During the past year, millions of people have paid to phone in their votes for the competitors on shows like American Idol. The opportunity to register a choice for one of these attractive young singers has proved a real magnet. This week audiences at IU’s Wells-Metz Theatre can enjoy some of the same fun as they fill out response forms for a brand new musical, The Sixth Borough," that’s being produced here
Jonathan Safran Foer’s short story "The Sixth Borough" begins with the lines: "Once upon a time, New York City had a Sixth Borough. You won’t read about it in any of the history books, because there’s nothing – save for the circumstantial evidence in Central Park – to prove that it was there at all…"
IU grad Eric Price and composer Will Reynolds were so taken by the story that we now have the circumstantial evidence of a new musical. It’s at IU’s Wells-Metz Theatre in a production directed by George Pinney. "The Sixth Borough" is just the second production of Premiere Musicals: Developing Musical Theatre at Indiana University.
For three weeks the authors, IU’s creative team, and a cast of actors and musicians from IU, from Bloomington and from across the country have been working toward this week’s performances of "The Sixth Borough." The result is a stylish, nicely costumed, creatively choreographed, fully staged musical with a five piece orchestra.
Following the show, the audience is asked to list favorite songs, least favorite songs, most interesting characters, least interesting characters, and there’s a query about anything that was confusing.. In the same way that those phone call votes for American Idol affected the careers of individual singers, there’s a chance to be a real part of the creative process of a whole musical. Just for the record, my vote for favorite song went to "Five Out of Six" with my favorite character, the canny New York Mayor, spinning the loss of the Sixth Borough. The part of the story that confused me was the presentation of the Sixth Borough as a sort of Peter Pan place with parentless kids and a mammy
"The Sixth Borough" has performances Friday, and Saturday at seven-thirty and Sunday at two in IU’s Wells-Metz Theatre.
You can find an interview with the creators Eric Price and Will Reynolds and actors Corey Greenan and Jennifer Bowles on our Arts Interviews page .