Interstate, a new musical created by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, has been selected as one of 12 productions to take part in the 2018 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project. The workshop production will open the festival and features a diverse mix of talent while showcasing the journey of two Asian transgender artists. Interstate is directed by Jessi D. Hill, choreographed by Jessica Chen, with music direction by Karen Dryer.
The eclectic cast of Interstate stars Jon Viktor Corpuz (The King and I/Broadway), Sushma Saha (Cabaret/Ithaca College), Angel Lin (Once/National Tour), and an ensemble including Esco Jouley (Runaways/Public Theater), Allison Linker (Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame/PaperMill Playhouse), Michelle Noh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), and Andreas Wyder (Titanic:The Musical/National Tour).
The band features Karen Dryer (Musical Direction, 1st Keyboard,) Allison Kelly (Guitar/Bassist), Tidtaya Sinutoke (2nd Keyboard), and Ashley Baier (Drummer).
Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical that follows Dash, a transgender spoken word performer who becomes internet-famous along with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, the band embarks on a road trip across America for their first national tour. Their fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in small-town middle America, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. Interstate is a touching story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.
Book & lyrics writer, Kit Yan, discussed the impetus for creating this musical. “I was inspired to write this musical from a place of queer pain, queer healing, and queer love. Melissa and I used to be in a band called Good Asian Drivers, and we were as popular as a super niche internet-based band could be. Then we went on tour for 2 years and had all the drama that a touring band has, so we broke up. We ended our incredible band and our even more incredible friendship. This was the greatest heartbreak of my life – my friendship and my artistic dreams all crashing at the same time. This show came out of a desire to tell a story of a band whose lives are as complicated as ours, and to give voice, life, and heart, to a couple of queer poc kids with a dream to make music, write poetry, and love hard.”
Interstate features Music, Book & Lyrics by Melissa Li, Book & Lyrics by Kit Yan. The creative team also features the talent of Jessica Chen (Choreography), Edward Morris (Scenic Design), Deepsikha Chatterjee (Costume Design), Jennifer J. Fok (Lighting Design), Fan Zhang (Sound Design), Janelle Lawrence (Properties Design), Natasha Sinha (Dramaturg), Macy Schmidt (Orchestrations & Arrangement), Nic Cory (Assistant Director), Anton Volovsek (Co-Scenic Design), and Joyce Lim (Costume Assistant). General Management, Dailey-Monda Management. Produced by Nicole Kwan, Mark Gagliardi, and Theresa Perkins in association with The Musical Theatre Factory.
Performances take place at Theatre Row’s Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street, (between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets are $31.75 and can be purchased at NYMF.org. The show’s running time is 120 minutes with intermission.
Monday, July 9 @7:00 pm
Thursday, July 12 @ 9:00 pm
Friday, July 13 @ 5:00 pm
Saturday, July 14 @ 9:00 pm
Sunday, July 15 @ 1:00 pm
Instagram: @interstatemusical – Facebook: interstatemusical – Twitter: @interst8musical
The Creative Team
Kit Yan (Book, Music, Lyrics) is an award-winning Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit’s work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, and Dixon Place among many others. They have been a Civilians resident, WP/Public theater Trans Lab fellow, and resident with Musical Theatre Factory and the Village Theatre. www.kityanpoet.com
Melissa Li (Book, Music, Lyrics) is a composer, performer, and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award and a Queer|Art|Mentorship fellow. Musicals include Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award for Best New Play 2007), 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive), and Interstate (New York Musical Festival). Her works have received support from the National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, terraNOVA Collective, and Musical Theater Factory, among others. www.melissali.com
Jessi D. Hill (Director) credits include: new work at New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater/Joe’s Pub, The Playwrights’ Center, Primary Stages, Labyrinth, The Women’s Project, 59E59, P73, The New Group, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, HERE Arts Center, terraNOVA Collective, Culture Project, Musical Theatre Factory, The Barrow Group, PS122, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, The Wild Project, and others. She has been a director and teacher in professional training programs at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/NTI, The Atlantic School, Playwrights Horizons and others. Her work has been seen internationally in Edinburgh, London, New Zealand, Berlin and Hamburg. MFA: Yale. Member SDC. http://www.jessidhill.com
For more information on Interstate and their journey to NYMF, or how to get involved, you can visit the show’s Kickstarter page at http://bit.ly/InterstateNYMF.
About The New York Musical Festival
The New York Musical Festival nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.
Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival is the premier musical theater event in the world. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theater fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 24 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work “creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form.”
NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. 2018 NYMF is sponsored by The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, PRG, TheaterMania, Clear Channel Outdoor, Tinc Productions and Fox Stage Productions and is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
The NYMF PASS is a great way to experience The New York Musical Festival. With a NYMF PASS, you can get into the theater before individual ticket holders. Passes also offer the exclusive ability to book tickets before they go on sale to the public. Individual tickets on sale now.
The 2018 New York Musical Festival will take place July 9th – August 5th. For more information, please visit: www.nymf.org.