April 20, 2009

AMTP executive director Dominic Missimi

The American Music Theatre Project was recently awarded a $15,000 "Access to Artistic Excellence" grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The proposal - drafted by project director David Bell in collaboration with Theatre and Interpretation Center manager Barbara Butts and Northwestern University's Office of Sponsored Research - was written to support a collaboration with Chicago's acclaimed House Theatre on AMTP's upcoming summer musical Girls vs. Boys.

The grant will be used to support the development process of the new musical, specifically artist fees for the creative team, music support for the development of the score, and production materials for the show.

Chronicling a full-on war of the sexes, Girls vs. Boys is a story of high stakes relationships with even greater consequences, challenging the storybook ideal of love. On their first day at a new school, brother and sister find themselves thrust into a perilous, modern day Lord of the Flies - playing a game with rules they don't fully understand.

House Theater artistic director Nathan Allen

Says AMTP executive director Dominic Missimi: "The NEA's gift will support our first collaboration with a Chicago-based theatre company and will allow us to bring the creative team from the House Theatre to Northwestern to engage our students in the work of developing a new musical. AMTP is thrilled by this recognition from the national theatre community, and we look forward to premiering Girls vs. Boys this summer."

Girls vs. Boys also represents the first time AMTP will develop new work as part of an in-class workshop process, Missimi says. Over winter quarter, House Theatre artistic director Nathan Allen taught taught a class titled "The Ethics of Popular Theatre," part of which involved workshopping and devising new material for the show. Allen and his collaborators - composer Kevin O'Donnell, fellow book writers Chris Mathews and Jake Minton, and choreographer Tommy Rapley - spent 10 weeks working directly with students to prepare Girls vs. Boys for its summer world premiere.

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