Monday, February 21, 2011

London Theatre Presents Michael Gordon Shapiro's A FEAST OF SNACKS

News happening across the pond: Heads up, London musical theater fans, Los Angeles composer Michael Gordon Shapiro has an anthology of short musicals that will be presented by A Stage Kindly on March 24, 2011 at the King’s Head Theatre in London.

Entitled A Feast of Snacks, it includes four shows, Climb The Smallest Mountain, The Charmed Life, HMS Headwind, and Change of Plans, presented together for the first time as a fully-staged compilation. The evening will feature four separate casts and directors, and a live band.

According to Shapiro, he started writing short musicals as a way to try his hand at different genres, and to find out where his interests lie. “Short musicals are relatively easy to produce, in comparison with full-lengths, so iterating through the production cycle several times in a few years was very enlightening…and humbling,” he says. “I tell people that one of my career aspirations is to never again be a producer.

After I'd finish a show, I'd put it on its feet at the annual short play festival at the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood, CA and then send it out into the world to see who else was interested."

Some of the musicals were staged at festivals in the U.S. and abroad, and even won several awards. Eventually Shapiro realized that, "a sneaky way to write a full-length show was to glom all my miniatures into an anthology, and so, voila, A Feast of Snacks was born. The anthology is comprised of six shows, mostly genre comedies with a satirical bent, though there is one more serious show as well. A Stage Kindly will be presenting four of them.

HMS Headwind is, as the title suggests, something of a tribute to Gilbert and Sullivan. It's not a parody of any particular operetta, but is chock full of G & S archetypes: the bumbling sea-captain, the well-intentioned hero torn between duty and love, and so on.

Climb the Smallest Mountain is a rock musical that takes place at a mini-golf tournament, in a world where mini-golf is taken as seriously as the Olympics. It won several prizes at the Short, Sweet, and Song Festival in Australia, and was included in last year’s Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival in NYC.

Change of Plans follows a failed entrepreneur who discovers his college-era journals, and starts searching for meaning in the words of his younger and more optimistic self. And The Charmed Life is a collaboration with Mark Harvey Levine, who is a true veteran of the short play world. It's a romantic comedy about a woman with unshakable good luck that’s starting to freak her out a little.”

A Stage Kindly had previously included several of Shapiro’s showtunes in their cabarets in London and Manchester. At the time he was finishing A Feast of Snacks, they had begun to solicit new works for production, so sending them the compilation seemed like a logical next step for the composer.

Unfortunately, Shapiro won’t be able to attend this particular performance due to his film and video game commitments here in Los Angeles, but says London is one of his favorite places. “I love London, and it's obviously one of the prime cities in the musical theater world, so I'm very excited about having A Feast of Snacks presented there!"

If you’re in London, make sure you check out the show. For ticket information go to
www.astagekindly.com and for more about the show visit www.afeastofsnacks.com.

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