If you’re in search of a budget-friendly way to add a shot of culture to your family’s Friday evening activities, then look no further than the B. Iden Payne Theatre. This Friday, June 29, as part of the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop hosted at the University of Texas and done in conjunction with Texas State University-San Marcos, the theater will come alive with a staged dramatic reading of its upcoming new musical, Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical.
The musical is a product of the arts-intensive summer program, which is itself a collaborative effort between UT Austin and Texas State University. Texas Musical Theatre Workshop is a unique pre-collegiate program geared toward high school-aged students who are potentially interested in pursuing musical theater careers.
Participants are taught by seasoned industry professionals, and are given invaluable exposure to behind-the-scenes logistics. In the case of Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical, the students have had the opportunity to learn the full breadth of the creative processes that go into developing, perfecting and staging a new work.
The musical is directed by Broadway star Billy Porter with music and lyrics by newcomer Michael Dexter and book by Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominated Eric H. Weinberger.
As a modern-day interpretation of the classic “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairytale, the story follows a 15-year-old boy — J Johnson —chronicling his dreams of becoming a superhero in order to escape his dreary reality living in an inner-city tenement basement apartment. As in the original, J has a fortuitous encounter with a stranger (in this case a street vendor) that ultimately leads to the procurement of the fate-changing magical beans.
Although Friday’s performance will be more of a 'sneak peek' staged reading, the final production will feature a range of lively music ranging from Gospel to Calypso.
This staged reading of Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical will be held on June 29 at 7 p.m. at the B. Iden Payne Theatre (300 E. 23rd St.) located in the F. Loren Winship Drama Building on the University of Texas campus. Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information on the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop.