Michigan State University’s annual New Musical Laboratory, formerly known as ı̆máGen, brings together Broadway professionals, MSU students and local high school students, who all work together to produce a new piece of musical theater. The collaboration between the Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity and the MSU Department of Theatre is celebrating its 10th anniversary with its debut of “Rocky Mountain High” 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 15) and 2 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 17) at the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre.
Each year, the New Musical Laboratory puts out a call for new theater works. This year, mother-and-son duo Kia Beth and Cooper Kofron submitted the winning concept, “Rocky Mountain High,” which takes place in a “football-focused high school that finds itself without future funding, teetering on the brink of financial uncertainty. Faced with an uncertain future, the community rallies together to transform their climate-controlled stadium into a thriving marijuana cultivation center. Their audacious endeavor is aimed at thwarting the takeover of their beloved institution by a conservative televangelist with intentions to reshape the school's curriculum in his own image.”
The creative team behind the musical also includes Tony Award-winning composer Mark Hollmann, musical theater composer and lyricist Drew Gasparini and playwright and director Marc Acito. According to the Lansing State Journal, Hollmann and Gasparini have melded their styles — Gasparini’s pop-rock sound and Hollmann’s more traditional musical theater approach — to create more than 20 musical numbers for the show.
Tickets are $18.50 for the general public and $13.50 for students and children under 18. To purchase tickets, visit whartoncenter.com or call 517-432-2000. The show is best suited for ages 12 and up due to some strong language and simulated cannabis use.
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