Members of the press and supporters of Asolo Repertory Theatre got a sneak peak of the company’s next musical production on April 11 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
Everyone felt like a cool cat at the preview for Asolo Repertory Theatre’s upcoming production of “Beatsville: The Beatnik Musical” on April 11.
The event began in the lobby of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, where invitees mingled, sipped coffee and munched on breakfast bites before heading inside the Mertz Theatre for the preview.
Michael Donald Edwards, producing artistic director for the Asolo, opened the preview by introducing the people who make “Beatsville” possible. The show is a co-production with 5th Avenue Theatre, and will be directed by the Seattle-based company’s Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. Berry was introduced along with Choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, Bookwriter Glenn Slater, Orchestrator Steve Orich and Composer and Lyricist Wendy Wilf.
“Beatsville” is a musical set in Greenwich Village in 1959 that depicts the beatnik culture of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, and Edwards described it as a tale of someone “on the outside wanting to be on the inside.” The opening night of the production on May 6 will be its world premiere.
Both Hunter and Slater explained how there are strong parallels between the beatniks and the hipsters of the past decade, and drawing from the commonalities between these two groups from the past and the present was an important part of the show's creation — which took Wilf and husband Slater around 10 years.
“It’s like the hipsters in today’s world, “ Hunter said. “They wear the cool clothes but I don’t know if they really know what they’re doing.”
Following the speeches by the creative team were performances of the songs “The School of Cool” and “Dig Me” by several members of the cast.
Afterwards, guests returned to the lobby for a meet-and-greet with the artists and creative team.