A musical that blends the weirdness of college with the challenges of overcoming physical and emotional adversity
Fresh! (formerly The New Musical) tells the story of Michael, a quirky yet endearing incoming freshman at New York University, as he is confronted with a world that is nothing like the suburban life he left behind. To help himself adjust, Michael begins to write down his experiences and turn them into songs, being something of an...unconventional musical theater composer.
As the year progresses, Michael struggles to overcome the ties and relationships that bind him to his old life, including trust issues inherited from an ex-girlfriend, artistic frustrations, and a painful connective tissue disorder that makes a normal college life increasingly difficult. With the help of his friends (including Matthew, Michael's thinks-he's-black roommate, and Melanie, a kind but secretive aspiring actress engaged in her own battle with anorexia), Michael learns that it is the most challenging struggles in life that define us, and that carry within them the possibility for unimaginable transformations.
Also, college is pretty freaking weird.
Why This Show is Important
The goal of this show is to speak to and for everyone. Over the years, people of all ages, races, genders, and orientations have begun their praise of Fresh! with almost the same words: "That reminds me exactly of the time I..."
Among Fresh's diverse array of characters are people with "invisible" illnesses: ie., connective tissue, cardiac, or eating disorders - conditions that may or may not be life-threatening, but which are always life-changing. In a culture where illness of any kind seems almost taboo, Fresh! seeks to tell these stories as they have never been told before: through the lens of healing.
The characters in Fresh! each have their own struggles to overcome, whether it's an invisible illness, or any other monumental challenge. But the question for each of them is the same: "How do I take these very scary things, and use them to make me stronger?"
What This Reading Will Accomplish
A staged reading is one of the most critical steps a show must take on its road from the written page to Broadway. It enables the show to be put on its feet in its entirety before a live audience of industry professionals who are capable of taking the piece to its next level.
After the reading (which will take place in early 2013), the audience will be invited to participate in a discussion about the show. This gives the writer and director a strong sense of what the audience enjoyed most, and what they feel should be improved upon. The writer and director then work together to make the show even better in preparation for its next production.
Two scenes from Fresh! were featured Off-Broadway at the Jerry Orbach Theatre as finalists in the "Scene It! New York" competition in 2010. The show has also been performed in its entirety in two "table readings" in Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012. Songs from Fresh! have been performed in concerts throughout New York and Pennsylvania, including Broadway Rocks!, Broadway: Evolutions, Harmonies for Hunger Relief, Broadway in Buffalo, and many more. The complete studio cast album was recorded in 2010 (see samples below!).
1) "Thanksgiving Night"
2) "I've Got a Crush on You"
3) "When I Looked into the Mirror"
4) "Run Away Lover"
5) "Drugs, Drugs, Drugs"
(For more samples, visit www.michaelbihovsky.com/fresh)
About the Writer
Michael Bihovsky (music, lyrics, and book) is a graduate of New York University, with a degree in musical theater performance and composition. Michael is primarily a pop-rock musical theater composer, though his music is often laced with classical influences, inspired in part by his training in orchestration at Juilliard.
In addition to Fresh!, Michael has written two other musicals: Eclipse, an epic story from Ancient Greece, and Safe in Sound, a gothic-rock musical play about an emotionally crippled international superstar.
Most recently, Michael has received international attention for his video "One Grain More," a Les Miserables parody about food allergies that has already garnered over 70,000 views, and many hundreds of newspaper articles and blog reviews characterizing the piece as "The funniest nutrition video ever made!" and "...a must, must, must watch!"
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An inherent quality of all staged readings is limited rehearsal time. This means that the show must be taught, blocked, and perfected within the span of one week. To ensure that we can achieve the best reading possible, we will be taking the following steps:
1) We will be auditioning and hiring equity actors (the union for all Broadway productions) for the reading. The level of these actors' professionalism and accomplishment will ensure the best performances possible.
2) Each actor will be given a manuscript with a fully-integrated script and musical score. This means that they will not have to switch back-and-forth between script and score, as they would often have to do in other readings.
3) In addition to musical direction during rehearsals, each actor will receive audio files which isolate their vocal parts throughout the entire show, to help them learn their music outside of rehearsal. They will also be given karaoke tracks to practice with.
4) We have assembled a production and directing team with Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional theater experience. This will ensure that all rehearsal time is used efficiently, and that the cast is well-prepared for the reading.
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