Why Do New Musicals Matter?

TAK VIRAVAN ON HIS LOVE OF MUSICAL THEATER

Musical theater is one of our great indigenous art forms, born entirely of an American culture of entertainment and exported around the world. It has the power to tell incredible stories, touch the soul and bring light to joy. It is this gift that Waterfall co-director Tak Viravan loves, and the reason that he believes the creation of new musicals is of the utmost importance.

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Member Spotlight: Cynthia Stroum

Cynthia Stroum
Cynthia Stroum

A native of Seattle, Cynthia Stroum has been an angel investor, philanthropist and U.S. Ambassador. Previous to her business and political ventures, Cynthia worked in the film industry and has continued her commitment to the arts, making her Broadway producing debut in 2004 with Broadway hit, A Raisin in the Sun, earning her a Tony® nomination.

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NextFest at The 5th

NextFest 2015 BeatsvilleWhat a thrilling summer it was atThe 5th Avenue Theatre! Over four weekends in July and August, The 5th held its first-ever New Works festival–NextFest!  Circles donors had the opportunity see and hear eight new musicals at various stages of development—from a first read-through to a fully staged studio presentation. The festival allowed our donors a chance to see and hear the work of established and up-and-coming writers, lyricists, & composers while fully engaging in the development of new musicals.

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From an Artist’s Perspective: Thom Sesma on Waterfall

“I’ve been associated with Waterfall from its initial reading around a coffee table in Manhattan in 2011,” says Thom Sesma, the Broadway star who plays the role of Chao Khun, Katherine’s older husband in the romantic new musical. Sesma fell in love with the work and participated in several subsequent readings and workshops in the years that followed, leading finally to a collaboration between Pasadena Playhouse and The 5th Avenue Theatre this year.

“I’ve been associated with Waterfall from its initial reading around a coffee table in Manhattan in 2011,”

Thom Sesma…says Thom Sesma, the Broadway star who plays the role of Chao Khun, Katherine’s older husband in the romantic new musical. Sesma fell in love with the work and participated in several subsequent readings and workshops in the years that followed, leading finally to a collaboration between Pasadena Playhouse and The 5th Avenue Theatre this year. The musical is a unique collaboration between Broadway greats and Thai entertainment powerhouses, from Tony Award-nominated writing duo Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire to media mogul Tak Viravan and pop superstar Bie Sukrit. “It’s not without its challenges,” Sesma laughs. “There’s language and cultural differences that need to be bridged within the very distinct context of creating an American musical. But given that the show, at least on one level, is about cultural distinctions, the challenges are always worth it—for the piece itself, and for each individual artist. Broadening one’s horizons intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, if you will, is nourishment for a creative person. It’s even more so for a creative team, and invaluable for a piece like this.”

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