After a workshop in August, RSO’s new folk musical thriller was workshopped with students from Marymount Manhattan College at Pearl Studios, directed by Jason Gotay, on Nov. 2-5, 2023. Check out the cast and creative team here, and photos from the workshop below. (Credit: Matthew Murphy)
On October 6, a concept album of RSO’s new musical Tomorrow, the Island Dies streams everywhere you listen to music.
The track list is as follows:
- GIRL OF LEGEND — Jisel Soleil Ayon and cast
- ASYLUM — Jason Gotay
- ON THIS ROCK — Shelby Acosta, Miranda Luze, Nathan David Smith, Tristan Caldwell, Caitlin Doak, Kimberly Onah and cast
- MS. KELLY’S TAPES — Victoria Huston-Elem
- ONLY HUMAN — Jisel Soleil Ayon
- I KNOW YOU — Jack B. Murphy, Caitlin Doak and cast
- THE BEGINNING OF THE END — Tristan Caldwell, Shelby Acosta, Miranda Luze and cast
- THE PRICE OF LIVING — Charlie Fusari
The concept album is produced by RSO, Joshua Zecher-Ross, Very Intense Productions, and AT New Works, and is a commission from Samford University.
The musical tells the story of “Widow Clack, 18 and pregnant, who lives an exiled life running a lighthouse with her brother on a storm-crushed island set to be uninhabited in two days. When a young man is found dead on the beach, the remaining collection of young adults (left to make final preparations for the abandonment) combust into dangerous accusations leading to devastating division and ultimately, death. When a final, unexpected storm impacts the island, can Widow save the villagers from themselves?”
Joshua Zecher-Ross music directs a cast featuring Jason Gotay, Victoria Huston-Elem (The Addams Family), Jisel Soleil Ayon (Waitress, Hamilton), Shelby Acosta (1776), Kim Onah (& Juliet), Charlie Fusari (Pretty Woman), Miranda Luze (Come from Away), Ethan Carlson (Waitress), Nathan David Smith (Come from Away), Tristan Caldwell, Caitlin Doak, Nicole Deluca, Jack Murphy, and Grace Ellis Solomon.
From the article written by Ruthie Fierberg
Award-winning composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver is working on a new musical framed around a notorious event involving Truman Capote. Titled “Party of the Century,” the musical is sourced from the book of the same name by Deborah Davis.
“It’s based on Truman Capote’s infamous Black and White Ball at the Plaza in 1966 and full of queerness and betrayal and murder — it was kind of crazy,” Oliver told Broadway News at the ceremony celebrating him as the winner of the 2023 Kleban Prize for Most Promising Musical Theatre Lyricist. Oliver has just started writing “Party of the Century” with book writer Kirsten Guenther. The two previously collaborated on the musical “Mrs. Sharp.”
Oliver and Guenther are developing the piece with the support of FourthWall Theatrical, which acquired the rights to Davis’ book. According to Oliver, the musical “has a Broadway trajectory.” Fourth Wall, consisting of partners Jana Bezdek and Jen Hoguet, was a part of the producing team for Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill.”
Though Oliver’s work has not yet been produced on Broadway, his name is well-known in musical-theater circles. In addition to the Kleban Prize, he previously earned a Jonathan Larson Grant, Richard Rodgers Award and multiple honors from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Oliver’s select works include “35mm,” “Jasper in Deadland” and “We Foxes.”
The combination of the Kleban Prize, “Party of the Century” and a few other commissions has been reinvigorating, said Oliver. “I was very lucky to have a lot of success really early, and then it was sort of existing for a few years, and I really did feel that,” he said. “I told Richard Maltby [Jr.]: I feel like I’m back on the freeway.”
Past winners have included Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), John Bucchino (A Catered Affair, It’s Only Life), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (Giant, See What I Wanna See, The Wild Party), and John Weidman (Pacific Overtures, Road Show, Assassins).
See the Playbill announcement here.
Following his southern Gothic thriller We Foxes, RSO’s at work on another dark-sided project: Tomorrow, the Island Dies, for which he wrote book, music and lyrics. The show is a commission by Samford University.
In the vein of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King, the original musical tells the story of Widow Clack, 18 and pregnant, who lives an exiled life running a lighthouse with her brother on a storm-crushed island set to be uninhabited in two days. When a young man is found dead on the beach, the remaining collection of young adults (left to make final preparations for the abandonment) combust into dangerous accusations leading to devastating division and ultimately, death. When a final, unexpected storm impacts the island, can Widow save the villagers from themselves?
The show is set for a developmental production in the spring of 2024, and an EP of msuic from the show, Haverness Songs, will be released later this year. a commission by Samford University called