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Presenting Sponsor:

The Shows


The art form of musical theatre is relatively new, beginning somewhere between 1895 and 1927 (depending on whom you ask).   This art form's potential is just beginning, and new works are being written constantly.  Because of this, MTM wants to give a platform to developing new musicals.

From over 100 submissions  MTM selected three pieces for its Festival of New Musicals, 2017.  Audiences will see this shows as works in progress, with the opportunity to contribute their ideas as the shows continue to develop. 

COST: There is a suggested donation of $10 for each reading to offset costs and artist pay. We are grateful for whatever you are able to contribute.  All are welcome regardless of ability to pay. 

RESERVATIONS: Reservations are encouraged. Make them for each reading by clicking the buttons in the descriptions below. 

LOCATION: All performances will be held at The Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave., at 7:00 p.m. on the dates indicated.  There is nearby street parking available. 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Each performance will feature a talkback, allowing audiences to share feedback that will be passed to the composers.   For Dumb Luck and The Puppet, at least one of the composers will be in attendance. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. 

WHAT TO EXPECT: How do you "read" a musical? The event will feature actors at music stands reading the script and singing the music with limited staging.  The goal is to help composers and audiences understand the show at its core, hear what works and what doesn't, and imagine what it could be in future incarnations. 

Dumb Luck

DUMB LUCK: October 5 at 7:00 pm
Music & Lyrics by Michael Sansonia (New York, NY),
Book & Lyrics  by R.C. Staab (New York, NY)
Directed by Mark Snowden.  Music Direction by Tyler Pimm.

Featuring Desmond Hawkins, Kelsey Anne Johnson, Owen Metzger, and Bart Terrell

Poor Elmer McCurdy. Born out of wedlock, shuttled among relatives, and left to drift across America without an education, Elmer follows an unseemly path which includes a heist that the newspapers called “one of the smallest in the history of train robbery.” Yet, his small-time exploits unexpectedly catapult him into a larger-than-life role in carnivals, movies, amusement parks and The Six Million Dollar Man. Four actors play a dozen parts in this off-beat musical to the sounds of the 20th century about one man’s life -- and afterlife -- and the woman he hopes to re-unite with in eternity. 

Learn more about the story: 
NPR podcast: "The Long, Strange, 60-year trip of Elmer McCurdy"

LA Times; "Incompetent train robber had unimpressive life but celebrated afterlife." 

DUMB LUCK in a New York City reading in January, 2017. 

The Puppet

THE PUPPET: October 19 at 7:00 pm

Book, Music, & Lyrics by Mark Wurzelbacher (Madison, WI), Brian Davenport (Chicago, IL) and Joe Augustinsky (Chicago, IL) 

Directed by Catie O'Donnell.  Music Direction by Mark Wurzelbacher. 
Featuring J. Adam Shelton, Kelsey Anne Johnson, Grace Subat, Lauren Gruber, Katy O'Leary, Alyssa Beasley, Owen Metzger, and Matt White. 

Though they seem old now, Gilbert & Sullivan were prolific composers in their day, unafraid to use their signature styles to comment (with a wink) on the political doings of their time.  Now, in one of the most controversial political periods in American history, the composers of The Puppet bring G&S' signature style of patter and poetry to a show about something that seems so very far away: The 2020 election.  Join a cast of characters not-so-subtlely standing in for political figures you know and love to hate, as we look three years into the future at the topsy turvy doings of what promises to be another truly historic election.


See a video of the opening number with our cast

Hear an interview with the composers on WORT  

Madison-based composer Mark Wurzelbacher playing "Make America Great Again"


MEDEA: November 2 at 7:00 pm
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Enrique Acosta (Bakersfield, CA)

Directed by Meghan Randolph.  Music Direction by Tyler Pimm.

Featuring Julia Luebke, Desmond Hawkins, Jessica Jane Witham, Elan Mendez-Smith, and Lauren Gruber

The classic, tragic play gets a new spin in this feminist rock musical.  A small ensemble plays multiple characters and draws on both modern and traditional storytelling methods to weave a unique version of the tragic tale of a woman spurned by her lover. In this Medea, our title character is a demi-god. We see how Jason and Medea meet, how they grow apart, and the disastrous consequences...but with one poignant, mind-blowing change. 

Graphic for the concept album of Medea. 

Past readings

History of readings at MTM

MTM's first reading was in the fall of 2012.  In 2015, the company expanded on numerous requests to debut new musicals by holding a series of three readings as a Festival of New Musicals.  It was only the second festival of its kind in the Midwest. 

Past readings: 

Panic: The Story of the War of the Worlds Broadcast
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff
October 5, 2012 at TAPIT/New Works Studio


The backstage antics of the War of the Worlds broadcast come
vividly to life in this examining of the brilliant, egotistical Orson
Welles and those who surrounded him on that fateful night. 

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dan Myers and Meghan Rose
September 3, 2015 at Madison Central Library

Go down the rabbit hole for a whole new kind of mad in this inventive rock musical that turns the classic Alice in Wonderland on its head. 
Alice was developed into a full production presented by Madison Theatre Guild in October, 2016.  Click here to learn more. 

Big Money
Music by Kyle Jarrow, Lyrics by Nathan Leigh

September 19, 2015 at Wisconsin Public Television Studios

It's the fabulous 1980s, and three contestants are vying for the grand prize on a TV gameshow.  But one of them has figured out the key to winning, and chaos ensues! 

Nightmare Alley 
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jonathan Brielle
October 3, 2015 at the Frequency

Based on the cult thriller of the 1940s, Nightmare Alley tells the
story of a con man who infiltrates a side show, with
unanticipated consequences. 


The cast of NIGHTMARE ALLEY with composer
Jonathan Brielle.

PANIC being read at TAPIT/New Works Studios

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