2017 Polyphone Festival





Folk Wandering

(March 28 & 31 at 8 p.m.; April 1 at 12 p.m.; Merriam Theater)


Conceived by Jaclyn Backhaus and Andrew Neisler 

Book and Lyrics by Jaclyn Backhaus 

Music and Additional Lyrics by Blake Allen, Mike Brun, Andrew R. Butler, Joel Esher, Alex Fast, Jo Lampert, and Annie Tippe 

Arrangements by Mike Brun and Joel Esher

Orchestrations by Mike Brun 

Additional Orchestrations by Blake Allen

Directed by Andrew Neisler

Description: Tales from tenement Manhattan, Depression-era Utah, and rural 1950s Indiana are woven together in this new folk musical. With a book by critically acclaimed playwright Jaclyn Backhaus and a score developed by a group of New York’s emerging singer/songwriters, Folk Wandering is an American celebration of the untold grief that moves us forward.


(March 28 & 31 at 8 p.m.; April 1 at 9 p.m.; Arts Bank)



Book, Music and Lyrics by Jaime Jarrett

Director: Rebecca Wright

Music Directors: Jaime Jarrett and Ellen Winter

Choreographer: Eppchez

Description: Taylor is sick of the stereotypical portrayal of queer characters in the media.  When she meets Emily, a lesbian book character who has come to life, together they fight to rewrite her story and redefine “normal.”  Through an exhilarating pop rock score and radical queerness, Normativity explores love, identity, and what it means to be out right now.


The Real Whisper

(March 29 & 30 at 8 p.m.; April 1 at 6 p.m.; Merriam Theater)



Music and Lyrics by Greta Gertler Gold

Book and Lyrics by Akin Salawu

Director: Nell Bang-Jensen

Music Director: Amanda Morton

Choreographer: Amy Smith


Description: When Whisper, a teen runaway, breaks into a haunted Massachusetts Manor that hosts ghost tours, she finds herself entangled in a hidden killer’s murderous rampage. As the body count rises with the Manor’s supernatural thirst for blood, Whisper realizes she must team up with the 100-year-old ghost of a Black American slave if she is ever going to make it out alive.

The Best Songs in the World Show


A New Musical by Red 40 & The Last Groovement


(March 29 & 30 at 8 p.m.; April 1 at 3 p.m.; Arts Bank)


Music, Book and Lyrics: Martha Stuckey in collaboration with The Last Groovement

Director: Anisa George

Music Director: Martha Stuckey

Choreographer: Melanie Cotton

The Last Groovement includes Martha Stuckey, Jess Conda, Caitlin Antram, Alice Yorke, Ben Diamond, Matteo Scammell, Jon Colvson, Ben Grinberg, Devin Coleman and a cast of University of the Arts students

Description: After her band is kidnapped and conscripted to Proxis’ polka-playing army, Red 40 ventures out with her team of femme fatales and the audience to retrieve the abducted. In this world of googly-eyed soldiers and idiot spies, characters wear multiple identities in an effort to access each other and our own inner starstuff.


POLYPHONE spot on Newsworks: Take a listen!

Keynote Address

On Saturday, April 1, Shakina Nayfack, actor, writer and artistic director of the Musical Theater Factory in New York, will deliver the Polyphone keynote address on the topics of community, identity and activism in musical theater at 10 a.m. at the Arts Bank. April 1 will also feature a marathon day in which audiences can view all four works beginning at 12 p.m.

Marathon Day on Saturday, April 1

(12 p.m. – 11 p.m. at the Merriam Theater and Arts Bank)

Four new works in succession: Folk Wandering, The Best Songs in the World Show, The Real Whisper, Normativity

*Musicals are currently in development and are not open for critical review at this time. [/vc_column_text]
Search The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts