Tag: Writing Center

‘Romeo’ rights: Press-Gazette covers Sutton’s latest play news

The Green Bay Press-Gazette has picked up Associate Prof. Brian Sutton’s latest play news — his original musical, “Searching for Romeo,” was named one of two recipients of the 2014 Stage Rights/NYMF Publishing Award from the New York Musical Theatre Festival. As we mentioned here recently, that means performance rights will be available through the Steele Spring Stage Rights company for professional and amateur theatre companies throughout the U.S. and around the world. After being presented as a staged reading in 2013, Sutton’s full play received rave reviews at the theatre festival this summer. Read more.

Rights for ‘Romeo’: Sutton’s play earns award, gets publishing/stage rights deal

We’ve got more good news to share about Associate Prof. Brian Sutton, whose original musical, “Searching for Romeo,” earned rave reviews on a national theatre festival stage earlier this year. Now “Romeo” is the recipient of a New York Musical Theatre Festival/Steele Spring Stage Rights publishing award, meaning performance rights for the play will be available through the stage rights company for professional and amateur theatre companies throughout the U.S. and around the world. “Romeo” is one of just two musicals to receive the 2014 award. “We’re absolutely delighted to have these two titles join our catalog,” Roger Bean, president and founder of Steele Spring Stage Rights, said in a news release. “Both shows are producer and audience-friendly, and are a perfect fit for what we have to offer.” For more on Sutton’s play.

Sutton’s show has ended, but the reviews keep on coming

We’ve got several additional reviews of Brian Sutton’s original musical, “Searching for Romeo,” which wrapped up its five-show New York Musical Theatre Festival run this past weekend. The online “Times Square Chronicles” review is mostly favorable, and its author says “Romeo” could do well as a high school, college or community theatre production now that its NYMTF run has ended. As have the reviews before it, the piece praises assistant to the director Dan Drew, who stepped in at the (very) last minute to play the male lead when the original actor fell ill. You can read the review, along with three others, here:

Rave reviews for Sutton as ‘Searching for Romeo’ wraps up New York run

“Clever and charming,” “hysterical” and “refreshing” were just a few of the words critics used to describe Brian Sutton’s original musical, “Searching for Romeo,” which wrapped up its New York Musical Theatre Festival run on Sunday (July 13). Sutton earned rave reviews from such websites as Broadway Spotted and Show Showdown — not to mention a mostly favorable evaluation from The New York Times. Audience members also praised Romeo’s run — one even asked for a recording of one of Sutton’s original songs, “Ordinary Man Like Me” to play at his August wedding. You can check out the reviews, here:
The New York Times
Broadway Spotted
Show Showdown

In the news: Sutton’s original play gets ink in ‘Wall Street Journal’

Associate Prof. Brian Sutton’s original musical opened to a full house and ended with a standing ovation Tuesday (July 8), as “Searching for Romeo” made its debut as a full production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. The play also drew the attention of arts reporter Pia Catton of The Wall Street Journal, who interviewed Sutton this week for a story that hit the paper’s website just after Tuesday’s performance. Catton’s piece explores the plot of “Romeo” as it relates to Shakespeare’s classic tale, focusing on the role of women — in this case, the jilted Rosaline — in spinoffs of the Bard’s well-known works. Sutton, Catton writes, “focused on a woman’s perspective. Shakespeare often wrote women into his plots without making much ado about them as individuals.” Check out her story.

In the news: Local coverage of Sutton’s New York play, opening Tuesday  

Tomorrow’s the big day for Associate Prof. Brian Sutton, as his original musical, “Searching for Romeo” opens on the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMTF) stage. It’s the first of a five-show run for Sutton’s play, which debuted two years ago here on campus and enjoyed a staged reading during last year’s NYMTF. “Romeo” is now a full production at the festival dubbed “the Sundance of musical theatre,” and local news media are telling Sutton’s story ahead of the big premiere. Saturday’s Green Bay Press-Gazette featured a story and photo on the production, while Local 5 Critic-at-Large Warren Gerds posted a lengthy interview with Sutton completed just before he left for New York last month. You can check out those stories, plus our UW-Green Bay News feature, by clicking the links below:
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Local 5, Warren Gerds
UW-Green Bay News feature

More “Searching”: Latest Broadway World post has photos of Sutton’s cast

We told you here last week about a Broadway World website write-up for Associate Prof. Brian Sutton’s original musical, “Searching for Romeo,” which will enjoy a five-performance run at the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival next month. As of Friday, there’s a new post on the site, this one with plenty of photographs of the professional cast. We’ve also updated our recent feature story on the play, adding a photo of Sutton along with the cast. Check out the latest Broadway World post.

Hardenbrook, Meacham, Sutton lead CATL workshop on teaching writing

The workshop “Teaching and Writing Effectively in Any Course” is being offered from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 15), in MAC Hall 301, open to all and hosted by UW-Green Bay’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Presenters are Joe Hardenbrook, Rebecca Meacham and Brian Sutton.

Hardenbrook, an instruction and reference librarian, will discuss the value of using Cofrin Library resources in writing assignments. Meacham, associate professor of Humanistic Studies, says too many students get hung up on “How many pages?” or “How many sources?” and would be better served by focusing on the “what.” One way to do this is by breaking the writing process into smaller assignments, including organization and thesis statements, integrating quotations, and writing about visual images — all in an effort to engage both writer and reader. Associate Professor Sutton, director of the Writing Center, will describes research studies which explore how various pedagogical approaches influence student writing, and then discusses the implications for teaching.

Sutton’s ‘Romeo’ takes national stage at New York theatre festival

Prof. Brian SuttonBrian Sutton isn’t a member of UW-Green Bay’s Theatre or Music faculty. He teaches English, but not creative writing. And yet Sutton has written, directed, produced and even performed in his own musical comedy, “Searching for Romeo,” with great success — and great University support.

“I probably would have done this anyway, because it’s to some extent who I am,” said Sutton, associate professor of English and Humanistic Studies and director of the UW-Green Bay Writing Center. “But working at a school like this has made it a lot easier to get support in something like this. … The three areas you would logically think of for somebody who’s writing a musical comedy play — I’m not any of those. And yet I get a lot of support.”

Buoyed by that support, Sutton’s efforts this month will take him and his play all the way to New York City, where it will be performed as a staged reading during the New York Musical Theatre Festival. The support Sutton has received dovetails closely with UW-Green Bay’s interdisciplinary approach, which is now articulated better than ever through the University’s 360° of Learning brand. That approach exemplifies how UW-Green Bay encourages learning from multiple perspectives, giving students a full, 360° view of the world while giving them the experience they need to prepare for a successful career. UW-Green Bay’s top-notch faculty — including the award-winning Sutton — are a critical part of that equation.

“No literature happens in a vacuum,” Sutton said. “If you’re teaching, I don’t know, Dante, it’s not like Dante sprang out of nowhere. You need to know a certain amount about the Medieval Church, about the politics of the Italian city-state at the time, and so forth. … Theatre is literature and it is speech performance; it is all the technical fields; it is Psychology and so on and so forth. If it’s musical theatre, it’s also music.”

Sutton’s play, a comedy, is all of the above. His tale reimagines Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” from the perspective of the “losers” — Romeo’s former beloved, Rosaline; and Juliet’s rejected suitor, Paris. “Searching for Romeo” sold out all four shows — including a last-minute Saturday matinee — during its on-campus run last summer, and was widely acclaimed at the University and in the community. Sutton wrote the play, music and lyrics, produced the show and fronted the two-person “orchestra” of guitar and keyboard that provided accompaniment for the shows. He’s producing the New York production, which will stage two shows Friday, July 19 and one show Sunday, July 21 at The Studio at Theatre Row in Manhattan.

Sutton likes the comedic and musical elements of his play — his lyrics, he says, are better than his music — but perhaps his favorite element of “Searching for Romeo” is its different perspective.

“Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story in history, and yet Romeo and Juliet themselves are spectacularly psychologically unhealthy,” Sutton said. “She’s 13 years old; there’s this negotiation that she will marry someone else; he thinks he’s in love with a woman named Rosaline. … They want to get married the night they met, after having spent maybe 15 minutes in each other’s company. They do get married the next day — the same day they get married, he kills her cousin.

“And (the lesson is) it’s probably much healthier to find somebody that’s just nice, reliable and so forth. … So I wrote a play about these two very normal people — not very exciting people — who are both dumped by the exciting people.”

“Searching for Romeo” blends traditional Shakespearean writing with contemporary script, providing an unusual, sometimes rhyming mash-up of styles. The play even puts a new twist on Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene, with Rosaline looking for Romeo during a party and stumbling into the scene — only to find out her love loves another.

“(Rosaline) wanders into the balcony scene,” Sutton said, “so that the most famous love scene in history becomes the vehicle by which my central character discovers she has been dumped — without being told in advance — in favor of her 13-year-old cousin.”

During last summer’s production, the scorned Rosaline and Paris were played by local couple Brandon and Joy Rockstroh. They have smaller parts this time around — but are nonetheless pleased to be part of the production.

“Three people in this production have done Broadway, and a lot of people have done first national tours and stuff like that,” Sutton said of his New York cast. “For (Brandon and Joy), this is like fantasy camp.”

Sutton will continue to revise “Searching for Romeo” up until the day of the first shows — and even after that. Audience reviews are part of the process, so he may end up changing some of the play between the second and third stagings. Sutton plans to submit his play again for the festival next year, hoping to secure a full performance this time. He also may send it — a “less R-rated version,” he says of the some-adult-content show — to publishers that work with high school theatre groups, both as a musical and a straight play. With references to seven other Shakespeare plays, Homer’s “Iliad,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” and more, it’s yet another chance to emphasize interdisciplinarity — and have a really good time doing it.

“It’s kind of fun to take traditional things,” Sutton said, “and put them on their head.”

Romeo revisited: Sutton’s play finds love, after all, in NYC

Congratulations to moonlighting Writing Center Director and Humanistic Studies Prof. Brian Sutton, whose efforts as a playwright, producer and songwriter have paid off with some nice recognition from the New York Music Theatre Festival. Sutton’s Searching for Romeo will have a three-performance run as a staged reading in a mid-Manhattan theatre this coming July as part of the Festival. There will be a professional cast — most will have Actors Equity cards — but Sutton expects to be allowed a few exceptions, with two of them for UW-Green Bay Theatre grads (and former or current Rough Draft singers) Suzi Lindner and Molly LeCaptain, both of whom have agreed to take part. Exact dates of performances aren’t yet set, but the festival itself runs July 8-28. This is the same festival for which Searching For Romeo was a finalist for a full production but didn’t get selected. “The staged reading is kind of a consolation prize,” Sutton writes, “but it’ll still be nice to have a NYC production with an Actors Equity cast on the show’s resume.” The contract calls for 29 hours of rehearsal, and it’s also a “staged reading/singing,” in that the cast will be performing Sutton’s original music as well as the dialog.