)
Music Direction by Stephan Ermel 

 


Parkdale

Welcome to 110 Parkdale Ave, the last subsidized low-rise building in the neighborhood. It’s special, but you can’t tell that from the outside. The building is far from perfect, but for the tenants who occupy its cracked walls and uneven floors, it’s home. When the tenants are faced with an eviction notice, they (reluctantly) step out of their bubbles to band together as a community in order to save their homes.

Book by Meghan Swaby (she/her)
Music & Lyrics by Chris Tsujiuchi (he/him)
Directed by Julie Tomaino (she/her)
Music Direction by Alexa Belgrave


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MUSICAL DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE

  • A workshop with the creators and students will first take place in October 2021
  • Rehearsal for all three new musicals will begin in January 2022
  • An audio recording of the new works will be recorded in February 2022.
  • Three new musicals will be released in April 2022. 

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ARTIST BIOS

Tiny Tenement of Terrors

Aaron Jan (he/him)
Book Writer

Aaron Jan is a Hamilton-born, Toronto-based playwright, director and dramaturg. As a writer, he has worked with Factory Theatre, Soulpepper, Theatre Aquarius, York University, Sheridan College, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, and most recently as a commissioned playwright with Boca Del Lupo. Aaron is a member of the critically acclaimed, Silk Bath Collective, the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award and is the 2021 inaugural co-winner of Highland Arts Theatre’s Rita Joe playwriting award.

Website: aaronchihojan.wixsite.com/home
Social Media: @afatchineseboy

 

Alaska B (she/her)
Music & Lyrics

Based in Toronto, Alaska is a musician and multi-disciplinary artist, known for her work as a screen composer and Intermedia artist. As a composer and performer, her award-winning film and game scores (Canadian Screen Award 2019, Canadian Game Awards 2016) and songwriting (Polaris Prize nominated, Juno Award nominated) have been heard all over the world.

Her contributions to film include THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE (2018), MARY TWO-AXE EARLEY: I AM INDIAN AGAIN (2021) and Michael Shannon Michael Shannon John (2015). Her video game credits include Mark of The Ninja (2012) and the critically acclaimed Severed (2016, 3DS, WiiU, Switch, iOS).

As a visual artist her work has been commissioned by Centre DAÏMÔN (Gatineau, QC) and showcased by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image (Montreal, QC).

 

Jay Northcott (they/them)
Director

Jay is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on: directing, performance art, playwriting, burlesque/drag, and producing. Jay works to decolonize their art and practice through storytelling, movement, gesture and joy to create the fundamentals of their work.

They continue to grow and make it their mission to uplift projects that put BIPOC Queer artists in the spotlight. Their goals: to make you cry and piss yourself at the same time, they want to bleed, break, grind, make money, fuck, fight and blow some shit up. Inspired by pop culture, aesthetic, lived experience and finding truth to develops techniques and experiences that questions: Why theatre is still relevant?

Social media: @nervoushipwreck

 


Destination: Wedding!

Jennifer VillaVerde (she/her)
Book Writer

Jennifer is a 2nd generation Filipin*- Canadian actor, singer, arts educator, and  emerging playwright. She’s spent over 20 years performing on stages across Canada such as  Soulpepper, YPT, RMTC, Citadel, Persephone, Geordie Theatre, Charlottetown Festival, TC,  Vertigo, and Seattle Children’s Theatre in the U.S. As an early career writer, she’s collaborated on BLINK (Soulpepper/Luminato), MH370 (fu-GEN Theatre), and a concert version of a workin-progress musical adaption of Griffin Ondaatje’s The Mosquito Brothers titled STILLWATER SCHOOL FOR MOSQUITOS (The Musical Stage Company). Her first Filipin* inspired musical, CRUZ CONTROL, is currently in development.

