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Part of the Wisconsin New Musicals Cycle 

Music by Jennifer Hedstrom

Book by Karen Saari

Lyrics by Jennifer Hedstrom and Karen Saari

Directed by Meghan Randolph
Music Direction by Jennifer Hedstrom

Discussion episodes and full show available now! 
Review of audience feedback drops in October

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"Fix your eyes on me. This is a day that we'll remember." 

After a successful reading in December of 2019, TEN DAYS IN A MADHOUSE returns with improvements for another look, in podcast form! See renderings of sets and costumes, hear early demos, learn about Nellie Bly, hear a discussion with the writers and producer, hear a full professional recording of the show in its current draft,  and provide your feedback! 

The episodes: 

Episode 1: Why Nellie Bly? - Available August 14
Dig into the fascinating story behind the show! In 1887, reporter Nellie Bly received the assignment of a lifetime:  Get herself committed to Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum and report on what she saw.  Composer and lyricist Jennifer Hedstrom, book-writer and lyricist Karen Saari, Director Meghan Randolph, and Directing Intern Trinity Gardner talk about Nellie Bly's story: How she ended up at Blackwell's Island, what it was like there, the era in which she did this, and what it all meant. 

Episode 2: Making a Musical - Available August 14

Get a peek behind the scenes of creating a new musical! Jennifer, Karen, Meghan, and Trinity talk about why Nellie Bly's story was chosen to musicalize, how their process worked, characters and moments that were added to the show from its December reading, and what they want to find out from listeners as they prepare for the full production in 2021. 

Episode 3: Ten Days In A Madhouse: Act I - Available August 21

A professionally recorded audio presentation of the show in its current draft. Nellie Bly gets her assignment, arrives at Blackwell's Island, and meets fascinating women, including many who are not insane. The terrifying Nurse Grupe is threatened by Nellie, the women try to save the increasingly ailing Tillie Mayard, and the patients are subjected to horrifying baths. 

Episode 4: Ten Days In A Madhouse: Act II - Available August 21
A professionally recorded audio presentation of the show in its current draft. Nellie soothes the women with music,  A seemingly silent Mrs. Freeman lets us gives a glimpse into her mind. Sarah Fishbaum shares her sexy and hilarious philosophy on life, Tillie gets sicker, Nurse Grupe loses her cool, and a surprise guest arrives at the asylum. Later, Nellie tells their stories, and change begins. 

Episode 5: What we learned - Available September 15 (Date subject to change.) 
Jennifer, Karen, Meghan, and Trinity review feedback from listeners and address questions and comments. 


The story: 

In 1887, the ambitious and brave Nellie Bly, 23 years old, marched into Joseph Pulitzer's office and offered to get herself committed to the insane asylum at Blackwell's Island so she could report on the atrocities inside.  Less than two days after she feigned insanity at women's boarding house, a judge sent her to the dreaded reclusive institution, where she met women who were victims of a system that stigmatized struggling and cast them aside. 

In this new musical, the story of Nellie's time at Blackwell's Island is dramatized by local writers Karen Saari and Jennifer Hedstrom with haunting and beautiful music complementing a hard-hitting script faithful to Nellie's eventual book-length exposé. 

Podcast Cast: Anna Pfefferkorn (Nellie Bly), Jennifer Kuckuk (Tillie Mayard), Paige Hutchison-Fecteau (Anne Neville), Erica Halverson (Sarah Fishbaum), Ava DeCroix (Louise), Elena España Regan (Mrs. Ramirez), Toya Robinson (Mrs. Freeman), Netalee Lev Sheinman (Nurse McCarten), Kailea Saplan (Mrs. Caine/Pauline), George Lorimer (Duffy/ Dr. Ingram), Owen Metzger (Bockert/Dr. Field), Matt Ragalie (George), Adam Qutaishat (Voice of Joseph Pulitzer)

Podcast Team and Crew: Kristen Emery (Stage Manager), Shannon Heibler (Costume Renderings), Erin Baal (Scenic Renderings), Maureen Janson (Assistant Director), Evan Lange (Assistant Music Director), Trinity Gardner (Directing and Development Intern), Scott Glogovsky (Sound Engineer), Adam Qutaishat (Podcast Engineer)


Costume Renderings by Shannon Heibler

Set Design by Erin Baal

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