‘Rocky Mountain High’


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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