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Alums creating new musicals that bring new voices into the music theatre genre

  • Rachel Page ‘10
    Rachel Page ‘10


Corinne Ness

August 02, 2017

Creating new works at Carthage is something that our arts departments prize. Whether it’s commissioning a new play every year through our New Play Initiative, or commissioning new works for our choir program, creating is at the forefront of what we do at Carthage.

It’s no surprise that Carthage students become creators of new works. Through summer research opportunities like SURE and special senior thesis projects, our students have created new musicals and musical arrangements, often winning awards for their work.

That tradition of creation continues on in our alumni, and two groups of alumni are marking their own mark through the creation of two new musicals.

‘Survivor Story’ 

A collaboration between alumni and faculty

“Survivor Story” is a new musical workshop based on the true experiences of sexual assault survivors. Written and conceived by Rachel Page ’10 and directed by Mark Bracken ’11, this new work includes contributions by Gage Patterson ’17 and Carthage faculty member Dimitri Shapovalov.

“It’s been really amazing to watch Rachel develop this project,” said Carthage music theatre faculty member and dean of the arts and humanities Corinne Ness. “She started with a calling to write about this important topic, and has really drawn on her Carthage network to contribute to her project.”

The “Survivor Story” workshop will be presented in Chicago on Aug. 11 before moving to additional workshop performances in the United States. Learn more about this project.


Alumni team continue writing together

Dan Brennan ’14 and Katie Zutter ’13 have been writing musicals since their time at Carthage, where they performed a staged reading of their first musical “Dirty Laundry” in Spring 2013. Brennan and Zutter’s most recent musical, “Nobody,” received a public reading at Carthage in May 2017 by members of the music theatre workshop and was recently performed as a staged reading by Center Stage Theatre in Naperville, Illinois.

The new musical centers around a coming-of-age story about finding the balance between work and play while maintaining personal integrity, and is designed to add to the music theatre cannon with major roles for women. 

“Dan and Katie have really looked for a niche to share their work, and creating new works that feature many interesting female characters is something that the field of music theatre needs,” said Lorian Schwaber, adjunct professor of music theatre. “They are really thinking about whose voices are missing in the traditional canon.” More information about Brennan and Zutter can be found by searching them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud (@BrennanZutter).

Congratulations on all of these exciting projects!