In 2021 she participated in NoteWorthy, a musical theatre creation program facilitated by The Musical Stage Company and Prime Mover Theatre Company, where she met Kodie Rollan and Maria Aragon. Together they created KABILANG BUHAY, a 15 minute musical inspired by several generations of Filipin* activists and spiritual caretakers.

Maraming salamat” (“Thank you very much” in Tagalog) to the team of Sheridan and The Musical Stage Company’s First Drafts, for inviting us to collaborate on a piece of musical theatre that has already given us an immense amount of joy.

Instagram: @jennifer_villaverde
Twitter: @jenn_villaverde

 

Kodie Rollan (he/him)
Music & Lyrics

Kodie is Philippine-born, Scarborough-raised, Calgary-based playwright, dramaturg, actor, and producer. Kodie’s practice is centered around telling stories that examine the socio-political environment of our world and is also rooted in the various communities he serves. He is also passionate about abolishing colonial structures within the nonprofit sector and working towards creating more equitable spaces. Kodie is an alumnus of the Noteworthy Program with The Musical Stage Company and Prime Mover Theatre. He is currently the Artistic Associate of Chromatic Theatre and is the lead dramaturg of their IBPOC Playwrights Unit. He is also an arts-educator with the Rozsa Foundation where he teaches the foundations of arts administration through the Rozsa Admin Fundamentals (RAFT) program.

Social Media: @kodierollan

 

Maria Aragon (she/her)
Music & Lyrics

Maria is a musician hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba. From a very young age, Maria has graced local and international stages–one of her earliest stages being the Internet on  the video-sharing platform YouTube. In 2011, Maria was discovered by artist Lady Gaga through a viral cover of Born This Way, which led her to meet and perform with the artist herself, as well as appearances on The Ellen Show, Good Morning America, and in ad campaigns for HTC, Google, and Gap.

Maria became a cast member of Cavalia’s ODYSSEO in 2018, becoming the first guest singer in the history of the touring show and performing with them for their Winnipeg and Montreal runs. Maria continues to develop her craft and style as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer while pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at Humber College in Toronto.

She most recently participated in the 2021 cohort ofNoteWorthy, a musical theatre writing program facilitated byThe Musical Stage Company and Prime Mover Theatre Company in Toronto.

Social media: @mariiiaofficial

 


Parkdale

Meghan Swaby (she/her)
Book Writer

Meghan is a first generation Jamaican Canadian actor and writer based in Toronto.

Selected theatre credits include: CONTROLLED DAMAGE (Neptune Theatre/ b current), CALPURNIA (Nightwood/Sulong Theatre) and VENUS’ DAUGHTER (Obsidian Theatre). Her play VENUS’ DAUGHTER, was produced by Obsidian Theatre and directed by Philip Akin. Her writing was presented at the inaugural 50in50: Writing Black Women Into Existence, curated by Dominique Morisseau at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn.She has participated in several residencies such as, Gros Morne/ Playwrights Workshop Montreal/ CEAD, Nightwood Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Stratford festival and Diaspora Dialogues.

She is currently working on a commission from Stratford Festival as well as a commission by Myseum of Toronto in partnership with Union Station titled DERAILED: THE HISTORY OF BLACK RAILWAY PORTERS IN CANADA, based on Cecil Foster’s book ‘They Call Me George’. Meghan is an alumni ofThe Musical Stage Company and Prime Mover Theatre Company’sNoteWorthy program from this past winter.

Twitter: @maygn
Instagram: @maygunz

 

Chris Tsujiuchi (he/him)
Music & Lyrics

Chris’ performance credits include: BOX 4901, RECURRING JOHN, PARADISES LOST (Summerworks Festival), AUDREY II IN LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Lower Ossington Theatre), and – most recently -THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Hart House Theatre).

Musical Direction credits include: PARADE (Toronto Musical Concerts) THE LAST FIVE YEARS (YRG Productions), ONEGIN (The Musical Stage Company, National Arts Centre & Arts Club Western Canada Tour), 35MM (Toronto Premiere), ANY DREAM WILL DO (Angelwalk Theatre & Theatre Collingwood), A MISFORTUNE (Next Stage Festival), MICKEY & JUDY (Toronto Fringe/Best of Fringe), and BARE (Canadian Premiere & WatersEdge Productions).

