As part of the 2015 International Festival of Arts & Ideas

gilgamesh & the mosquito

Music by BOB KELLY
Book and Lyrics by SAM CHANSE
Music Direction by MATT CASTLE

Friday, June 26 at 5PM
Saturday, June 27 at 1PM

Paolo is a special mosquito. His bioengineer creator, Toni, and her classics professor husband, Kamil, lose themselves in their work to avoid a conversation that will definitively change their lives. With the help of Paolo and the legendary Gilgamesh, together they will confront their destiny.

Bob Kelly

BOB KELLY (MUSIC) is a New York-based composer, pianist, and music director. He is from the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and is a graduate of St. Olaf College and the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. gilgamesh & the mosquito is his thesis musical, and will also be developed this summer at NYU Tisch as part of the Collaborative Development and Productions Series. Other works include lobsters live forever, a one-act musical also written with Sam Chanse, commissioned by Leviathan Lab in 2014; A Most Average Musical, a short film written with Jonathan Keebler and Talia Berger and Waiting…, a song cycle written with Kelly Pomeroy, produced at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 2013 by the World’s Stage Theatre Company of Milwaukee. His songs have been performed at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Barrington Stage Company, Ars Nova, and the Duplex Cabaret Theatre. He is active as an accompanist and music director, currently serving as the associate conductor of A Chorus Line at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport. Bob was the 2013 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Max Dreyfus Scholarship, and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. More info at bobkelly-music.com

Sam Chanse

SAM CHANSE (BOOK AND LYRICS) is a writer and theatre artist based in New York and California. A 2015 Sundance Ucross Playwright Fellow, 2014 nominee to The Kilroys List, and member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, her work has also been supported by the Lark Play Development Center, Labyrinth Theater Company, Leviathan Lab, the Actor’s Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit, Second Generation, Ars Nova, Bindlestiff Studio, Asian American Theater Company, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her plays, musicals, and theatre work include Fruiting Bodies, lobsters live forever (also with Bob Kelly), Correctional (with collaborator/composer Sean Havrilla), Marian Jean, About That Whole Dying Thing, Back to the Graveyard, and Lydia’s Funeral Video (published in 2015 by Kaya Press). Sam received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, and in musical theatre writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Ship Show
Book and Lyrics by MARK SONNENBLICK
Directed by MARK BROKAW
Music Direction by BRENT FREDERICK

Friday, June 26 at 1PM
Saturday, June 27 at 5PM

Tom and Susana’s marriage is a sinking ship. The waters get even choppier when Tom’s last-ditch effort to win back his wife’s affection leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere on a luxury liner with a crew and passengers whose dreams have been capsized—and a smuggled baby white tiger loose on deck.

Ben Wexler

BEN WEXLER (MUSIC) is a composer, arranger, and teaching artist. His recent projects include composition and arrangements for Lucy Thurber’s The Insurgents and Bob Glaudini’s Boiling Point (both at Labyrinth Theater Company). He was the Associate Conductor for Jeanine Tesori’s Fun Home (The Public Theater), and composed the music for Irene by Sarah Ruhl (New Dramatists). Ben was the music director and orchestrator for Independents (Soho Playhouse), which won “Best Overall Production” at FringeNYC in 2012. With Mark Sonnenblick, he received a Manhattan Association of Cabaret Award nomination for “Best Song” (“All I Saw Was You”). He was commissioned to compose an original song honoring Cynthia Nixon for her 2013 Artist for Equality Award, and is resident composer for A Broader Way, an arts-immersion program for girls from underserved communities founded by Idina Menzel and Jeanine Tesori. He is the recipient of the 2013 Jerry Harrington Award for Creative Excellence (through BMI), trained through the New Dramatists’ Composer-Librettist studio, and is now a Dramatists Guild Fellow. Ben holds a BA in Music with a focus in composition from Yale University. benwexler.com


MARK SONNENBLICK (BOOK AND LYRICS) is a Dramatists Guild Fellow and a librettist for Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative. He has developed work with the Duffy Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, and Prospect’s Music Theatre Lab. Mark was the lyricist for Independents (Soho Playhouse), which won “Best Overall Production” at FringeNYC in 2012. Other credits include Wheel of Misfortune (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Stompcat in Lawndale (Ars Nova's Ant Fest), The Dinosaur Hunters (touring children's musical), and Bunkerville, which was the first student-written musical to be performed by Yale Dramat in more than 30 years. With Ben Wexler, he received a Manhattan Association of Cabaret award nomination for “Best Song” (“All I Saw Was You”), and Mark was a Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist in 2014. He holds a BA in American Studies from Yale College. marksonnenblick.com




Music and Lyrics by SHAINA TAUB

Shaina Taub (The Daughters, 2010) and Jen Silverman have been selected for inaugural Alumni Residency to work on Robin, a new musical that takes its origins from the Robin Hood legend, but populates that legend with women.



SHAINA TAUB is a performer and songwriter raised in Vermont, and now based in New York. She won the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grant, was Ars Nova’s 2012 composer-in-residence and recently performed a solo concert in Lincoln Center's American Songbook series. She earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for her portrayal of Princess Mary in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and performed the songs of Tom Waits in the American Repertory Theater’s production of The Tempest, directed by Teller of Penn & Teller, for which she also arranged the music. She recently starred in the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of Bill Irwin and David Shiner’s Old Hats, directed by Tina Landau, which will return to New York's Signature Theater for an encore run in 2016. She is currently developing Robin, a new musical commissioned by Ars Nova, with playwright Jen Silverman. Her original soul-pop opera, The Daughters, has been developed by the Yale Institute of Music Theatre and CAP21 Theatre Company, and was recently featured in NYU's mainstage season. She's also developed music for Walt Disney Imagineering and written songs for Sesame Street, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is currently singing Shaina's song “Bear & Otter” on her world concert tour. Shaina is a fellow of the MacDowell, Yaddo, Sundance Institute, and the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, as well as a TEDx conference speaker, winner of the 2013 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) John Wallowitch Songwriting Award, and an alumnus of the Tisch School of the Arts.


JEN SILVERMAN’S work has been produced by The Playwrights Realm (Crane Story), Clubbed Thumb (Phoebe in Winter), and Actors Theatre of Louisville (The Roommate, Humana Festival 2015). She is an affiliated artist with New Georges, Ars Nova, The Playwrights Realm, and The Lark, and developed work with Playwrights Horizons, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Williamstown, Playpenn, the O’Neill, Seven Devils, New York Theatre Workshop, and The New Harmony Project. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, and recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and a New York Foundation for the Arts grant. Her play The Moors, which will have its world premiere at Yale Rep in 2016, has received a Leah Ryan/Lilly Award and an Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Center. The Hunters was selected for the Cherry Lane Mentor Project (mentor Lynn Nottage) and Still won the Yale Drama Series Award and was published by Yale University Press. Education: Brown University, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, The Juilliard School.


Pictured: Composer and lyricist Benjamin Velez, Afterland, 2014 (left); Kecia Lewis and Nicolette Robinson, The Last Queen of Canaan, 2013 (right). Photos by Tim Mannle.