For more than a decade, Kaufman Center’s Theater Wing has developed new shows for its Poppy Seeds Players series through the “Planting New Seeds” commissioning program. This year, the Theater Wing has created a new Artist-in-Residence program. Instead of commissioning a specific work for hire, residencies support artists as they work on their own independent projects. Theater Wing director Sean Hartley assists the artists in the creative process, reviewing the works and providing input.
The first Theater Wing artists-in-residence are Jill Abramovitz and Jason Robinson. A New York-based actor and lyricist who has performed on Broadway, in regional theater and in several Kaufman Center productions including Broadway Close Up, Jill is developing a show based on The Dogs of Pripyat by Leah Napolin, an adult fable based on stories of pets left behind after the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
Jason has been part of the Kaufman Center community for several years, performing in the Broadway Playhouse, Poppy Seed Players and Broadway Close Up series at Merkin Concert Hall. He is also an instructor at Lucy Moses School. As a voice teacher, he found that students were more encouraged to sing and learn music when the repertoire was taken from today’s popular songs. The show he is developing, J-Ro’s Play List, is designed for teens and tweens and uses contemporary pop music as well as songs from Broadway and opera that they might not otherwise encounter. Jason will present an early version as part of this year’s Summer Musical Theater Workshop, and will feature Kaufman Center students as part of the chorus.
Photo: Brad Alexander, Jill Abramovitz, Sean Hartley and Jason Robinson at the Marcy 4, 2012 Theater Wing Party