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Orange County is Alive with New Musicals!

Something exciting happened in Orange County this weekend – and the world of new musical theatre is all the better for it!

Over the weekend of Sept. 18-20, the UC/Irvine Department of Drama presented what is planned to be the first annual New Musical Theatre Festival, with two performances each of the new musicals Aging Out (book and lyrics by Tara Redepenning and Hillary Rollins, music by Darin Goulet) and E-$cape (book & lyrics by Scott Guy, music by Nick DeGregorio).

The Festival, under the helm of Artistic Director Gary Busby, is the result of a partnership between UC/Irvine and the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles. The Academy’s professional bookwriters, lyricists, and composers are hard at work on a series of new musicals created specifically for the talents of the UC/Irvine students.

Eli Simon, Chair of UCI’s Drama Department, feels that this partnership is a win-win situation – the UCI students get a chance to create new roles that no one else has ever performed, and get an inside view of how a new musical is created – and the ANMT writers get developmental resources that are almost unheard of in the professional world.

Check out the pictures below – and then watch for one (or both!) of these shows to wind up as full productions in an upcoming UCI season! And keep an eye out for next year’s Festival.

The writing teams (Left: Aging Out; Right: E-$cape) in post-show talk-back sessions with the casts.

UCI Department Chair Eli Simon, ANMT Associate Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry and Executive Director Scott Guy, and UCI Festival Artistic Director Gary Busby