Pilgrim, the World Premiere Romantic Rock Musical
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The last date listed for Pilgrim was Sunday April 16, 2006 / 2:00pm.
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Tarell Alvin McCraney's latest acclaimed play tracks the coming-of-age of a group of talented young African-American prep-school singers whose choral prowess is woven seamlessly into the story. Pharus, the undisputed superstar of the choir, is searching for the courage to let his true self shine through, in this work by MacArthur Fellowship-winner McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays), who's been called "without question, the hottest young playwright in America" (Chicago Tribune). The West Coast premiere reunites director Trip Cullman, star Jeremy Pope and several other cast members from its 2013 New York run. Learn More
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Rustycup Productions presents a world premiere musical event, PILGRIM, with Book Music and Lyrics by John Stothers, Choreography and Aerial Effects by Josie Walsh, Musical Direction by Jason Nyberg and Direction by Ovation award-winner Nick DeGruccio (Side Show, Side by Side by Sondheim).
Trapped behind walls built by the Guildmasters, the town’s oppressive rulers, two unlikely young lovers are thrust into a world of dungeons, dreams and revolution in this timeless, classic struggle for freedom. Anna, the devout daughter of a powerful Guildmaster, shocks herself and her town by taking up with the roguish pot mender, Tinker. When her reckless Tinker finds his father murdered, he lashes out at the Guildmasters, who throw him in prison — leaving Anna alone to fend for herself.
From an old lunatic in his cell, Tinker learns that he is the one who will lead his people out the city’s Gates to everlasting freedom. All he must do is find the key… locked in his own dream world. It is there in his dreams that Tinker becomes Pilgrim, a defenseless hero facing an army of evils that thwart his quest to lead his town to freedom.
When the stories of the Pilgrim and his search for the key are smuggled among the town, they incite courage in the residents and inspire them to rise up against their oppressors and fight for themselves.
As the quest for the key intensifies, the two young lovers fight for their love and their lives in a world bent on building walls that keep them apart – knowing the fate of their entire world rests in their hands.
PILGRIM’s driving musical score blends elements of renaissance and rock into a contemporary musical experience. Primitive percussion, ancient instruments, and strings merge with electric guitars and synths to create a unique theatrical sound that marries the world of classic Fantasy storytelling with modern Musical Theatre in a one-of-a-kind experience that can only be described in one word…PILGRIM.
The seeds of PILGRIM began seventeen years ago, when Pasadena composer John Stothers was looking for a story that would combine his life-long love for music theatre with the ancient journey myths. “Musical theatre is a larger than life art-form. Therefore the realm of fantasy, myth and epics are uniquely suited to the genre,” says John. Between writing, performing and studio work, John sought collaboration on his story. Each of three attempts ended without results. “No one pays you while you’re attempting to create a musical – it’s a wonder that any artists can commit to such a huge undertaking and still eat, so I understand why we never got there. I personally have a high need for closure, and the years of waiting on others to create product were excruciating. Eventually, I realized that if I was truly this passionate about the work, I had better just attempt to write the book myself.
Finally, in 1995, a concert version of PILGRIM was presented at a private home in Pasadena to the local Los Angeles theatre community. “That night was pivotal: not only were substantial tears shed, but substantial money was raised that evening.” That was enough for John to believe that his story might resonate with a larger audience, and, after two more presentations in Southern California, John presented PILGRIM in concert in New York in 1996, at which time a producer was engaged. One more presentation followed in New York, and “again, the response was extremely positive among the jaded New York crowd. People were actually turned away at the door of the presentation.” But even with all the accolades the show was receiving, the producer was unable to pull an investment together. “The day my wife and I returned from New York with the boxes of PILGRIM files was a difficult day,” John says. “We have always had a strong sense that this work was part of our destiny, and when a door like that closes, it really throws you into a tailspin.”
Eventually PILGRIM resurfaced with a new producing team, Rustycup Productions, and things began to move forward again. After John spent months of last year in New York , it became clear to him that the strongest launch for PILGRIM would actually be in his own backyard, where a sizeable cult following had developed over the long gestation. As the twist and turns of journeys go, the team engaged director Nick DeGruccio, who had not only built an impressive director’s resume over his last ten years, but had also been a performer that very first night in Pasadena ten years earlier. “Journeys do that, don’t they?” John says. “When we started this, who would have known we’d have to learn the lessons of the PILGRIM story firsthand? But the long road has shaped our character, and there’s no going back now.”