Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni and students are participating in Underscore Theatre Company‘s fourth annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond. This year’s festival, featuring full productions of seven new musicals plus two staged readings, runs February 5-16 at the historic Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago. Columbia College alums Carolyn Plurad ’14, Nathan Cooper ’13, and Nikolas Drake ’14 and Columbia student Caitlin Dobbins are performing in the festival. Plurad and Cooper are graduates of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance, and Drake is a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre; Dobbins is sophomore in the Musical Theatre BA program. And Annabelle Revak, a student in the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre BA program, is leading a staged reading of her new musical Notes and Letters, with a cast that includes Musical Theatre Performance BFA student Katy Campbell and Columbia College alum Conor McGarry ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting.
Cooper and Drake appear in GRINDR The Opera, a comic piece about four gay men who intersect through the hook-up app GRINDR. The show employs musical styles ranging from Baroque opera to contemporary pop to offer a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships. GRINDR is performed Friday, February 8, at 10 PM; Tuesday, February 13, at 8 PM; Saturday, February 17, at noon; and Friday, February 23, at 10 PM. For tickets to GRINDR, click here.
Plurad appears in The Butcher’s Son, a musical memoir by Vi Nhan H. Tran. Tran, born in Vietnam but raised in Kansas, chronicles his family’s escape from war-torn Vietnam and eventual resettlement in the cattle country of middle America. The Butcher’s Son is performed Saturday, February 10, at 3 PM; Wednesday, February 14, at 8 PM; Sunday, February 18, at 6 PM; and Friday, February 23, at 7:30 PM. For tickets to The Butcher’s Son, click here.
Dobbins appears in Liberators: An American Musical, the touching story of how three diverse families are connected together through an antique time piece, based on historical events of the liberation of the Dachau and Buchenwald Nazi concentration camps. Performances are Thursday, February 8, at 8 PM; Sunday, February 11, at 3 PM; Saturday, February 17, at 8 PM; and Saturday, February 24, at 3 PM. For tickets, click here.
Also participating in the festival is Columbia College student Annabelle Revak, who wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Notes and Letters, which will receive a staged reading on Monday, February 19, at 8 PM. Based on the true story of Revak’s great-great-grandfather’s immigration to Chicago in 1917 from war-torn Bohemia, Notes and Letters chronicles four friends living in Chicago just as America is drawn into World War I. The quartet all work at a piano store as their music, business, relationships, and pride are put to the test. Set to a jazz score, Notes and Letters chronicles the attempt to find an even beat in a world where the meter is constantly shifting. Admission to this reading is free; for reservations, click here.