Chris has worked as an accompanist and teacher at Sheridan College, Randolph Academy, and George Brown College. He has toured extensively with Sharron Matthews, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and can also be seen performing in Asian Riffing Trio aka ART (as seen in PORCHSIDE SONGS) and his own “Chris-terical” series of Cabarets.

Social Media: @ChrisTsujiuchi

 

Julie Tomaino (she/her)
Director

Julie is a theatre director, a choreographer, and an educator. She has won a Jessie Award, a Dora Award, and multiple Ovation and Broadway World Awards in Outstanding Choreography for her work in Musical Theatre. Julie trained and worked as a performer in New York City for over twelve years. Notable credits include the US National Tour of CRAZY FOR YOU, CELEBRATE BROADWAY starring John Lithgow and Linda Eder at The Kennedy Center, and performing as a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall for six seasons.

Julie is now based in Toronto and travels across Canada working as a creative at some of the top regional theatres in the country, including The Citadel, Theatre Calgary, YPT, The Arts Club, Persephone, The Globe, Chemainus Theatre Festival, and Magnus. Julie occasionally choreographs for film and TV, most recently working on a Lifetime Christmas movie entitled CHRISTMAS MOVIE MAGIC, which air in December of 2021. She also loves teaching and has been on faculty at AMDA NYC, Sheridan College, Randolph College, and Capilano University.

Find out more at www.julietomaino.com.

 


Creative Team

Kevin Wong (he/him)
Dramaturg

Kevin is a composer-lyricist, singer/musician, and dramaturg.

Training: Royal Conservatory of Music (Violin/Harmony/Music History); NoteWorthy (The Musical Stage Company, 2014); Composium (Theatre20, 2015).

Select writing work includes: RECURRING JOHN: A SONG CYCLE (Toronto SummerWorks Festival 2014 / Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2015); STAR!(VING): A COLLECTION OF SONGS;  MISPRINT (with bookwriter Lauren Toffan, Women of Musical Theatre Festival 2016); DRAMA 101 (with bookwriter & co-lyricist Steven Gallagher, Bravo Academy 2017 / Etobicoke School of the Arts 2018 / Stage Door Academy 2018); and REFRAMED (Musical Stage Company / Art Gallery of Ontario, Dora Nomination – Best New Musical/Opera).

In Development: THE PREPOSTEROUS PREDICAMENT OF POLLY PEEL (Act One) (with bookwriter Julie Tepperman; a recently sold-out hit at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival & 2018 Playwrights Guild of Canada Stage West, New Musical Award winner), BELIEVERS (with bookwriter and co-lyricist Ali Joy Richardson); & IN REAL LIFE (with bookwriter & co-lyricist Nick Green, most recently workshopped at Theatre Sheridan in March/April 2020).

Other: Kevin was The Musical Stage Company’s Associate Artistic Director from 2016-2018. He is a member of the vocal group Asian Riffing Trio (with Chris Tsujiuchi and Colin Asuncion). He is currently part-time faculty at Sheridan College.

Social Media: @kevinywong

 

Adam Sakiyama (he/him)
Copyist

Adam is a music director & composer.

Recent theatre credits include: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (Eclipse Theatre), SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (Theatre Sheridan), STUPIDHEAD! (Outside the March), NEXT TO NORMAL (The Musical Stage Company & Mirvish), BILLY ELLIOT (Stratford).

Composing credits include: QUENCH (Axon Interactive), and IN BETWEEN (National Ballet of Canada). Songwriter & Arranger for SUPER SIMPLE SONGS, one of the most watched educational channels on YouTube. Currently writing the score for MACBETH (Ballet Kelowna), premiering spring 2022.


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