Ferguson Center Announces New 2022 Musical Lab for Emerging Musical Theater Artists


The Ferguson Center’s New Musicals Lab returns for its fourth season! Continuing the program’s previous success, the New Musicals Lab offers new shows a safe and supportive space for workshop and further development. This direct teamwork between creative teams and corporate members enables meaningful collaboration and growth of the artistic community.

The NML is designed to elevate emerging artists and their development of new musicals into a supportive artistic haven outside of New York, serving as an incubator for experienced writers to develop their new musical projects with the talent and resources provided, resulting in shared reading. The 2022 Lab will include Wake You Up, with music and lyrics by Taylor Pearlstein and a book by Shannon Molly Flynn, as well as Collisions, a new concept album with music by Elspeth Collard, a book and lyrics by Sam Rosenblatt; Loch Ness: A New Musical, with music and book by Marshall Pailet, lyrics and book by AD Penedo; Against Women & Music!, with book and lyrics by Kate Douglas, music and lyrics by Grace McLean; Perfect Summer Evening, with music and lyrics by Brooklyn Baca and Riley Cohen; and The Golden Record, with music, book and lyrics by Angela Sclafani, produced and developed with Hunter Bird. Several cabarets are also in preparation.

The cast for the 2022 Labs is made up of students and alumni from the musical theater programs at Christopher Newport University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Additionally, Broadway talent will join the Lab as Artists-in-Residence to collaborate on the development of these new musicals. The NML is proud to announce the company; Amara Berhan, John Byrd, Hannah Ceil, Melaina Furgeson, Renee Kauffman, Alexandra Lagos, Lizzy Maisel, Chad McKnight, Charlie Murtha, Jack Muzyczka, Trevor Neal, Colleen Pechin, Ethan Poisson, Remy Thompson and Peyton Townsend.

Colin Ruffer, NML Artistic Director, notes, “The Lab is a great opportunity to connect writing teams with the next generation of musical theater artists. The synergy fostered in the rehearsal rooms creates relationships that last a long time. beyond the two-week workshop and into professional connections that last a lifetime. Promoting new work and talented young actors only leads to limitless results, and I am always proud, encouraged and humbled by the process and the bonds that editorial teams and company members share Put a room full of hardworking, brilliant artists together in one room for two weeks and they will make you laugh, cry, think, fly and sing !”

The NML is committed to supporting marginalized artists of all colors and genders by ensuring there is representation from all sides of the stage – on stage, backstage and in creative teams. As the New Musicals Lab continues to grow, so does the commitment to diversity and inclusion. Past projects include Like the Wind, We Aren’t Kids Anymore, the Violet Hour and Stu for Silverton.

“The Ferguson Center is uniquely positioned to provide space, time, support, talent and resources from its state-of-the-art facilities,” notes Executive Director Bruce Bronstein. “The Lab is a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative space for new musical theater in America. Here they have a home, prepared with all the amenities and functions of a live performance and a dedicated crew. The New Musicals need a place to grow ahead of regionals, and we’re delighted to be able to provide the resources to make that happen.”

Designed by renowned architects IM Pei and Henry Cobb, CNU’s Ferguson Center provides a world-class facility for CNU’s theater and music programs, including the 1,700-seat Diamonstein Concert Hall, the 500-seat Peebles Theater seats and the 250-seat Studio Theater.

Support for the NML is made possible by annual donors to the Ferguson Center. For more information and to see what’s going on, visit www.newmusicalslab.com


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