City Repertory Theatre, the Palm Coast troupe that is in the midst of its 11th season – its first full season since Covid – is partnering with Music Theatre International, one of the proverbial 800-pound gorillas of the theater world. The result is “All Together Now!,” a new musical revue featuring hit songs from “Rent,” “Les Misérables,” “Mary Poppins,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Mamma Mia!” and others.
The revue will be staged Nov. 12-14 at City’s Rep black-box venue in City Marketplace and – most significantly — all ticket-sale proceeds will go to CRT.
Music Theatre International is one of the world’s most prominent theatrical licensing agencies, representing hundreds of musicals ranging from Tony-winning classics to children’s fare. If a Broadway theater or production company wants to mount a revival of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” starring Beyonce, or if Miss Dory’s Finishing School wants to stage “Curious George: The Golden Meatball,” they must contact MTI to procure scripts and music scores, and to pay licensing fees so that the creators of a musical – the composers, lyricists and book writers – are properly compensated for their work.
City Rep is not alone in partnering with – and benefiting from — MTI. The agency’s website bills “All Together Now!” as “a global event celebrating local theatre,” and states that more than 2,500 theatres around the world in all 50 states and over 40 countries will “perform this exclusive musical revue free-of-charge during the weekend of November 12-15.” The show “is designed as a fundraiser for local theatres . . . . The past year-and-a-half has been extremely challenging for theatrical organizations and MTI is offering this exclusive musical revue as a way to support the thousands of theatres who are persevering under trying circumstances. There will be over 5,500 individual performances to be seen by over one million audience members.”
“I am totally aghast at MTI’s generosity,” said John Sbordone, City Rep’s artistic director and co-founder. “Musicals are the most expensive thing to do, and they have control of the prices. It’s glorious that they were that generous. They know how difficult the last year has been, and it’s a great acknowledgment by them of what we’ve all been through as theatres.
“Of course, it helps them promote their musicals as well. Once we saw this, we said, ‘Wow, here’s a chance without having to pay any royalties, to get all the music, get all the arrangements, you get everything’ (including professionally produced music backing tracks, plus resources to help with rehearsals and marketing). We just had to find a dozen terrific singers, which we have. And so we have three shows of great music, singing, cabaret, and it will be a pure fundraiser for us. It’s fabulous.”
MTI did mandate some guidelines.
Troupes could only choose songs from a roster provided by the agency. Each production of “All Together Now!” has 15 “slots,” and local theaters could choose one of three songs mandated for each slot. Thus each participating theater’s production will likely differ, perhaps significantly, from others.
However, each participating theater has set its own ticket prices, and MTI will not be collecting any royalties or other fees.
City Rep’s cast, which features a number of the troupe’s veteran performers, includes: Laniece Fagundes, Agata Sokolska, Brent Jordan, Brittney Tellis, Alexander Loucks, Julia Davidson Truilo, Beau Wade, Jen Chidekel, Kelvin Niebla, Ashley Peters and Savanna Dacosta.
“All Together Now!’ does not have a proper director, Sbordone said, but he added that “Agata Sokolska has been the hard-working, driving force behind this cabaret.” Musical director is Julia Davidson Truilo and choreographer is Gabrielle Jordon.
The song roster for City Rep’s production features tunes from vintage musical theater classics as well as more modern fare, including:
* “Pure Imagination” from the musical “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
* “Matchmaker” – “Fiddler on the Roof”
* “Back to Before” – “Ragtime”
* “Gimmie Gimmie” – “Thoroughly Modern Millie”
* “This Is the Moment” – “Jekyll and Hyde”
* “We’re All in This Together” – “High School Musical”
* “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” – “Les Miserables”
* “Somewhere That’s Green” – “Little Shop of Horrors”
* “Take a Chance on Me” – “Mamma Mia”
* “Astonishing” – “Little Women”
* “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – “Mary Poppins”
* “Seasons of Love” – “Rent”
* “You Can’t Stop the Beat” – “Hairspray”
Music Theatre International was founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker. According to its website, the agency works directly with composers, lyricists and book writers of musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and theatrical resources to more than 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the U.S. and in over 60 countries worldwide.
MTI also is involved in educational theatre and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.
MTI maintains its headquarters in New York City, with additional offices in London and Melbourne, Australia.
–Rick de Yampert for FlaglerLive
City Repertory Theatre stages “All Together Now!” at 7:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 12 and Saturday Nov. 13, and at 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 14. Performances will be in CRT’s black box theater at City Marketplace, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite B207, Palm Coast. Tickets are $20 adults and $15 students. Tickets are available online at eventbrite.com, by calling 386-585-9415, or at the venue just before showtime.
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