Overbrook Park Productions
THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS
A Pop Fairy Tale
Book, music, and lyrics by Paul A. Eisenman
THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS is a project of Overbrook Park Productions, a non-profit arts organization concerned with the development and publication of new stage plays. We are currently seeking 501(c)(3) status.
The play is a loosely adapted, musical version of the classic tale by the Brothers Grimm. It was first performed in 1985 at Temple University Children’s Theater in Philadelphia. In that pilot production, the musical numbers were accompanied only by a single guitar.
Our $5000 funding goal will cover the cost of scoring the play’s eleven songs for six-piece jazz-rock band and vocal parts. Our arranger is conservatory-trained, jazz pianist and composer, Patrick Kelly. (Hear Pat’s arrangement and studio recording of the show's rockin' overture, "Brementown Musicians is What We Are Today," at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C71-k4M6vxk>.) After the score is written, polishing the piece in a workshop production will be the next step in preparing it for publication.
Synopsis. A performance of THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS marks the debut of a unique ensemble in their first public appearance. They are the first municipally sponsored musical group in Brementown history. Fronting the band are the DONKEY, DOG, CAT, and ROOSTER of the original fairy tale. They are joined by their protégés, a couple of juvenile delinquent SKUNKS, who, with the help of their mentors, learned the joys of music in rehab. Together, the band members reenact the events that led up to this debut performance.
Each of the eleven songs captures a different style in the history of American pop music. These musical numbers enhance the plot as it moves forward on a bumpy road to a happy conclusion. In the end, obstacles are bravely overcome and outcasts, charitably reclaimed. After reenacting their fateful story, the live concert ends as it began -- with all band members back on the soundstage, reprising the overture.
In the original fairy tale the characters are all elderly barnyard animals that no longer do their jobs well and are no longer welcome on their farms because of it. But in THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS each animal has its own particular “labor dispute” to lament and sing about. Despite the difficulties they face, these characters have real musical aspirations. And each has a musical style all its own. These talented barnyarders have the regionalisms and traits of various show business icons.
Impact. Though just a fairy tale, THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS has considerable value as a source of Character Education. Themes speak primarily to the moral development of young people -- to a youngster’s emerging sense of self and relationship to the external world. The story demonstrates humane behavior, such as empathy and tolerance for others, courage in facing adversity, self-determination and personal accountability. It deals specifically with juvenile delinquency and has a lot to say about overcoming obstacles that children face as they grow into adulthood. In the end, the characters experience even greater satisfaction with their music because they've used it to mentor others. And, in the process, they come to recognize that they have the ability to make significant contributions to the world.
Accessibility / Plans for the future. “Child friendly” lyrics and dialogue make it easy for children to understand and identify with the characters and storyline. And, young and old alike will find the variety of "vintage" musical styles familiar, if not nostalgic.
Ultimately, our plans include producing a digital soundtrack of the instrumental accompaniment on CD. The availability of this CD along with the published script and score will make it easy for any theater group, school, or social service agency to produce THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS inexpensively. Further, equipped with this digital accompaniment, Overbrook Park Productions plans a touring production of the show and is considering an Artist Residency Program, in which select participants may produce and perform the show themselves. Under the guidance of professional artists and educators, in rehearsal, age-appropriate explorations -- of script, character, themes and the dynamics of ensemble work -- evoke ideas in several areas, including the arts, social science, and history and government. Currently, the curriculum for a Teachers’ Study Guide is under way. This curriculum, along with videos of rehearsals and performances, will make the Overbrook Park Productions - New Brementown Musicians Artist Residency Program an especially valuable resource that participants and their teachers can revisit, time and again.
Risks and challenges
It is important donors understand that the rewards we're offering here reflect our desire to share with you our long-term vision, and the joy of seeing that vision realized. That is, these rewards – the theatre tickets, the autographed programs, and the opening night party – will (logically enough) become available when the workshop / showcase production we have planned goes into performance. The CD will become available some time after that production closes.
Please note that the funding we seek would cover the cost of having the play’s musical numbers professionally arranged. The next phases in the show's development include (1) the workshop / showcase and subsequent refinements to the script and score, (2) the production of the digital accompaniment on CD, (3) licensing and publication, (4) and the Overbrook Park outreach touring production and artist residency program.
Currently, we are working to come to terms with a local theater company and tentatively estimate that the workshop / showcase production will go into rehearsal no later than spring 2016. Those rewards that are elements of these upcoming events (tickets, programs, opening night party, CDs) will be available for delivery at that time or shortly thereafter.
Welcome to our journey! We are encouraged by your enthusiasm and look forward to keeping you abreast of our progress. Kindly consider what we believe are our strengths:
FIRST, we are a non-profit arts organization in the State of Ohio (Certificate 201414801069). Among Overbrook Park Productions’ Board of Directors and Creative Team are experts in Montessori elementary education, counseling, and music composition. These professionals purpose the success of this project, both as an artistic venture and as an educational resource.
SECOND, THE New BREMENTOWN MUSICIANS: A Pop Fairy Tale has the advantage of having been test flown. We know that, even in its earliest inception, this piece of musical theatre had power to delight children and adults alike. We are highly optimistic that the revival shall be published, licensed, and produced for public consumption.
THIRD, written especially for children and adolescents, the play (1) is an update of a classic work that taps into the current fascination with fantasy, horror, and fairy tales, (2) integrates “vintage” genres in contemporary music and, so, taps into the current nostalgia for classic rock and pop, and (3) has social relevance in that it deals with juvenile delinquency and demonstrates alternate behaviors and outcomes. As such, it would be as entertaining as it would be valuable in schools and social service agencies as a source of character education.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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