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In Workshop at Stageworks:  Billy Reed, the Musical

Stageworks Theatre is a hub of activity with the buzzing of action required to mount 96 main stage shows per year and countless academy shows for our students. In addition to the regular summer pace, something a little new is folded into the action this year - a workshop production of Billy Reed, the Musical, by Casey Carmody.

Billy Reed is a musical comedy about a young rock star who decides to give up fame to find real meaning in his life. The juxtaposition of the “celebrity” world and the “real” world is highlighted as the star navigates being extraordinary in an ordinary world. Only to find that the ordinary world can be extraordinary.

What is a workshop?

A workshop production is a theatrical work that is in its early stage that gets “worked” to some level and presented in a modest form, with limited costumes, sets, choreography, or musical accompaniment.

The purpose of the workshop could be to:

  • Sprout an entirely new work from the ground up, utilizing the gathered artists

  • Give the author a feel for how the piece works and how the audience reacts

  • Gather input and feedback from actors or audiences about the work

To support the flourishing of fresh works in Houston, we want to create a place that incubates and promotes these artists. The vision is that these works will go on to be produced fully on either our stage, larger stages, or both.

Billy Reed: The approach

Eddy Lindsey & Ellen Evans

Two opposite camps exist for approaching workshop theatre, the devised method or the directorial approach. The devised method utilizes improvisational exercises to develop the story, while the directorial approach utilizes a director to lead the actors through the development process.

The Billy Reed Workshop combined these two methods, under the direction of Matthew C. Logan. Casey Carmody, a Houston resident and professional in the supply chain industry, wrote the piece and approached Logan, a regular Stageworks director, about working to further develop the piece. In May 2016, via auditions at Stageworks, the initial Billy Reed, the Musical cast assembled.

This summer, the cast and production team has put the “work” in workshop. Hours of rehearsal will result in workshop productions on August 20 & 21. The talented production team and cast includes:

Created/composed by: Casey Carmody

Director: Matthew C. Logan

Choreographer: Amy Barnes

Music direction: Robin Cobb

AD/SM: Kristen Malisewski

Company: (main character listed; names of other characters, spelling, and all roles themselves still subject to change)

-Eddy Lindsey (Billy Reed)

-Ellen Evans (Kylie)

-Sarah Finch (Starla)

-Zach Salcich (Dick)

-Nick Mauldin (Sterling)

-Heather Buzonas (Mrs. Wiltshire)

-Jared Barnes (Rodney)

-Jennifer Henzler (Shannon O'Brien/starlet)

-Chad Dyer (Steve/George)

-Elissa Brown (Cindy/Edith/starlet)

What happens next? By invitation, two productions will run on August 20 at 7pm and August 21 at 3pm in the Fischer Studio. Attendees will see the work and complete surveys about the show, which will be given to Carmody, who will determine at that point the next step. Workshops at this point may result in a stage-ready play, or may move to a different level of workshop, after the survey feedback is ingested by the author and reflected in the work.

If you are a theatre veteran and could provide meaningful input to a script, characters and the music, request an invitation here. We have limited seating and require that all attendees to these complimentary performances participate in the survey portion of the evening, following the show.

Follow Billy Reed the Musical Development

Twitter: @billyreedmusical

Facebook: Billy Reed the Musical or @billyreedmusical

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