“Afterwords,” will begin its beta series production at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre in Issaquah on Feb. 16.
The contemporary musical currently in development will run through Feb. 25.
While current Broadway productions cater to mostly male heteronormative story lines and production teams, “Afterwords” aims to change that by featuring a story focused on three strong and unique queer women, and led by a female creative team with a book by Emily Kaczmarek, music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak, and direction by Adrienne Campbell-Holt.
When a young war reporter’s mentor is killed on assignment, his diaries are left to her care. But their pages provide her with more questions than comfort, chronicling his turbulent midlife love affair and pointing mysteriously toward two artist sisters mourning the loss of their volatile mother. As entanglements deepen and past collides with present, these young women relay three sides of one story through the show’s music, set, and book.
Audiences may remember “Afterwords” from The 2017 Village Originals’ Festival of New Musicals.
“There was a pretty significant book rewrite the summer before The Festival,” Kaczmarek said. “The Festival was the first opportunity to put the new show on its feet and see how it read to an audience.”
With the beta series, Kaczmarek and Sarnak will be able to further test the show in front of a theatre-savvy audience using simple sets and costumes. After each performance, audiences are invited to ask questions and share their feedback with the writers. No two performances will be exactly the same since the writers will rewrite and make changes between shows. Audiences are encouraged to witness the evolution by seeing the performance multiple times.
“We’re both of the mindset that a musical, until it’s frozen, is always in progress,” Sarnak said.
Zoe Sarnak’s works include: “Secret Soldiers,” “The Years Between,” “Galileo,” “Teddy & Max,” and musical short films “Landed,” “Alma Mater,” and “Hold Your Peace.” She is a 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, Davenport Songwriting contest winner, NY Stage & Film’s Founders Award finalist, Fed Ebb Award finalist, two-time Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award Honoree, and Women’s Project Lab Artist. Her music has been featured on NY Times Live, Lilly Awards, Women of Note, and Cutting Edge Composers. She was educated at Harvard University.
Emily Kaczmarek is a New York-based writer, teacher, and performer. Works include: “Sam & Lizzie,” “Afloat,” “American Kids,” “Paper & Glue,” “Anything New” and musical short films “Landed,” “Alma Mater,” and “Hold Your Peace.” She is a finalist for the 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant and the 2018 Kleban Prize. She was educated at New York University.
Joining Kaczmarek and Sarnak on the production team is director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, an artist-on-the-rise who is currently the resident associate director of the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen, and music director Kris Kukul (Warner Brothers’ “Beetlejuice,” “Joan of Arc: Into the Fire” at Public Theater). The team is rounded out by the same designers behind the previous Beta Series production of “How to Break,” which includes scenic designer Christopher Mumaw (“Newsies” at Village Theatre), costume designer Brynne McKeen (Green Day’s “American Idiot” at ArtsWest), lighting designer Robert J. Aguilar (Seattle Repertory Theatre’s “Dry Powder”), projections designer Gregory W. Towle (“Into the Woods” at Village Theatre), and sound designer Natalie Kinsaul.
The show will feature a cast of local Seattle favorites including: Andi Alhadeff (“Ragtime” at The 5th Avenue Theatre), Kirsten deLohr Helland (“Les Misérables” at Village Theatre, “Lizard Boy” at Seattle Repertory Theatre), Eric Polani Jensen (“Billy Elliot,” “Les Misérables,” “Fiddler on the Roof”), Trent Moury (“Peter and the Starcatcher” at ArtsWest), Mari Nelson (“Six Degrees of Separation” on Broadway, “Into the Woods” at Village Theatre), Taylor Niemeyer (“Newsies”), Sarah Russell (“Dreamgirls,” “My Heart is the Drum”), and Saxton Jay Walker (“Peter and the Starcatcher” at ArtsWest).
“Afterwords” is on stage at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre in Issaquah Feb. 16-25. For tickets, visit www.VillageTheatre.org or call the Box Office at (425) 392-2202.