Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab Showcase // Round 3

These three projects have been chosen for Round 3 of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Stay tuned for details about the upcoming showcase of these projects.

A Cappella—An A Cappella Musical about Finding Your Own Voice (working title)

Monday, May 15

A young gospel singer goes from the music of praise to the music that pays. Jeremiah leaves to go on tour with a popular boy-band for just a few months, yet several years fly by before he returns to his small southern town and the people who love him. Disillusioned by celebrity, he goes to the place where everything is familiar; except that nothing is. A Cappella follows Jeremiah’s struggle to find his own voice. The new musical melds together two popular art forms: Musical Theatre and A Cappella. As one reviewer wrote, the music in A Cappella is “proud, big, soulful, joyous, organic, and unafraid.” The show won several awards including the Steele Springs Publishing Award at the prestigious New York Musical Festival, where it was originally produced by Greg Cooper in 2015. Still, playwright Vynnie Meli felt the show, with music by the globally acclaimed Acappella Company, needed tightening. Meli reached out to Atlanta director Justin Anderson, musical theater powerhouse Naima Carter Russell, and playwright and dramaturg Henry Kimmel. The Reiser Lab is giving them the time, resources and platform needed for further development and to take A Cappella to the next level.

Lead artist: Vynnie Meli (playwright)
Artistic team: Justin Anderson (director), Naima Carter Russell (actor), Henry W. Kimmel (dramaturg), Acappella Company (music)


Idi Amin, America, and a Bar of Soap

Tuesday, May 16

Idi Amin, America and a Bar of Soap is a solo show inspired by the life of Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Written by Patricia Henritze and directed by Matt Huff, the play follows Derreck from his childhood in Uganda under Idi Amin’s brutal regime, through his experiences in Kenya as a refugee, and finally into the U.S. as an immigrant and ultimately a citizen. In 2011 Derreck was chosen as a CNN Hero for founding the Global Soap project. This non-profit international aid organization recycles discarded soap from hotels and distributes newly processed soap to fight hygiene-related diseases, which is the #1 killer of children in vulnerable populations around the world. While Derreck has an amazing story to tell, this is not a documentary or motivational speech. Derreck’s journey is filled with humor and the play has something for everyone: dangerous escapes, spies, firing squads, betrayal, hope and redemption. From refugee to CEO, Derreck has learned how to survive, always turning challenges into triumphs. Derreck performs the show with wit and enthusiasm, reminding us we all live in a world where one person can still make a difference

Lead artist: Patricia Henritze (playwright)
Artistic team: Matt Huff (director/collaborator), Derreck Kayongo (performer/collaborator)


Knead, Punch, Bake

Wednesday, May 17

In the middle of the night, a woman bakes bread using her mother's illegible recipe. But something is different. Her kitchen becomes host to both present and past as drawers are emptied, mess is made, and the bread-baking process—the kneading, rising, punching down, shaping, and baking—becomes a journey of memory and discovery and the unpredictability of, well, just about everything. Will there at least be butter? Knead, Punch, Bake is a one-woman show with music, written and performed by Mary Lynn Owen.

Lead artist: Mary Lynn Owen (playwright/performer)
Artistic team: David de Vries (director), Kendall Simpson (composer/sound designer), Kat Conley (set designer), Rachel Parish (dramaturg)

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